By Dulcy Gregory
There is a common perception that going to a spa takes time. In most cases, this is true. Ten minutes to check in, 30 to 45 minutes in the relaxation lounge and sauna, an hour on the massage table and another 20 minutes to dress and settle the bill. It adds up, and may be out of reach for the business traveler or on-the-go guest.
The good news is that spas nationwide are adding services that specifically cater to those with limited time for relaxation.
Before thinking about specific treatments, consider the following general advice for pampering on the go.
Consider the “when”: Avoiding crowds adds an extra element of relaxation, and off-hours are a sure bet for booking on a whim. Time-crunched travelers will have the best luck booking a last-minute treatment on a Monday or Tuesday. Midday is optimal, especially for conference-goers who could squeeze in a mini massage during a break or lunch. Keep in mind that, although the busiest days for spas are usually weekends, Saturdays and Sundays tend to be more flexible at spas in business hotels.
Max out on amenities: Most spas these days feature a suite of hydro-thermal amenities. It’s surprising how quickly things loosen up after a few minutes in the sauna or how rejuvenating a 15-second dip in the cold plunge can be. Many hotels, like Loews New Orleans Hotel, offer complimentary use of the fitness center, pool, whirlpool and dry sauna to allow busy bees to come and go as they please.
Find relaxation in your room: Skip the cheeseburger and order a different service a la carte—an in-room massage. Hotels without an on-site spa often offer such services. This way the added stress of getting here and there is on the spa, not the spa-goer. For an added touch of oasis, Rhonda Johnson, spa director at Spa Oceana at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Fla., suggests traveling with some aromatherapy, such as lavender or a synergy blend found at spas, supermarkets and drugstores. “Add several drops to a steamy bath for a sense of spa at home or while you’re traveling,” she says.
Go salon-style: Nail or hair care services can provide a beauty boost in a short time. Though these services tend to be more “salon” than spa, they’ll be no less indulgent (think warm paraffin wax and luxury skin care products).
Spas in Loews Hotels & Resorts across the country are tapping into this ever-expanding trend, offering treatments such as the following for both business and leisure jetsetters on the go.
At the Lakeside Spa & Fitness Center at Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson, Ariz., spa-goers can opt for several mini treatments, says Spa Director Dana Gonzales, “But you can’t go wrong with the Desert Salt Body Polish, which buffs, stimulates and detoxifies the skin all in 25 minutes.” A mixture of fossilized salts and jojoba oil derived from the deserts of Sedona restores the skin’s luster and leaves it feeling silky smooth.
Mandara Spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla., offers 25-minute Taster Services, which feature a massage to relieve tight knots or a facial to help with dry skin. An express manicure or pedicure will get clients feeling refreshed in no time.
If you fancy a specific technique, Spa Oceana brings express services to the next level by offering shorter versions of 10 different types of massage. Add-ons that are normally combined with longer treatments, like the Foot Refresher (a combination of exfoliation, massage and reflexology) or the Soothing Scalp Massage make for perfect time-saving services.
Balance Spa & Fitness at the Loews New Orleans Hotel offers individual express services for an easy in and out. Guests can select a custom combination of two mini treatments in the popular Rejuvenation Package. For those with mere minutes to spare, the Brightening Eye Treatment gives tired eyes a boost in 15 minutes. “Survey findings show that spa treatments will help reduce stress, relieve sore joints and muscles, and give an overall feeling of renewal,” says Debbie Williams, general manager at the spa. “Our express services are great for the on-the-go guest, but it is important to take the time to experience that true relaxed spa feeling.”