The Berry with Bite

AH, THE HOLIDAYS—THE ONE TIME OF YEAR WHEN overindulgence is endorsed instead of condoned. It's when food, drink, and merriment are enjoyed in such excess that we're all left frazzled and frayed come January. For these reasons, it's also the time when your spa's services are most needed (and probably most gifted). A great way to keep your clients connected to the season while they seek solace is to offer treatments infused with the fruit most commonly associated with holiday meals: the cranberry.

"This is a wonderful time of year to remember and enjoy how rich and abundant life is," says Ira Macner, spa director at The Lodge at Woodloch (Hawley, PA), who notes that the cranberry is a symbol of abundance. The Native Americans taught starving colonists in Massachusetts how to harvest and prepare meals with the indigenous cranberry, and it has since become a staple in traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Because the memory of holidays past can be comforting, spa treatments that incorporate cranberries can have the same effect. The Lodge at Woodloch offers the Cranberry Harmony Dream ($100, 100 minutes), which Macner describes as nourishing, sensual, and, of course, comforting. First, the body is exfoliated with a warm homemade mixture of organic cranberries, Turkish salt, honey, and jojoba oil. Then guests relax in an herbal bath with fresh cranberries floating on the surface. The experience ends with a full-body rubdown. "This is a great treatment for people who feel depleted and really need to be nurtured," says Macner. And who doesn't feel this way at some point during the holiday hubbub?

Cranberry treatments also work well in areas where the fruit is commonly harvested. Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries in the U.S., with Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington also providing the berries needed to keep shelves stocked with cranberry juice, jelly, and dried fruit. "Because Wisconsin is the largest cranberry producer in the U.S., we wanted to feature cranberry as our signature scent," says Jill Hackbarth, spa director of The Evensong Spa (Green Lake, WI). At Evensong, guests will find the spa's signature Cranberry Clove Shower Wash in the locker rooms, and they can experience the Botanical Body Journey ($210, 90 minutes), a cranberry herbal salt scrub, followed by a clay body wrap, and ending with an application of a Cranberry Shea Butter body balm. At the Beach Plum Spa at the Dan'l Webster Inn and Spa (Historic Sandwich Village, MA) in Cape Cod—the area where cranberries were first cultivated commercially—guests are enveloped in the aromas of cranberry, cinnamon, honey, and ginger during the Spice De-Stress Package body treatment ($225, 120 minutes).

Another benefit of adding cranberry treatments to your menu: they're relatively new in the spa world and as such are likely to spark interest in even the most seasoned spa-goer. The health benefits of cranberries, though, have been recognized by the medical community for years. "I always research plants and foods for their benefits, and upon reading about cranberries, I was inspired," says Zipporah Andrews, spa director at La Bonne Vie Spa (Shell Beach, CA), where the menu includes the cranberry-infused Enliven body treatment ($165, 90 minutes). Studies have found that cranberries have higher levels of antioxidants than red grapes, cherries, and raspberries, which means they're excellent at fighting free radical damage to the skin, and everywhere else in the body as well. There's also research that cranberries may possess anti-carcinogenic characteristics. "Cranberries are a great choice for treatments that aim to cut back on cellular damage and premature aging," says Andrews. At The Spa at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa (Boulder, CO), visitors are offered the Cranberry Pomegranate Bliss facial ($105, 50 minutes), an all-organic treatment that features the antioxidant one-two punch of both cranberry and pomegranate to protect skin from aging elements like the sun and pollution. "Everyone loves the idea of getting an antioxidant boost," says spa director Candis Ayers. "We're all looking for that, especially after a summer spent in the sun."

The oil from cranberry seeds is also a good source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. When it's mixed into skincare products, the oil provides extra moisture to parched complexions. The Holiday Cranberry Cura ($195, 75 minutes) at The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort and Spa (Indian Wells, CA) features a cranberry-infused bath followed by a massage using cranberry seed oil to soothe the skin and invigorate the senses. And at the Raindance Spa at The Lodge at Sonoma (CA), the June Jacobs Intensive Hydrating Facial ($115, 50 minutes) incorporates masks made with cranberry, pumpkin, and papaya enzymes that help sweep away dead skin cells, allowing moisture to better penetrate the skin.

The exfoliating enzymes in cranberries also make the fruit a good addition in skin-sloughing treatments. "The cranberry really does help tighten the skin and shrink the pores," says Ann Brown, spa director at Spa Shiki at The Lodge of Four Seasons (Lake Ozark, MO), of the resort's Cranberry Facial ($135, 80 minutes). "The enzyme we use offers a fairly strong peel, but the aromatherapeutic benefits of the cranberry create a more relaxing experience." To remove rough, callused skin on the feet, the Cranberry Spa Pedicure Ritual ($75, 60 minutes) at the Beach Plum Spa uses a cranberry salt scrub. A cranberry mud mask and cranberry shea butter application round out the service.

As for ways to sell your clients on cranberry services, the possibilities are endless. You'll find dried cranberries in the waiting room along with signage about the Cranberry Crush Body Treatment ($155, 60 minutes) at the Spa by the Sea at The Wauwinet (Nantucket, MA). You can also create interest in cranberry services by setting out a big, beautiful glass jar filled with fresh cranberries, like they do at The Well Spa. The cranberry's color makes for an eye-catching display that will draw attention to any signage you've created for the cranberry treatments. And again, the newness of cranberry services makes them appealing to many media outlets that cover creative spa services. Here's to the holidays—and the many spa treatments they inspire. —Megan O'Connell

Berry Indulgent

Polish, smooth, soothe, and cleanse with these cranberry-laced spa products, each more fragrant and healing than the next.

100% Pure Organic Cranberry Facial Cleansing Foam: This face wash uses a gentle coconut-based cleanser to remove dirt and makeup. Organic ingredients like white tea and rose, as well as fruit extracts loaded with antioxidants (including cranberry and blueberry), round out this natural product's ingredient list. (510) 814-9030;

A Natural Difference Cranberry Peel: Ideal for oily and acne-prone skin, this facial peel draws on the antibacterial and hydrating qualities of cranberries, which contain a compound known as vacciniin. Essentially, this compound is a more natural form of benzoyl peroxide. The peel helps ward off harmful bacteria and protects skin from the damaging effects of the environment. (800) 568-3150;

Bella Luccè Cranberry Fig Silk and Honey Lotion: Pure silk, real honey, and organic plant oils are mixed with cranberry and fig extracts in this decadent body lotion. As creamy as it is, it still absorbs into the skin in an instant. (800) 485-3079;

Biotone Pomegranate & Cranberry Body Butter: The perfect indulgence to nurture the skin and the senses, this highly nourishing body butter contains hydrating African shea butter, healing beta glucan, and the skin-softening oils of avocado, jojoba, peach, and sunflower. It leaves skin velvety smooth to the touch. (800) 445-6457;

Cosmedix Pure Enzymes Exfoliating Mask: Acne-prone skin in need of improved cell turnover can benefit from a weekly mask using this product, which contains cranberry enzymes and lactic acid to exfoliate. Its moisturizing ingredients are light enough that they won't clog pores. (800) 267-6334;

Éminence Organic Skin Care Cranberry Naseberry Yogurt Body Wash: Filled with fruit and lactic acids to gently exfoliate and cleanse skin, this body cleanser also contains vitamin C-rich cranberry, sweet almond oil to hydrate parched skin, and evening primrose oil to soothe irritation. (888) 747-6342;

Essie Cranberry and Tangerine Smoothie: Fruit-derived alpha hydroxy acids help dissolve dead skin, while this body lotion's blend of natural oils, shea butter, and vitamins A and E protect and moisturize. (800) 232-1155;

Guinot Masque Nouvel Eclat: With a complex of cranberry, lemon, and orange fruit acids, this exfoliating mask removes dead cells and impurities. It helps to rejuvenate dull and tired complexions. (800) 532-1020;

June Jacobs Cranberry Pomegranate Moisture Masque: Give your clients' complexions a moisture surge with this rehydrating mask. It contains antioxidant-rich cranberry and pomegranate to protect skin from aging. (866) 586-3522;

Repêchage Pomegranate Cran-Apple All Over Body Scrub: This exfoliating scrub contains pure cane sugar to slough off dry skin. A combination of several natural oils—including lime and tangerine leaf—help hydrate skin, while cranberry and apple give the scrub a great scent and an antioxidant boost. (800) 248-7546;—M.O.