Sustainable Spas

Eco-friendly spas offer groups memorable ways to connect with destinations

Increasingly, properties are seeking ways to make their surroundings -- local plants, herbs, fruits, and more -- a greater part of their spa offerings. At the same time, these spas are working to make their offerings more eco-friendly, ensuring that their impact on the local environment is minimal and their treatments are sustainable.

This month, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, in Honolulu, will make the inaugural harvest from its on-site honeybee apiary, which will be incorporated into its Milky Meli moisturizing hand cream. A special 15-minute treatment will be available to guests who visit the property's Na Ho'ola Spa, during which the esthetician will mix the honey with shea butter; coconut milk powder; and mango and mandarin essential oils for a special, hyper-local hand treatment.

"With the global decline in honeybee population, we wanted to find a creative way to help aid the comeback of honeybees in Hawaii, while offering our guests a one-of-a-kind spa experience at the same time," says Yoshimi Anderson, spa director at Na Ho'ola Spa. "Guests reap the beauty benefits of honey -- it is extremely moisturizing and full of antioxidants -- while supporting this important cause."

It's not just honeybees providing sustainable spa treatments. At the 10,000-square-foot spa at St. Julien Hotel & Spa, in Boulder, CO, guests can enjoy a "Mountain Mojito" treatment with a sugar scrub and mint from the property's own herb garden. At the Enchantment Resort set among the red rocks of Sedona, AZ, attendees can try out a "Sedona Clay Wrap" with the area's mineral-rich clay.

Even cactus is being incorporated into treatments. At Esperanza, An Auberge Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, guests can unwind at the property's spa with Earth-inspired candlelight spa treatments that use local ingredients. For example, the "Green Cactus Cleansing" begins with a body exfoliation, followed by an application of an exclusive cactus, pineapple, and honey mask. A scalp massage with rosemary oil follows and the treatment finishes with a full-body massage using the property's signature desert sage oil.

"People traveling to other countries want to learn more about the culture and traditions of the place they are visiting, and being exposed to the local resources is the main connection to a whole new rewarding experience," says Jose Ramon Garcia, spa director at Esperanza. "People learn by experiencing the flavors, colors, and sounds of a region." 

At Esperanza's spa, that includes sipping on aguas frescas made of grapefruit, aloe vera, and prickly pear. Visitors can also take the spa home with discounts on purchases of organic spa products.

Properties in less verdant locations are also finding ways to make nature central to their spa offerings. This year, the Omni Dallas Hotel -- the largest LEED Gold hotel in the country outside of Las Vegas -- incorporated the socially and ecologically responsible Babor line of products into its Mokara Spa. Manufactured in Germany, these "green glamor" body scrubs, body polishes, and cosmetics provide organic ingredients without parabens or polyethylene glycol. 

"Over the years, we have seen meeting planners, in particular, are looking to incorporate more sustainable components into their travel programs," explains Branden Fein, spa director for Mokara Spa. "While there are many aspects of the hotel that are eco-friendly, having an eco-friendly product line is another way that we can meet the needs of guests who are looking for a more sustainable experience."