As I mentioned in my last blog, I visited the new Sense, a Rosewood Spa at the Carlyle for a spa treatment (90-minutes, $280) last Friday. While I was there to learn more about the brand and this spa in particular, I couldn’t help but notice that the spa appeared to be quite busy.
Later I spent some time with a management staff person (who had invited me for the treatment) and learned that what I was seeing wasn’t unusual. They have been open for only three months and the spa is doing very well. Although the hotel’s occupancy has definitely been affected by the economy, the spa itself has been doing better than expected.
Coincidentally on Monday I was contacted by a writer from Travel + Leisure to contribute some thoughts to the article she was writing on why luxury spas still seem to be viable in these economic times. Here is a link to the article “Seven Great New Spas.” And here is the additional information I gave her as background for the story.
Stress-reducing and beauty-enhancing spa treatments are trumping many other luxury purchases.
1. There still is a top tier group of luxury consumers who are spending money. It may be a much smaller group than before, they may be spending less than before, but there are still many affluent people.
2. Spas have moved up in importance on people’s value list. Spas are no longer as much about “pampering” as they are about “wellness.” Spa services have moved from “luxury” to “necessity.” Like most people, the affluent may be making some sacrifices – but it is more likely that they are cutting out that second $2,000 purse than skipping spa services.
3. Spas help people de-stress and the stress level has ratcheted up for everyone. Accomplished people regard spa services as truly helping them cope with today’s realities. Remember (as our SpaFinder research studies have shown) the number one reason people go to spas is to de-stress.
4. It comes down to the issue of supply and demand. When you look at an urban city like New York for example, you have a handful of super luxury (and expensive) spas. Most of these luxury spas are in luxury hotels. Some of these hotels, like the Waldorf, are quite large. Spas like the Guerlain Spa on the right attract not only their hotel’s guests but also clientele from outside the hotel.
Well-managed top tier luxury spas usually have extraordinary facilities, ambiance, outstanding staff, and service. There is still enough demand for the small supply of spas which get all those aspects right.
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