A spa experience without water is almost impossible. It would mean no steams, soaks, hydrotherapy, cooling experiences—not even a simple pre- or post-treatment shower. The essence of spa is water, specifically health by water, from “solus per aqua” in Latin. Because it’s simply not feasible to operate a spa without water, we need to help save it.
Spa experiences are intended to bring clients back to the most basic senses in harmony with the earth’s basic elements. It is what we seek, need and want. Water, making up 75% of the earth’s surface, is undeniably the most basic of elements, yet only 2% of the earth’s water supply is fresh water.
Since today’s spa industry leaders are acutely aware of the principles of sustainability, recycling and conservation, it’s imperative that the spa and wellness industry continues to set the example for water conservation, whether local regulations mandate it or not.
So, how can a contemporary spa offer its clientele a wellness-enhancing, top-notch experience and still claim it conserves water? Although we need water in the spa environment, we can also control our usage of it. Small saving ideas will make a significant difference. While implementing water control methods is imperative, spas and spa staff should also explain their reasoning and methods to their guests. Setting the example of water conservation by controlling the business’ usage and educating clients as to why it’s important helps everyone. It’s a win-win.
Body treatments typically use the most water, as they often take place under a Vichy shower or require that a guest shower afterward. In certain cases, a spa can control water usage for these services by converting to products that are “dry.” For instance, some body treatment products change into a massage oil and can be worked into the skin after the wrap or scrub, avoiding the need to rinse it off.
Alternately, opting for damp towels to remove a dissolvable scrub, rather than a post-treatment shower, also works well. These methods not only conserve water, but are great options for outdoor therapy sessions where water or plumbing may not be easily accessible, and in areas where saving water is of the utmost importance.
Drinking Water Stations
Instead of bottled water, install plumbed water stations throughout the property. These should have top-filling spigots so that guests can refill personal water bottles in a sanitary way. It’s also an opportunity to give away or sell reusable bottles with the spa’s logo, which act as not-so-subtle hint to refill these bottles at the water stations. Not only will this reduce a lot of plastic bottle usage—which also conserves water—but the practice encourages guests to hydrate more often and supports their overall health.
Lynn Curry, CMC, ISHC, board director of GSN Planet, has been in the spa consulting business since 1997. She provides financial feasibility, design development and pre-opening consulting services for spas in upscale and luxury resorts, hotels, hot springs and casinos. A certified management consultant, Curry is also a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants and a BLLA Task Force Member. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 707-933-0408.