A Spa Package Without the Fine Print

by  Melisse Gelula | May 5, 2010
Spa / kzenon/iStock

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I get a lot of press releases for special spa packages sent to me. There’s commonly a package theme like Romance, Mother’s Day, or a girlfriend getaway. This last one often includes cocktails…as well as a room for two, a spa treatment (or two), and sometimes an activity like yoga or meals. Packages are a popular way to book a spa trip, but they’re not the same thing as a spa deal.

In fact, when I add up the value of items included in a spa package as if I were paying for them à la carte, 3 out of 5 times it costs less or the same. Also don’t assume the perks listed as part of a spa package were specially created just for you. (You know what they say about assuming things...) Free access to the spa and gym facilities during your stay is commonly listed as a package perk. But you should check to see if all guests at the resort get this amenity. And a welcome cocktail or turn-down service. Furthermore, the package price can quickly become a jumping board for fees like airport transfers and parking, meals (which add up the farther away from civilization you are), plus gratuities, and resort taxes.

So you can imagine how refreshing it was to see this in my inbox: HOTEL VALLEY HO ANNOUNCES THE $555 NO SURPRISE PACKAGE

I like no surprises better than surprises! The spa math of this hip downtown Scottsdale resort comes out to be a pretty good deal. Here’s why:

  • It’s an $850 value for $555: That’s a savings of 35 percent — or, more meaningfully, about $275 per person
  • Two-night stay in a Signature Guest Room
  • Two drinks upon arrival (expect a signature cocktail)
  • Two 60-minute spa treatments of the guests’ choice at VH Spa for Vitality + Health (It’s a total bonus that you can pick your own treatment on a package. I recommend the Priori Coffeeberry Yoga Facial, because it includes great skin-care products and lots of massage)
  • Dinner for two at Trader Vic’s (a three-course Prix Fixe meal, but whatever)
  • Breakfast for two on both mornings of stay in Café ZuZu

And, music to my ears, the package includes all taxes and gratuities. You just pay for lunches and one dinner and any airport transfers or parking. Oh, and something the package doesn’t brag about: Wi-Fi is provided throughout the hotel, so you won’t feel nickeled and dimed. www.hotelvalleyho.com

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