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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 6 of 7

The spa area should provide a venue for interaction between the service provider and the client. The spa professional controls the type and volume of music, light levels and room temperature in each treatment room. These ambient controls greatly affect the experience for both parties. They may be a bit expensive to install up front, but the payback quickly will become evident through improved service and client satisfaction.

When rent is high, space becomes extremely valuable. Be careful not to design small work spaces that create claustrophobic environments for both your clients and team members. There should be enough room for your equipment and a chair for the client, as well as sufficient space for two people to move comfortably. Accoutrements such as a wall-mounted mirror and robe hooks also will prove useful.

Post-treatment room

After the completion of certain treatments, clients may be so moved by the experience that emotional responses, psychological reactions and physical symptoms may surface. In such cases, the person should be guided to another private space in which she can compose herself before leaving the treatment area. This room should be similar in design to the waiting lounge, but smaller and completely private. Furnish the space with a table and two chairs, so that the technician can sit with the client, if requested. This can be a critical period of transition for the client—a time to become grounded before reentering the real world. Suggested accessories for this room include a mirror, glasses and a pitcher of water, a box of tissues, and a pen and paper for journaling.

Finding the way

After a treatment, a client may or may not be led back to the dressing room. Be sure to create well-designed signage and identifiable design elements, such as water features, illuminated artwork and differently colored or textured walls, to help clients find their way throughout the space.

Create ambiance

Remember to balance the basic design elements—wind, water, fire and earth—in your spa. Keep air, or wind, moving with proper ventilation. Bring in the water element with a fountain or aquarium. Address fire by accenting the space with candles or a gas fireplace. Make sure to keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Earth elements can include natural finishes and furnishings, along with live plants and flowers. Keep in mind, however, that many fresh-cut flowers are sprayed with pesticides that can produce allergies in some people. It is best to opt for organically grown and prepared bouquets.