People often talk to me about their massage experiences with other therapists or in other places. When they mention getting a treatment at a hotel spa, they often wince at the prices…they can’t believe those therapists are getting so much money...
I explain that generally spa therapists are only getting a pretty small percentage of the total service price (usually around $20-$25 an hour, plus tip), and that “you’re paying for the amenities.”
And it’s true. All those clean towels, the endless supply of hot water, the beautiful furniture and facilities, and the staff it takes to maintain and support your luxuriating experience doesn’t come cheap.
Many of us figure we can get three “regular” massages in a clinic for the price of one spa experience. So we opt for those instead. And that’s probably why I haven’t had a “luxuriating experience” in a hotel spa since seven or eight years ago when my sister and I had a spa day at the MGM spa on a trip to Vegas.
I just got a hot stone massage at the Halale’a Spa at the St. Regis in Princeville, Kauai. Halale'a is--fittingly--Hawaiian for "House of Joy." The spa is so named because the land on which the St. Regis is built was known as Halale'a in ancient times.
From the moment I walked in, the entire spa experience was exquisite, and yes...deliriously joyful! Walk through it with me:
Arrive an hour early—there are “amenities” to experience. Walk in and be greeted by the kind receptionist.
Get led back to the women’s lounge to get your locker, already stocked with a robe, towel, hangers and a secure space for your personal belongings. What’s your size…you’ll need your spa slippers!
Head to the sauna and take that awesome book called “Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends” that you’ve been wanting to read for about a year. It can’t be a coincidence that you’re reading a book about taking care of people and “giving them the love” in business when you are in a space where you are feeling totally taken care of and are totally “feeling the love.”
Go from sauna to steam room. Steam it up. Aaaaaahhhhhh! Call yourself crazy but it seems like you can actually feel your toxins pouring out of you.
Drink a bottle of Hawaiian Springs water…come on, it’s right there waiting for you and you’ve just lost a lot of water in your sauna and steam extravaganza.
Take a shower in the one the receptionist recommended, the one with shower heads on all sides, and water raining from the ceiling as well.
Enjoy the smell of the shampoo, conditioner, body wash and shave cream…doesn’t the rich, scented shave cream make shaving your legs a delight?
Put on your Halale’a Spa signature bath robe. So soft and yet so cozy.
You’ve got time. Slide into the women’s lounge waiting area and keep pouring over that book. The love is really flowing now—you and the author are one.
But wait, you’re at a fancy hotel spa…don’t go without the flavored water in the lounge. Today we have orange slices in the water…ah, you needed that vitamin C…the real stuff is so much better than a supplement pill.
“You must be Ms. Nino (or Mrs.________ or Mr._______, fill in your name here!)” your therapist says softly…she knows all about “inside voices” and she’s not even a Kindergarten teacher!
Follow her to the treatment room. Don’t worry, there’s a heating pad on the table…she notices you look a little chilled and assures you that she’s turned the heating pad on.
Get excited…it’s a hot stone massage…your favorite kind! Feel how the heat from the stones sinks into your skin, first superficially and then at a very deep level. Say “ta-ta” to tension…it’s heading South.
Sense the warmth and the weight of the smooth basalt stones sliding over your skin. Feel the stones as they apply taro butter cream with maile accents over the terrain of your tired muscles.
Watch your thoughts slowly walk out the door…you are in the zone. You are thanking your body for the work that it has done for you these past…well, all your life. “Here you go body…it’s all about you today. Thoughts, be gone!”
Marvel at the therapist’s skill. She has really smooth transitions. Has she read Thomas Meyer’s "Anatomy Trains"? And that one move, where she went from the soles of your feet up the legs, glutes, back, shoulder, down the arm to the hand, and then backtracking back home to the foot…that was spectacular! Talk about fluidity of movement! Talk about honoring the fascia lines…OK, she has definitely learned about Anatomy Trains.
Know that it’s coming to an end soon, but you’re OK with it. It was so good and think about how many hugely deep breaths you’ve taken over the course of the last hour. That’s enough oxygen to go scuba diving for hours. Your cells are thanking you.
Thank her. Tell her she has excellent skill. Because she does. And it feels good to be reminded.
Shower it up once more. Take a few final cavernously deep breaths. Listen after you turn off the water. You can hear another spa-goer let out a pleasantly deep-breathed sigh as well. People are happy here. They have found a relief that they’ve been looking for.
Time to go. Say goodbye to the nice robe. It’s been nice wearing you, but my time here is through.
Pay up…tip big…and know, those “amenities”…they were worth every penny!
I got back to my hotel room and was exchanging emails with a beloved client. I mentioned that I’d just gotten a massage and “it was heavenly.” She replied, “It couldn't have been better than yours and probably twice the price.”
It was more than twice the price. And yet, I’m still--OUT LOUD--promoting my competition.
Because every once in a while, ladies and gents, the full-blown hotel spa experience is just what the doctor ordered…so so so relaxing.
It can end up being one of those times when you just feel totally and completely “taken care of” and particularly, as adults, those moments are few and far between.
At the end of the day, your wellness practitioner is supposed to help you take great care of yourself. Sometimes, it may come in the form of a pricey hotel spa experience. And when it does, be assured that if I’m your wellness practitioner, I will say, “More power to ya’, Sister (or Bro)!”
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