By  on November 9, 2007

LOS ANGELES — After having perfected their ambience, treatments and retail offerings, spas are now turning to a fundamental of the industry: water.

A growing clutch of high-end spas across the country are realizing that if they want to offer the purest and finest of everything to their clients, that has to extend to the quality of the water used in showers, Jacuzzis and hydrotherapy treatments.

"It's really about responding to consumers," said Jennifer Lynn, spa director of Qua Baths & Spa at the Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. "Of all the industries out there, the spa industry is very conscientious. We're looking out for the health and well-being of the consumer, and in order to do that we have to look at the health and well-being of our own business, including responding to water, and being a little more green and eco-conscious in the way we conduct business."

Spa managers are taking a two-pronged approach: One is to consider fitting showerheads with filters designed to neutralize the chlorine or bromine the water is treated with; secondly, they are considering revamping their systems so that hydrotherapy treatments, which involve immersion, use water that is as pure and nonchlorinated as possible.

Denise Vitiello, spa director of the Mandarin Oriental in New York, says she is considering some options for the personal shower rooms, vitality pools, amethyst crystal steam rooms and 'experience' showers in the luxury space. The facility recently launched its $300,000 Thai Yoga Suite, which includes a custom-made tub from Dallas-based Sanijet, where the water is purified with natural herbs and aromatherapy oils without any extra chlorine added.

"We really do walk the walk in recognizing that it has to be a truly results-oriented bathing experience," said Vitiello.

Next on her agenda is to look at various options to dechlorinate the water in showers.

"We are trying it out slowly," she said, conceding that chlorine can negate the therapeutic effects of the treatments. "But there is emphasis out there in the industry where people are more sensitive to what's happening with their water."

David Fowler, president and chief executive of Wellness Enterprises Inc. of Gainesville, Fla., a company that makes high-end shower and drinking water filters, agreed that the spa industry was waking up to the prospect of offering a higher quality of water.

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