Happily my sister-in-law, who accompanied me to Rancho La Puerta, had a great experience at her first ever “stay” spa. I think her favorite parts were the Pilates, the food, the gardens, relaxing in the nude sunbathing areas, and the gracious staff. I don’t think we have changed her mind about spa treatments as she still would really rather do without them. It’s hard for me to imagine, until I remember that we all have some “least favorite” aspects at a spa. (Shhhh…for me it is Watsu.) However, towards the end of Pam’s stay I heard her say that she is planning to come back and wants to bring her friend, Pasha. Guess that sums it up!
I am currently at Rancho La Puerta for a few days. My plans included being here for the opening of their exciting new cooking school . However, as things generally go with construction, there is some delay and I will only be able to visit the cooking school on Wednesday – not experience a cooking lesson. Oh well, there’s always plenty of other things to do.
I brought my sister-in-law, Pam, with me on this trip and it is always fun to visit a spa with someone who is experiencing it for the first time. Pam is not a spa lover – this is a good reality check for me because, of course, I think everyone is. She had her first body treatment yesterday and asked all the normal questions about nudity and gratuities which are always a mystery until one has experienced a spa treatment. I signed her up for a salt body scrub but I’m afraid she found the salt itchy and was glad when it was over. Oh dear. Not a good start.
At the moment she is having a 90 minute Healing massage and I am hoping she will enjoy this a bit more. She did love the water exercise classes (this is a special Water Week at the Ranch- the instructor is some water-guru) and she absolutely has fallen in love with the gardens, the art, and the food.
It’s been interesting to see how many aspects of the ranch someone can embrace that have nothing to do with exercise.
Tonight Deborah lectures…”Musings since turning 85.” I look forward to seeing if we can make Pam a convert before her stay is over.
It’s my 21st wedding anniversary today – September 14th. Peter and I are not able to celebrate together, since he is in New York, and I am in the Philippines at the Turning Point Spa Conference, where I will give a speech tomorrow morning. Hugs to my hubby. I am reminded how everything in life pales in comparison to my relationship with my husband and my family and friends. Loving people and being loved: That’s what it is all about. I like to think that spas are good places to rediscover those feelings.
A colleague just brought to my attention a magazine called Spa China. Since I had not seen it before, I thought it was new but found out it is actually about two years old. Naturally, it is now on my subscription list.
The timing is great, because these days I hear more and more people talking about China and how this highly populated country will affect all of us in the years to come. Haven’t given too much thought yet to how the spa industry is likely to develop in China, but I am hearing a few things from fellow industry professionals who have begun doing spa-related business there. Three points in particular stand out:
1) The Chinese see a spa as having a hot mineral spring and a sauna facility. 2) Male guests outnumber female guests at the moment. 3) The growth of the spa industry in China is still in its early stages.
If you are interested in keeping up with this growth, seems like Spa China Magazine would be a good resource. (Did I mention it is bilingual?)
My twin sister Katrine and I move from the Burj al Arab, where we were royally spoiled, to the Madinat Jumeirah Resort and Spa, which is right across the street. It is our birthday, and we are thrilled to be celebrating it together in Dubai. You can see from the photo that this move is not exactly harrowing, since our butler Rae (whom we will miss desperately) is handling all the details. Not only did the Burj send flowers and a birthday cake, but the Madinat Jumeirah also greeted us with a cake, champagne, and a screen saver on our room’s computer that said, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” The two hotels had coordinated our celebration (both are part of the Jumeirah brand).
I now have a better understanding of these hotels’ six- and seven-star ratings (even if self-proclaimed). With a ratio of seven staff members to every guest at the Burj, everyone in the hotel seems to recognize guests by name, and there are continual service surprises in the forms of food, wine, flower, and gifts on your bed in the evening. There is a culture of anticipating guest needs and exceeding them at every point. When I order a converter plug for my computer, the butler arrives with two converters on a silver platter. When I order a bottle of water, six arrive. It seems as though we’re always answering the door! When I commented on the constant interruptions, Katrine wisely said, “It’s probably something we ordered”—and it always was.
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