At the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, a wellness agenda can begin at the registration desk with an aromatherapy bar stocked with jars of various herbs and spices such as lavender and chamomile, said Marissa Bernal, spa manager at the resort.
“People can smell the different aromas, some of which promote better sleep, and create sachets for takeaway gifts,” she said. “You can stock the sachet in your pillow to enjoy the aromatherapy while you sleep. Other herbs are good for keeping you calm or making you alert—they all have different uses.”
The aromatherapy bar can also be part of spa-themed events held at the Hashani Spa, with other mini stations that include chair massages, yoga stretches and customized herbal teas created by a tea sommelier.
“It’s a nice way to introduce attendees to what we offer—kind of like speed dating for the spa,” Bernal said.
Among other options is the Yoga Hike, a guided hike at sunrise or sunset through the saguaros of Tucson National Park to the Bowen House for a meditation or yoga session among the stone ruins of a 1930s homestead. Another unique group choice is participation in the Mitakuye Oyasin Morning Ritual, a Native American ceremony where burning sage bundles creates a cleansing atmosphere for the body and spirit.
Taking the Waters
Billing itself as America’s first resort, the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va., has been attracting guests to its thermal waters since 1766. The 436-room resort with 72,000 square feet of meeting space is still known for its extensive spa and wellness features, which include an Aqua Thermal Suite for water therapy and a Serenity Garden where the Octagon Pool is fed by two hot springs rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium.
“The Serenity Garden is a nice area for groups where we can arrange for water yoga sessions in the pool and a chef-prepared lunch,” said Joyce Owens, the resort’s spa director.
Wellness activities take on a uniquely Hawaiian twist at Maui’s Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria Resort, where a new offering is Kiakahi, a workout session held outdoors that involves the use of conch shells, banana plants, coconuts, spears and other island elements.
“It’s a blend of Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures and the programs are different every time, but always fun,” said Michael Taylor, assistant director of Spa Grande, the resort’s 50,000-square-foot spa, parts of which can be rented out for private events.
“A unique aspect of our spa is what we call the Healing Waters of Maui, an extensive water feature that has different specialty baths with salts and essential oils, a Roman tub, a Japanese-style bathing area and waterfalls,” he said. “We can rent out the entire hydrotherapy area for groups with food and special treatments.”
A wide variety of spa services and fitness classes can also take place in the meeting rooms and other areas outside of the spa, Taylor added.
“For instance, we can have a spa coordinator come to the group check-in or breakout areas and provide a skin analysis, let people sample our skincare products and teach attendees about skincare,” he said.