by Jennifer Nicole Dienst | April 01, 2008

The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Lifestyle Spa at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure

Big red: The Elizabeth Arden
Red Door Lifestyle Spa
at the Hyatt Regency
Bonaventure in Weston, Fla.

Just like convention centers, casinos and sports arenas, resort spas are getting bigger and brimming with more of everything, from sheer space to number of treatment rooms to the array of treatment options. According to the International Spa Association’s annual Spa Industry Study, the total square footage of spas at U.S. resorts and hotels increased from 11.6 million in 2006 to 14.5 million in 2007, a trend likely to continue as seemingly every blueprint for a new hotel or resort includes a wellness facility, and as more existing spas are upsizing.

“The demand is there,” says Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder Inc., a New York City-based spa marketing, media and research company. “According to our research, 25 percent of the population has been to a spa, and an even larger percentage is interested in going to one.” And much of the interest, she adds, involves meetings.

“It used to be golf was important for business, but we’re now finding that the spa is more important,” Ellis maintains, which helps explain why meetings-friendly VIP areas, private suites, cabanas and lounges are becoming de rigueur for new facilities.

Matt Stewart, director of sales for the Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, Calif., says one reason his property’s spa was expanded last year was to accommodate groups during the high season of February through mid-May. “I see many hotels expanding their spas to handle both leisure and group demand,” he notes.

Here’s a look at some of the newest, biggest and splashiest resort spas that offer physical and mental respite to all.

The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Lifestyle Spa at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center
Weston, Fla.
(800) 327-8090;

Fresh from a $100 million propertywide renovation, the 501-room Hyatt Regency Bonaventure debuted its lavish 48,000-square-foot Red Door Lifestyle Spa in February 2007. Features include a 20,000-square-foot fitness center, 31 treatment rooms, a private pool, a full-service salon and a cafe. The facility also offers a Zen garden, a Pilates studio and a movement studio for yoga classes.

According to former director of sales and marketing Kelly Commerford, fully 60 percent of the hotel’s business comes from meetings, and preference is given to groups for spa reservations. The facility will even set up a satellite registration desk at a conference for attendees to book treatments on the spot.

“We make sure times are blocked out to coordinate with planners,” Commerford says, “and groups that have more than 10 room nights can get an automatic 30 percent off treatments.”

In January, Barbara Rogers, director of marketing for Cranbury, N.J.-based LaJobi Industries, brought a group of 20 salespeople to the hotel and received the royal treatment, including a reception alongside the spa’s private pool and an exclusive five-course meal with wine pairings at a private chef’s table in the cafe. In all, she says, “I have never gotten such positive feedback from my attendees like I did here.”

The Hyatt Regency Bonaventure also offers 100,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 10,440-square-foot ballroom and an amphitheater that seats up to 175 people.