The yearn for natureOutdoor spa treatments are gaining popularity, and it makes sense. People spend the majority of their time confined within four walls. It can be stressful, suffocating even, and a yearning to be outside can be very strong. And there is more. “Spa goers are becoming more aware of the ingredients used in their treatments, particularly seeking natural, organic and local ingredients,” says Michael Tompkins, CEO of Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson, AZ. “It makes sense that as they seek a greater connection with and appreciation for natural products, that they would also seek an overall experience that is more attuned with the environment.”
The open-air roomSo what constitutes an outdoor treatment area? Anything. Let your imagination flow and take full advantage of your location. For some it is a no brainer—dramatic mountain views, lush and colorful tropical forests, or the vast blue of the ocean simply call for open-air services. These are natural delights for the eyes, and clients will enjoy nodding off and awakening from their treatments in these surroundings. For others, a little bit of creativity can go a long way—rooftop services in the middle of a bustling city, garden paradises in the suburbs or even a simple terrace adorned with pots and plants.
“Focus on creating a treatment that captures the true essence of your spa that is unlike any other,” says Jaime Huffman, spa director of the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. “Ask yourself, ‘how can this treatment experience create an even more magical memory for your spa guests?’”
Set up a tent, a cabana or a pagoda. It can be an elaborate installation or a modest setting, anything to shield your guests from the elements and direct sunlight. But make sure to keep an open view to the outdoors. Adorn the room with fragrant flowers or plants, and most importantly invest in air conditioning units to keep the temperature under control—in the winter, heaters can turn outdoor treatments into a year round experience. “Guests seem to like this treatment even better when it is raining or snowing, as it provides more sights and soothing sounds during the treatment,” says Huffman. Choose light fabrics that are brought to life with a passing breeze, or materials that are in harmony with nature such as bamboo, wood or even sturdy palm leaves and colors that marry your theme.
Price it right. At the Chatham Bars Inn in Cape Cod, MA, outdoor and indoor treatments fall under the same price. They are the same services with a different backdrop, says Spa Director Heather Deveau. At the Omni Grove Park Inn, open-air treatments come at an additional $50 for the breathtaking view of the mountains.