Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"A Different Demographic" at the Spa

One of the "riff raff" at Spa Montage

I had to laugh when I read this article in the LA Times Business Section about how the swanky Orange County resorts are dealing with slow business in these recessionary times.
"The Montage has offered rooms on certain slower weekdays this summer at $425, down $100 from the cheapest room two years ago, and the St. Regis dropped its price to $325 a night for a few rooms on off nights. And though Pelican Hill won't cut its sticker price, if you shell out $795 for an 847-square-foot bungalow you get two rounds of golf or two spa treatments thrown in.

"From a consumer standpoint, there are going to be some wonderful values," Wise said. "And tee times are more readily available."

But price cutting is tricky for hotels that on weekends even now can command minimum prices of $600 to $800 a night for vacationers. Cheaper rooms at upscale resorts attract "a different demographic," as Wise delicately put it -- people who hoteliers fear might spend lightly in restaurants, damage the furnishings and perhaps alienate wealthier travelers."

I think it's hilarious that clientele who are willing to pay the $425 bargain basement price are considered a "different demographic." I didn't know that spending nearly $500 (with tax) for a room qualifies one for the riff-raff crowd.

If that's the case, I must have been Spa Montage's* worst nightmare. You see, clients can pay for a service at the spa (in my case, a one-hour therapeutic massage) and then spend all day using the facilities and taking fitness classes. My friend and I started our day at 8 am with a cardio class, took a one-hour beach walk with an instructor and capped off the day with a late-afternoon yoga class. The rest of the time we soaked in the steam room or jacuzzi or swam in the pool. I think I must have used about 32 dozen towels. We closed the place down at 9 pm.

My favorite part was standing under the warm waterfall, but the wet pellets shot off my body on to unsuspecting guests. I don't know how to act. I'm used to the $15 Chinese foot massage places.

See? That Wise guy was right. I probably scared away the wealthy travelers.

*For the record, Spa Montage treated us like queens.


Karen said...

Oh brother ...

We manage to stay in hotels far cheaper than $500/night and we (only rarely) damage the furniture or annoy other guests!

Susan C said...

He, he.

I don't know. After a few sips of the complimentary bottle of Cab, I'm ready to throw around a few of the Louis XVI chairs.

Ann said...

So glad you had a good time and that you contained your inner rock star and abstained from throwing a tv into the pool. :)

Susan C said...

Ann, I didn't even think of throwing a TV into the pool. Darn. You should have been there with me.

Are you allowed to be in public pools, jacuzzis or steam rooms yet?

Trish said...

The last place we stayed in was considerably less than $500 a night with fewer services and yup, there was THAT crowd. You know, the kind, they had CHILDREN! gasp!

We have stayed in a number of places that don't have the TV remote glued to the side table and amazingly enough, NEVER once thought to damage the place. I have stayed in swanky places with issues---including MY favorite, a place in Coronado where I found a LARGE stack of porn magazines under one club chair after I moved it to get a better look at the TV. I called the manager directly and asked him to come to my room to explain something to me. He turned BEET red when I pointed out my special "in room extra". I was told to have anything out of the mini bar I wanted and comp'd a few other things "for my trouble".

Glad you had a great time, despite being "riff-raff". Jealous of the pool thing but glad you got to splash other non-riff-raff guests!

wv: no kidding it was "dings" as in, dings the furniture, dings the spa!

Ronni Gordon said...

Sounds heavenly, and so affordable! Loved the photo. My cousin massaged my back for a few minutes in NYC. Does that count as spa treatment? When I come visit in California maybe you'll take me to the real thing. :-)

Susan C said...

Trish, That's a hilarious story about the porn. Gee, if we were really riff-raff, we would travel with a magazine and pull a stunt like the desperate diner who places a bug in his soup.

When I was in my 20s and working at my first decent paying job, we stayed at the historic Greenbrier resort in WV. I had to pack a million outfits because you need proper attire for each activity: dining, tea, riding, tennis, etc. I found that a drag.

Then I saw in the room that you could send your clothing to be pressed. There were no prices, so I sent everything. When we checked out there was this charge for more than a hundred extra dollars. I was genuinely shocked and explained that I assumed it was free because there were no prices. They removed the charge.

Lesson: You can take the girl out of Ravenswood, but you can't take the Ravenswood out of the girl.

Ronni, You would LOVE the Montage. But you'd also love the Chinese massage places (where I've taken Trish and our friend Bill "Baby Bird").

Margaret said...

I love that picture of you!

Trish said...

LOL..Victor/Victoria comes to mind Susan with the bug.

omg on the charges---when I was young my mother went to a conference, left me in the hotel room and told me to eat breakfast---I learned that room service is NOT cheap! oops.

I can attest to the massage in Alhambra...omg, the poor guy got his workout that day working on me! Just wish I could find anyone near me to do even half the job!

Petrea said...

You're going to treasure these photos.

Nelle said...

OMg that waterfall thing looks wonderful and if I could look like that in a white no less bathing suit my world would take a big turn upward! The last place I spent the night was a hotel in Philadelphia. Room was NOTHING although hotel billed itself as upscale and room was $230 a night as part of a wedding group. Cost me another $30 to park in their garage. Wouldn't want to go back there but can't afford better digs. LOL

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