Treatments that Treat You


By Debra Bokur

Escape on a customized spa trip, and kick your health goals into high gear.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to remember those days of gentle, non-specific poolside massages. As the modern spa industry matures, shifts in treatment options and approaches to wellness are taking place to better meet the precise needs of today’s increasingly sophisticated spa guests. Today’s spa travelers are searching for destinations capable of customizing an intimate, personalized experience that meets their individual health goals, be it relaxation, weight loss, detoxification, recovery, or simply an escape from the stress of everyday life.

Gerie Bauer, author, spa specialist, former spa editor of Debretts’ International Collection, and current proprietor of Great Spas of the World (, is a twenty-five-year spa industry veteran who believes the search for a more individual and intimate spa experience is a rapidly growing trend. “As the spa industry expands world wide, people are definitely on the lookout for personal, tailored spa experiences,” says Bauer.

“A spa vacation may also involve a substantial dip into your piggy bank,” adds Bauer. “When you spend that kind of money,” she points out, “you want to go home feeling your experience was worth the financial investment.”

Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona

Famed for its stunning Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, the Arizona Biltmore is committed to helping each spa guest find his or her own path to health and wellness. Spa director Sherrie Huebner, however, cautions that much of the responsibility for embarking on a successful journey lies with you.

First, she advises, communicate your needs and desires clearly before you book treatments and activities. She recommends bypassing the reservationist and speaking personally with the spa director, who can help you make choices best suited to helping your realize your goals. Next, pay attention to the details. “Environment can be very important,” says Huebner. She suggests choosing a destination in an environment you find particularly nurturing, whether it’s the beach, a dramatic desert landscape, or a snowy mountain retreat.

Each of the Biltmore’s themed packages can be customized and supplemented to your specifications. Private classes in cardio, Pilates, and yoga, as well as guided private hiking and mountain biking excursions in the Phoenix area are easily arranged. In addition, personal training, fitness profiles, body composition analysis, and wellness assessments are also available.

For more information call (800) 950-0086 or visit

Elemental Embrace, Brighton, Ontario

“I believe the spas of the future are going to be wellness based,” says Jazir Teja, owner and director of Elemental Embrace, set deep in the rural, forested beauty of Brighton, Ontario. “Our clients are looking for a greater, lasting reward from their vacation, one which gives them a jumpstart to wellness, and a unique and personalized plan they can take home with them.”

Choose from one of the many retreat packages, or book for any number of desired nights and select from forty-five different treatments a la carte.

“Our certified Ayurvedic doctors from India meet with our clients on arrival,” says Teja, “to discuss their objectives, determine their body’s constitution, and create a wellness package to best suit their current state of health.”

Diets are personalized to assist with detoxification, weight loss, and rejuvenation, and guests are invited to discuss Ayurvedic recipes with the spa’s chefs to find dishes that best suit their own preferences and constitutions. Afternoon tea, yoga classes, meditation, and educational seminars are included, as is access to the resort’s extensive fitness facilities, steams, Finnish saunas, outdoor labyrinth, and hiking trails.

For more information call (866) 212-9355 or visit

The Greenhouse, Arlington, Texas

The Greenhouse is a women-only destination that caters to health and rejuvenation with Southern hospitality. There’s a distinct emphasis on making you feel nurtured – beginning every morning with breakfast served in bed, and winding down each night with an in-suite tuck-in massage.

“The opportunity to relax in the company of other women creates an atmosphere of conversation and bonding,” says spa director Kathy Moore.

Blood tests are analyzed before guests arrive, enabling the medical and spa staff to arrange detailed itineraries.

“There’s no shortage of pampering here,” says Moore, “the difference is that our pampering has health benefits.”

For more information call (817) 640-4000 or visit

Montage Resort & Spa, Laguna Beach, California

Offered at dates throughout the year, Montage Resort & Spa’s Surrender program includes two hours of spa treatments and two hours of fitness activities each day. Supplemental meditation, journaling, and cooking classes are designed to address each participant’s physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being.

Prior to arrival, phone interviews are conducted with guests to determine personal needs and goals. Spa director Barbara Schultz says that such details as personality are given careful consideration when matching guests with spa therapists and fitness instructors.

“Our Surrender Retreats focus on relaxation, getting back in touch with yourself, breathing exercises, fitness, nutrition, and educational sessions about how to take better care of yourself,” says Schultz.

For more information call (949) 715-6000 or visit

Healing Lifestyles & Spas Team
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