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September 26, 2014

Spas for Business: How to Buy Out a Spa for a Group

CAMEL VALLEY RANCH’S infinity pool cabanas allow the bride and groom to indulge in some private poolside lounging.

CAMEL VALLEY RANCH’S infinity pool cabanas allow the bride and groom to indulge in some private poolside lounging.


While golf courses have been a traditional site for business socializing, private spa takeovers are becoming increasingly popular. Looking to attract small groups, spas are rolling out the red-carpet treatment with customizable services alongside bottles of bubbly and savory bites. Here are two properties where groups can unwind in style. 

West Coast

Carmel Valley Ranch in the Monterey region of California has Spa Aiyana, which uses botanical infusions and oils made with wild lavender herbs and honey from its on-site apiary populated by more than 125,000 Italian honey bees.

Groups here can choose from an extensive range of packages in the 11-room spa. Our favorite is the “(Bee)autiful Bachelorette,” which offers up the Aiyana VIP spa suite for a half day of treatments and includes a customized facial or massage. (Try the Lavender Garden Swedish massage, where pressure is tailored for the individual.) Tip: Ask for Jamie Rosaro, a client favorite. 

Men can opt for a trip to the Grooming Bar where they’ll be treated to Bloody Marys to start off their beauty buzz, followed by a 60-minute hot shave. Nice touch: the extra 30-minute “Arnica” deep-tissue massage blends sport stretches and targeted muscle work.

Post-pampering, guests can retreat to the cabanas for some bubbly and poolside bites, like the East Coast Muffaletta with fennel salami and truffle fries or the Molinari family charcuterie plate.

The bride and groom can indulge in a side-by-side couple's massage and some private poolside cabana lounging before retreating to the couple's suite, complete with fireplace, shower and treetop patio.

Meeting planners should reach out to Spa Director Franziska Haala (fhaala@carmelvalleyranch.com; 831-626-2573) to make special arrangements. Beyond spa time, Head Concierge Gabrielle Wagemakers ([email protected]; 831-620-6427) can arrange other group experiences, including horseback riding, garden tours, hilltop yoga and even a customized bee-keeping experience.

Tips: For high-level events at the resort, CEOs will want to book one of the “Treetop Suites,” which have great views of Carmel Valley (No. 292 gets the most raves). There's also the very new 800-square-foot one-bedroom Estate Suite, which has a kitchenette. The Oak Grove Suite is 1,200 square feet in size and has a bedroom, living room and dining room.

East Coast

In Manhattan, the Guerlain Spa at The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York has 14,000 square feet of pampering space. Here, treatment suites are all fitted with private bathrooms with showers and personalized music selections.

THE GUERLAIN SPA couples treatment room is designed for those seeking pampering time together.

Groups can buy out the spa for private events, which can start out with a menu of cocktails and small plates of hors d’oeuvres before each party member heads to their own private suite (there are 15 in all). Treatments run the scale from hydrotherapy massages to skin-renewing facials. We hear there is great buzz around the upcoming Guerlain Orchidée Impériale’s “Cure” Treatment, which uses anti-aging “gold orchid” skincare products while facial muscles are stimulated and toned by Guerlain aestheticians.

Those who need to unwind should check out the Impériale Relaxing Massage, which facilitates oxygenation and circulation to provide some calm. In the mornings, after a night of networking, guests can book a stone soother heated treatment, where water heated basalt stones are combined with Swedish and deep-tissue massage for an intense tension relief.

Nice touch: regardless of treatment choice, spa-goers can get complimentary luxury additions, such as shoeshines, garment steaming and makeup touch-ups.

There are many suites in the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria (John and Jackie Kennedy spent their wedding night in a Towers suite), but the Royal Suite, the former Park Avenue home of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who moved in when the Duke relinquished his throne, is a top pick for VIPs. Perks can include floral arrangements, including water lilies floating in the tub.

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