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Taking the Kids: Hitting the spa, with (or without) the kids

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

I can't decide -- Bourbon Cowboy, Brew and Renew or Alpine Quench.

No, they're not drinks at the popular Remedy Bar at the Four Seasons Resort Vail, they're treatments offered at the resort spa, a 17,000-square-feet facility offering 13 treatment rooms, separate indoor hot tubs, cool plunge pool and sauna and steam for men and women. It's one of the largest spas in the Vail Valley.

No need for parents to feel guilty either as the complimentary Kids for All Seasons supervised program is offered next door. At the same time, moms share the experience with daughters, treating them to facials, manicures and pedicures.

"They see it as a time to bond as a family," said Mary Gunderson, the spa director, adding that younger people and growing numbers of men now embrace the spa experience as part of a wellness regime, especially after intense physical activity like skiing or mountain biking.

"People now take more time to focus on themselves and wellness on vacation," Gunderson said. That might mean a morning yoga or fitness class (complimentary to resort guests, as is use of the spa facilities).

That increasingly includes kids as resorts, cruise ships and city hotels offer special treatments -- everything from mani-pedis at the JW Spa Chicago and a Tween Delight s'mores manicure with bubbling foot bath and s'mores pedicure at Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek to the Fabulously Fruity Facial and Father Son Chill Out Massage at the Vitality Spa aboard Royal Caribbean ships to the just-for-teens ZSPA on Carnival Cruise Lines and the Chill Spa on Disney ships where treatments include a Hot Chocolate Wrap to a Surfer's Scrub with fresh lime, lemon and ginger.

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At Senses, A Disney Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, the Ivy Trellis Salon is the place where adults and kids four and older can be transformed into their favorite character with a Disney’s Character Couture experience. A team of stylists help guests become Ursula, Bambi, Cinderella or Minnie Mouse, for example, with customized hair, nails and makeup.

"This is all about creating a stylish, new way for guests to have fun and be creative," said Joseph Motowidlak, guest experience manager at Walt Disney World Spas.

Of course, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Walt Disney World and Disneyland where little girls and boys are magically transformed into their favorite princesses and knights has long been very popular -- just check out the little girls cruising the parks in their full princess regalia -- so popular that it is expanding at Disney World.

Even the glamping Resort at Paws up in Montana has an entire menu of treatments for kids, everything from an apothecary class on how to make body scrubs, lip balm and lotion bars, to a "Dirty Dawg" mineral mud bath and "Fledgling" cotton candy face massage.

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