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A World Tour of Spa Botanicals

By: Mary Bemis
Founder & Editorial Director at InsidersGuidetoSpas.com

The best spas are a walk-in guidebook to local botanicals and healing lore.

For thousands of years, people have turned to hot mineral springs to soak in the restorative waters, but it wasn’t until the 17th Century that wealthy Europeans began traveling to spa towns that were built around thermal springs. Upon arriving at their destination, it wasn’t merely the benefits of the waters that were enjoyed—one reveled in the pleasures of natural resources, including gorgeous and grand landscaped gardens, home to numerous healing plants and herbs. A simple walk among the gardens, breathing in the fresh air and gentle aromas, was and is, pure magic—restorative, calming, and invigorating all at once… and of course, those healing botanicals worked their way into the treatments.

Q & A with Mary Bemis, Founder and Editorial Director, InsidersGuidetoSpas.com

cpna-6How has sustainability impacted the spa industry from an operator’s point of view?

There’s a growing demand for socially responsible hospitality. The key is to provide a luxury experience while at the same time making the guest feel like the experience has minimal impact—that’s the challenge. And some are doing that very well. When the green frenzy hit the spa industry, around 2006 or so, the emphasis was on how to obtain expensive certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)—but that led to an unrealistic excess based on almost arbitrary (for our industry) guidelines. The good news is that sustainability has made a lot of businesses much more efficient and accountable.