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Thu 12 Feb 2009 04:00 AM

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Special treatment

Help delegates strike that all-important work-life balance by combining meetings with massages.

Help delegates strike that all-important work-life balance by combining meetings with massages.

With stressful factors such as heavy traffic, increased competition and not to mention the credit crunch, it's no wonder that spa is becoming an essential amenity for corporate planners booking hotels.

In fact, Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa director incentive sales Karin Andrews even goes as far as saying that recreational wellness is just "the norm" in most incentive programmes and corporate meetings these days.

"This is because spa and meetings go well together, whether it's a whole programme or just part of the incentive," says Andrews.

"There's a lot of stress and increased pressure on everybody to deliver - that is why if you book a spa treatment as part of a corporate programme it is certainly bound to be a big hit," she adds.

Furthermore, whether you are looking at a day package or a full-on week-long incentive trip, often meetings programmes involving spa are extremely flexible. And while spa gives the impression of luxury pampering, packages can be developed to fit the budget.

"Spa is always something we can propose to a planner, as it's so varied it can be done on a budget. You'll find that there is an assortment of treatments which are not expensive," says Andrews.

The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton is currently in the process of developing special packages which can be incorporated straight into a business traveller's itinerary with minimal planning, and which can be mixed with other incentive activities at the planner's discretion.

It seems as though the trend is catching across the MENA region, with the new Nayara Spa at the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa incorporating special meetings packages, which combine the usual business accommodation, airport transfers and access to leisure facilities with a complementary spa treatment.

As Andrews points out, another reason for this could be that due to longer working hours, more and more delegates are bringing their spouses along on business trips.

"It can be tricky finding activities for spouses while delegates are in a meeting or attending a conference; combining spa with a lunch can be the ideal solution," she says.

So if you're still not convinced, MIME showcases three of the region's best hotels offering the perfect mix of business and leisure. The Spa, the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa

The Spa is focused on creating an exclusive luxury wellness haven targeted at the high-end client.

The relaxing massage treatments are most popular with businessmen, according to assistant spa manager Andrea Rollins, while businesswomen may choose to take advantage of the soothing properties of the Thalasso pool.

The perfect meeting environment, the Ritz-Carlton offers 3500m² of meeting, conference and banqueting facilities, which includes two ballrooms.

Web:www.ritzcarlton.com

Email:comments@ritzcarlton.com

Tel:+973 (0)1 758 0000

Nayara spa at the Hilton Luxor Hotel & Spa

The new Nayara Spa boasts contemporary treatments rooms and five treatment suites located in front of the Nile, a stunning infinity-edged pool, as well as a variety of other luxury features.

Furthermore, spa manager Marco Da Silva says that the spa offers a range of packages, including the option for corporates to rent suites by the hour for exclusive access and privacy.

In terms of meeting facilities, the hotel boasts an impressive boardroom, meeting rooms and a business centre.

Web:www.hiltonworldresorts.com

Email:Luxor@hilton.com

Tel:+20 (0)95 237 4933

RafflesAmrita Spa at Raffles Dubai

RafflesAmrita Spa features an exotic range of rejuvenating and pampering treatments inspired from Middle Eastern, European and Asian traditions.

The spa comprises seven treatment rooms, including a couple's spa suite, with its own private whirlpool and terrace.

Let delegates escape in the tropical setting of Raffles Botanical Garden, or use the other leisure facilities, which include a pool, gym, a sauna and steam room.

For meetings, Raffles Dubai offers a choice of 11 rooms, as well as a grand ballroom and flexible garden space.

Web:www.dubai.raffles.com

Email:dubai@raffles.com

Tel:+971 (0)4 324 8888

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