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Gaming Guru

Jennifer Shubinski

Four Valley Spas Earn High Rankings

25 April 2005

It may come as no surprise to the pampered: Four of the country's top spas are located in the Las Vegas Valley.

Mobil Travel Guide last week announced its 2005 America's Best Hotel and Resort Spas, rating Canyon Ranch Spa Club at the Venetian, Spa Bellagio, The Spa at Four Seasons, and Spa Vita de Lago at the Ritz Carlton, Lake Las Vegas with four-star ratings.

Only one spa, The Spa Montage at Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, Calif., received a five-star rating.

"The spas awarded (last week) are committed to service and have dedicated themselves to providing their guests with more than just luxurious facilities -- they provide the consumer with an oasis of calm in a fast-paced world," Kenneth P. Cohen, vice president, public affairs, Exxon Mobil Corp., said in a statement.

This is the second year Mobil has rated spas, and the first year that Spa Vita de Lago, which opened in February 2003, made the list. The other three Las Vegas spas were rated with four stars last year. Spas most be open a full year before they can be considered.

"We're delighted because not all Ritz Carlton hotels receive four stars, so we're in pretty wonderful company," said Bonnie Crail, a Ritz Carlton, Lake Las Vegas, spokeswoman.

The waxing of the spa industry over the past several years has been nothing short of phenomenal.

In the U.S., spa industry revenue topped $11.2 billion, compared with $2.2 billion in 1997, according to the International Spa Association (ISPA), based in Lexington, Ky.

It is estimated that there are 12,000 spas throughout the United States, including day spas of which there are more than 8,700 and $5.4 billion in revenue. Resort hotel spas are the next largest category, with more than 1,600 spas bringing in $4.5 billion in revenue. Between 1999 and 2004, the industry experienced a 290 percent increase in resort hotel spas, the association reported.

"The entire spa industry is exploding, and spas are becoming more mainstream. Spas can be found in large and small towns across the country," said Lynne Walker McNees, ISPA president. "People no longer see spas as pampering, but instead as a requisite to stay healthy."

Michelle Wilkos, director of Spa Bellagio, said the rating is important to attracting clients and showing that the spa is at the top of its game.

"A lot of people look online for their travel arrangements, and this is a good source of information for people to look for where to go," she said.

Wilkos said the spa industry in Las Vegas is evolving as more people come to the area's resorts specifically in search of a spa experience. Spa Bellagio is open only to people staying at the hotel or other MGM Mirage properties.

Crail said the spa at a resort hotel must be an integral part of the property.

"It can't be an afterthought; it has to be part of master plan for the property," she said.

She said because Spa Vita de Lago, which is open to people not staying at the resort, is not on the Strip, it gives spa-goers a different type of experience.

"Because it's at Lake Las Vegas, they are getting to see the outdoor side as well as the indoor spa," Crail said.

In addition to outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, massages also can be given outside along the water's edge, she said.