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Taking Care of Business—and Yourself

Resort spas offer opportunities to relax and recharge

By Wensdy Von Buskirk

For the past three years, Fremont Insurance has hosted its winter conference at Boyne Mountain Resort. Anywhere from 250 to 300 agents, along with their families, gather for a Thursday morning meeting followed by an afternoon of fun. Some choose to spend the day at the water park; others hit the slopes, and a handful book time at The Spa. “Their spa is so well done, so professional, and extremely relaxing,” says Beth Frey, a sales support specialist for Fremont Insurance.

Before the conference, Frey sends a survey to attendees so they can choose how they wish to spend their downtime. Those who select the spa list their top three services. Fremont covers a set amount of the cost and employees make up any difference. Boyne’s spa manager books the appointments and guests receive complimentary access to the fitness center, sauna, and spa all day. Post-event surveys reflect that participants appreciate the experience. “Everybody was very thankful,” Frey says. “I personally went to the spa, and I loved it. It’s such a wonderful space.”

Fremont hosts its annual meeting to bring agents together to bond over business and leisure. The spa may not be the primary reason they choose Boyne, but it’s an appealing enhancement for agents and their guests. 

Spas are designed to help people relax, recharge, and refocus with healing treatments like facials, massages, and hydrotherapy. Most offer manicures and pedicures, and some incorporate salon services like haircuts and waxing. Resort spas may include use of swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms. 

Crystal Spa's therapeutic hot basalt stone massage. May 16, 2023
Crystal Spa’s therapeutic hot basalt stone massage CREDIT Crystal Mountain

Planners can weave spa services into an event in various ways, from welcoming guests with chair massages to incorporating spa products and service menus in the swag bags. Some meetings allocate spa time in the agenda by renting out a block of treatment rooms or hosting an after-hours mixer in a spa relaxation room. Others let guests book services on their own and charge the cost to a master bill or arrange a group discount for those who choose to use it. 

At 19,500 square feet and offering 19 treatment rooms, The Spa at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls offers a full complement of services, including a hair salon and fitness center. Meeting planners can order day passes that allow access to the whirlpool, steam room, cedar sauna, indoor-outdoor pool, and fitness facilities. Another group option is to rent out the relaxation lounge and order charcuterie platters, wraps, chocolate-covered strawberries, and drinks from the new spa catering menu.

The remodeled Chalet Edelweiss with 35 boutique rooms is a more intimate choice. Guests arrive at the European-inspired hotel via Chalet Valet and can find an exclusive sauna circuit with a steam room, ice cooldown, and a cozy sitting area for brainstorming or networking. “Wellness is a big part of what people want to be able to incorporate—healthy menus, healthy activities,” says Erin Ernst, director of communications for Boyne Resorts. “Events aren’t just indoors anymore, sitting through hours of education. There’s an overall sense of people wanting to make sure they’re taking care of themselves.”

Tucked in the woods of northwestern Lower Michigan, Crystal Mountain’s LEED-certified sustainable spa steeps guests in nature. At Crystal Spa, guests may arrive two hours before scheduled services, don a robe and slippers, and enjoy the outdoor meditation garden hot tub, eucalyptus steam room, infrared sauna, and relaxation room with hot teas and snacks. 

Elevated yoga at Crystal Mountain. May 16, 2023
Elevated yoga at Crystal Mountain CREDIT Crystal Mountain

The 18,500-square-foot spa has 12 service rooms and was listed in the top 100 spas by Spas of America for the last 10 years, currently ranking No. 1 in Michigan and 15th in the country. 

Standout services include the Vichy Shower, which can be combined with body scrubs and wraps, along with the new Crystal for Men, with hot towel treatments and massages using organic products.

“We’re trying to get more men into the spa so they don’t think it’s just for ladies,” says Brittney Buti, public relations manager for Crystal Mountain. Groups can also arrange for mountaintop yoga classes through the spa. 

In Acme at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, groups of up to 2,500 can meet in the property’s several indoor and outdoor spaces, stay in some 600 guest rooms and condominiums, and spend time at the Spa Grand Traverse. The facility includes 23 treatment rooms, indoor pools, hot tubs, a dry sauna, and a relaxation area complete with a fireplace. Other small touches put the atmosphere over the top, says Dawn Olsen, director of recreation and spa. Think scented candles, beverage stations, and homemade snacks. “Everyone talks about our granola,” Olsen quips. 

Massages with Crystal for Men. May 16, 2023
Massages with Crystal for Men CREDIT Crystal Mountain

Groups can make spa services an optional part of their free time or block out the entire facility. “For conferences and incoming groups, the biggest thing for us is our sheer size,” says Olsen, noting that conferences are opting to include spa services to adhere to the trend of work-life balance. “When a big conference is coming, the beauty is if they want to give some of their attendees the gift of [a] spa, we can handle quite a few people at a time. 

“Spas allow professionals to unplug, detach, and relax from everyday life. Who doesn’t need that?” she says. “That’s what spas can offer and that correlates really well with giving attendees a little break in the meeting schedule to utilize these types of services.”

Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, MGM Grand Detroit has 30,000 square feet of event space, from its swank Grand Ballroom to high-tech boardrooms. It also features 400 plush guest rooms with views of the city. 

Shoreside views of Lake Huron at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island. May 16, 2023
Shoreside views of Lake Huron at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island CREDIT Mission Point Resort

While its casino may be top of mind when people think of the MGM Grand, the high-rise also has a beautiful resort-style spa. Immerse Spa features a heated saltwater infinity pool, steam room, and sauna, along with signature massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures. Spa Manager Aaron Thomas suggests leaving plenty of time within your convention schedule for pampering. “People tend to hang out … and spend the whole day here,” he says.   

Julie Webster, director of hotel operations, says the spa is a must for meeting-goers. “When you think of MGM Grand, you think of the excitement and energy in the building,” she says. “But as soon as you walk into Immerse Spa, you can feel the ambiance, quietude, and calm. It just washes right over you. It’s a hidden gem.”

MGM Grand Detroit's indoor saltwater infinity pool. May 16, 2023
MGM Grand Detroit’s indoor saltwater infinity pool CREDIT MGM Grand Detroit

On the other side of the state in St. Joseph, the water of Lake Michigan sets the scene for tranquility at the Inn at Harbor Shores, which can accommodate groups of up to 380 in its Harborview Ballroom, with lodging in suites or condos. The facility features classic coastal architecture and a marina with cycleboats (a pontoon boat where passengers sit on bike seats and pedal at their own pace to propel the vessel across the water), charter fishing, and sailing. In addition to massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures, The Spa at Harbor Shores is a full-service spa that also includes beauty treatments like spray tans and eyelash lifts or tints. Guests are welcome to use the sauna and relaxation room as well. 

Director of Sales Elizabeth Hacker works with groups to design and build a spa visit into the agenda. It works especially well with three-day conferences and retreats, she says. “Usually, groups come in with a welcome reception in the evening,” Hacker says. “The next day, they go really hard with meetings all day and dinner. The last day is a half-day meeting and the rest of the day they are free to do different activities. Some go to the spa. People are realizing how important it is to keep your people healthy in the workplace. Self-care is so important.”

  • boynemountain.com
  • crystalmountain.com
  • grandtraverseresort.com
  • harborshoresresort.com
  • mgmgrand.mgmresorts.com
  • missionpoint.com

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