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Spa Design: From the Outside In, Part 2

By: Lyn Falk
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the May 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 5 of 7

A client who is burdened with sickness or stagnant energy needs to feel safe and nurtured, so that she can let down her personal guards and allow the healing process to begin. Some clients who are overwhelmed with emotional or physical illness are moved to tears simply by the act of entering a safe, nurturing transition zone.

The interior of a spa business is a powerful communicator, and a well-designed space begins its healing work immediately. Achieving this critical effect involves a change in lighting and color, flooring, ceiling height and acoustics. Other important elements include traffic flow, focal points, sounds and smells.

Entrance and check-in

The entrance area should communicate a gentle shift from the outside world into the womb of the spa. All of the senses should adjust quickly and easily to the space. Checking in should be a simple process. A nicely designed counter should be visible upon entering. Background music helps to mute personal conversations and entertain waiting clients.

Waiting lounge

After the client checks in, guide her to a waiting lounge to help her prepare psychologically and physically for the treatment. Filling the room with comfortable furniture, healthy plants and floral arrangements, and inspirational artwork sets a relaxing mood. An area with informative reading material and healthy beverages also goes a long way toward building client satisfaction and loyalty. Again, soft music or the sound of bubbling water contributes to the overall environment.

The spa

As the client leaves the waiting lounge and enters the tranquil space of the spa, another transition takes place. In preparation, she changes clothes and uses the restroom before being led into the treatment room. Both of these areas need to be private, professional, clean and quiet, without a clinical feel. Avoid the standard 2 x 4-foot dropped acoustic ceiling panels, vinyl composition floor tile, fluorescent lights and white walls.