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Back in 2004, the movie Cellular featured a character -- a cop -- who was about to retire. Was he going to spend his newly-found free time hunting, fishing, or traveling the world?
No. He was going to open a day spa.
That character was way ahead of his time. Spa treatments for men were popular back in 2004, but today, in 2012, men comprise 30% of all American spa go-ers, says Lynne McNees, president of ISPA, the International Spa Association. “We’ve been tracking men’s visits to spas, and they’ve been pretty consistent over the past 10 years,” McNees adds. According to her, spa revenue as a whole is up 4.5% over last year, with spa revenue in 2012 maxing out at $13.4 billion.
Like women, men want relaxation, McNees says, and they particularly like massages because they help them to manage their stress. “But,” she says, “They also want spa visits to help them be more flexible for their golf game, or to improve their basketball game.”
As a result, says McNees, spas have become increasingly competitive in their desire to attract male clients. She says that some spas offer specific men’s packages, and, along with doing that, usually change the aromatherapy scent to a more masculine fragrance. Spas, to entice men, also custom-select magazines displayed in the waiting room and also the programs shown on TV, to attract male clients.
There are just six men-only spas in the United States.
These include Nickel Spa for Men in New York City, The Grooming Lounge in Washington, D.C, and GQ Barber Lounge in Denver.
GQ Barber Lounge’s website describes itself as “a friendly sanctuary where men still rule. It’s your music. It’s your channels on the screens, and your magazines in the lobby.” The spa’s motto is “Real men smell great,” and its “performance haircuts” start at $38. The website also has a reading room with grooming tips and stories on style icons such as athlete’s David Beckham and Ryan Lochte – and their hair.
Sir Spa in Chicago, another male-only spa, bills itself as “where men get their go.” The facility includes a grooming club room with a 50-inch flat-panel TV, and services that include massages, abdominal wraps, a Sir Scrub full-body exfoliation, airbrush tanning, and a hot towel treatment with deep-pore cleansing and extractions that sounds suspiciously like a facial.
Yet another way a male-only spa can set itself apart is to offer amenities containing alcohol.
Kapalua Spa at Kapalua Resort on Maui offers a beer bath to men.
Meanwhile, the Spa at The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pa., offers a Gentleman’s Whiskey Body Scrub as well as a Gentleman’s Whiskey Facial. On its website, the spa explains that the treatment begins with a drinkable shot of whiskey, and includes a facial cleansing with the malt extract found in Scottish Whiskey, plus an anti-aging mask.
Debbi Kickham, who co-authored this article, is the author of the travel bestseller The Globetrotter’s Get-Gorgeous Guide and owns Maxima Marketing in Westwood, Mass.