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What Do You Know About Spas?

November 13th, 2022

Today Norm Goldman, Editor of … & … … Susie Ellis, … of Spa Finder Inc. … you tell us a little about yourself and your … in spas, a

Today Norm Goldman,Guest Posting Editor of & interviews Susie Ellis, President of Spa Finder Inc.


Could you tell us a little about yourself and your expertise in spas, and why you became interested in them?


I was athletic in my youth and naturally gravitated toward being as healthy as possible. After college in the mid 70′s, I began working at the Golden Door Spa which, unbeknownst to me at the time, was the top spa in the country. After spending many years on staff, I became enthralled with how people’s lives were transformed after just a one-week stay at this famous place. I decided to make spa my life’s work, and the combination of movement, good nutrition, spa therapies and a mind/body/spirit approach to wellness became a passion. And lucky for me, the spa industry, which was just emerging at the time, was poised for explosive growth.


Why have spas continued to grow and have become popular over the past several years?


I see three general trends that have come together to precipitate the popularity of spas.

1. The aging baby boomer. This demographic wants to maintain youth and vigor. Spas are a perfect place to achieve these goals.

2. Stress. The non-stop bombardment of information and connectivity is creating a need for people to have places to decompress, de-stress, slow down and pay attention to their body, mind and spirit.

3. A troubled health care system means people of all ages must become more responsible for their wellness and health.


How do you go about identifying top-notch romantic spas in terms of quality of treatment, fitness, relaxation, location, atmosphere, and staff?


Truly the best way to identify romantic spas is to consult the romantic/honeymoon spa category on There are almost 50 romantic spas listed. Spa Finder’s mission is to connect people with their ideal spa experience, and we also present spas in 20 other categories such as: weight loss spas, spas for horseback riding, hiking spas, spas for yoga, etc.


As a follow up which ones would make the top ten on your list?


Here are a few of my favorite romantic spas in the U.S.:

Mirbeau, New York

Chateau Elan, Georgia

Miramante Resort & Spa, California

Silverado, California

Emerson, New York

The Spa at Sundance, Utah

Hampton Retreats, New York

Mana Lani , Hawaii

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Arizona

Westglow, North Carolina

Outside of the U.S.:

Brenner’s Park, Baden Baden, Germany

CuisinArt Resort & Spa, Anguilla

El Santuario, Mexico

Samas, Park Kenmare Hotel, Ireland

Echo Valley Ranch Resort, Canada


What are the benefits of spa treatments for honeymooners and romantic getaways for couples in search of de-stress?


There are many ways to de-stress and spas specialize in this. Exercise is an excellent de-stresser. Bathing in hot water is a de-stresser. Massages are for many the ultimate de-stresser. At spas people typically leave their outside world behind, they slow down and their bodies become more relaxed. A spa has nurturing staff and there is lovely food that doesn’t intoxicate but rather revitalizes. I think that what spas do is help us get back to who we really are and connecting at that level is always romantic.


What spa treatments are especially recommended for those new to the spa experience?


I think a good place to start for a newcomer is with a Swedish Massage and a facial. These are still the most favorite spa treatments because people love them. Although there are many wonderful treatments on most spa’s menus, such as hot stone massage, Ayruvedic treatments or even body scrubs and wraps, I would not recommend them for the first time spa-goer.

For a first time romantic experience, I would suggest choosing a “couple’s massage” where both of you are in the same room for your treatment. Sometimes this can include a bathing ritual for the two of you together before or after…very romantic!

And finally, if a spa has a “signature treatment” that might also be a good place for a first time spa-goer to begin. Often this is an experience with more than one element – like a scrub and a massage, or a foot ritual and massage, etc.

And I do suggest that a person let the receptionist know that this is their first time spa experience so that the attendant and therapist can be a bit more thorough about explaining procedures and protocol.


What is meant by “destination spas,” and how do you differentiate them from other spas as well as between themselves?


That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked. In the world of spas we segment them into various categories. The most general categories are resort/hotel spas, day spas and destination spas. The resort/hotel spa is part of a hotel or resort where there are also activities such as golf, tennis, fine dining, etc. The spa is one of the amenities. A day spa is a place where people go for a spa experience but do not stay overnight – this can be for one spa treatment or for several or even for an entire day. Then there is the destination spa. Think of them as places to stay overnight with programs that makes it a full immersion spa experience. In other words, everyone is there for the spa experience. Canyon Ranch Health Resorts and the Golden Door are good examples of a destination spa. La Costa or The Doral are examples of resort/hotel spas and Bliss or Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door are examples of day spas.


Can you tell us something about the new developments and trends in the spa industry, particularly as it affects those couples seeking romantic getaways together with spa treatments?


We are seeing a variety of trends in the spa industry. I will share with you the 10 trends that we predicted in January of this year:

Medical spas (medicine and spas coming together)

People mixing business and spas

The arrival of the “destination day spa”

More affordable spas and more inclusive

International treatments and unique and inviting spas internationally

Spa cuisine going mainstream

Travelers deciding on where to go and stay depending on the spa

Pets are welcomed at some spa

More men are going

More families, including teens and preteens

Of these I think one of the interesting trends for couples is that more men are going to spas. This means that it is becoming easier and easier for a woman to get her guy to go with her to a romantic spa get away. Increasingly, they already want to go!


I have come across the term “quality assured” spa, what does this imply, and why should we believe the spa when it has this designation?


To be honest, I am not aware of any such designation on a large scale. There are over 10,000 spas in the U.S. and no one has been to all of them or able to rate them in terms of quality. There is no easy way to conclude the level of a spa’s service. In fact, sometimes quality comes down more to an individual therapist than it does a facility.

That being said, there are some ways for the consumer to have more information that could help them make an informed decision. There is an association called the International Spa Association (ISPA) that has a “voluntary standards and practices designation” that spas may choose to apply for if they wish. This could be of some help. But even here, many spas don’t know about this so I wouldn’t necessarily rule out selecting a spa if they don’t have this designation.

It is also helpful to look at what awards a spa has won. For example the Spa Finder Readers’ Choice Awards lists the top 10 spas in almost 20 categories. Since this award is voted on by readers, it is a good indication of quality.

Of course, word-of-mouth is always a good way to learn about a spa.


Could you give our readers some suggestions as to tipping?


Tipping policies differ among spas but in general it is customary to leave a gratuity of between 15% and 20% for the therapist or technician providing your service. In some cases, the gratuity is already added on to the final bill and in some very rare cases, tipping is discouraged. Most spas have their tipping policy printed on their brochure I often ask, “What is your tipping policy?” when I arrive at the spa and check in. That usually clears things up right away!


I have read that the destination spa concept is evolving as some brands expand their product through other outlets. Could you give us some examples and explain why this is taking place?

Susie: we are seeing brand extension from destination spas such as Canyon Ranch and The Golden Door. Canyon Ranch Health Resort began as a destination spa in Tucson, Arizona in the late 70′s. They then opened in Lenox, MA and then opened their first Spa Club in Las Vegas. They are now the spa on the QM2 and are part of a retirement condominium spa facility being built in Miami. They have also added a Canyon Ranch product line and I hear there are more things in the pipeline.

The Golden Door branched out from its origins as the U.S.’s top destination spa…there are now Golden Door spas at resorts in Arizona, Colorado and Puerto Rico. There is a Golden Door product line.

But I am also seeing another type of brand expansion; that is product companies opening “retail spas”. Jurlique comes to mind, Givenchy, and to a certain extent Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door could be considered a spa extending from a product. And there are day spas which have become as well known for their products as their spas, such as Bliss and Nichel.


What should we expect in the future from spas?


I think that medicine and spas coming together is a very exciting happening. We are seeing prevention/wellness as well as aesthetic/cosmetic medical spas now. Doctors and spa therapists working together is resulting in some very nurturing, comfortable medical settings with the best results possible. In addition the entire arena of complementary and alternative (CAM) medicine is finding a home in the medical spa environment. Consumers are increasingly interested in being proactive when it comes to their health and well being. (They increasingly need to take responsibility for their own health.)

I think that spas will eventually become a very important part of the solution to health problems in the world.

Corporate Wellness- Just a Buzz Word?

June 13th, 2022

Corporate Wellness – Just a buzz word?

Not anymore. With nearly 48% of our waking hours spent at work, coupled with America’s ranking as the world’s fattest nation, corporate wellness is not just a fluffy HR benefit – it’s a business necessity that has far-reaching implications for corporations, their employees and society as a whole.

Few will debate the profound effect a wellness program can have on the bottom-line—both literally and figuratively. It’s a no-brainer for most employers: healthy employees add up to a happier,Guest Posting more productive workforce, resulting in lower health claims and decreased costs for employers, and a subsequent ROI on wellness programs. The real challenge is implementation and employee participation.

Read on to discover:

· Three Key Questions to Consider When Implementing a Corporate Wellness Program

· Four Ways to Boost Employee Participation in Your Corporate Wellness Program

Three Key Questions to Consider When Implementing a Corporate Wellness Program

Adding a wellness component to a corporate benefits plan may sound like a great idea –but it can be administratively complex to implement and manage. Here’s the skinny on what you need to consider if you really want your program to pack a powerful punch:

1. What can your company afford to invest in its wellness program?Okay, deep breath, this may make you break a sweat: The Business Roundtable reports that in 2007 almost 40 percent of large companies in the US spend more than $200,000 annually and 20 percent spend at least $1 million on corporate wellness. Yes, that’s a lot, but consider what it costs in employee productivity and absenteeism if you don’t help employees optimize their health and well-being. In fact, a 2007 study conducted by the Milken Institute found that lowering the obesity rates alone could produce productivity gains of $254 billion and avoid $60 billion in treatment expenditures annually for companies.

2. Do you have the tools and staff to implement a successful program? A benefits management system must be in place to support a corporate wellness program and companies must have the tools and technology to track participation, issue rewards, and adjust health plan premium payments accordingly. You may need to consider investing in additional HR staff or outsourcing the benefits administration to an organization that already has the tools, processes, and procedures in place to integrate a wellness program with your existing benefits program. You want your HR staff to focus on running an effective program instead of worrying about logistics. Learn more about outsourcing your benefits management at

3. How will you measure program effectiveness and ROI – or will you invest those dollars in making employees healthier? Wellness programs have been shown to produce an overall return on investment of 1.5:1 to 3:1 after three to five years, meaning that for every dollar invested in wellness, employers can expect to save between $1.50 to $3.00 (Human Resource Executive 2007). But you must decide what approach you want to take when it comes to investing money in measuring your program’s ROI. A survey conducted in 2006 by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, shows that 87 percent of 464 benefits professionals and plan sponsors didn’t know the ROI of their programs. On average, 5 to 10 percent of a wellness program’s cost is spent measuring ROI and program effectiveness. Proof is out there that wellness programs have significant ROI for companies; however, companies must determine what approach they want to take regarding investing dollars in the measurability of their programs’ return on investment. This issue of measuring ROI brings up an important question: where do you want to spend your dollars? Calculating ROI or focusing on making employees healthier? A number of companies actively supporting very successful wellness initiatives have opted not to track detailed ROI. But beware: according to most in the “C” suite, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Measuring the overall wellness program effectiveness from a dollars perspective may be necessary to ensure that the programs continue to receive buy-in (read: budget) from upper- management.

Four Ways to Boost Employee Participation in Your Corporate Wellness Program

Merely offering corporate wellness programs doesn’t result in the ROI that executives want to see. The challenge is increasing employee participation since higher participation results in greater ROI. Here are four effective strategies to move employees beyond their same old routine:

1. Offer Incentives & RewardsLet’s face it – most people need help getting motivated, which is why Americans are in the physical shape that we’re in today. Companies can drive participation in wellness programs through extrinsic motivation such as incentives (both negative and positive) and rewards. Want to get an employee initially engaged? Negative incentives will do the job (for example, charging employees an additional $25 premium on their monthly benefit contribution if they do not take their Health Risk Assessment). But for ongoing participation, you’ll find positive incentives and rewards to be most beneficial. Then, once employees see results, they develop intrinsic motivation. Some companies are offering rewards such as discounted insurance premiums, expanded benefits, or even cash. The primary goal? Immediate gratification so employees experience instant results for their participation.

2. Engage 1-on- 1Engaging employees on a one-on-one basis is key to further developing intrinsic motivation where they actually want to be healthier. While incentives and rewards are highly effective in engaging employees, real change happens when individuals set personal goals and commit to achieving them. Companies can foster this by offering a more personal approach where employees work to develop personal, measurable goals that can be rewarded. For example, employers can offer consulting sessions with certified health coaches or even personal training sessions targeted at meeting that employee’s goals.

3. Foster a Healthy EnvironmentFrom providing on-site fitness facilities and nutritional consulting, to offering healthy snack options in vending machines, the corporate environment needs to embrace a healthy approach to living. Media powerhouse Discovery Communications offers an on-site Wellness Center that offers a full range of primary care services from urgent care to preventive care and other wellness services, all offered to employees and their dependents at no charge. Other perks at Discovery: on-site massage therapy, fitness classes, nutritional counseling, life coaching, employee support groups, and company-wide body challenge competitions – to name a few. “Discovery’s philosophy,” says Evelyne Steward, Vice President Global Wellness & Work Life Strategies, “is that we must take responsibility for creating win-win partnerships with our employees in support of their health.” Employees need to see that wellness is not merely an initiative — but a way of life.4. Provide the ToolsInternal corporate wellness campaigns should be implemented to increase participation and provide employees with the information to be successful. Take Chevron Canada, for example. Senior executives launched a 10k-a-Day program to promote employees taking 10,000 steps per day. To promote participation, Chevron provided all employees with a pedometer and will kick off 2009 by providing employees with a fitbook™, a fitness and nutrition journal, to track their progress. Employees set personal goals and are rewarded with Chevron Bucks for completing their fitbook and reaching their goals. Education is an option employers should offer. And it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive— consider on-site health presentations, workshops, or even lunch-time webinars.

The Bottom Line: Beyond ROI

The tangible benefits of corporate wellness initiatives are clear: reduced costs, lower absenteeism, improved productivity, and overall ROI. What cannot be measured is the value that employers can add to their employee’s lives every day by not only giving them a paycheck, but providing them with an opportunity to improve and enhance their own lives. The Dow Chemical Company embraces the idea that improving corporate financial performance is not the key driver behind its corporate wellness initiatives. Gary Billotti, Global Leader of Health & Human Performance at Dow, views corporate wellness as an “investment in our people versus a cost of doing business.” Billotti explains that their primary goal is to support their employees in optimizing their health and performance both at home and at work, knowing that “if we support our people the financial results will come.” So here’s the bottom line – plain and simple: corporate wellness is a must. So consider this a challenge to get out there and make a difference in the lives of your employees –and your own.