It's hard to keep up with all the latest spa info - new openings, quirky treatments, best deals - so we'll do our best to keep you informed. We welcome your feedback and inputs - firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Foot Forward - 30 Dec 2009
Mink Hand & Foot Spa
We love a speciality spa, it tends to mean the therapists are really, really good at what they do. And so we are delighted to welcome our newest edition to the Spa Ireland family – Mink Hand and Foot Spa with 2 Dublin locations, Donnybrook and Ballsbridge.
Offering a feast of treatments totally dedicated to your most over-worked assets, the folk at Mink are expert at administering mmm-inducing hand and foot treatments. Expect your favourites such as luxury manicures and pedicures plus a few surprises such as male dedicated treatments, manicures for little princesses and one we really like – the Raw Earth Pedicure.
Celebrating Celebration! - 25 Dec 2009
One more trend to watch....
It’s hard to stop at 10 when there are so many other interesting spa trends emerging so we have room for just one more, described by Spafinder as their bonus trend – Celebrating Celebration.
In a recent survey, travel agents reported the Number 1 emerging spa travel trend was people increasingly hitting resort and hotel spas for special occasions like the big ’0s’, anniversaries, weddings, retirement parties, etc. And after the severe downturn in hotels’ corporate/meetings business, the industry is aggressively incentivizing group celebration travel to revitalize lost business.
On the rise: people taking over entire spa properties for weddings, birthdays, all kinds of personal celebrations. More families (often multigenerational) are getting away together to celebrate and create memories—and focus on a little “relationship wellness.” It's the ideal time to negotiate for groups so start planning.
Mantr-astic - 21 Dec 2009
"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels".
Another day, another celebrity faux pas. In some cases it’s probably wiser not to shout your mantra from the rooftop (quote above came from Kate Moss no less) but at Spa Ireland we like to keep it simple with the old adage “Less is more”.
Obviously this comes with some exceptions, so while we are averse to prancing around in December scantily clad, we do feel that the natural beauty of our skin should be celebrated and are suggesting investment in skincare so we can be more “Irish Rose”, less Amy Winehouse.... if you catch our drift.
With Christmas sneaking up fast, there is still time to add some beauty booty to that wish list. We particularly like the natural stuff, so product houses like Aveda and Voya stocking delicious pure products with affordable price tags should definitely be name-dropped.
As for the body, we're not 100% convinced by Gok Wan and his looking good naked nonsense (well intentioned but come on, sometimes it's nice to bare our bodies selectively). However, we are convinced of the value of great body scrubs and wraps. So now is a good time to head to your favourite spa and ask their advice on freshening up your skincare regime and investing in some new make-up brands. Ask Santa for a Spa Ireland gift voucher which can be exchanged for treatments or product in any of our Spa Ireland spas. Spa Ireland Gift Voucher.
Top 10 Global Spa Trends for 2010 - 19 Dec 2009
Spafinder predictions - Part 2
We’ve given you the top 5 trends already but figured you’d need time to digest them before giving you the lowdown on the remaining Top 10 trends. From heart rate downloads, to find a spa Apps to wine-tasting post treatment, there’s been a lot to absorb but wait, there’s even more…
6 - The Price Is (Still) Right
2009’s headline spa story was the industry’s aggressive response to the global recession and the near-universal focus on deals, deals, and more deals. While there’s (cautious) consensus that the economy is in recovery mode, there’s still good news for consumers in 2010: The spa bargains will continue apace, not only straight discounting, but also more innovative incentives smartly designed by spas to drive incremental revenue and retain loyal customers. Three treatments for the price of two, you pay and your friend comes free, mini treatments that do just enough to keep you happy at half the price… it’s all on the table.
7 - Wellness Tourism Wows
We’re familiar with people seeking spas for wellness—and also with “medical tourism,” crossing borders for medical procedures (often plastic surgery, dentistry, knee replacements, etc.). Well, make room for “wellness tourism,” a term now being used to describe traveling across borders for preventive services, diagnostics, spa and well-being vacations, even the wow’s of DNA testing, stem-cell banking, and the like. The concept not only dramatically broadens the appeal of the medical tourism model (which has suffered from its narrow association with plastic surgery), it’s increasingly poised to become the way we define our time away from home and work in the future. We’ve written about this before and know it sounds unbelievable futuristic at times but…it’s happening.
8 - Scary and Silly Spa Stories Drive Evidence, Science, and Standards
The fallout from heavily publicized spa horror stories—and the recession-driven consumer insistence on no-gimmick treatments with real, measurable benefits—will quicken a rising industry trend: the demand for evidence-based therapies, stricter industry standards, and greater transparency/resources to help spa-goers separate the spa wheat from the chaff. In this country, our worst spa stories tend to revolve around wax and mis-use of some of the newer laser technologies and yes, we have said in the past you need to be very sure that she (or he) who wields the tool knows exactly what they’re doing. It’s good to ask how qualified your therapist is, and good to expect results.
9 - Diversity at a Tipping Point
For some time analysts have discussed how the spa industry has been attracting new demographics (men, teens, seniors, new ethnic groups). But in 2010 diversity has reached a tipping point in the U.S. that will likely be followed by the rest of the world. Spa-going has become so mainstream that the face of the spa-goer will now continue to reflect the wider global population. Every spa region has its unique “diversity story”, and around the globe both women and men, younger and older generations, and all ethnic groups are hitting the spa. And spas are taking note, with offerings that cater to these diverse groups’ needs and wants. In the U.S. alone, where approximately 78 million baby boomers are poised to enter their 60s, watch out for “silver spa-ing” to really take off. The explosive rise of men at spas is nearly pan-global. From resort spas taking that man-friendly “lodge” approach (where the aura is backcountry and adventure), to the explosion of men hitting spas for weight loss or cosmetic treatments like Botox, to men-only day franchises like Nickel Spa (Paris to San Francisco) offering that “haute barber shop” vibe and a menu including sports massages, “hangover” skin cures, and clubby happy hours. Our own Grooming Rooms in Dublin fits right in here.
10 - Stillness
We live crazy lives filled with sensory overload, noise, and media stimulation. We’re wired to the gills, spending nearly all waking hours in front of TV and computer screens—emails, texting, Tweeting —now even on airplanes. With the spa as one of the last remaining sanctuaries of silence and serenity, look for the industry to put a new emphasis on stillness, on slowness, on silence. Some therapists are reporting that their clients are asking for no music at all—just quiet. At Red Mountain Resort & Spa in Utah, you can opt to take the “silent hike,” and at Rancho La Puerta in Mexico, you are encouraged to try a “silent dinner.” The environmentally conscious Six Senses Spas around the world have recently introduced a “Slow Life” approach. There is an upswing in meditation offerings and programmes, especially in urban settings.
Silence – who would have thought it? The simplest – and probably most impactful spa trend – and it’s free.
Top 10 Global Spa Trends for 2010 - 18 Dec 2009
Spafinder predictions - Part 1
It’s that time of year when the clever people at Spafinder look into their crystal ball to see what the trends are likely to be in the year ahead. Usually the trends are a blend of bang-on forecasting and intuition with the odd totally-off-the wall idea thrown in (just to check you’re paying attention).
So what can we expect as we move into a new decade?
1 - The New “P” Word
Goodbye, pampering. Hello, prevention. Given the global spotlight on healthcare (especially the expense involved), and the fact that stress is estimated to contribute to about 80% of all disease, it’s only a matter of time before the role spas play in promoting stress-management and relaxation gets recognition. Spas ‘do’ prevention all the time – think nutrition programmes, fitness building and good old-fashioned full body massages. With beauty the focus is on early care – think sunscreen and diet – to prevent problems and avoid costly and invasive actions after the fact.
2 - Year of the Hammam
We’re a bit ahead of the trend here as many of our spas invested in Hammams early on (Dunboyne Castle, Brooklodge and Seafield) and now spa-goers are looking for authentic traditional spa experiences that give results. For me, nothing can quite compare to my first hammam experience in Istanbul 25 years ago where my body was so slapped into shape and my skin so scrubbed I thought I’d been reborn. The trend is hitting North America: Trump Soho in Manhattan (slated for early 2010) will boast separate luxury hammams for men and women. You can also expect more floating versions on cruise ships soon.
3 - Not “Going to” But “Belonging to” a Spa
No longer a place where you “go” for the occasional treatment, spas are being creatively rebranded as places of “belonging”— literally, through the rise in membership programmes, but also in the diverse ways spas are being recast as social or communal hubs. We think this trend is one that should be snapped at by Irish spas who desperately need to retain customer loyalty but it will require imaginative management and that’s in short supply right now as therapists are already stretched to cover reception and general admin. Spa clients spend, on average, 18 per cent more after they become members. As for the social side, the industry is getting increasingly innovative. Consider the wine lounge at the new Caudalie Spa at New York’s Plaza Hotel, where bathrobe-clad spa-goers enjoy wine tasting while chatting with the sommelier (and each other) post-treatment. Liking it!
4) The Online Spa
We’d like to think that spa-ireland.com is ahead of this curve, as 2010 will prove a watershed year for the spa industry’s virtual presence. Consumers are already finding spas online, booking treatments, joining online weight loss and coaching groups. They are printing out instant gift vouchers, shopping virtual spa stores, being influenced by online reviews, and embracing social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Get ready for having health information (like your blood pressure and heart rate) automatically uploaded for access online by your spa or doctor, and for spas to use yield management software that enables price variation, so spas can offer a less expensive massage on weekday mornings, compared to Saturday afternoons. This should have happened years ago, especially as many Irish spas are aligned to hotels that already manage accommodation yield rigorously but spas seem to have slipped through the net – it’s time to get that sorted. We can’t wait to see the planned SpaFinder App which will allow you pinpoint the spa nearest to you on your iPhone, we hope it will eventually encompass Europe.
5) The Hybrid Spa
The modern spa is increasingly a mixed offering, with spas incorporating far more fitness, fitness clubs incorporating more spa, hospitals incorporating spa elements, and spas bringing in more medical doctors and specialists. The era of the spa/fitness/integrated-health-center/hospital/spiritual-retreat/wellness-center/beauty-clinic is on a serious upswing. It’s one integrated human body, after all, and the “pure” spa is on the decline, while the hybrid spa is busy inventing new you-name-it, plugged-in models. Examples include: Nuffield Health (200 facilities in the UK), combining the hospital/clinic/diagnostic center with the health club and full spa services, interweaving yoga, physiotherapy, etc. and the Malo Clinic Spa at the Venetian Macau-Resort Hotel in China, an integrative wellness center offering both comprehensive medical treatments and executive health checkups (six operating theatres, a staff of 50 doctors, etc.) with a full spa featuring 100 spa therapists.
Check back in with us soon where we'll walk you through the remaining 5 predictions for 2010.
Botax - 09 Dec 2009
Nip, tuck, tax.
It's been widely covered that the powers that be in the US White House and Senate Democrats are proposing a 5% tax levy on all elective cosmetic procedures - including a tax on botox (and is it just me or is the TV licence ad featuring the lady with the frozen face not brilliant?)
Anyway.... as per MSNBC.com, vanity is an easy target when you have to draw up a $1 trillion plan to expand health care to millions of Americans who lack insurance. Skin-smoothing Botox injections could be hard-hit. There were some 4.7 million in 2008 and an average cost per visit of about $400, some including several injections. You do the maths - it's a lot of extra cash (a projected $6 billion) coming into the coffers of the US treasury and procedures such as face lifts, liposuction, cosmetic implants and teeth-whitening will all fall into the net.
Needless to say those who perform such procedures are not happy and point to the fact that a significant percentage of cosmetic surgery patients are female and with incomes lower than you might expect (between $30,000 and $90,000. The bit I find hard to swallow is the implication (attributed to Dr Phil Haeck, the president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons) that this tax will hurt jobless women looking for ways to make themselves more marketable to potential employers.
Sure there is competition in the workforce to secure jobs but trying to look 10 years younger before doing the rounds of interviews will surely, in my opinion, exacerbate the stress. And being unemployed, with it's associated sense of diminished self-esteem may not be the wisest time to opt for a face-lift.
It will be interesting to see how the story unfolds as the US pulls out of recession and the lobbyists get to work on the issue.
What's your "must-have" treatment? - 07 Dec 2009
Spa Sentiment Research Report 2009
We are sincere fans of Susie Ellis, founder of spafinder.com and an honest, and articulate commentator and visionary on all things spa. Recently she shared the Spa Sentiment report with us which surveyed 1300 spa-goers in September 2009. Some interesting insights emerged.
74% of spa-goers chose their spa based on word of mouth – so there’s still a huge element of trust in recommendations and oh so important for a spa to deliver on customer experience. The most booked spa treatment was massage, followed by pedicure which was just a nose ahead of facials (that’s not quite our experience at spa-ireland.com where massage is more closely followed by facials).
Interestingly, when people were asked what treatments they’d happily give up if they had to cut their spa budget, 27% opted for manicures and 26% said they’d give up body scrubs and wraps – I guess we feel we can handle those ourselves, though I do think a really well administered wrap (like the Green Coffee Wrap at Monart) can be very powerful.
84% of respondents found it helpful when therapists spoke about the benefits of the products used. I’m afraid I fall into the 16% who resolutely hate therapist-talk; quite happy to get the low-down before and after the treatment but during it, silence is bliss.
See Spa Sentiment Report
Lasting Beauty - 04 Dec 2009
Queen Launches the Keratin Hair Smoothing Treatment
Queen Beauty Emporium has announced the launch of yet another groundbreaking beauty treatment – Keratin Smoothing Treatment. Using an exclusive product range pioneered by veteran hairstylist Peter Coppola, this system was recently voted the best of its kind by Vogue magazine.
The Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola delivers stunning results instantly – making hair 60% quicker to blow-dry, resistant to humidity and most importantly, looking bouncy, shiny and healthier than ever. What’s different about the treatment offered at Queen is that the product contains no formaldehyde. Yes, that’s the highly toxic substance usually used as embalming fluid and you may not be aware formaldehyde is also used in many hair products. The Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, however, is formaldehyde-free, and therefore releases no toxic gasses during the treatment.
The 12-Week Blowdry lives up to its name, lasting about three months and providing the perfect solution for time and cash-strapped fashionistas who refuse to compromise on looking great. It costs from €250 and is available exclusively at Queen Beauty Emporium.
Ritz-Carlton Manicure Suite - 02 Dec 2009
'Wrapped in Ruby', 'Aruba Blue' - there's no excuse for pink nails!
One of our most popular partner spas is ESPA at The Ritz Carlton, Powerscourt and we’re thrilled to see they have opened a luxurious new Manicure Suite. Even if this is glove season, having beautifully manicured nails is a sure way to beating the winter blues.
The Manicure Suite has four manicure stations and top quality nail polish brand Essie is used. We want to meet the person who gets to name and describe the Essie colours – Wrapped in Ruby, Aruba Blue..or what about Jumpin Junkanoo (a deep, colourful raspberry with a hint of shimmer). Essie is long lasting and chip resistant.
Manicures start from €45.00 and include a hand and arm massage.
Aromatherapy Associates - 01 Dec 2009
Limited Edition Oils
Frankincense, Myrrh, Clementine & Ginger…even writing the words conjures up the delicious, mystical smells of Christmas. The cooks in the Aromatherapy Associates kitchen have produced a new limited edition gift pack of precious oils. Totally pure, nothing added. Perfect for popping a few drops in the bath or using in the shower, these are a great stocking filler to help loved ones feel invigorated for the party season and to restore that elusive sense of harmony at this busy time of year. Available in all Spa Ireland Aromatherapy Associates Spas around the country (check out our advanced search on the site, Products Plus, Aromatherapy Associates) - Spa Ireland Aromotherapy Associates Spas.
Limited Edition Precious Oils – Frankincense, Myrrh, Clementine & Ginger
(2 x 7.5ml Bath & Shower Oils, Frankincense & Myrrh and Clementine & Ginger, €16.00)
• Frankincense & Myrrh – grounding & spiritually uplifting, encourages inner peace and a clear mind.
• Clementine & Ginger – uplifting & energising, leaving you with a warm glow.