Just received an email from Lee Ann Correa who is the Executive Spa Director of the chain of 19 Metamorphosis Spas in the Dominican Republic (pictured at right: the Metamorphosis Spa at the Sunscape Casa del Mar resort) . On the last day of my visit, she very graciously gave me a tour of one of her absolutely charming spa properties. Here is what she had to say about my question regarding the term spa “cabins”:
“Susie, I am one of those who couldn’t answer your question about spa cabins while you were in the Dominican Republic. I have investigated and the best that I can come up with is the translation of treatment rooms in Spanish is “Cabina” so I am assuming that a literal translation from Spanish to English was used. Perhaps due to lack of Spa culture many years ago a literal translation was used and never corrected since it is in common usage on the Island and we have just kept it since then. Speaking to Luisa Negret of Babor Cosmetics she also informed me that “cabine” is used in the French Spa culture. Do you suggest we change it? Or shall we remain unique through whatever manner we arrived there?”
Thanks so much, Lee Ann. Your explanation sounds very plausible. I would keep the term “cabin” rather than changing over to “treatment room.” The unusual term conveys a distinct sense of place by acknowledging the French and Spanish roots that inform much of Caribbean culture. As they do with “kur” in Germany or “onsen” in Japan, spa enthusiasts love to learn and use local lingo.