When Jocelyn Tan can no longer watch the markets tumble on her computer screen, she swaps her heels for slippers and heads to a spa. 'There's been so much turmoil lately that, on a quiet day, it's nice to find a place to unwind and not think about the markets,' says Tan. Tan is one of a growing number of office workers seeking solace and comfort at the city's spas in an attempt to escape the dreaded GEDS (Global Economic Downturn Syndrome). Landmark Mandarin Oriental spa director Marie Harrison says the spa is the perfect antidote to the economic downturn, with a noticeable increase in the number of people visiting during office hours. 'At stressful times, people want to relax [and now they probably have more time to relax because it's probably less busy at work,' Harrison says. 'People are also choosing to stay in Hong Kong and enjoy spa treatments - this is cheaper than flying away for a vacation. 'You can defer other forms of enjoyment such as shopping, but you can't defer looking and feeling good. And lastly, there are more good spa deals out there.' Sense of Touch spa owner Anna Orvay agrees more workers are popping in for lunchtime treatments because they are great for relieving stress and also because many spas are offering attractive promotional deals. In a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the economic situation Orvay recently launched her 'Six-Point Beauty Stimulus Plan' designed to offer value for money to clients who can choose from a variety of treatments including the 'Saving Face Facial' at HK$480 for 60 minutes. Arguably one of the best value quickies in town is the Four Season's HK$780 Executive Escape that includes use of the vitality lounge facilities, a 45-minute treatment and a specially designed healthy lunch. For those with even less time, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental has an extensive choice of half-hour treatments including an eye treatment or back and shoulder massage for HK$410, a leg and foot massage or mini-facial for HK$450 with the option of a cleanse, exfoliation and massage or a mask and moisturise. Its latest promotion, Kiss Me Quick, costs HK$500 for 45 minutes using Sara Happ's lip products for a mini facial and lip treatment. Any of these treatments can be followed by a light meal at the Spa Cafe. The cafe's menu is based on the Cretan low-calorie diet pyramid - rich in fruit, vegetables, cereals and olive oil. For those with more time to spare, The Peninsula's Spring Brightener HK$1,500 package is designed to rejuvenate skin, reduce water retention and improve the appearance of cellulite. It includes a 30-minute detoxifying body exfoliation, a 50-minute massage, and a 30-minute body wrap with warm algae. This is followed by a three-course lunch and use of spa facilities including the swimming pool and sauna. Spa director Sharon Codner says when they launched the package they thought it would appeal mainly to groups of friends. However, she says it's been surprisingly popular with businesspeople wanting to treat their clients. 'People are realising that a massage is a necessity in their lives - part of overall health and well-being and not a luxury,' says Codner. At the Beautiful Skin Centre, manager and skin specialist Justine Grier says lunch at the Pacific Place spa has always been a hectic period because of the salon's location among busy office towers. 'When my clients pop in during working hours many make excuses to their bosses as to their exact location, telling them they're in a meeting,' she says. But Grier says body maintenance is usually the focus during these times, with hair removal and slimming treatments the most popular. 'Who wants to waste precious weekend time getting those nasty treatments. They are an easy lunchtime fix and no one at the office notices the difference. I think facials and massages are better for after hours or weekends because you need to take off your makeup - unless, of course, you don't normally wear much makeup.' Four Seasons spa director Helen Greene says its Executive Escape package was designed for executives with little spare time who need a wellness and relaxation treatment to fit into a hectic schedule. It's popular with businesspeople between meetings, regular spa-savvy guests who want to treat themselves to tasty, healthy food, and groups of friends who want something different and fun for lunch. Greene says with the economic downturn, they are finding spa guests are booking longer treatments as they search for ways to unwind. 'Many guests try to arrive earlier to enjoy the heat and water vitality lounge facilities available for all guests enjoying spa treatments.' Harrison says many professionals prefer a spa membership which entitles them to the swimming pool, yoga, pilates, and fitness centre facilities. Membership is also popular because it enables a discreet form of networking. 'When spa members use the spa facilities, the relaxing spa environment makes the interaction easier and, more importantly, discreet,' says Harrison. 'We have more people coming in for spa lunches - as a quick escape during the middle of the day.'