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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

Similar to the restaurant industry, the spa biz (considered even more of a luxury than dining out) has not escaped the effects of the current financial crisis. In fact,  independent research company Intelligent Spas confirms the global 2009 decrease in average annual revenue, but also predicts some more encouraging news for 2010 – an expected growth between 8%-32%. So what must a spa do to continue to attract the consumer without compromising on quality or service? It’s safe to say that not all facilities adopt such practices, but one spa that has consistently placed service on the front burner is the Spa at the Ritz Carlton Club at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. Among other awards over the years, the spa just received the Conde’ Nast Traveler award for the “best hotel in the U.S. for service in 2009” and the “#2 urban hotel spa in North America,” as voted on by the magazine’s readers. nbc-ritz

I was able to go experience the spa for myself and discovered that the feedback provided by Spa Director Kathryn Wittman did not disappoint. From arrival to departure, the staff was accommodating while being respectful to my “me” time. While the facial was decadent beyond imagination, it was also one of my favorite kinds of treatments – results oriented. Kathryn shares with us what goes into a five star facility that keeps guests coming back for more….

Describe the spa’s aesthetic.

The Spa at the Carlton Club takes great pride in establishing comfort. The
facilities, while contemporary, are anything but pretentious and feel
certainly more like a welcoming home away from home. It may be that the Spa
is housed within the private club grounds, where members mingle and tend to
know each other by name; Or perhaps, due to the staff’s anticipatory
service skills and sincerity in their actions and speech. Either way, the
aesthetic is inviting and interactive.

What is the most popular service?

The Punta Mita Massage remains the most popular for it’s effective
qualities. Coined the ‘travelers relief’ massage, the combination of heated
towels, lengthening stretches, detoxifying aromatherapy and lomi lomi
techniques guarantee a release of stress and tension. Hotel guests often
return asking for this treatment by name, as it becomes a ritual experience
to revive their stress from traveling.

Most high-end service? What would you call your “super star” treatment?

The Four Seasons In One Body treatment is a combination of techniques that
transitions the body from season to season. With heat and cool therapy,
moisturizing shea butter formulas and a medley of massage techniques, this
entices the client who ‘wants it all’. The service has elements of each spa
category; exfoliation, moisture renewal, envelopment, massage and hand &
foot care.

Spa perks (i.e. steam rooms, extras that come with treatments, etc).

Each of our locker rooms are equipped with steam and sauna rooms and the
shared facility includes a heated lap pool, jacuzzi, relaxation room and
fitness facility; each of which are complimentary for hotel guests during
their stay and encouraged to utilize before or after spa treatments.

Anything else we should know?

Beginning in 2007, the Spa at The Carlton Club has been a home to a medley
of inspired treatments using organic product lines. In an effort to ‘Go
Green’ we redeveloped our menu to accommodate the well being of our guests,
through the security of luxurious, organic and natural ingredients. Our
mission is to provide the best in care with an extensive knowledge on
treatment ingredients and benefits from all staff. Within this goal, are
also changes to our locker room amenities, cleaning supplies and ways of
recycling. The commitment to well being for our guests is held in the
highest regard, and no measure is overlooked.

If you’re ready to run over for a treatment, there is one little detail you should know:  the spa is only available to hotels guests and members of the Carlton Club. For those of you who are already used to paying a monthly gym fee, this could be a refreshing change of pace from the meat market scene equipped with lackluster spa space. Perhaps the exclusivity is one of the additional perks in this private pamper palace. For information on membership, contact The Spa at (312)573-4900 or  e-mail  carlton.club@fourseasons.com.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

You may have kicked off summer with Memorial Day weekend, but something about slipping into the month of June seems a bit more official. The term “endless summer” is far from the truth, so start the season off on the right by taking advantage of some of these offerings that are as time sensitive as the fabulous weather.

Face Offnbc-SpaParties

It’s tempting to lay in the sun like a baked potato, but your skin is susceptible to some serious damage that is bound to stick with you for many summers to come. Mitchell Dental Spa (Water Tower Place, 9th floor) would like to help you do something positive for your face, as well as your wallet. For the entire month of June, you can receive a 50% discount on their Cucumber Oxygen Skin Brightening Facial. Especially designed for sun damaged or uneven-toned complexions ( thanks to your  baby oil days), this oxygen infused treatment incorporates light microdermabrasion and a high dose of Vitamin C to ensure a brighter complexion after just one treatment. To schedule your appointment call 312.642.1014. www.MitchellDentalSpa.com.

Summer School

Erase the bad memories of summer calculus classes and replace them with a class at Chens (3506 N. Clark Street). Why settle sipping cocktails all summer when you can be the master mixologist? On June 10th, learn how to make some of Chen’s signature martinis for only $10 – practically the cost of a martini these days! Even better, the class includes samples of the cocktails, small bites and a $20 gift certificate good for your next visit. Why not consider Chens as an alternative nosh spot in Wrigleyville? They may serve up Asian fare in lieu of hot dogs, but you’ll find plasmas for your viewing pleasure and even beer if you so desire. www.chenschicago.com

Double Your Pleasure

NBC-Cosmo%20Crush[1]A three-tiered cone of your favorite flavor of ice cream on a hot day may take you back to your childhood days of summer, while kicking back with a cool cocktail is an adulthood guilty pleasure. Mix the best of both and take a spin by the Seasons Bar and Lounge (120 E. Delaware Place) and add a scoop of nostalgia to your favorite adult bevs. Choose from one of six frosty concoctions, each priced at $14. It’s doubtful that you”ll find  Strawberries ‘n’ Cream (made with strawberry ice cream, strawberry vodka, Chamboard, lemonade and 7-up) at your local ice cream shop. http://www.fourseasons.com

The Party Continues

In honor of their 10 year anniversary, BIN 36 (339 N. Dearborn Street)  has been counting down the remainder of 2009 by offering up some fab monthly specials.  Save yourself the trouble of firing up the grill, as the June special  is $7 burgers all day long. Stay tuned for July when a new deal will be announced for even less coin -$6. http://www.bin36.com

Password to Pamper

Psssst! Some secrets are too good to keep. Call or walk your stealth self over to Exhale Spa (945 N. State Street) and mention code inside5609 when booking a Magic, Power, or Lift facial and receive 25% off through the end of June. Visit website for all rules and regs and to print the “insider” certificate. www.exhalespa.com

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