The Emergence of the Men's Spa Franchise

The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh caters to men with soothing massages and more.

While male-only spas aren’t new to the industry, they are becoming more commonplace with the emergence of franchises like Hammer and Nails (multiple locations), a grooming shop for guys. Sir Spa (Chicago), which debuted in 2006, is thriving thanks to its ability to make men feel at home. It does that by providing a more masculine atmosphere with clean lines, dark hardwood floors in common areas, exposed brick in the treatment rooms, and heated tile floors in the locker room. According to spa director Markus Zbinden, two of the biggest misconceptions people have about male spa-goers are that they don’t like to be pampered or care about their appearance. “Most of our clients are businessmen and men who care about how they look,” says Zbinden. “We recognize that and are here to help.” And if that isn’t enough to convince you, the statistics on male grooming trends speak for themselves. 

“Our main goal here at Sir Spa is to relax, refuel, and renew,” says Zbinden. “This has been our motto since day one.” According to him, the biggest change he has witnessed over the years is the need for relaxation and downtime. Fortunately, self-care is a popular wellness concept that crosses gender lines. “Be it massage, skincare, or just a steam, as our other motto states, ‘We are where men get their go,’” says Zbinden. “Being in a large city like Chicago—to have a space like Sir Spa—where men can go, unwind, and treat themselves is essential in today’s world.” It’s even more essential in Saudia Arabia, where gender segregation is embraced by the local culture. As a result, the Four Seasons Riyadh offers The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, where men take center stage. Women have a smaller facility in a separate location within the hotel. 

Of course, it’s important to offer an enticing menu with results-oriented treatments. According to Hosam Atra, spa and health club manager at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, most men gravitate to the spa’s massages and the Moroccan hammam. They also make good use of the spa’s amenities, such as the sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi. While facials are still a harder sale, times are changing, as men are more concerned about their appearance than ever before. We have the popularity of social media and rise of the “selfie” to thank for that. When it comes to the menu, it’s also important to give men options that fit their schedule and budget. “We wanted to have an eclectic array of services that we could offer at different price points,” says Zbinden. For example, the spa offers 30-minute massages, such as the Tune-Up Massage ($60), and mini facials, like the Fresh Face Treatment ($65, 30 minutes), as well as lengthier options, such as The Crown Jewels ($600, 5 hours 30 minutes), which features a Sir Customized Massage, a Sir Scrub, a Hydration Wrap, an Age Recovery Face Treatment, a Hand Detail, and a Foot Recovery as well as lunch. “We made sure we had something for everyone,” says Zbinden. 

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