Frequent spa-goers know the line is fine
between a blissful massage and uninspired kneading. To keep savvy
consumers apprised of the differences in spa quality, various
entities have attempted to spell out which facilities will provide
a consistent, pleasant experience.
The Mobile five-star Spa Montage in Laguna Beach,
How valuable these ratings are, however, is up for debate.
“There’s no way any rating system is going to be able to give you
that personalized feeling for what the experience will be like,”
says Jeremy McCarthy, spa director at La Costa Resort and Spa in
Carlsbad, Calif. For those who still want to check out the rating
systems, here are a few options.
Mobil, the well-respected judge of hotels and
restaurants, has rated spas by secret inspection on 450 criteria
for two years running. Spas are listed only if they merit three to
Leading Spas of the World is a new
certification system for the spas within the Leading Hotels of the
World portfolio. Not all of Leading Hotels’ spas are included in
the 77 that are certified, which lends some credence to the rating
SpaQuality LLC recently started a program that
certifies spas and advises them on improving. Unlike the other
programs, the SpaExcellence certification can be applied to any spa
that forks over the fees; as of press time, only three spas had
received the thumbs-up.