“Sometimes guests will have a massage every day, even people who come for a long period of time,” says In Residence (inresidence.villas) owner Elana Brundyn. “They’re almost obsessed.” Cape Town–based Brundyn and her husband, Pieter, run a portfolio of ultra-luxury villas located around the world, from beachfront Casa Tesoro in Punta Mita, Mexico (from $9,500/night), to clifftop Villa Julia on the island of Kea in Greece (from $2,045/night) and Cape Town’s Iron Man House (from $20,000/night). What sets the Brundyn-run collection apart from many other assortments is the emphasis it places on wellness, specifically spa treatments. Most of the nightly rates at their premium properties include unlimited massages, manicures, or whatever a guest requires. Such on-demand, unlimited indulgence is the latest all-inclusive trend in luxury hospitality.
Cheetah Plains(cheetahplains.com), a sleek safari lodge in Sabi Sands, South Africa, rosters its villas (from $9,000/night for four people) with a personal chef, sommelier, and beauty therapist all on tap as needed. Book a Sanctuary Suite (from $730/night) at Thailand’s Banyan Tree Bangkok banyantree.com and you can spend your entire stay inside the accommodation’s private spa treatment room, indulging in body scrubs or massages, whether Ayurvedic or Thai.
Any group that commandeers Àni Dominican Republic (aniprivateresorts.com) for a buyout of its suites (from $6,150/night for four suites) can tap the spa staff on demand. And unsurprisingly, such indulgence is particularly popular among resorts in the pamper-prone Maldives: guests of Four Seasons Private Island at Voavah, Baa Atoll ($40,000/night; fourseasons.com), Anantara Kihavah (Sunset Over Water Pool Residences from $12,000/night; anantara.com), and Kudadoo Maldives Private Island (Ocean Residences from $3,400/night; kudadoo.com) can book packages that bundle those services, buffet-style, into their overnight rate.
Kudadoo Maldives is a particular favorite of Kevin Waldon, who runs the travel agency Departure Lounge (departurelounge.com) in Austin, Texas. “For the right clients, the unlimited package is a huge plus—there’s never a risk that a client can’t get a spa appointment,” he says, noting too that this trend has mirrored the increasing popularity of standalone villas; their footprint often now includes spacious treatment rooms.
And as the perception of spa services has shifted away from simple pampering to a focus on holistic well-being of all kinds, it’s boosted the appeal of an on-call therapist, adds Caroline Sylger-Jones, founding partner of spa guide Queen of Retreats (queenofretreats.com). “If you have unlimited funds, but are not feeling great about life, it makes sense that the focus moves from an abundance of stuff to consume to an offering that nurtures you, feeds you emotionally,” she says. Demographic changes are important too. “‘Spa’ was traditionally the preserve of an older female guest, but that’s dramatically shifted. The overly stimulated young are finding solace in some digital detox time.”
That’s certainly the case for Brundyn and In Residence. She’s found that their emphasis on an all-inclusive spa has attracted an unexpected new client niche: professional athletes. “They might have a massage twice a day,” she says, “To them, it’s everything.”