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Relax & Book Your Next Event at a Spa

By Ilene Wolff

Give your guests some welcome “me” time by booking a your next event at a venue with a spa. “The spa very much plays into meetings,” says Dawn Olsen, spa director at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme. “People like to come and do conferences and learn more, but they also want a little time for themselves.”

That “little time for themselves” at Grand Traverse ranges from chair massages and paraffin hand treatments during meeting breaks, to spa treatments combined with a trip to nearby Bowers Harbor Winery or Turtle Creek Casino. The spa at Grand Traverse has 23 treatment rooms and offers 25-minute express massages, manicures and pedicures for those in a hurry. Hosts may want to establish a spa master account with an accompanying roster of available services as a special thank you to employees or clients.

For those seeking advanced skin reju-venation or hair removal, Grand Traverse also partners with the Center for Skin Care at Copper Ridge, which is staffed by local plastic surgeons.

Nearby, in Thompsonville, is Crystal Mountain’s Crystal Spa, the first spa to be LEED certified (for environmental sound-ness) in the Midwest. Centrally located at the golf and ski resort, the spa offers a full line of massage, skin care, nail, waxing and makeup services, and also has a Vichy shower.

The spa—which can accommodate up to 75 guests for a private function—includes an out-door hot tub, complete with a heated floor to keep tootsies toasty. Both the male and female locker rooms include shared, single-sex saunas and eucalyptus steam rooms.

Downtown Grand Rapids’ Amway Hotel Collection offers spas at both the Amway Grand Plaza and the JW Marriott. Caitlin McClelland, spa manager, says that in recent years she’s seen a change in the mindset of those who come in for a buff and polish. “Now the thought process is, [it’s about] your health and well-being,” she says. “Many of them are here looking for a way to relax.”

Spa accommodations at the two hotels are similar, with the Amway Grand also offering a hair salon. All treatment rooms can accom-modate couples. Manis and pedis are done in a common room with five stations. Both hotels’ spas tie their services to local cul-ture: After USA Today readers picked Grand Rapids as Beer City USA, the spas added hops and barley exfoliation to their full body scrub and massage, and they use the same scrub ingredients and a beer foot bath for a special pedicure.

McClelland works with meeting planners to tailor events to particular needs and budgets. Spa staff did 108 body massages in one day for a corporate client’s retreat; for a charity’s annual meeting, staff gave 15-minute chair massages. Amway Grand’s salon can be closed for parties of four or more. The hotel can cater meals, and photographers are welcome.

Further north, in Gaylord, Treetops Resort has a salon, four treatment rooms and a pedi party room with four pedicure and two mani-cure stations. Spa guests also have access to a hot tub, a workout facility and an indoor-outdoor pool. The venue offers catering in its spa; Treetops says men sometimes take over the pedi party room for man-icures, complete with beer, pizza and snacks.

“It’s not uncommon that we will have groups that book the spa for the day,” says Barry Owens, general manager, who says the space can accommodate up to 40 guests. However, booking the spa requires at least eight months’ advance notice, depending on group size.

For those who prefer to book their event in the D, there’s the MGM Grand Detroit’s Immerse Spa, the only spa in Michigan with a four-star rating from Forbes Travel. “That designation in itself designates a particu-lar level of product and services,” says Lisa Williams, executive director of sales. “And we’ve maintained that since our first year of operation.”

Immerse’s services range from five-minute chair massages during event coffee breaks to spa buyouts for a full day, which also includes access to a pool, Jacuzzi, hot tubs and lock-er rooms. Specialized massage services are available for those with medical conditions as well as for pregnant women. Williams says the MGM Grand is so popular that those who want to book a Saturday evening event should act a year in advance, while Friday and Sunday evening events require a reserva-tion a few months before the special date.