Massage therapy remains a top seller at spas worldwide, and in a move that could mean more jobs for massage therapists, Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced this week that it will add 150 new spas to its properties.

The announcement follows another one earlier this year, in which Starwood announced plans to create more than 12,000 new jobs in 2010, primarily through the 80 to 100 new hotels Starwood and its development partners were slated to open this year.

Starwood currently features more than 300 hotel spas across iconic hospitality brands, including W, St. Regis, Le Meridien, Westin, and Sheraton, according to a Starwood press release posted on www.spaclique.com.

“We’re answering the demand for spa with a portfolio of five in-house spa brands and strategic partnerships that continue to enhance the guest experience at our hotels,” said Mia Kyricos, director of Global Spa Brands and Programming for Starwood

Starwood’s spa brands will include:

• Shine Spa for Sheraton, Starwood’s fastest growing spa brand. More than 15 Shine Spas for Sheraton are expected to be open by the end of 2011.

• Iridium Spa, Starwood’s newest spa brand designed exclusively for St. Regis, will debut at The St. Regis Lhasa Resort in Tibet in December.

• Explore Spa by Le Meridien will debut early next year at Le Meridien Oran in Algeria and Le Meridien Pyramids in Egypt, with other conversions and new builds in development.

• Heavenly Spa by Westin plans to double its 20 existing locations around the world to 40 in the next two years.

• Away Spa by W Hotels will grow from five to 15 spas in the next few years.

“Like pools in the 1980s and fitness centers in the 1990s, the increased presence of spas at hotels has been fueled by both demand and the perceived quality of hotels with spa facilities,” Kyricos said. “Spas are no longer considered an amenity; guests expect them. And they’re no longer viewed as an indulgence, but an essential part of the balance and wellness guests seek while on the road.”

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