Those friends from L.A. and Miami who love to
tease you about Midwest winters will be hinting
for an invitation when you throw a
beat-the-cold, best-the-stress home spa party.
Home spa parties are "in," according to Spa
Finder, a major online spa resource (SpaFinder.com)
that listed home party in its Top Ten Spa Trends
The luxury of having a professional massage
or manicure at home appeals to folks who would
not ordinarily seek out a day spa, according to
people in the mobile spa business.
"Some people are shy about going to a spa.
But they are willing to try [spa treatments] at
a party since it is in a secure atmosphere. When
they try it, they see that they like it and want
to go to a spa," said Keith Sellers, who
operates Westmont-based Home Spa Sessions with
wife Riley Sellers. "I get a lot of, `Oh my god,
that is so awesome.'"
And that goes whether it's "just us girls," "bacheloring-it"
guys or mixed groups. "My wife recently did a
party where more guys showed up than girls,"
Many people prefer to have pros plan the
whole event, but it's possible to do it
yourself. Here are some tips about either route
to a home spa party:
LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS: Having someone come
in who will do the whole schmear--find and
schedule certified massage therapists, nail
technicians, estheticians (face and skin
treatments) and, if asked, provide food and
drink--relieves the stress of throwing a party.
"It's one-stop shopping," said Kirstina
Schuff, co-owner of Puur Spa, a San Diego-based
mobile day spa. Bringing her spa to customers
has become so popular that Schuff soon will be
opening Puur branches, mainly on the East Coast.
"Ever since 9/11 people have become more
homebodies. They're very family- and
friend-oriented," Schuff said. "It's more
comforting, personal, intimate and more
convenient than going out to a restaurant."
To up the spa fun a notch, professionals
suggest building around a theme or personalizing
treatments with clever names, whether using a
spa organizer or doing it oneself.
"It's like a private label. You can call it:
`Come to the--blank, could be your name or theme
or something clever--Spa.' We can personalize
the event by creating a massage oil for you with
the name or theme that you can send home with
guests," said spa party organizer Alexis Ufland.
Her New York-based SPArty's 11 branches,
including Chicago, have done parties for
everyone from Fortune 1000 companies to book
clubs. Two-hour SPArty packages average $130 to
$150 per person without food.
The Caribbean and tropics are popular themes
that Kim Espich, owner of Kurr Chicago Skin Care
and Wellness Retreat, a busy Lincoln Park spa,
has done for home and other off-site parties.
"When we did a Jamaican spa party with Bob
Marley [reggae] music, we had sheets on the
floor and sprinkled orchids around. With a
tropical theme, we can use Pure Fiji [skin care]
products of coconut creams and pineapple massage
oils," Espich said.
For guys and mixed groups she has done such
stuff as a Super Bowl Party. "Think `Foot Bowl.'
It's fun. It's masculine. We serve beer and have
products geared to men," she said.
She has a $10 per person fee for taking
treatments on the road, in addition to the
treatment costs. Some popular home services are
a $30 hand and foot treatment and a $40
How to match guests to all the treatments
they want is a scheduling feat that spa
organizers handle in different ways.
"Some people want a full massage table where
a person will go into a room for a half-hour
massage, then come back out to socialize or have
a nail treatment. It's fun, but I don't think
it's as much fun as mini-stations centered in a
main room that allow guests to be next to each
other," Ufland said. Those could include chair
massages, manicures and pedicures, makeup,
[painted on] henna tattoos and tarot card
reading. "With mini-treatments, everyone gets to
do everything," Ufland said.
Home Spa Sessions, which recommends longer
treatments, provides a coordinator as part of
the party package.
"You want to enjoy your own party, so you
have gone to somebody to organize everything,
but even then, it's a matter of getting everyone
where they need to go. If you are busy saying
`OK, Janet it's your turn,' you don't have time
to enjoy your own party," Sellers said.
Massages range from $40 for 30 minutes to $70
for an hour.
And speaking of costs: One way to cut them is
to do potluck or keep food to a minimum of
cheese and wine, dessert and teas. Another is to
make it Dutch treat, with guests paying for spa
DO-IT-YOURSELF: If you are one of those
people who really enjoys organizing a party, a
spa party is doable. Check with a favorite
massage therapist or nail technician about
coming to your house or ask a friend for
The Evanston-headquartered American Massage
Therapy Association lists local massage
therapists on its Web site, www.amtamassage.org.
A recent AMTA survey found that the average
range for member massage therapists' charges was
$16 for 15 minutes to $84 for 90 minutes.
Massage and nail specialists bring their own
supplies, but if you just want to have fun
without any outside professionals, lots of shops
carry beauty and skin care products, including
Lush, a Canadian organic cosmetics and skin care
company that recently opened a Chicago store at
859 W. Armitage Ave. (773-281-5874).
Most professionals also bring their own spa
music but if you have someone who doesn't, or
you're not bringing anyone in, then sort through
your CD collection for "spa" sounds such as New
Age artist Enya.