Archive for 2010

Hammam at the Palms Place Hotel

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

I recently got back from a mini Vegas vacation and had a wonderful time. I stayed at the Palms Place Hotel & Spa for the second time in a row and think I have a new favorite Vegas Spa as well. While all the amenities at the Spa are very nice, the Hammam is absolutely exquisite. The Hammam encompasses the age old traditions of Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and Spain, and combines these traditional elements with a magnificent and innovative use of design and technology.

The Hammam is coed, which makes it the perfect for couples to relax together in a very romantic and sexy environment. Hammams also have a long cultural history of serving as a ritual cleansing experience and typical place for a social gathering. I can totally picture partaking in this Hammam with a larger group of friends, then jumping in the cold pool and going back into the Hammam, all the while having a great time.

Although the steam bath generator did have to turn on from time to time, instead of the typical sound of a generator turning on, the steam shower generator sounded like waves at the ocean! This was very reassuring and relaxing as I know that some steam showers sound like a jackhammer when they turn on and I was worried about that ruining my experience.

If you’re ever in Las Vegas and want to experience an excellent Hammam that is full of curves, with sexy lighting, cool mosaic-tiled booth benches and slabs, the Palms Place Hammam will provide you with exquisite, healthy entertainment!

Visit the Palms Place for more information at: www.PalmsPlace.com

Palms Place Hammam

Palms Place Hammam

Palms Place Hammam

Palms Place Hammam

Palms Place Hammam

Palms Place Hammam

All images courtesy of www.PalmsPlace.com

Help Haiti Earthquake Victims

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Even before the 7.0 earthquake hit on Tuesday Haiti was as much of a third world country as any place in the world. With only a handful of spas throughout the entire country, more of a concern is having clean drinking water then the luxuries that we are so lucky to enjoy.

In 2008 the country was hit extremely hard by a series of hurricanes, and even before these hurricanes the country was still an impoverished nation with massive illiteracy rates, lack of food, clean water, supplies, medical facilities and doctors.

Now that this poor nation has been struck with the worst earthquake in its history, it is up to us to do what we can to provide relief to the survivors in hope that they will not need to live amongst the dead and filth of the aftermath of this massive disaster. We must do what we can for this country in hope that the future of this impecunious land will be brighter then the past or the present.

Here is a list of organizations that are already in Haiti, working to help the victims of this massive disaster. Please donate what you can to help today:

Amazing Bathroom from “It’s Complicated” Movie

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Writer and director Nancy Meyers is well known for films that use amazing and beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces within her films, and her newest film “It’s Complicated” is no exception. In this romantic comedy the lead character, Jane – who is played by Meryl Streep – is renovating her Spanish-style ranch home in Santa Barbara. Throughout the film there are various scenes which take place in this bathroom . Jane makes us all jealous while she relaxes and lounges in her magnificent bathroom.

In the film the cozy bathroom serves as the room for many scenes including a controversial phone call, a love confession and even the room where Alec Baldwin’s character enjoys some ice cream. One thing that you will notice in this film’s bathroom is that it is very charming with its cast iron tub. Viewers of this film are raving about this bathroom, and especially the bathtub. The film seems to be reigniting the pleasure of soaking in a nice, large, cast iron claw foot bathtub. In addition the bathroom also has beautiful limestone floors and steel windows for an all around beautiful design. It looks like there is a Louis Ghost Chair (designed by Philippe Starck) that Alec Baldwin’s character is leaning against, which is being used to hold a variety of towels.

This bathroom is very spa-like and will no doubt inspire designers and homeowners alike to invest in a cast iron, claw foot bathtub for their next bathroom renovation. The limestone is also a perfect addition to any bathroom for those who are looking to bring more luxury to their bathing experience.

Here is a picture of the bathroom, please click the image for a larger version:

Its Complicated Bathroom

Its Complicated Bathroom

For more information about the movie please visit ItsComplicatedMovie.com

SpaFinder’s Top 10 Spa Trends in the Past Decade

Friday, January 8th, 2010

One of the spa industry’s authority, SpaFinder, has published their top ten list for the top trends we’ve seen in spas in the past ten years. For more information visit SpaFinder’s blog at: blog.spafinder.com

Top 10 Spa Trends of the Decade:

1. Indigenous Treatments
While one would see the use of local ingredients and local customs on occasion at spas decades ago, during the past decade this became an almost unspoken rule. Culturally-grounded ingredients, treatments and customs deliver that healthy native flavor, and they also represent the unearthing of special, often centuries-old experiences that could not be easily replicated. From a lomi lomi massage in Hawaii, to the Royal Javanese Lular wedding ritual from Indonesia, indigenous treatments gave spas a grounded ‘sense of place’ that has made each spa-going experience around the world truly unique.

2. Medicine and Spa
In the early 90’s there was very little overlap between medicine and spas. That has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. More doctors have ‘discovered’ that spa approaches contribute to health and wellness, specifically by targeting stress…(Perhaps even through their own experiences, say, by experiencing a massage after a round of golf at a medical conference). The forces driving this integration are diverse, but, basically, the spa and medical worlds began talking. Then, when Botox arrived in 2002, a new type of aesthetic/medical spa was born and the spa and medicine connection was solidified. Spas also got their act together, becoming more transparently health- oriented, and downplaying the ‘woo woo’ factor.

3. Organic
This was the headline story in spa products for the decade. The popularity of all things ‘green’ helped several obscure organic lines make it big, and nearly all spa product companies launched their own branded organic lines. The organic product trend also helped open the door for a more far-reaching eco-friendly, environmentally conscious zeitgeist throughout the spa arena – from spa building and design – to cuisine. And while it’s not yet garnering universal praise, at least it’s gotten things going in the right direction.

4. Men
While the decade saw a range of new demographics rush into the spa arena (from teens to pre-teens to babies and seniors), it was the steady stream of men making spa-going a regular part of their lives that’s had the most profound impact. While it took some doing to get men to try a spa for the first time, this ‘first time,’ typically, resulted in a second and third, etc. Men discovered there was more to this ‘spa thing’ than just idle pampering:  it was, in fact, the quickest way for them to reduce stress (something there was plenty of this decade), and it helped improve their sports performance. As spas with a traditionally female ‘pampering’ and ‘beauty’ emphasis were joined by those emphasizing male grooming, and the industry began to focus more on health and wellness, millions of men began to comfortably, eagerly hit the spa.

5. Wellness
The word ‘wellness’ was hardly used in the 90’s, not really appearing on the scene until after the millennium. A term that has its origins in Europe (combining the concepts of ‘fitness’ ‘and ‘well-being’), it gained momentum there as a positive alternative terminology…Because in Europe the word ‘spa’ had narrower connotations: either water treatments for sick older people, or, with the emergence of some newer spas like the swanky Brenner’s Park Hotel and Spa in Baden Baden – an association with expense and luxury. Because the word ‘wellness’ was such an apt word to describe places that offered fitness, massage, alternative medicine and healthy nutrition – increasingly the core mission of spas- the terms, understandably, have become tightly interwoven.

6. Spa Comes Home

The influence of spas on the home has its humble beginnings at the start of the decade, with spa-inspired consumers, say, purchasing a candle to use in the bath, or maybe
a loofah sponge.  In the years since, it’s blossomed into a booming industry of spa products, design, furniture, home amenities (like spa bathrooms), even clothing and cuisine. The trend reached its most bold expression with the birth of ‘spa living real estate,’ where consumers could actually ‘live at the spa,’ purchasing residences with spectacular spa/wellness offerings in new luxury high-rises or special communities. We’ve not only seen spa-ing burst the confines of its traditional walls – but a new term, ‘spa lifestyle,’ has emerged to describe a whole healthier way of living, thinking and being.


7. Yin of Luxury, Yang of Discount

While the last few tough economic years have put more industry emphasis on the  ‘yang’ of discount, the wider ‘spa decade’ definitely spent quite a bit of time on the ‘yin’ of luxury. The reality is, that with more than 80,000 spas across the world now, there’s plenty of ‘yin’ and plenty of ‘yang’ to go around. In almost every country across the globe consumers can find bargain-priced spas/treatments right alongside sky-high-priced options (with their bejeweled massage oils and exotic, over-the-top settings). As spa-going has become totally mainstream, there’s a spa now to suit every taste and budget.

8. Online Spa
At the turn of the millennium, there were many spas that didn’t even have websites.   Today, almost every spa – and even therapists and practitioners – have their own URL. But that’s just the beginning of the spa.com revolution: today consumers can search spas, book spa appointments in real-time, buy spa products, review spas and fully engage in new forms of spa-related social networking – all online. And with the Internet so well matched for wellness coaching, and new technology enabling medical diagnosis and virtual health records, unprecedented aspects of the spa/wellness experience are becoming available through the Internet. Only the therapists’ hands haven’t been brought online – yet.

9. Social Spa-ing
Spas traditionally put their emphasis on the pillars of exercise, nutrition and body and beauty treatments – while the social aspects of spa-going (which existed all along) haven’t garnered much attention…until recently. Now we know that social spa-ing (just like spa programs for sleep or brain health) is a recognized contributor to health and natural de-stressing. From the isolation of the massage therapy room and the whisper-only relaxation lounges, has come the recognition that spas are not only natural community hubs, but that mingling and socializing are an important part of getting healthy too.

10. Gift Certificates, Vouchers, Cards
Lastly, a development that evolved so gradually it never made any of SpaFinder’s annual trends lists. And yet it probably has had more to do with the explosion of spas and spa-goers around the world than any other trend – or even all of them combined.

The trend: the emergence and popularity of the spa gift certificate, card and voucher that has introduced so many new people to the spa experience. (In fact, research shows that approximately one-third of all spa visits are generated by the redemption of certificates and vouchers.) Spa gifting has been galvanized by their near-universal availability at almost every individual spa and via third-party programs – and they’ve not only given people permission to pamper themselves, they’ve ushered in a new era where gifting ‘spa’ represents an expression of true thoughtfulness and care.

To put it in perspective: while SpaFinder is now the largest retailer of spa gift certificates, cards and vouchers in the world, the company didn’t make its first certificate sale until 1999. Today, over 5,000 spas worldwide are part of the company’s gift programs, and the cards/vouchers are available at virtually every major drug and grocery chain.

…It’s been quite a decade.

LEARN MORE: To learn more, or to speak to SpaFinder president Susie Ellis, contact: Betsy Isroelit, (213) 300-0108 or betsy@spafinder.com

About SpaFinder, Inc.:
The world’s largest spa media, marketing, and gifting company, SpaFinder, Inc., connects millions of wellness-focused consumers with thousands of spas worldwide. SpaFinder’s media properties include the award-winning Spafinder.com, the Spa Enthusiast newsletter, and the annual Global Spa and Wellness Directory. SpaFinder and its new gift division, Salon Wish, offer spa gift certificates and cards that are redeemable at a combined network of over 9,000 spas and salons worldwide and are available at thousands of retail outlets. The company’s technology division innovates new solutions that help spas build and streamline their businesses, including the popular SpaBooker online booking system. SpaFinder Europe and SpaFinder Japan offer regional spa marketing and gifting programs, including localized, native-language websites. Founded in 1986, the privately held company is headquartered in Manhattan.

Steam Shower, Sauna or Hot Tub?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Steam showers, hot tubs and saunas can provide excellent ways to relax without leaving the comfort of your own home. Using a steam shower, hot tub or sauna on a regular basis can even help improve your health and feel better, improving your overall wellness. But what is the best for you?

If you are looking for weight-loss effects then you should consider a steam shower or sauna. If you regularly use your steam shower or sauna for 20 minutes a day you will get the same metabolic effect as if you had gone on a short walk. While it is thought that you will also burn calories in a hot tub due to the increase in body temperature, you will not sweat as much as you would if you were in a steam shower or sauna. Keep in mind that you will be much better off if you exercise AND take a steam shower or sauna. Learn more from our Steam Shower Diet post: Steam Shower Diet.

Sweating will also help to cleanse the skin of impurities. While a hot tub might have the same effects, your face, the most important place where you would want to lose impurities, will not sweat as much as if you were in a steam shower or sauna.

If you have sleeping problems all three will help you, but the American Sleep Association recommends soaking in a hot tub for 15-20 minutes at least 2 hours before bed at 102-104 degrees.  As your body cools, you’ll be ready for a deep relaxing sleep.

The steam from a steam shower will surely help you if you have respiratory problems such as asthma, chest congestion or bronchitis, where the sauna and hot tub will not be as helpful because of the lack of steam.

If you are one that works out often, or is sore a lot, then a hot tub is recommended to soothe aching muscles, although a steam shower will also help your body aches and pains and shorten your recovery time as well.

If you have plenty of indoor space, and don’t want to do an entire build or large remodel of your bathroom you can install a steam shower without having to build a whole new bathroom. If you were to build a sauna you would have much more work to create the enclosure.

If you prefer to use outdoor space, then a hot tub is the easiest to install, as there is little to no building required. If you want an outdoor, modular sauna or steam shower you will have to build or purchase an enclosure, plus the steam generator or sauna heater.

This is a large purchase no matter how you look at it. In order to choose the best thing for your home spa, you really need to closely examine your lifestyle, as well as the benefits you would receive from each. If you have a favorite spa activity, make sure to think about what you would really use the most, like if the seasons will limit your use or if you would use the home spa addition to entertain.


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