Destination spas hard up for guests, slashing prices

Upscale spas may not be accustomed to offering deep discounts, but the current economic situation has left them little choice. As a result, you’ll be able to take advantage of some fantastic deals and go to spas that might be out of reach otherwise. Live like the wealthy (used to) for a few days.

For the top shops in the spa business, the International Spa Association (ISPA) says that visits are down and shorter, and the people who are coming are spending less. Day spa trips are becoming more common than destination alternatives, which has kicked the industry into “survival mode.”

To bring more spa-regulars – and first-timers – in the door, several spas around the country are going to extraordinary lengths. The Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas is offering a third and fourth night free for guests booking two nights (arriving on Sunday). Reservations must be made before October 15, 2009 for trips to be taken by the end of the year. Miraval Resort, outside Tucson, Arizona, has a $275 daily special (per person) through October 14 that includes almost everything (except spa treatments and taxes). And, Canyon Ranch, also near Tucson, is offering 15 percent off an all-inclusive package for first-time guests visiting by December 23. Visit between November 29 and December 23, and you could pick up a 30 percent discount.

Looking to make your first destination spa trip? Now is clearly the time to do it.

Save $400 by going to the beach … I wish it were always this easy!

Hilton’s trying to make it as easy as possible for you to soak up the sun this summer. Its new deal in Puerto Rico will set you up with a free fourth night if you pay for three. Even better: the three nights that will cost you only start at $139 each. All in, you’re saving up to $400 a trip. Resort credits are offered for golf, dining, spa treatments and other activities.

And, it keeps getting better. You could also pick up a bonus certificate for a free night down the road if you book by July 15, 2009.

The four participating hotels are solid: El San Juan Hotel & Casino, The Waldorf Astoria Collection; El Conquistador Resort & Spa, The Waldorf Astoria Collection; Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza and Caribe Hilton, San Juan. So, it’s not like you’re being given a low price at a low-end hotel. This is strictly top shelf.

The catch? The promotion’s only good through the end of September.