No longer are wellness destinations limited to far-flung destinations miles from the distractions, noise and energy of big cities. On the southeast coast of Florida, the Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences development is due to open later this year on Singer Island, a barrier island just 5 miles from West Palm Beach.
Developed by Creative Choice Group founder Dilip Barot along with Espa founder Sue Harmsworth and the Himalayan Institute, Amrit (Sanskrit for “elixir of life”) is meant to offer a healthy beachfront alternative for transient guests and permanent residents alike. The property’s footprint covers 7 acres and includes two towers with guestrooms, residences and 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor spa facilities.
Location, Location, Location
Singer Island, Barot said, was an ideal location for a mixed-use facility like Amrit. The island is a quick drive to the city of West Palm Beach, close to the main highways and 15 minutes from Palm Beach International airport. “Once you cross the bridge, it’s not too urban and not too rural, or a different way to say it's not too fast and not too slow but convenient enough and luxury enough.”
Working with local officials also made the site more appealing. “Palm Beach County is very interested in developing something unique but also very helpful to the people,” Barot said. “They really want to use Amrit as a catalyst to [promote] the wellness industry and they would like to become the wellness capital for the U.S. So all these things made us choose this location.” The team secured special zoning for one of the last beachfront plots available on the island three years ago, and began developing the new-build project.
The project was designed by Miami-based S&E Architects with Bilkey Llinas Design overseeing interiors. To keep the project’s three primary uses—hotel, residences and spa—connected but distinct, the property uses 18 different elevators that limit access to various areas.
The four-story spa is the heart of the complex, with Aayush (“longevity” in Sanskrit) water therapies on the first floor; a gym, movement studios, a meditation/yoga studio and private training rooms on the second floor; a bazaar, a bistro and a teaching kitchen on the third floor; and 22 spa treatment rooms on the fourth floor. Outdoor wellness areas include a meditation garden and a private beach club.
Amrit’s hotel portion has 155 guestrooms while the residential area has 182 apartments, with 60 of those residences available as hotel inventory. All of the resort’s amenities will be available to the residents, some as a part of their homeowners association and others via flexible membership to certain facilities.
Personalized Wellness, Personalized Luxury
In developing Amrit, Barot and his team focused on what they call the Five Pillars: nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, sleep and relaxation. Based on that, the team began considering how to personalize not only the wellness experience of each guest and resident, but the luxury experience as well. The resort’s “Personalized Wellness Support System” will help guests during their stay and then remain available to them once they leave. As such, arriving guests will be greeted by a dedicated wellness coach who will work with them to develop a “personalized wellness roadmap” that incorporates the five pillars. The support system will remain available to guests after they leave, encouraging them to follow the roadmap for months—or years—afterwards.
“Humanity has grown to the next level from the standardized luxury to the personalized luxury to the point that taking care of yourself is the ultimate luxury,” Barot said.
Singer Island, Fla., a barrier island off the coast of West Palm Beach
NUMBER OF ROOMS
155, plus 60 available residences
Terry Buchholz and David Erlich
"We have faced many challenges in the development side starting from getting the zoning and building approval permits, getting inspections done, [getting] the legal structure, the financial structure and those things ... We have had many, many meetings over the three years with the different community leaders and community groups," according to Barot. "Also, we worked with many legal professionals and the zoning and urban planning professionals to show them what we do [and] how we will structure it. So it was lots of give and take—every, every part. And by showing what we wanted to do and making the commitment we made, I think now the community is really happy."
Photo credit: Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences