SPA owners and beauty therapists in South Lake-land have reported a boom in trade as more people seek luxury pampering during the global economic down-turn.

Several businesses are recruiting and expanding their services as owners seek to tap into surging demand for massage and manicures.

The Swan Hotel and Spa, Newby Bridge, hopes to take on two more staff to help cope with demand from visitors to the area.

Marketing director Emma Williams said a full app-ointments book had freq-uently forced staff to turn away enthusiastic tourists hoping for ‘Bling Days’, massages, facials, manic-ures and pedicures.

Sue Shields of the Face and Body Spa, Carnforth, has also reported a hugely successful trade over the last 12 months.

The business, which emp-loys nine therapists, sold more than £1,200-worth of vouchers on one day alone in the run up to Christmas.

Manager Linda Foster said around 80 per cent of clients opted for treatments simply to ‘raise their mood and make themselves feel better’.

Entrepreneur Chloe Booth, of Lindale, has taken on the Caron Turner beauty salon, on Allhallows Lane, in Kendal.

She relaunched the bus-iness as Pearl’s Beauty this week after the previous owner retired.

Miss Booth said many customers regarded treat-ments such as waxing and eyebrow shaping as ess-ential, even in financially difficult times.

“It’s a great industry to be involved with today. The margins are good and you can build up a strong cust-omer base and a rep-utation.”

Meanwhile, at the Linth-waite House Hotel, Crook, the owners hope to add spa facilities, including a cold plunge, a sauna, steam room and four treatment rooms.

Co-owner Mike Bevans said a reduction in the average disposable income had only increased the seduction of a spa break.

“It’s a guilty pleasure for customers,” he said. “We currently offer treatments in our rooms and people like to buy them as a luxury in the same way they like nice meals.”

Christopher Carss, owner of the Rothay Garden Hotel, Grasmere, said their spa, which opened last year, was ‘absolutely essential’ to meet the demand of a young tourist demographic.

“Since we opened the spa we are attracting a younger audience — a group who are looking for shorter two or three-day breaks to get away from their busy life,” he said.

“They want the option of a spa and we are now considering adding a treatment room to our site too.”