How hotel spas are combining wellness and design

Spas and high-end fitness centers were once a perk of luxury hotels, but now they have become ubiquitous components of four-star properties and even some midscale product. As hotel guests become more interested in health and wellness, designers are looking for ways to make them memorable, efficient and profitable. 

Alfredo Carvajal, president of the international and signature programs divisions at health and wellness company Delos, feels that adding a spa and other wellness facilities provides a great opportunity for hotels to attract a growing demographic. “It’s an oasis inside of an oasis,” he said. “They want comfort and seclusion. They want privacy.” 

“What designers should do is provide an environment that is at once soothing and relaxing, that separates men and women (although there’s a tendency now to share facilities in common spaces) and that reduces the use of real estate,” said Anthony DiGuiseppe, president and CEO of DiGuiseppe Architects. To that end, he suggested designers meet with spa consultants early and often to fully understand the space’s overall concept and menu, which can then be reflected in the design. 


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WTS International manages spas for hotels and resorts, including the Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort, Cornelia Spa at The Surrey in New York and the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan, Fla., and recently announced that it would create a new spa concept for the Cachet Hotel Group in Asia. The company’s president, Gary Henkin, noted that spa guests are looking to spas as part of proactive health care. “The aging population continues to look to spas to address aches and pains, damaged skin and other health issues,” he said. “We envision the creation of many more facilities that will provide a very comprehensive scope of wellness services to clients and guests.” 

Spas, he expects, will partner with fitness facilities, trainers, nutritionists, chefs and even doctors for comprehensive care. “As such, the design of these facilities will change to meet a greater variety of needs,” he predicted. “A central ‘hub’ will be needed for communication and directing guests to various areas, yet the entire facility should flow smoothly, with all areas feeling connected and integrated together.”