Planners say that spa availability is an increasingly important factor in hotel site selection. Now, two hotel companies, Wyndham International and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, are banking on the appeal of a spa brand—separate from the hotel—to build name recognition. Wyndham’s Golden Door is a well-known spa name, while Fairmont is starting from scratch with Willow Stream. Both spa brands are characterized by big, luxurious facilities equipped for state-of-the-art fitness and pampering.
Wyndham acquired the rights to the Golden Door spa brand when it purchased the Golden Door destination spa in Escondido, Calif., in 1998.
According to Jay Litt, senior vice president of resort operations for Wyndham, that acquisition was not really about anticipating a hotel spa trend. "What we did recognize was the trend toward wellness and holistic health," Litt says. "We thought the inclusion of the well-known Golden Door name in our portfolio would be a draw for people who were looking for alternatives or enhancements to their resort stay. "
Since the Golden Door acquisition, Wyndham has opened Golden Door spas at The Boulders in Carefree, Ariz.; Las Casitas Village in Puerto Rico; and the Wyndham Peaks Resort in Telluride, Colo.
Fairmont first introduced the Willow Stream name at the Fairmont Banff Springs ski resort in Alberta, Canada. Now a total of six of the 39 Fairmont hotels have Willow Stream spas—in Scottsdale, Ariz., Bermuda, and Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia—and a new Willow Stream is due to open in Acapulco, Mexico, this fall, says Brian Richardson, vice president of brand.
Richardson says Fairmont is building the spas "both as a complement to what already exists at our hotels—golf or skiing, for instance—as well as to draw people who are specifically looking for the spa experience. There’s definitely an emerging market."