Calcot Manor’s latest day package incorporates fitness to appeal to the unlikely spa goer. Lucy Douglas puts it to the test
Spa pros predicted that “360° wellness” would be a hot trend for the industry in 2014, and sure enough, increasingly health-conscious clients led to a spate of operators developing super-food-packed menus or putting clients through their paces in ferocious bootcamps.
Translating that fitness trend into a package for the day spa market, beyond simply offering a healthy lunch, could be a challenge, but that’s what Calcot Manor in the Cotswolds did when it introduced its Lifestyle and Fitness Day Spa last year. And for spa director Cathy Ball, the exercise-based package was the key to attracting a new market of visitor.
“If you take a group of six ladies coming for a spa day, there will be one who would really rather do anything than lie by the pool,” she says. “I think really it is for those people who don’t do spa very well and want a bit more action in their day.”
The full day package includes a complete health assessment followed by an hour’s workout with a personal trainer, and a face and body treatment from Comfort Zone’s Skin Regimen line, which launched in 2013 and promotes the philosophy that healthy skin is the outcome of a healthy lifestyle. Ball says she’d wanted to work with the Italian skincare brand since it launched the line two years ago, but hadn’t found the right opportunity to fit it into her spa’s offering before.
“It’s not a relaxing day – you cram a lot in – but I think if you need to jump start a lifestyle change, it does the trick,” she says. Indeed, in my fitness assessment, my trainer Euan looked at everything from my flexibility (poor), to my cardio vascular fitness levels (surprisingly OK), to my body fat composition (depressingly high), and gave me advice on how to adapt my diet and exercise regimes to make improvements.
The 75-minute face and body treatment is also less relaxing that the traditional spa ritual, with massage techniques designed to stimulate the muscles. “They call it gym for the skin,” Ball says, adding that it has secured fans among the spa’s regular members, who have started to use the Skin Regimen products at home.
Calcot introduced the package last summer, but didn’t really begin to market it until later in the autumn when the spa menus were reprinted to include it. “We have a 3km running track, and we have a rig that we use for personal training sessions, so we try to do as much exercise outside as possible during the summer,” says Ball.
As she predicted, it’s been day spa visitors who have been most interested in the package. She doesn’t think this type of spa package is going to take over – in her words, clients “still want to eat cake and sit in a hot tub” – but hopes it will capture the attention of a certain market of spa-goer. “Come the spring, when we can take a lot of the fitness-related activity outdoors again, this day spa will continue to appeal to a niche market of more fitness-driven individuals,” she says. PB