By Ava Roxanne Stritt, Spa Travel Gal and member of the Hot Mom Spa Squad What can you expect in the spa world for 2013? Well, you can forget crazy trends (like those banned fish pedicures). This year, it’s all about practical concepts to try out at your local spa (or on your next vacation). Trend: A Hot/Cold Hangout (Not the Google Kind) Spa-goers are staying longer and coming more often thanks to amenities that encourage you to, well, hangout. One of the hottest (or, perhaps, the coldest) trends is water therapy. At the Westin Playa Bonita in Panama, one can hang around all day in the Aquabella room, equipped to deliver either a hot or cold hydrotherapy treatment. Expect varied water experiences, like the Raindance Experience Shower, vitality wading pools, an herbal sauna to promote circulation, an amethyst crystal steam room to aid in hydration, and the Pediluvio Stream, where one walks on round river stones to massage your feet. Bonus: Medical evidence has shown that this type of spa treatment has a direct influence on inflammation and pain. Trend: Spa Suites At one time a “spa suite” was thought to be a spacious treatment room, which one could reserve for just a few hours or possibly half day. Now, welcome to the new definition of spa suite: A hotel room conveniently situated next to (or even within) the spa. The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead has created an entire Spa Level with distinctive spa rooms and suites that cater to those of us that love to live in Zen throughout the day. No longer does one have to leave the serenity of the spa to journey back to her hotel room. Everything you need for total relaxation is within reach — or available with a quick dial to the Spa Concierge. How about a spa suite on a spa island? The Rosewood Mayakoba offers an island suite on a Spa Island amidst relaxing nature sounds. This secluded area is the perfect getaway for a spa lover in an extremely unique location. It even has a private plunge pool! Trend: More Extravagant Girls’ Nights Out Many hotel spas are starting to offer special packages to add more incentive for a girls’ night out. One of the most decadent is offered by The W Atlanta – Downtown. Their “Girls Night Out” package includes a WOW Suite with a panoramic view to die for! Your cool corner room comes complete with cocktail fixins’, mani pedi supplies, lip balms and a party CD featuring either Fergie or Pitbull (my choice)! And here’s a little secret spa tip for a more extravagant girls’ night out at your local spa: Call and ask how many appointments are available at any one time. If you book appointments for exactly that size group or girls, you’re effectively monopolizing the entire spa for yourself. You just made the spa your own private girlfriend getaway, without having to pay big bucks to literally close the place down. Celebrities like Katy Perry have done it, and now you can, too. Trend: More Men in the Spa More men will be heading to the spa in 2013 than ever before, and isn’t MORE MEN always a good thing? It used to be that men only booked appointments during a vacation or honeymoon, but today men feel comfortable to visit their local day spas more regularly. In fact, many spas now report that 33% of their customers are male. One cause might be all the new spa treatments created to target guys, like sports massage, facials that include an amazing shave, and meticulously groomed (but not polished) nail services. Trend: Massages Without Hands Massages using items other than hands have been a trend on the rise for a while now. We have seen stones, seashells, herb-filled orbs, and even golf ball massages (courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta). The trending item for 2013 seems to be Bamboo. One of the first to offer this was the Emerald Mist Spa at the St. Kitts Marriott, where heated bamboo stalks roll away knots in tense muscles. There are also massages that use no tools or hands at all (well, sort of). The Harbor Beach Marriott has Reiki body treatments that hail from the mountains of Tibet. They are based on ancient healing techniques that use very subtle, light body contact to channel life force energy to create a positive change in your mental and physical wellness. It makes for the perfect way to start the New Year or refresh your life. Afterwards your energy level is higher and you’ll feel calm and relaxed. Ava is the author behind Spa Travel Gal, a blog about skincare, spa, and travel.