In a recent issue, Time noted that the profile of the typical American spa-goer has radically changed: "Middle-class baby-boomers are overtaking the rich and elderly as primary spa clients."
In the mood for a Dead Sea mud pack, a Chakra Stone Therapy massage or a Silk Booster Facial at a relaxing spa resort -- but you don't want to leave the children home? No problem!
The newest wrinkle in the healthy getaway is the family spa resort, where adults can be pampered while their offspring are kept busy and happy in children's programs.
The health and fitness craze of the 1990s has emerged into the spa trend of the 21st century -- with savvy managers of spa resorts offering children's daily activities. And while just a few years ago, most spa patrons were women, today the percentage of men has risen dramatically.
With the burgeoning popularity of spas, many resorts have incorporated men's needs into their regular facilities (or sometimes building a separate facility), making their properties all-around vacation getaways. With the addition of children's programs, these resorts are fast becoming popular family destinations.
"Spa" is actually a town in Belgium's Ardennes Forest noted for its natural, iron-rich waters that are said to be the lowest in salt or mineral impurities. The small European town became celebrated when the ancient Romans discovered what is acknowledged as "the purest water in the world" -- sought by many for its curative powers.
Today, the word "spa" is a generic term used to describe a facility that offers a plethora of health-oriented programs in vacation settings, with everything from body-building equipment to nutritional philosophy.
Something for Everyone
In the 21st century, there is a spa to fit almost anyone's needs and budget. There are self-contained spas; spas within a hotel or resort; weight-loss spas; nutritional spas; luxury spas; couples spas/singles spas; non-smoking spas; and seniors spas.
Until recently, the "typical" spa vacationer was a woman who simply felt she wanted the indulgence of this specialized facility. But now, at many spa resorts, a husband and wife -- often with young children -- are having a body- and soul-building experience in a stress-free environment as a family.
Many hotels and vacation resorts, which may not be specifically spa destinations, have incorporated state-of-the-art spa facilities into their offerings. When choosing a spa vacation, contact the resort and ask as many questions as you wish in order to find the right facility and destination for you.
Here are some suggestions that offer not only healthy, restorative treatments, but a well-supervised program for children.
Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, Stowe, Vt.
This elegant spa, nestled in the glorious New England countryside, features body-invigorating treatments like a Green Mountain Herbal Mud Wrap and a Maple-Sugar Body Polish, among others. For the young ones, a "Kids Spa" offers a rosebud wrap and a massage sampler; a real bonus is the "Kids Spa" menu.
There is a couples nutrition class and a private cuisine-education class for two -- with a spa chef. "Camp Doral" for kids provides supervised entertainment for children ages 5 to 12.
More than 60 different beauty and body-care treatments exist at this 40,000-square-foot world-class spa, including the BETAR bed (one of the few in the world), which lets you float on a bed of sound in an ethereal setting. The "Kids' Klub" schedule includes beach games, treasure hunts, pool activities, and nature hikes for young ones ages 5 to 12.
Spa specialties include hydrotherapy, Salt-Glo loofahs and vitamin body cocktails. "The Teepee Club," on weekends, is for youngsters ages 4 to 12. The resort's famed boat, the Morgan, takes guests on a leisurely cruise on the crystal-clear lake.
Men and women find 44 treatment rooms, a water slide, a rock-climbing wall and spa treatments (such as wildflower body wraps). A year-round "Explorer" program (ages 2 to 5) and "Mountaineer" program (ages 6 to 11) offer seasonal activities.
This all-suite resort has massage, neuromuscular therapy and shiatsu to correct imbalances in energy flow and heated body wraps to detoxify. A "Children's Camp & Activity Program" is year-round and custom-designed for ages 3 to 6, 7 to 12 and 9 to 17. Families also can enjoy fishing together from the pier.
In the Laurel Highlands Mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania, the Chateau Lafayette and cozy town houses offer a relaxing getaway ambience. The Woodlands Spa pampers guests with more than 60 different treatments. A "Kidz Klub" for ages 4 to 9 offers a private pool, miniature golf, boating, games and crafts.
A state-of-the-art facility, Laurel Spa features Vichy spa treatments, hydrotherapy, reflexology hot-stone therapy, mud and other assorted body wraps. The full-service Pocono Mountains resort has children's activities, including putting greens, driving range, horseback-riding, games, tennis, movies, swimming, nature walks and more.
This famous hotel/resort offers a classic European treatment called Guerlain Paris, a complete skin analysis and a complete customized treatment to one's individual needs. A year-round children's program designed for different age groups includes professional instruction in sailing, golf and tennis, and offers field trips.