Pampering your attendees with treatments at a top resort spa is one agenda item sure to please everyone.
After all, fostering wellness while on the road is a huge meetings trend that is increasingly working its way into actual agendas and programming.
The problem can be finding the time to squeeze everyone into an appointment window, as meeting schedules are becoming more compact, not less.
Many leading resort spas are answering this challenge by bringing treatments and practitioners out of the traditional spa facilities and into or near meeting environments.
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From simple treatments such as massages to yoga sessions—including goat yoga!—aromatherapy and other wellness offerings, meeting schedules can be complemented and not complicated by spa services that give attendees a taste of a resort’s signature treatments and reenergize them to participate in the business at hand.
Non-Traditional Spa Services at Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa
“So many think it can’t work out because their schedules are too tight, but there’s always a way to fit in wellness,” said Nicole Hall, spa director at Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa. “The main thing to know is don’t be nervous to ask—bring it up and see if it’s an option. There’s a lot of spas that wouldn’t want to do it, so it depends on where you’re at and how much they want to capture your business.”
Hall said meeting planners should provide the following information to the spa:
- The budget for spa/wellness treatments.
- How many people will receive treatments.
- Ask what treatments are available.
- Whether they want to set up treatment tables in the actual meeting space or other area outside of the spa.
Hall said the Hilton Clearwater frequently sets up travel massage tables in its foyer area and offers 10-minute massages and mini-facials, with full facials available back at its spa.
She added that for many of the wedding clients, the hotel will provide a voucher for a 15-minute spa service for guests, who can either schedule the treatment or credit the payment back to their master account.
Other options include utilizing spa therapists to come in during meeting breaks for five- or 10-minute “table turns,” which are charged by the hour. Hall said that the travel massage tables can be set up anywhere on the resort.
Miraval Austin’s Ad Hoc Wellness Options
Miraval Austin Resort & Spa, located in the heart of Texas Hill Country on a 220-acre expanse overlooking Lake Travis, is a top spa resort that offers a number of innovative options for meetings groups. (Photo: Miraval Austin’s wellness options include programs that feature interactions with horses.)
According to Nancy MacDonald, director of sales and events for Miraval Austin, the very definition of a wellness program has expanded to include teambuilding and socially focused activities such as its Equine Experience, which takes attendees out on guided horse rides.
Common Ground is another horse-focused program, and “explores the barriers and patterns to communication and connection by interacting with the wisdom of horses.”
“Sometimes we have to meet a group where they are,” MacDonald said. “A wellness-focused company will have some ideas about more interactive and adventurous activities such as the Hill Country Challenge Course. A company that booked Miraval Austin for the beautiful space and environment may want to be guided toward a more conservative experience and introduce the group to a Mala and Mantra guided meditation session.”
MacDonald said that groups need to determine how many attendees can participate at one time, the length of the activity or session, and the physical needs of the programming.
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In the end, all roads lead to reenergizing the mind and body, which results in attendees being more in tune with achieving the objectives of the meeting program.
“When you take the body to a new environment, it will respond in a new way,” she said. “One can learn a lot about the internal world by utilizing the body, and a Dance of Balance class can assist in providing useful tools for calming the mind by using small, easy movements. It is beyond the therapy room.”
Examples of Bringing Spa and Wellness Treatments to the Meeting Environment
Following is a sampling of spa and wellness services that can be incorporated outside of traditional treatment rooms:
Located on San Antonio’s River Walk, the Forbes Four-Star Mokara Hotel & Spa, an Omni-branded property, offers the following treatments outside of its traditional treatment rooms:
- Portable Massage: These 20-minute portable massage sessions can either be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis or can be scheduled with a massage therapist.
- Retail/Experience Lounge: Express manicures and polish changes from Babor’s new naturopathic Dazzle Dry nail care line.
- Babor Ampule: Mini facials with a sample bar filled with serums and eye and lip masks. The new Ampoule Sheet Mask can be purchased and applied as an express facial for those on the go.
- Naturopathica: Teas and tinctures, mini facials, hand and arm treatments, as well as an aromatherapy experience, can be offered in a lounge chair.
Treatment options outside of the Hilton Aruba’s Japanese-inspired eforea spa, which features a number of aloe treatments and a relaxing bamboo environment, include:
- Signature DIY Aloe Scrub bar.
- Guided meditation and yoga classes.
- Chair massages.
- A hand-towel concierge that stops by to offer a refreshing break to attendees.
This historic Berkley, California, property, located in the hills overlooking San Francisco Bay, has long been known for its outstanding spa. Services that can be incorporated into meetings include:
- Restorative chair massage featuring the award-winning Fairmont Spa massage team, $200 per hour, per chair; $30 per hour for a spa receptionist to personally sign guests up for a preferred time-slot and be on hand for meeting coordinator and therapist support.
- “Bring the Spa to you” by providing aromatherapy oil diffusers, relaxing music, chilled oshibori hand towels and healthy refreshments.
Wellness Series Classes
In concert with the Claremont’s Adventures & Experiences offerings, Claremont Spa staff will curate an educational and interactive class for attendees based on their wellness interests.
Past classes have included “Intro to Aromatherapy” and “Gua Sha 101.” All classes are led by experts in their area of focus.
(Photo: The Fairmont Spa Wellness Series Classes; Credit: Claremont Club & Spa-A Fairmont Hotel)
This resort can create a “spontaneous spa”—with spa chairs separated by greenery walls to provide a calming, spa-like environment—in a meeting space that includes the following treatment options:
- Massage chairs and a make-your-own scrub bar.
- Therapists from the resort's Spa by JW who can perform mini treatments aimed at rejuvenating attendees.
- A “Zen Den” that is outfitted with floor cushions and provides participants with noise-canceling headphones. A full wall of the Zen Den is equipped with a screen that plays calming scenes. Attendees can access the room for 15 to 20 minutes and are served a balancing tea to further relaxation.
Photo: JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort offers a “Zen Den” that is both stimulating and relaxing.
Located in Northern California’s Monterey—a tranquil destination that in itself could be considered a wellness draw just for its laid-back charm—this AAA Four Diamond property recently partnered with Monterey Yoga to offer an onsite yoga space for hotel guests.
The space also offers Conference Yoga classes to get attendees stretched out and relaxed before, after and in between meeting sessions, with a stated goal of stimulating the minds of attendees while fostering teamwork.
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This Scottsdale, Arizona, resort in the shadow of Camelback Mountain offers the following treatment options for groups who want a little wellness on the fly:
- B12 shots during a break to keep the attendees energized.
- A midday 30- to 45-minute yoga stretch class to reset attendees for the second half of a day’s sessions.
- Chair massages throughout the meeting and breaks.
- Guided meditations for an afternoon break.
This Palm Springs, California, Omni property features a Spa Express Experience that provides a variety of 25-minute treatments that allow attendees to experience its Spa Las Palmas. Programs can be customized, and events can also be held within the spa.
Services offered include:
- Chair massages during breaks.
- Neck, shoulder and back massage.
- Scalp, shoulder and back massage.
- Full-body sugar exfoliation.
- Spa express facial.
- Hand spa with polish change.
- Foot spa with polish change.
This Dallas Convention Center headquarters hotel has capitalized on what may be the oddest, and most adorable, wellness trend—goat yoga. Besides sharing poses during up to 45-minute sessions with baby goats, other treatments available in or outside a meetings environment include:
- Wellness activities like walks or boot camps.
- Hand and neck massages during breakouts from spa service providers.
- The use of meditation rooms.
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