How do you make The Plaza Hotel, already famous for its decadent Oak Room, its caviar-stocked Champagne Bar, and its vaunted, glass-ceilinged Palm Court (where precocious Eloise once took tea among white-gloved ladies) even more over the top? How about adding an 8,000-square-foot vinotherapy spa, where guests can soak in wine casks, get scrubbed with crushed Cabernet seeds, and indulge in sommelier-led wine tastings in between regimens?
Yes, even in today’s tricky economic climate, opulent new spas are opening up everywhere—and the Plaza’s new 14-room sanctuary from Caudalíe of Paris is just one of them.
If it seems like a strange time to be touting outrageously luxurious—and often outrageously priced—pampering palaces, Susie Ellis, the President of Spa Finder, sees things differently.
“Spas help people de-stress,” Ellis says, “and the stress level these days has ratcheted up for almost everyone.” According to research done by Ellis’s company (a global multimedia portal that helps potential spa-goers find the services they want), the number one reason why people frequent spas is to relax and reduce anxiety.
By that measure, at least, it may make a certain amount of sense for people to seek out Aqua di Parma’s new Blu Mediterraneo Spa in Sardinia, where the soothing marine-inspired treatments include sea-mineral baths with hydrotherapy jets that simulate ocean waves. Or make a pilgrimage to Kaya Kalp—The Royal Spa, in Agra, India, where calming ayurvedic treatments are doled out in a palatial compound surrounded by 35 acres of gardens and palm trees.
Such oases, says Ellis, can help ease the apprehension and tension that go hand-in-hand with today’s economic climate. And in fact, she says, Spa Finder’s research indicates that spas have moved up in importance on people’s value list.
“Spas used to be more about pampering than they were about wellness,” Ellis says. “But these days, people don’t just consider their services a luxury. They’re a necessity.”