Spas in Macau see a rise in male clients prompting more specialised treatments

With more men booking time at the spa, facilities expand their treatment menus to cater to the growing clientele

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 April, 2016, 1:09pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 April, 2016, 1:09pm

It’s no longer an alien concept when men visit spas – in fact, male clients have become some of their most loyal and extravagant consumers. And there are plenty of sanctuaries in Macau courting this fast-growing demographic.

“There is an increasing number of gentlemen who are hooked on spa services,” says Day Lagasca, spa manager at the Mandarin Oriental Macau. “It’s more about self-awareness, I think, as they have learned that going to a spa is an efficient, healthy way to unwind, as well as an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”

“It is easy to understand men,” she adds. “As long as they like our spa, treatments, therapists and products, they quickly become our loyal guests.”

Johan Potgieter, director of business development and operations for Spa Evolution Consult, has worked for seven years in Macau and witnessed the changes there. “About seven to eight years ago, Macau’s spa clientele started understanding the difference between sauna spas and hotel spas, as well as the difference between the treatments and the products used. 

“Sixty per cent of the market is mainly in it for the relaxation and social aspects. They come to the spa with their male friends, use the facilities, have a treatment and often try to use the spa as their hotel room [to catch up on sleep].

They come to the spa with their male friends, use the facilities, have a treatment and often try to use the spa as their hotel room [to catch up on sleep]
Potgieter of Spa Evolution Consult

“The other 40 percent is the emerging market who are image-conscious and look for results-oriented treatments, especially facials. They will spend on retail, spending on a par with the ladies if there’s a male or unisex brand that’s suitable, as long as it is international and delivers results.”

The most-booked spa treatments across the world continue to be massages, and this holds true for men living in or visiting Macau. “Popular men’s treatments are mainly your sports, deep-tissue or Tui Na type treatments,” Potgieter says. 

However, he adds that men are becoming increasingly preoccupied with maintaining a youthful appearance, which results in bookings for facials, hair packages and traditional shaves as well. 

While Westerners are generally more likely to pick a facial if their partner does, mainlanders are very open to facials, especially when a male-based treatment range is made available leading up to the big retail spend they tend to make before they leave the city. “Spas that are not focused on the male demographic are missing out on a very high retail potential,” Potgieter says.

Keeping up with the trend is The Spa at Encore at the Wynn Macau Hotel, where the Hommage Age Defense Facial is a new addition to the treatment menu. The renowned brand from the United States has a reputation for being an expert in men’s skincare. 

“Men appreciate the brand because it is purposely designed with only men in mind, from the actual product selection to the ingredients in the products and the final packaging,” says Bridget Phillips, director of spa operations at the Wynn Macau Hotel. “The majority of our spa guests in general are male, so having a men’s treatment and products offered in our spa is extremely important to us. 

The majority of our spa guests in general are male, so having a men’s treatment and products offered in our spa is extremely important to us
Phillips of Wynn Macau

“The majority of our male guests are looking for an experience that is made especially for them, as well as additional treatments they can combine with a massage for the ultimate spa experience,” she adds. “When men find something that feels wonderful, they will keep coming back. That’s the result of our Hommage facial and the growing popularity of facials in general.”

According to Lagasca, men are not stopping at massages and facials. It may seem ambitious to create a Gentlemen’s Retreat package that lasts nearly four hours, but the experience of a welcome foot ritual, therapeutic massage, Men’s Balance Facial, Holistic foot treatment and spa refreshments has proven to be very popular at the Mandarin Oriental Macau.

“Generally men love a firm or strong-pressure massage to relieve muscle tension,” Lagasca says. “For the face, we designed the Men’s Balance Facial, a deep-cleansing facial perfect for clogged pores and ingrown hair, created especially for men who shave every day. We also chose a holistic foot treatment since we know most men neglect foot care. This includes exfoliation, hot stone therapy and a men’s pedicure.”

At the Sheraton Macao Hotel’s Shine Spa, the men’s facial is the most popular treatment, says spa manager Samart Eh Chuei. The treatment uses the Germaine de Capuccini skincare brand from Spain, which has a separate men’s range. “The invigorating men’s facial is designed specifically for men, calming and balancing the skin, leaving it hydrated,” she says. 

But even more interesting is their newest treatment. “We have recently introduced For Him Only, a new body scrub and wrap treatment using Terraké products,” Eh Chuei says. Helping men achieve the body beautiful, a firming gel gets to work on their silhouette before an uplifting and toning massage irons out knots and eases muscle tension.

Whether they’re enjoying a classic sports massage, an anti-ageing facial, scrub and wrap, or an afternoon retreat, men increasingly value the relaxing and rejuvenating sanctuary that a spa can provide. 

Lagasca says: “The key is educating men that they can be more productive and focused after they invest time for themselves to relax.”