How spa operations are being driven by design

This is part two in a series on spa design in hotels. Click here for part one: How hotel spas are combining wellness and design.

The overall concept of “wellness” has become a major driver of spa design and operation, according to Alfredo Carvajal, president of the international and signature programs divisions at Delos. Wellness, he said, is a combination of many things, and spas are consequently expanding their reach beyond massages and facials to provide therapies like acupuncture and energy treatments. “They are becoming more supportive of the guest,” he explained. 

Anthony DiGuiseppe, president and CEO of DiGuiseppe Architects, feels that wellness connects to location, much in the way that restaurants source ingredients locally. “You try to maximize what kind of treatments you have in those areas and see what’s being used,” he said. “Try to analyze what the market is in that area and what kind of concept you should have as a menu. That menu drives the program, which drives the schematics, which drives the design.” 

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WTS International President Gary Henkin agreed. “Is the spa in a foodie town?” he asked. “Let’s include a vertical garden so that fresh, farm-to-table ingredients can be included in treatments. Is it in a music city? Let’s add a music bar with a listening station so guests can choose from a variety of playlists to listen to during their treatment.”

Henkin said that wellness can be reflected in even the smallest element. “Sometimes that simply looks like adding a reflexology path in a hallway leading to three treatment suites, where therapists are ready and waiting with a toolbox of massage techniques that can address a variety of health issues,” he said. “We may incorporate fitness facilities or personal training, private offices for wellness consultations with medical professionals, a dining area with farm-to-table spa fare, or even a demo kitchen.”

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