Chilled kids and hot fudge scrubs


Forget the grown-ups, fancy holiday resorts are now offering all manner of pampering treatments to take the "stress" out of children's lives.

Do our children lead stressful lives? Or is pampering just part of the holiday experience for everyone these days?

I have a bit of trouble comprehending that children need relaxing body scrubs or pedicures.

Yet that's what's happening in hotel and resorts all over the world, with a rush towards offering children's treatments as part of the spa menu.

A few years ago it was nearly impossible to find a spa that would cater for under-16s; we now have spas catering for babies and toddlers. It's not just for girls, with many spas offering treatments designed for boys.

Parents fork out as much as $70 for a half-hour for their little ones to be pampered.

Book your next skiing trip to Whistler in Canada, and you can schedule the kids in for a hot fudge sundae or strawberry shortcake-scented massage and body scrub at the Four Seasons Resort.

It lasts 50 minutes and costs about $130.

Or head to the Deverana Spa at the Dusit Thani Maldives, where little people can now choose from a "happy feet" foot scrub, a lavender head massage, a chocolate-and-caramel hand wrap, or a massage where they get to mix up their own oils. The spa says the treatments offer a "playtime of glamour and natural healing" for children age six and up.

At the Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel in Portugal, age is no barrier at all, with the spa menu including a baby massage for about $50 for 25 minutes.

Babies and toddlers are also catered for at the Anantara Seminyak Resort in Bali, which claims to "come to the rescue of stressed-out kids everywhere".

The children's spa menu includes baby and toddler massage, along with packages for children aged from two to 12, combining a foot bath and body massage with a manicure and pedicure using fresh strawberries.

The Anantara resort says "the metrosexual little guys don't miss out", with a boys' manicure and pedicure also available.

Another resort catering for "young gentlemen" is the One & Only Le Saint Geran in Mauritius, which has boys' treatments including a muddy scalp treatment with neck and shoulder massage and a "beach rescue" facial.

At many spas, children's treatments are marketed as an opportunity for mother-daughter or father-son bonding, with packages including massages or manicures and pedicures for two.

At One & Only Le Saint Geran, mothers and daughters can sip at martinis and non-alcoholic "spa-tinis" while they get their nails done.

Families can go the whole works at the ESPA spa at the Phulay Bay Ritz Carlton Reserve in Krabi, Thailand, with mother-daughter and father-son packages including massage and facials for the girls and various types of massage for the boys.

The packages cost about $250 for two people, then you can add on a manicure or pedicure if you wish.

While all spas offering children's treatments say they use gentle, natural products, some have gone as far as introducing a dedicated children's skincare range.

The Vair Spa at the five-star Borgo Egnazia resort in Puglia, Italy, has introduced welcome kits of children's products for young guests.

Many spas promote teens' packages, to tame hormonal skin or as an introduction to skincare.

At the new Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek in Florida, the spa offers a "clear and pure facial" for children aged 12 to 17, where the therapists teach teens about home routines for clearer skin.

At the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, Thailand, the specialty is holiday hair braiding, with a range of intricate styles available from about $20 for a single braid to $50 for a full head.

Whatever the reasons for taking children to spas, it seems the demand is there.

Personally, I'm unconvinced.

I'm pretty sure if my kids were offered an ice cream body treatment, they'd really rather just eat it.

Serene spas

How do spas stop kids ruining the experience for other guests?

The spa manager for Hayman, Jonathan Westover, says noise is generally not a problem when a child attends the spa with a parent and they can be reminded to use their "spa voice". However, Hayman also offers kids' spa parties and this presents more of a challenge.

"Kids will be kids and when they get together and have fun there will always be some noise," Westover says. "Fortunately we have separate areas that allow them to enjoy themselves without disrupting the other guests."

This story Chilled kids and hot fudge scrubs first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.