AND UNIQUE UPSCALE SPAS
CATER TO HIGH-END TRAVELERS
Changing lifestyles emphasizing health, wellness and stress reduc- tion have combined with favorable costs in Mexico to spur a building boom in upscale and award-winning spa resorts. “For a luxury property, a spa has become an amenity like a restaurant or room service. As small as it may be, the property has to have a spa,” said Jan Frietag, senior vice president of global development for Hendersonville, Tenn.-based Smith Travel Research. “Pretty much all new builds within the last 10 years include
a spa,” said Joaquin Cruz, director of sales and marketing for the JW Marriott Cancun
and the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun. “Guests are into health and ;tness; this is a gen-
eration that is taking care of itself.”
Mexico has a wealth of spas throughout the country, and by some estimates lays
claim to just over 14% of the entire global spa market.
WHERE THE SPAS ARE
Although there are spa resorts throughout Mexico, the majority are in the major Paci;c
and Caribbean coast visitor destinations.
Cancun and the Riviera Maya lead the Mexican market with an estimated 55% market share, according to Heda Chehda, director of sales and marketing for the Maroma
Resort & Spa on the Riviera Maya. Cheda said Maroma’s Kinan Spa is central to the
property, a Conde Nast top Mexico resort. “For each 100 rooms sold we are doing 62
spa treatments,” she added.
The majority of Mexico resorts that have earned an AAA Five Diamond rating or
garnered recognition from upscale consumer publications have unique and exceptional
spas that are fundamental to the resort’s overall positioning in the luxury market.
The 40,000-square-foot Gem Spa in the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach
Cancún offers innovative treatments based on gemstone therapy and a 10-step hydrotherapy program it claims is unique in Latin America. The resort has earned the AAA
Five Diamond rating multiple times, and has received ongoing recognition from
Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler as one of Mexico’s best resorts. The resort,
which is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, also received a certi;cate of ;
At home, a trip to the spa is mostly
“There’s been a shift in consumers’
minds from 2006/2007 when spas
were an indulgence, to the more self-
aware notion that ‘life is tough, I have
to pamper myself to get through it,’”
said Jan Frietag, senior vice president
of global development for Smith
Travel Research. “Spas now are not a
reward, but life maintenance.”
On vacation, it’s a different story:
sophisticated spa-goers in particular
want a level of pampering that ex-
tends beyond what they can get
“Luxury to me is about getting
exactly what you want,” said Lynne
Walker McNees, president of the
International SPA Association (ISPA),
based in Lexington, Kentucky. “It’s
about having a facial and a massage
packaged the way you want them.
“It’s all about customization, building your own package,” she added.
“Let customers know that there is
creativity there, and not a one-stop