While water therapies are at the core of the spa experience, they’ve taken a back seat to other types of treatments at spas in the United States as the industry has grown and defined itself. There was a time, not so long ago, when spa-goers shied away from hydrotherapies—but not anymore. State-of-the-art hydrotherapy tubs and showers, along with water as a design element, are making waves in the spa industry. Elaborate water circuits are being built at resort spas as never before. Here are a few good examples of this trend.
The Spa at The Coeur d’Alene Resort
Duane Hagadone, owner of The Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho, doesn’t do anything lightly. So it’s no surprise that when he decided to build a new spa to celebrate his resort’s 20th anniversary, he hired one of the industry’s best: Tag Galyean of The TAG Studio in Lewisberg, West Virginia. Galyean is noted for his spa designs at The Greenbrier, The Hotel Hershey, The Broadmoor and Turnberry Isle Resort, among others. The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s spa, which officially opened for business this past June, cost $11 million and put Coeur d’Alene on the resort spa map.
“I wanted to have one of the top resort spas in the country,” Hagadone says. “Tag’s name kept resurfacing, so I called him. We’ve been in the top 10 with two of the leading golf magazines for our golf course, and I wanted to parallel that with our spa.”
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The original spa, which opened 10 years ago, was small but successful—it was turning away 20 to 40 guests per day, according to Hagadone. “The Northwest is growing very rapidly,” he notes. “Coeur d’Alene is one of the fastest-growing communities in the country. People have discovered fresh water lakes, and we have 120 miles of shoreline. That ties into our resort and spa experience.” It all goes back to the lake.
Galyean took his design cues from Lake Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding wilderness and played upon the water and nature themes throughout the two-level, 30,000-square-foot spa. River rock pebbles, cut stone and fresh Western red cedar planks are welcoming, natural surfaces. The planks line the walls of the spa’s entrance and are replaced regularly so that the fresh-cut scent of cedar always wafts through the air, greeting guests. Glass, copper and slate are evident throughout, as well.
The spa’s focal point is a dramatic waterfall that falls from the second story down to the first-floor reception area. It may be loud, but it makes a statement. There are abundant lake views, especially in the Quiet Room, a glass conservatory-style space with a fireplace, glass roof and floor-to-ceiling lake views, and state-of-the art hydrotherapy equipment. The spa invested in two of Galyean’s computer-controlled $100,000 SilverTAG showers. Each features varying water temperatures, up to 30 shower frequencies and 18 showerheads that work simultaneously on six zones of the body to address stress reduction, contouring and more. The result? A very precise and personalized hydrotherapy program. There are also four TAG Signature FlowThruTubs that Galyean designed in partnership with Sanijet. Guests are encouraged to precede massages with one of these experiences, and there are some creative packages that include sessions in each.
Indigenous spa treatments are tagged “Oh” on the spa menu, meaning “only here.” One of the stand-outs is the relaxing Cedar Waters journey, a three-part experience, beginning with a Pure Essence Shower in the aforementioned computer-controlled shower, followed by a Nourishing Waters Bath in one of the hydrotherapy tubs, and ending with a Waterfalls massage, a most unique massage. This is part Swedish, part lymphatic drainage and takes place under the warm Vichy. The therapist uses a hand-held cool shower, while warm water rains down, as well. Kerstin Florian massage oil is used, which beads nicely on the skin. There’s also a menu section dedicated to “Water Wellness Therapy,” including five TAG Signature bathing experiences, each based upon ancient traditions where mineral water from springs and the sea provided properties of healing.
Qua Baths & Spa
Located at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, this facility that boasts 51 treatment rooms opened in November and features the lavish and splashy Roman Baths and an Arctic Ice Room—a cooling retreat where one can unwind with ice chips after heat treatments.
“Being that this is Caesars Palace and wanting a unique concept for the spa, we went back to our Roman heritage,” states Jennifer Lynn, spa director, explaining the spa’s water theme. At Qua, which is Italian for “here” and meant to denote living in the moment, guests can experience the Roman Ritual, a water circuit of sorts that includes three separate temperature pools: the tepidarium with orchestrated jets and set at 98˚F; the calidarium, set at 104˚F; and the fridgidarium, set at 72˚F. Women and men each have their own Roman separate Rituals at 3,000 square-feet a piece, but share a Laconium—a relaxing room with contoured heated benches, which is one of two co-ed spaces. Those who do not book a treatment, but would like to experience the bathing ritual, can pay a day fee of $35, which also includes use of the Arctic Ice Room and fitness center. The spa also invested in two hydrotherapy tubs and three Vichy showers. (See On the Menu for a sampling of treatments.) Product lines used are Academie and Pure Fiji.
The heart of this newly renovated spa at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado, is Aqua Sanitas (“healing waters”), or what the spa refers to as its water sanctuary. Officially opened just this past December, the spa underwent $12 million in renovations, encompassing more than 40,000 square feet. The spa actually doubled in size, but only added three treatment rooms, explains Mary Gunderson, a spa consultant who worked on the renovation for a year and a half before the new spa’s opening. Space was dedicated to additional guest amenities such as separate and updated locker and fitness facilities for members and spa guests; separate men’s and women’s waiting areas; a new co-ed waiting area; and of course, the water sanctuary.
There are three custom thermal pools, heated aromatherapy plunge pools, a caldarium for each gender with two custom rain showers for cooling—the Cascata rain showers are a foot and a half by a foot and a half and feature 121 shower heads—and two tepidariums for relaxation. The complete ritual should take an hour, notes Gunderson. For hotel guests not opting for a spa treatment, the fee for this circuit and the use of fitness facilities is $20; for others it’s $55. The spa partnered with Kneipp and uses the company’s herbal salts and oils in its hydrotherapies.
When asked about the water theme, Gunderson states, “We wanted to get back to the root of what spas meant and what they should represent. We wanted to bring the healing elements of water through hydrotherapy. In Colorado, we’re surrounded by natural rivers and we also wanted to bring those elements of our area back to the spa.”
It doesn’t matter the location, spa-goers are happily taking to water therapies at spas nationwide. Lynn says, “People are ready for water treatments. Water is timeless and has been used to renew through the centuries. When people think of ‘spa,’ they associate it with a renewal process. There’s something about submerging your body in water. It’s ritualistic. It’s about leaving something behind and coming out refreshed and renewed.”