The term „spa“ is derived from the Belgian bathing resort Spa. British tourists had been visiting Spa since the sixteenth century, and from the seventeenth century on the name of this therapeutic bath resort became a term describing all kinds of mineral spring baths. Since the second half of the twentieth century the term "spa" has been used for wellness resorts and, in particular, the bathing facilities of hotels in American English.
It is often asserted that "Spa" is an abbreviation for the Latin "salus per aquam" or "sanitas per aquam" ("health through water"), but this is folklore.
The term spa stands for wellness facilities (at wellness hotels, beauty farms etc), where body, mind and soul are reconciled in balance and in harmony. Besides fitness and nutritional programs, massages and facials of all kinds, rejuvenating and regenerating therapies are offered.
Wellness tourism (as well as the pertinent hotel sector) has become an important branch within the field of tourism. In the past years considerable investments were made in attractive hotel spas. Hotel guests arrive with high expectations of a wellness hotel, and therefore high standards and permanent improvement are an absolute must.