Tapas, the little plates served with sample-size morsels, aren’t just popular on the dining scene. They’re all the rage in the spa world, too. That's probably because the recession-friendly mini treatments, called Spa Tapas, appeal to two main concerns of spa-goers or those who want to be: lack of time and money.
Stand-alone Spa Tapas services can last about 15 to 25 minutes and are priced to match at around $50 or less. They might include a 15-minute poolside massage at the Four Seasons Houston for $30 or a 25-minute facial for $50 at the Hyatt Regency Newport in Rhode Island. A 20-minute blackhead relief facial at the Dermalogica Spa in New York City just clears and prevents breakouts, and dispenses with everything else normally included in a facial to keep the price tag at a super-reasonable $30.
While these low-investment, low-risk tapas-size treatments sound delicious, many spas use the term loosely – or incorrectly – so it’s good to read the fine print.
At the Sense Spa at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City, guests have the choice of several types of treatments within three categories – body treatment (scrub or wrap), massage, and facial. Kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure spa treatment. The three tapas total one 70-minute treatment and $180.
The Spa Tapas menu at the Sonoran Spa at Westward Look Resort in Arizona actually features “appetizers,” “main courses,” and “sides.” But here you have to buy a main course massage or facial for $79, before you can get a 25-minute ($59) side dish. And $10 appetizers like hot stones and essential oils are really just add-ons.
So you might show up for a snack, and end up buying a meal.