The room as a spa
In my work, I repeatedly encounter traditional ways of thinking that my builders and I haven’t questioned during a project and that we thought were appropriate. In hindsight, however, and on closer inspection, such seemingly self-evident things often break down and so open up new opportunities and possibilities for design. Is a business guest not also a leisure guest?
In today’s world, the boundaries between work and leisure are very fluid, just as they are when choosing a hotel, for example. A business guest may prefer to stay in a boutique hotel that suits their private lifestyle, rather than check in to a conventional hotel. Lobbies, bars and restaurants in trendy hotels have now become popular meeting points and hot spots. Locals and hotel guests mingle and enjoy the ability to meet up easily. This living concept can be summed up as:
work hard, enjoy life, stay in the flow…
When it comes to our spa planning and thought processes, the question arises: if a hotel has its own spa, does that mean it can’t offer a spa experience in the hotel rooms? Why does a guest’s spa experience only begin in the hotel spa, and not in their room? Why does the wellness service end at the bathroom door and not include the entire room? In short: can a hotel be a wellness hotel without a spa area?
Heat-insulated walls and windows that don’t let in the cold are ideal from an architectural perspective. If no central ventilation is provided, sound-insulated fans integrated into the blind casing should filter fresh air from outside into the room. This is particularly important in rooms for people with allergies. Using natural, healthy materials also contributes to general wellbeing. Good light, perhaps even adapted to the time of day depending on the available technology, is also essential for wellbeing. That means a light system integrated into the room that cyclically adapts the light colour and intensity to the room’s brightness and the time of day. This influences melatonin production in the brain, which can help to counteract jet lag or lack of sunlight.
What promotes comfort?
Well-known elements that transform a bathroom into a private spa include: fragrances, adjustable water pressure for a gentle massage, and a comfortable bathtub, perhaps with additional functions such as a steam and rain shower. Hygiene products are now available in abundance; you can get an overview of them at trade fairs in Frankfurt or Milan.
To round off the guest’s integrated spa experience, all hotel services should be adapted accordingly. This can range from room service to food and drink offers. Detox dishes, high-grade water, good quality fruit and vegetable juices or herbal mixtures, and healthy hot and cold dishes for every time of day all offer added value. Many guests also value being able to regularly maintain their fitness programme. To this end, guests can be offered a free conference room for their workout, whether for callisthenics or yoga, or a jogging group could be organised. An alternative would be to provide personal instructions for a set of short morning exercises in the room, with a new set provided every day. The hotel could also offer massages or personal training sessions in the hotel rooms. Of course, rooms would have to be designed and equipped accordingly. It may suffice to only furnish some rooms in this way and market them accordingly as a separate room category.
A hotel that offers its guests an integrated spa experience should be able to call itself a wellness hotel, even when it does not have its own spa area. There are many ways to considerably improve a guest’s quality of stay in the hotel. It doesn’t require a large budget – just a little creativity.