SpaFinder Announces 2008 Readers' Choice Awards Winners for World's Favorite Spas

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Sixth Annual Awards Mark First Time A Non-US Spa Takes Top North American Honors, Underscoring Growth of Global Spa Industry; Spa Visitors Cast Over 250,000 Votes Globally, A New Record SpaFinder, Inc., the global spa resource, today announced the winners of its prestigious 2008 Readers' Choice Awards, revealing spa-goers' favorite spas across the globe - by continent and country/region - as well as their top picks for the best spas in 25 specific categories. In addition to the diverse geographic regions traditionally recognized in the awards program, new favorites in remote locations such as Kynsa, South Africa and Queensland, Australia demonstrate how a fresh generation of spas are enticing global travelers.

Readers' Choice Award Logo

We're proud to carry our Readers' Choice Awards into their sixth year, reflecting the unvarnished opinions of actual spa goers from every part of the world

SpaFinder, Inc., the global spa resource, today announced the winners of its prestigious 2008 Readers' Choice Awards, revealing spa-goers' favorite spas across the globe - by continent and country/region - as well as their top picks for the best spas in 25 specific categories. In addition to the diverse geographic regions traditionally recognized in the awards program, new favorites in remote locations such as Kynsa, South Africa and Queensland, Australia demonstrate how a fresh generation of spas are enticing global travelers.

"We're proud to carry our Readers' Choice Awards into their sixth year, reflecting the unvarnished opinions of actual spa goers from every part of the world," said SpaFinder, Inc. President Susie Ellis. "As our industry's version of the 'Academy Awards,' our goal is to shine a global spotlight on those deserving spas that offer truly exceptional experiences to their guests."

The 2008 awards are based on over 250,000 votes submitted worldwide by SpaFinder.com visitors and readers of SpaFinder publications, representing the most complete consumer assessment of the global spa market available today. In all, ballots were cast for over 1,500 different spas around the world by visitors who have used these properties personally in the past three years.

SpaFinder Crystal Award Winners for 2008
Most coveted are SpaFinder's Crystal Awards, which recognize the most extraordinary spa on each of six continents. This year's winners are:
Africa: Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, Kynsa, South Africa
Asia: The Peninsula Hong Kong, China
Australia: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Queensland, Australia
Europe: Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany
North America: Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico
South America: El Alvear Palace, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Notably, this year marks the first time that a non-US spa took home the North America award. And several of these Crystal Award winners have leapt to the forefront virtually overnight: Gwinganna has been open only two years, while Pezula has been open only three.

SpaFinder Country/Region Winners for 2008
Awards are given for the top spa in each of 27 countries and regions. Four new countries have been added this year, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, and Singapore, reflecting significant growth in these spa markets.

In the United States, Arizona retains its leadership as the favorite spa state with Canyon Ranch Tucson taking the top US spa spot this year. Elsewhere, repeat winners include the Peninsula Spa in Hong Kong, Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa of Germany, Rancho La Puerta of Mexico, Kurotel Longevity Center of Brazil, St. Anne's Country Inn of Canada, The BodyHoliday of St. Lucia, Ananda in the Himalayas of India, Four Seasons Resort Bali of Indonesia, and Chiva-Som of Thailand.

SpaFinder Category Award Winners for 2008
To help spa consumers identify the best spas for their unique goals, SpaFinder asks its readers and web visitors to name their picks for the best spas across 25 specific categories - from "best accommodations" and "best cuisine," to "best for men" and "best urban hotel spa." New categories this year include "favorite spa manager" and "favorite spa therapist."

A complete listing of Reader's Choice Award winners is featured in SpaFinder's 2008 Global SpaFinder, the definitive worldwide spa directory, and can be viewed at: http://www.spafinder.com/spaguide/readerschoice/2008.jsp

Awards Ceremonies to Take Place October 14th, 2008
The SpaFinder Readers' Choice Awards will be formally presented during an invitation-only gala at the brand new Spa by Guerlain® in the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel of New York on October 14th, 2008.

Learn More
To learn more about the awards ceremony or to speak with SpaFinder Inc. President Susie Ellis about awards' trends and analysis, contact: Betsy Isroelit @RBI - (213) 300-0108

About SpaFinder, Inc.
The world's largest spa media, marketing and gifting company, SpaFinder, Inc. connects millions of wellness-focused consumers with thousands of spas worldwide. SpaFinder's media properties include the award-winning Spafinder.com, SpaFinder Lifestyle webazine, the Spa Enthusiast, and the worldwide spa directory, Global SpaFinder. SpaFinder Gift Certificates and its new gift division, Spa & Salon Wish, offer spa gift certificates and cards that are redeemable at a combined network of over 7,000 spas and salons worldwide and are available at thousands of retail outlets. The company's software division innovates new solutions that help spas build and streamline their businesses, including the popular Spa Booker online booking system. SpaFinder Europe and SpaFinder Japan offer regional spa marketing and gifting programs, including localized, native-language websites. Founded in 1986, the privately held company is headquartered in Manhattan.

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Betsy Isroelit
rbi creative
213.300.0108
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Beth McGroarty
rbi creative
213.300.0107
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