SpaFinder Announces 2008 Readers' Choice Awards Winners

SpaFinder Announces 2008 Readers' Choice Awards Winners, Spotlighting Spa-Goers' Favorite Spas In The World

Sixth Annual Awards Mark First Time A Non-US Spa Takes Top North American Honors, Underscoring Growth of Global Spa Industry

Spa Visitors Cast Over 250,000 Votes Globally, A New Record

New York, NY — September 16, 2008 — SpaFinder, Inc., the global spa resource, today announced the winners of its prestigious 2008 Readers' Choice Awards, revealing spa-goers' favorite spas across the globe — by continent and country/region — as well as their top picks for the best spas in 25 specific categories. In addition to the diverse geographic regions traditionally recognized in the awards program, new favorites in remote locations such as Kynsa, South Africa and Queensland, Australia demonstrate how a fresh generation of spas are enticing global travelers.

"We're proud to carry our Readers' Choice Awards into their sixth year, reflecting the unvarnished opinions of actual spa goers from every part of the world," said SpaFinder, Inc. President Susie Ellis. "As our industry's version of the 'Academy Awards,' our goal is to shine a global spotlight on those deserving spas that offer truly exceptional experiences to their guests."

The 2008 awards are based on over 250,000 votes submitted worldwide by visitors and readers of SpaFinder publications, representing the most complete consumer assessment of the global spa market available today. In all, ballots were cast for over 1,500 different spas around the world by visitors who have used these properties personally in the past three years.

SpaFinder Crystal Award Winners for 2008
Most coveted are SpaFinder's Crystal Awards, which recognize the most extraordinary spa on each of six continents. This year's winners are:
Africa: Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, Kynsa, South Africa
Asia: The Peninsula Hong Kong, China
Australia: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Queensland, Australia
Europe: Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany
North America: Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico
South America: El Alvear Palace, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Notably, this year marks the first time that a non-US spa took home the North America award. And several of these Crystal Award winners have leapt to the forefront virtually overnight: Gwinganna has been open only two years, while Pezula has been open only three.

SpaFinder Country/Region Winners for 2008
Awards are given for the top spa in each of 27 countries and regions. Four new countries have been added this year, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, and Singapore, reflecting significant growth in these spa markets.

In the United States, Arizona retains its leadership as the favorite spa state with Canyon Ranch Tucson taking the top US spa spot this year. Elsewhere, repeat winners include the Peninsula Spa in Hong Kong, Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa of Germany, Rancho La Puerta of Mexico, Kurotel Longevity Center of Brazil, St. Anne's Country Inn of Canada, The BodyHoliday of St. Lucia, Ananda in the Himalayas of India, Four Seasons Resort Bali of Indonesia, and Chiva-Som of Thailand.