In a Class of Their Own: Spa Finder Announces New Connoisseur Spa Program...'Connoisseur' Designation Will Guide Consumers to the Ultimate Spa Experience; Connoisseur Charter Members Named

New York, NY ­ February 20, 2003 ­ Spa Finder (, the world's largest spa marketing and publishing company, today announced the launch of its new Spa Finder Connoisseur Spa Program and the selection of 22 of the world's top spas to be awarded the Spa Finder 'Connoisseur Spa' designation. The Connoisseur Spa label is awarded only to those spas whose programs, ambience and management offer spa-goers the highest level of quality attainable in a spa experience. The program is designed to help consumers easily identify the elite class of spa they seek, while assisting those spas in marketing themselves to a specific clientele looking for the ultimate in luxury and service.

'Spa Finder is recognizing that a new category of spa has emerged because the industry is experiencing such exceptional growth,' says Pete Ellis, chairman and CEO of Spa Finder, Inc. At the same time, according to Ellis, the Connoisseur Spa program offers participating spas a new way to reach those spa-goers who are specifically looking for the level of luxury and service they have to offer. 'As always, our goal is to help consumers identify which spa best suits their tastes.'

To qualify as a Connoisseur Spa, a spa must satisfy a variety of strict criteria. One is a high staff-to-guest ratio, usually two or more staff members to every guest. A spa must also possess extraordinary ambience within the property and the spa, exceptional guest services and outstanding cuisine and dining atmosphere. Connoisseur Spas are featured on and listed in a special section of Spa Finder Magazine's directory issues.

Special consumer recognition was also considered, including receipt of awards such as the Spa Finder Readers' Choice Award. In addition, Spa Finder cross-referenced the most widely used industry classification systems and awarded the Connoisseur Spa designation only to the small number of spas that were consistently rated highest by all systems. 'Less than one percent of spas worldwide can meet this criteria,' says Ellis. 'These are properties that offer the consumer a once-in-a-lifetime experience.'

To locate a Connoisseur Spa, spa-seekers can simply log on to the 'Spa Travel' section of the Spa Finder website and go directly to the 'Connoisseur Spa' section. This new section of the site allows consumers to browse detailed overviews of each of the Connoisseur Spa properties, and to directly link to each Connoisseur Spa property for further information and booking.

Spas selected to receive the Spa Finder Connoisseur Spa designation are:

Anara Spa, Hyatt Regency Kauai, HI

Auberge du Soleil, CA

Banyan Tree Phuket, Thailand

The Breakers, FL

Cal-A-Vie, CA

Canyon Ranch, AZ and MA

Capri Palace, Italy

The Golden Door, CA

The Greenbrier, WV

The Greenhouse, TX

Hotel de Paris, Monaco

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Mexico

Le Mirador Resort & Spa, Switzerland

Le Trianon Palace, France

Mandarin Oriental Miami, FL

Miraval Life in Balance, AZ

Pangkor Laut, Malaysia

Parrott Cay, Turks & Caicos

Royal Parc Evian, France

Wyndham Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, AZ

Wyndham Las Casitas Village & Golden Door Spa, PR

Media Contacts:
RBI Communications, Inc.
Maggie Marshall, 323.960.1360 ext. 30, [email protected]
Betsy Smith Isroelit, 323.960.1360 ext. 17, [email protected]