At most spas, feeling good is an aspect of looking good or so
the thinking goes.
But the newly improved spa at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort
in Indian Wells, Calif., is planning to take the “looking good”
aspect a bit further.
The resort re-opened in January after a $65 million expansion.
What once was a small spa is now a 30,000-square-foot health and
wellness center. Treatments include the usual ultra-luxury
therapeutic and fitness programs that appeal to both business and
leisure travelers including the signature massage that involves
strategically placing warm desert stones on the body.
In the spring, however, the spa will add a medical facility
where guests can choose cosmetic treatments, such as
microdermabrasion, skin peels, laser treatments and even Botox or
“We will offer cutting- edge treatments” under the care of a
medical director, said Bruce Taylor, spa director at Agua Serena,
the Hyatt Grand Champions’ new facility.
“There aren’t too many places around that provide all of that
under one roof.”
The Hyatt Grand Champions may be the only medical spa in the
area, but the combination of medical facilities with more holistic
wellness treatments is a rapidly growing trend in the spa industry,
said Debra Locker, spokeswoman for the International SPA
According the ISPA’s 2002 survey, there were 9,632 spas across
the U.S., of which 225 are medical spas, offering the services of a
range of medical professionals.
The number of medical spas has increased 143 percent in the past
five years. And among them, there was a 62 percent increase in the
number of spas offering cosmetic services, such as
microdermabrasion, chemical peels, light therapy, Botox and medical
But the “medi-spa” trend is not just about cosmetic services,
said Sheila Cluff, owner of The Oaks at Ojai and The Palms at Palm
Consumers with heart or other health problems are seeking the
care of physicians in spa settings and, recognizing that trend,
some hospitals are borrowing treatments from day spas to help their
patients feel better while learning to live healthier lives.
“It’s almost like medical procedures are being sugar coated with
the spa experience,” Cluff said. “It’s for consumers who want to
get it all done at once.”
Neither The Oaks nor The Palms offers medical services on site.
But Cluff said The Oaks has relationships with plastic surgeons and
dermatologists in nearby Santa Barbara. Clients can get their
procedures done there and come to the spa for recuperation.
The Oaks is undergoing a five-year renovation that Cluff said
will enhance the spa’s atmosphere of health and healing. “People
will walk in and feel hugged and nurtured,” said Cluff.
Therapeutic nurturing also is the focus of the newest addition
to Southern California’s spa country, The Montage Resort and Spa in
Scheduled to open Feb. 22, the beachfront Montage will not offer
medical treatments. The goal at Spa Montage will be back-to-basics
holistic therapy: deep-tissue massage, indoor and outdoor treatment
rooms overlooking pristine coastal coves, the use of organic
lavender, eucalyptus, citrus and mustards indigenous to the area,
One specialty is an underwater massage that incorporates jets of
water and products designed to help release toxins in the body.
Guests at the Montage will be “educated in the art of spa,” said
Barbara Schultz, its director. They will be taught how to take full
advantage of steam and sauna rooms and the cold plunge.
Schultz said the Montage is considering whether to add a medical
component, “but it’s not the approach we’re taking right now.”
“Beauty is certainly an aspect,” said Schultz. “But our focus is
on quality of treatment.”
Up the coast in Huntington Beach, the Pacific Water Spa at the
newly opened Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa also
will focus on water therapy, in addition to a full program of
fitness, health and beauty treatments.
A signature treatment will be Thalasso hydrotherapy, a warm bath
in purified seawater, which offers minerals that aid in healing,
according to spa director Catherine McGrath.