Despite economic downturn, customers still love their spas

Even in tough economic times — or maybe because of them — people are still visiting spas to help them relax and feel rejuvenated.

A study by, an online spa booking and review site, showed that 58 percent of spa booking agents expect 2008 to be stronger than 2007.

On Hilton Head Island, many spa owners and managers say they're having a good year.

At Faces Day Spa, owner Patricia Owen planned for a rough year that never came. Sales have been up so far over 2007.

"We didn't see that coming," Owen said. "How lucky are we?"

The Heavenly Spa at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa reports similar results.

"We are exceeding expectations," said spa director Brandi Byrd-Lavertu. "There's no effect (from the economic downturn) at this point."

The Sanctuary: A European Day Spa has seen a small drop-off in business because regular customers are spending less, said owner Lisa Murphy. And she doesn't agree with the results of the SpaFinder survey.

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