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Is now the right time to invest in a spa? In recent months, it seems as if, wherever one turns, hotel owners and hotel operators are adding spas to their package of products and services. From the most luxurious hotels such as Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons all the way to Butlins and Centre Parks, everyone is getting in on the act.

Hotel branding companies such as Starwood have added spa brands to their portfolio and we’ve got hotel brands like Six Senses which have a spa as a core element of the offer.

In th

e 1980s, every hotel seemed to feel the need to add waterbeds, faxes and a mini-bar into the bedrooms and in the 1990s every hotelier felt obligated to add a fitness room, outsource food and beverage, implement branded breakfasts and later internet connectivity and game joysticks. In this decade, we’ve seen a headlong rush to add flat screen TVs and free WiFi – and now spas. As the historic examples illustrate, sometimes such fashionable elements of product or service become embedded in the core expectation of guests and remain permanent features in brand standards. But some trendy items prove an expensive side show in the long term. Are spas here to stay as a core element of hotels or are they a passing fad?

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