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.
Well, sounds like I missed a great party! I hate when that happens, but you just can’t avoid it sometimes. The new Townhouse Spa had a splashy opening party last night, and since I wasn’t able to attend, I asked Nikita (our director of research) and Jasmine (our day and medical spa account manager) to attend and give me a rundown today. In the photo on the left, you’ll see Jasmine (left) and Nikita (right) with spa owner Jamie Ahn. Here’s what Jasmine and Nikita had to say:
“Getting in past the crowded velvet rope last night immediately by waving the SpaFinder card was the highlight of my year. It was jam-packed all over the place and a ton of press there! Tons of mini-treatments were happening (massages, facials, nails, chair massage, etc.), and there were long lines for them.
I was impressed with the wide array of services and huge amount of space. It was a slightly smaller version of what Avon Spa was. I love how the men’s and women’s are on different floors. I loved the couples’ room with a fireplace and its own shower – very private and cozy. Also, they have an Oceana Machine, which is pretty cool!”
“Townhouse is the second spa opened by Jamie Ahn who also owns the Acqua Beauty Bar at Union Square. The spa occupies three levels, and the décor is dark, rich, and luxurious. The corridors and public places were pretty impressive with dark wood paneling, subdued lighting, and beautiful flower accents. The best space was definitely the men’s section, which was darker and somehow more mysterious.
I was very impressed by the fact that there were bathrooms on every floor. Many times spas have bathrooms only at a single level, which means guests have to walk up or down midway through their spa experience.
One facet that could have been improved upon was the interiors of the treatment rooms — somehow they appeared stark and bare.
Townhouse is definitely targeting the affluent segment and positioning itself as a luxury lifestyle provider.”
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The next stop was back in Dubai: Park Hyatt, Amara Spa. Loved it! The entire property was impressive with a beautifully done Moroccan theme, while avoiding being “over-themed”. I understand why people quite often describe Dubai as something between Las Vegas (without gambling) and Disneyland.
We arrived at the Park Hyatt just as the sun was setting. The entire spa was illuminated by thousands of candles and fires, which were cleverly surrounded by water features. It was really magical. I thought of calling my friend Gordon Tareta, who is the very talented head of spa operations for the Hyatt brand, to let him know how impressed I was with the spa and the management. I don’t know how he does it with so many spas under his command all around the world, but this is yet another winner!
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