Resort properties are focusing on developing luxurious spas to attract and engage guests.
Keeping members and guests on site is an important piece of any club or resort’s success. But in a time-crunched, multitasking world, visitors are eager to pack in as much activity, both on and off site, as possible. In an effort to keep guests happy and engaged, properties are stepping up their efforts to create luxurious spas that allow guests to escape and unwind from the noise and stress of everyday life—without setting foot outside their site’s boundaries.
“These days it is necessary to have a spa in a luxury environment,” says Melissa Dillon, Spa Manager at the Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan, Va. “It is an expected amenity, like fine dining.”
|SUMMING IT UP
As spas have shifted from an added amenity to critical profit centers, they need more than just manicures and massages to stay competitive. Spas today are thoughtfully designed sanctuaries of pampering, wellness and relaxation. Rich textures and inspired design themes provide the perfect atmosphere for members and guests to slow down, appreciate their surroundings, and rejuvenate.
From the Outside In
As a waterfront resort, it is fitting that the design theme of the spa at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine, pays homage to its tranquil ocean surroundings. “The spa décor is very indicative of the Maine coast,” says Julie Slade, Spa and Recreation Director. “The windows at the back of the spa overlook the golf course and Penobscot Bay.”
The spa boasts golden-fir wood features and accents—including wooden walls, ceilings and cabinetry—and rich, chocolate-toned hardwood floors. Glass globe lighting, mounted on the walls, illuminates the spa with a soft glow. “These amazing lights are scattered all over the walls and look like stars,” says Slade.
Deep blue accent walls and Venetian patterned tilework throughout the space further define the seaside style. The hallways, locker rooms and treatment rooms feature framed scenes of Maine by Jim Nickelson, a renowned local photographer. “These aren’t typical Maine photographs of lighthouses; the photos show moon rises, coastal views and starry nights,” says Slade.
The inside-outside theme is particularly evident in the relaxation room. The golden wood walls and ceilings create a natural setting, while substantial windows (with one-way glass) flood the space with soft, natural light. Guests can relax in clean-lined, plush chairs as they enjoy the view of the green pine trees and the sparkling bay outside.
The boutique-style spa has four treatment rooms, a nail salon with manicure and pedicure services, men’s and women’s locker rooms, an indoor relaxation room and an outdoor deck that overlooks the bay. “We are small, but mighty,” says Slade. “We have something for everyone.”
The spa plays an integral role in the success of destination resorts across the country. “Whether the spa is large, small or moderately sized, people expect a resort to have a quality spa on site,” says Gary Henkin, President and Founder of WTS International, a leading developer and operator of spas. “In large part, that expectation is driven by the competitive landscape.”
To maintain a competitive edge when it comes to spas, Henkin shares this forecast of spa trends on the horizon:
The spa sets itself apart with a customized menu. It offers 10 different types of massages for varying lengths of time—25, 50 or 80 minutes.
“Our massages are tailored and very different than what you would find with a normal massage; only two or three of our massages are ones that you would find across the board,” says Slade. “We are also very lucky that we are partnered with fabulous product lines. Vendors we work with often have suggestions on how to use products, or they’ll develop something just for us.”
For Slade, the secret to the spa’s success is her staff. “It doesn’t matter how modern, spacious or green your spa is; if you don’t have the best therapists or a staff that’s willing to learn about resort spas, it doesn’t matter what your spa looks like,” she says. “Get your staff as much professional training as possible, and partner with vendors who send educators, not just sales people.”
Breaking the Mold
The Remède Spa at the St. Regis Aspen Resort in Aspen, Colo., is an indulgent getaway without being pretentious. “Guests expect a luxurious, relaxing and comfortable experience, but we don’t believe that a spa experience should be cookie-cutter,” says Julie Oliff, Executive Spa Director. “Aspen is about being yourself, finding your own way and never thinking that there is a set path that must always be followed. This town was founded and populated by rebels and pioneers—and our spa is as comfortable breaking the mold as they were.”
This philosophy permeates throughout every aspect of the St. Regis spa—from its design to its eclectic treatment menu. Built in 2005, the 15,000-sq. ft. spa has 15 treatment rooms. Currently, it has a “cozy mountain chic” design motif that utilizes clean lines, warm earth tones, a fireplace, tree-trunk and wood accents, a color therapy wall, and dark crystals.
While the spa is getting ready to go through a redesign to match the resort’s more contemporary look and feel, it will continue to be a welcoming, inviting space for guests. “We don’t judge, we don’t dictate and we don’t restrict—and that’s one of the reasons guests find it so comfortable and inviting,” says Oliff. “From the second they set foot in the spa, it feels different.”
At the spa, guests enjoy access to Remède’s innovative features, including an oxygen lounge, steam caves, cold plunges, hot tubs, a newly renovated fitness center and the Confluence waterfall room. Treatments include energy work, massages, microdermabrasion, reflexology and everything in between. Guests can also make appointments with a nutritionist, personal trainer or yoga instructor.
Oliff was also one of the pioneers of the “Farm to Massage Table” movement, which offers guests a multi-sensory and epicurean experience that utilizes food and natural ingredients.
“Don’t be afraid to be yourselves; create treatments that speak to your clients and your location, rather than trying to emulate services or experiences from other spas,” she advises. “Embrace relaxation in whatever forms your guests may choose.”
To further enhance the unique experience at the St. Regis spa, each treatment room was designed with guests’ comfort at the top of mind. “The rooms are immensely spacious and are equipped with brand-new tables that are comfortable for all bodies, injuries and treatments,” says Oliff. “They are also equipped with robe warmers.”
The spa’s pre-treatment lounge has brighter lighting and snacks, while the post-treatment lounge offers dim lighting, soft music, oxygen machines and overstuffed chaise lounges and armchairs.
The artwork throughout the spa varies from space to space. “We have everything from framed Hermes scarves in the ladies’ locker room to etched glass and 20-pound crystals in the relaxation room,” says Oliff.
Comprehensive Spa Experience
The primary goal of the 2013 floor-to-ceiling renovation at the spa at the Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, N.Y., was to bring the resort’s salon (located upstairs) downstairs to the spa level. Incorporating hair and nail services into the spa made functional and operational sense, while also creating a more comprehensive spa experience for guests.
“We wanted the salon to be an integral part of the spa experience,” says Michelle Calzada, Spa Director. “Now our guests can have a massage and a salon experience without traveling across the building.”
During this renovation, the resort also gave the spa an aesthetic makeover. The reception and retail areas were merged into one space, allowing guests to peruse the retail area before and after their services. “This created a better flow to the space,” says Calzada. “Guests have to leave through the retail area, so we’re right there if they have any questions after their treatments or the products that we carry.”
The renovation also touched the men’s and women’s lounges and other areas of the 3,800-sq. ft. spa. The new décor utilizes natural woods and neutral tones to create a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. Many of the 14 treatment rooms have wood ceilings, which offer both an aesthetic and functional soundproofing benefit. The spa also boasts bold, ocean blue-toned accent walls that pop amidst the soft, white-toned walls.
The resort increased the size of the women’s lounge during the renovation and created a space that promotes comfort. The room is well-appointed with dim lighting, a plush couch, oversized winged-back chairs, stuffed pillows, a large table and an elegant tea station. The walls are adorned with hand-painted works depicting nature scenes.
“The spa is now a significant profit contributor to the resort,” says Calzada. “Many people specifically come here for the spa.”
Nestled amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Primland Resort is a refined mountain getaway that honors its majestic natural surroundings. In developing the resort, the resort’s founder, Didier Primat, envisioned a world-class destination that allowed guests to connect to nature and enjoy simple human pleasures.
The Spa at Primland honors Primat’s vision with its combination of American Indian healing and European spa rituals. The spa is a significant draw at the resort, and is increasingly popular for couples taking romantic getaways or friends enjoying girls’ weekends.
Built in 2010, the 7,000-sq. ft. spa has eight treatment rooms and a lounge that overlooks the spa’s butterfly garden.
The resort designed the spa as a destination for guests to restore their minds, bodies and spirits. To create this type of healing environment, the spa utilizes clean lines and natural materials, such as wood, stone and marble. Additionally, the soothing color scheme was inspired by the property’s vibrant natural palette. “We use turquoise to represent water, brown for the earth and white for the air,” says Melissa Dillon, Spa Manager. “Much of the spa is neutral browns, beige and turquoise.”
Artwork also plays an important role throughout the resort—and the spa is no exception. A large, feathered Native American dream catcher and sepia-toned photos of Native Americans in traditional clothing line the walls.
In addition to its healing décor, the spa emphasizes natural organic products and essential oils in its treatments. It offers several duo treatments for couples, some of which are done in the Unity Suite. “The Unity suite is designed for duo rituals with a shower, hot tub/Jacuzzi and a comfortable sitting area for sharing a smoothie or light snacks,” says Dillon.