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Wellbeing

Center Parcs unveils luxury spa following £6m refurbishment

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Center Parcs unveils luxury spa following £6m refurbishment

Design consultancy firm Sparcstudio collaborated with Center Parcs on one of the UK’s most highly anticipated spa refurbishments, Aqua Sana Longleat Forest…

Reimagined as a ‘Forest Spa’, with the creation of 24 spa experiences that draw inspiration from different aspects of nature and the surrounding landscape, Aqua Sana Spa at Center Parcs Longleat Forest, UK has relaunched following a £6m refurbishment.

Sparcstudio worked alongside Center Parcs’ own spa experts to help create and design the new ‘Forest Spa’ concept for Center Parcs which is inspired by the tranquil and therapeutic properties of the forest environment. It follows in the footsteps of the first Forest Spa at Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire and the acclaimed Aqua Sana Longford Forest, Ireland.

“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Center Parcs again on such a transformational and creative project,” said Neil Fairplay, Director at Sparcstudio. “Center Parcs have put their trust in Sparcstudio to deliver the best possible innovative and stimulating spa experience; we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. We focused hard on creating a seamless and intuitive guest journey to provide a more comprehensive and complete spa offer.’’

Following the restyle, the spa’s footprint has increased by 40 per cent and is spread across five themed zones – Nordic Forest, Hot Springs, Volcanic Forest, Forest Immersion and Treetop Nesting – all of which are designed to take guests on a journey through different aspects of nature using multi-sensory experiences, each with a unique, temperate feel, aesthetic and soundscape, inspired by the cold ice climate of the Nordic regions, Volcanic geothermal landscapes and Japanese Mountain Onsens.

living wall in coridor next to salon

Image credit: Center Parcs/Sparcstudio

“From the outset, we imagined a double-height cave environment with an opening in the roof, allowing natural light to flood in, with trailing foliage and gentle mists adding to the ambience,” Fairplay added. “It’s hard not to be wowed by this experience; I think we’ve really pulled it off.”

Guests can enjoy more than 20 hot, cold, herbal and meditative experiences and a multitude of light and dark, immersive and stimulating relaxation spaces 24 treatment rooms and a huge range of steam rooms and saunas, a heated outdoor pool, hot tubs, an ice cave, a selection of relaxation rooms and reflexology foot baths. Two new exclusive experiences have been created the Moonlight Steam Room and the Forest Cavern, replicating a cave hidden deep within a forest, (the region around the site is well known for its caves) this gently warming experience helps to balance mind and body.

sauna looking outside

Image credit: Center Parcs/Sparcstudio

“Our Forest Spa concept has been a huge success at our Sherwood Forest and Longford Forest sites and we wanted to bring that same high quality design and innovative approach to Longleat Forest,” explained Paul Kent, Development and Construction Director at Center Parcs. “We wanted to create a space where the positive benefits of the outside environment fed into the décor, design, experiences and overall atmosphere – a place which is effectively an extension of the forest setting.”

biophilic design in restaurant

Image credit: Center Parcs/Sparcstudio

With the spa now holding up to 125 guests at a time (or 175 including the Vitale Café Bar, treatment and outdoor areas), a sense of space and a clear journey became a major priority for the project. The result is a modern, biophicially designed wellness and wellbeing interior scheme that utilises all areas to create a seamless and intuitive guest journey through the space.

Main image credit: Center Parcs/Sparcstudio

MINIVIEW: The Spa at South Lodge

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: The Spa at South Lodge

Following a thread of rave consumer reviews, Hotel Designs travels to the scenic countryside of West Sussex to take a dip inside the nature-inspired spa at South Lodge…

Opened in the Spring 2019 to become a contemporary wellness extension for the luxury hotel, The Spa at South Lodge was designed sensitively by Sparcstudio in partnership with architecture studio Felce and Guy.

Situated within the grounds of the hotel, The Spa at South Lodge follows the natural contours of the land and provides a haven away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Surrounded by wildlife, nature and peace, and perched above the rolling hills of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. the 44,000 sq. ft. spa champions the estate’s landscape.

The natural theme continues throughout the Spa’s interior, with a colour palette of beige, white, pale blues and greens across the walls, floors and soft furnishings. Natural light floods into the wide, open spaces and carefully placed lighting guides guests down the stairs and through to the workout areas, 14 nature-themed treatment rooms and changing rooms. Luxurious brushed-brass hardware and plush chairs give the expansive changing areas a personable touch, complemented with the very best in grooming equipment, including premium brands such as Dyson Supersonic hairdryers and Paul Mitchell hair straighteners.

Image credit: South Lodge Hotel

Relaxation is at its best in The Spa’s treatment rooms encourage deep relaxation, with heat, light and sound mood pods. A variety of thermal experiences include a private mud room and infused sauna, as well as marble-lined salt steam and jasmine herbal steam rooms.

Outside, lounge chairs lead the way to a vitality hydrotherapy pool and beyond, the spa boasts a serene heated wild swimming pool, with an attractive wooden bathing platform inviting guests to take a revitalising dip. In colder months, the 22m x 10m indoor infinity swimming pool is the place to swim against the dramatic Sussex landscape.

New-York style gym area with punch bag and weights area

Image credit: South Lodge Hotel

A New York loft-style fitness gym slots right into the West Sussex countryside, where beaten-leather punch bags, retro-inspired boxing gloves and state-of-the-art Technogym equipment compliment all kinds of fitness programmes. An adjoining terrace provides space for alfresco training and first-class fitness instructors are on hand to ensure workout goals are met.

Outdoor hydrotherapy pool on wooden decking

Image credit: South Lodge Hotel

The hotel’s spa has been meaningfully designed to combine the best of luxe interiors with the natural, untouched geology of the surrey countryside. What really sets it aside from others, though, is its answer to the rise and evolving demands of modern travellers in regards to wellness and wellbeing. For that reason, The Spa at South Lodge is a timeless gem, perfectly placed in England’s pleasant land.

Main image credit: South Lodge Hotel 

MINIVIEW: Austin Proper to open in December 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Austin Proper to open in December 2019

Austin Proper Hotel and Residences offers an artful immersion in lifestyle and well-being. Ahead of its official opening in December, editor Hamish Kilburn took a sneak peek inside..

Following the opening of Santa Monica Proper in July, Proper Hotels has extended its portfolio with the launch of Austin Proper Hotel and Residences.

Also designed by the acclaimed Kelly Wearstler, the hotel shelters 244 rooms and suites; 99 branded residences; four unique settings for dining and drink; a focus on wellness with a dedicated spa and fitness centre; plus a variety of atmospheric spaces for events. And it wouldn’t be Proper without a 5th floor pool deck offering small-batch tequilas and majestic lake views.

This sculptural new construction also integrates the work of award-winning Handel Architects in a progression of atmospheres including two pools, 9,500 square feet of event spaces, and multiple dining concepts by McGuire Moorman Hospitality. In step with Austin’s natural lifestyle, LEED Gold certification minimizes footprint and maximizes sustainability. To promote wellness for those who stay and work with Proper, these rigorous environmental standards extend from water use (reclaimed irrigation systems, in-building chilled water loops, centralized boilers) to low-VOC paints, energy-efficient LED lights, and insulated dual-pane windows that save energy and block UV.

Render of a private pool

Image credit: Proper Hotels

Wearstler’s creative direction for the site-specific design of Austin Proper has unfolded over three years. The layered, individualistic look mines a tradition of artistry and craftsmanship distinct to Austin. The historical influence of Austin’s most stately homes inspires eye-catching details, from a sculptural staircase installation of 60 patch worked vintage rugs, to the lobby’s monolithic wood-and-ceramic grandfather clock. Local artists and materials feature prominently throughout, with every surface adding textural interest: pots, trays and cabinet inlay tiles by ceramicist Rick Van Dyke; locally quarried travertine on the pool deck; Delta wood panelling; native elmwoods; and antique mirror finishes.

With Austin as muse, each of the 244 rooms and suites has been carefully detailed by Kelly Wearstler for refined living and restful evenings. The design is deeply influenced by local craft and material, from raw travertine sourced at nearby quarries, to trays by Rick Van Dyke to original fibre artworks by Magda Sayeg. Well-considered appointments include Aesop bath amenities, Kelly Wearstler x Parachute Home robes and signature Proper beds layering Simmons Providence Mattresses, Fili D’oro and Bellino Fine Linens.

Stylish and chic restaurant with glass barriers

Image credit: Proper Hotels

Leading Austin Proper’s dining front is McGuire Moorman Hospitality, the award-winning team behind many of Austin’s best dining and entertainment spots. At the landmark eatery, guests can savour Mediterranean–inspired foods and flavours. Mezze plates and wood-grilled fare are colourful, healthy and wholesome, paired with house-made pita from the wood-burning oven. On the rooftop pool deck, a coastal Mexican restaurant with raw bar offers wood-fired seafood and fajita offerings. Morning, noon or night, a ground floor Mediterranean coffee shop serves savoury items to-go and tempting treats like soft-serve Greek frozen yogurt, while the sunken bar is an elegant hideaway.

In step with Proper’s commitment to wellness, this urban getaway begins with a private reception to discuss a client’s needs. The facility includes a soothing lounge, five spa treatment rooms, men’s and women’s locker rooms with steam showers, and wellness experts on call. A 2,000-square-foot fitness centre is also on property.

An array of high-end amenities aim to refresh, whether with a challenging workout in the 2,000-square-foot fitness centre, borrowing a bicycle for a lakeside trail ride, or a dip into world-class wellness at the spa. Guests are encouraged to linger on property, perhaps set up your office for the day by the 5th-floor pool. Dining options satisfy a variety of moods, whether cafe grab-and-go, garden cocktails overlooking Shoal Creek; poolside suppers, or a full feast at the landmark restaurant.

From well-appointed ballrooms to music gardens, Austin Proper offers more than 9,500 square feet of thoughtfully designed spaces for indoor and outdoor meetings, weddings and special events, and private dining. Adding distinction to the creative design, the Proper team and McGuire Moorman Hospitality specially curate menus and styles of service to match any occasion.

Austin Proper rises above the waterfront of a 2nd Street District booming with creative offices, world-class design, conveniences and culture. Add in an easy-going lifestyle, and you’ve got a style forward epicentre of pedestrian activity.

Main image credit: Proper Hotels

Goa is about to welcome a 17-key luxury hotel designed to shelter holistic wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Goa is about to welcome a 17-key luxury hotel designed to shelter holistic wellbeing

Slated to open in early 2020, Kings Mansion, Goa will combine heritage, architecture, design, Ayurvedic philosophies, state-of-the-art medical aesthetics and a global approach to holistic wellbeing…

Located in northern Goa, an area rich in tropical forests, historic Portuguese architecture, avenues of Banyan Trees, and vast, unpopulated sandy beaches, King’s Mansion will open early next year.

Recognising that today, wellness refers to a holistic state of being, where one’s mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health are in balance, the defining experience of King’s Mansion will be one of mindfulness, transformation, recovery and wellbeing.

Modern yet sympathetic architecture and interior design are key elements at the boutique hotel that not only honour Goa’s legacy and culture, but also serve as a welcoming nod to the growing international interest in India as an exciting and evolving luxury and wellness destination.

Image credit: Red Architects

The Indian entrepreneur and Bollywood star, Sachiin Joshi, bought the property in 2017. He is also the Chairman of corporate company, Viiking Ventures, a multi-faceted business working across various industries including film production, fin-tech and charter aviation; Moss Wellness, a leading spa consultancy with experience developing international five-star brands including Aman resorts and Four Seasons. Responsible for the overall design is Indian film producer and interior designer Gauri Khan and Rajiv Parekh, founder of Red Architects, who is bringing a new energy to a modern day India with his past and future projects on the boards.

The 17 luxury suites, which are set over 2,800m2, are being designed as private retreats. Each room will utilise the natural light with floor to ceiling windows, which will stretch out to views of private lush gardens. The large ensuite bathrooms will continue to balance a timeless and luxurious look and feel with the renderings showing a strong use of marble as well as statement matt-black fittings.

Covered pavilions and thickets of Frangipani Trees create pockets of rest and shade in the landscaped gardens, which are set against 50 metres of unspoiled golden coastline and the Arabian Sea.

Five dining and social areas offer guests the chance to explore India’s Ayurvedic culinary culture and international fusions. The hotel’s chefs will create daily menu plans for internal health and harmony, but with an understanding that food and satisfaction are not mutually exclusive. Continuing the theme, food will be cooked using fresh, locally sourced produce.

At the heart of the wellbeing experience will be the spa, which will open as a hidden oasis within the property. With five luxury spa suites, a large hydrotherapy pool, and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, guests will discover a safe space to surrender, gain awareness and achieve conscious rest and peace.

Image credit: King’s Mansion

Designed to offer personalised, results-focused wellness programmes, the hotel will aim to further help travellers rejuvenate, reset and recover.

Main image credit: King’s Mansion

indoor outdoor theme at Istanbul hotel

New design hotel opens as tranquil retreat above bustling city of Istanbul

800 534 Hamish Kilburn

Autograph Collection Hotels has welcomed Sofa Hotel Istanbul to its portfolio of boutique design-led hotels… 

Challenging the design of existing hotels in the area, the newly opened Sofa Hotel Istanbul is a chic retreat situated in the historical heart of Turkey. Boasting contemporary interiors and a private collection of thoughtfully curated artwork, the 82-key hotel evokes its enviable location in the heart of Istanbul’s chic shopping district, Nişantaşı. The boutique property joins Autograph Collection Hotels’ unique portfolio of one-of-a-kind hotels around the world that share the brand’s values of vision, design and craft.

“As Autograph Collection Hotels’ first property in Turkey, Sofa Hotel Istanbul proudly exemplifies our commitment to providing guests with exactly like nothing else experiences,” said John Licence, VP Premium & Select Brands Europe at Marriott International.” As the official sponsor of Istanbul’s Contemporary Art Fair, Sofa Hotel celebrates the city’s art scene, showcasing the works of local and international artists throughout the building for guests to enjoy.”

modern guestroom with dark interiors

Designed by renowned Turkish architect, Hakan Kiran, the hotel’s interiors are tranquil and relaxing, offering a contrast to the city’s bustling streets. Sleek lines, custom-designed furniture, bespoke artwork and modern light fittings complete the 82 guestrooms, which are decorated in grey tones with splashes of deep red, mustard and copper throughout. Five suites and a selection of terrace rooms with private balconies offer more space as well as stunning city views. Each guestroom offers a large marble bathroom with standing shower and luxurious separate bathtub.

Alongside bespoke pieces of artwork throughout the hotel reception rooms and guestrooms, Sofa Hotel hosts Turkey’s leading annual art fair, Contemporary Istanbul. Now in its 13th year, the prestigious art fair in September offers a platform for the city’s thriving art scene, as well as access to the best contemporary art from the wider region. As part of a permanent exhibition, the hotel also offers art-enthusiasts the opportunity to view exclusive works by celebrated Turkish artist, Ekrem Yalçındağ during their stay, truly showcasing Sofa hotels support of the art world and commitment to its ‘mark of craft’ celebrating the hotels individuality.

Located on the first floor, Sofie Restaurant is a 24/7 hotspot providing gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Highly acclaimed Frankie Istanbul, one of Istanbul’s hottest rooftop destinations, offers an elegant and energetic ambiance alongside a unique fusion menu of innovative Mediterranean dishes and local cuisine. Guests can also soak up spectacular views of the city at the stylish bar and lounge area, and enjoy the impressive wine list on offer.

For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the Green Spa is an oasis of wellbeing and tranquility utilising the latest Asian and European wellness therapies. Spa-goers can chose from an array of body and beauty care, from Indian healing massages to hot stone therapy and traditional Turkish Hammams. The signature treatment – the ‘Sultans Special’ – is a traditional Turkish scrub that originates from the Ottoman era. As well as personalised treatments, guests can revive in the relaxation pool, Jacuzzi and luxurious Turkish bath.

Meetings and events are expertly catered for in the hotel’s two meeting rooms equipped with the latest technology. A flexible area for bespoke events, 300 people can be accommodated throughout the meeting space.

The Farm at San Benito - Philippines

Luxury Hotels Group adds The Farm at San Benito to collection

1000 595 Daniel Fountain

Adding to its growing global portfolio of distinctive, one-of-a-kind properties, Luxury Hotels Group is delighted to announce its newest member this month.

Deep in the tropical forests of Batangas in the Philippines, The Farm at San Benito is a renowned luxury retreat with unrivalled health and wellness credentials. Describing itself not as a hotel but a healing journey – a ‘must-have’ in every individual’s life at least once a year, The Farm brings together a holistic approach to well-being with the feel and facilities of a five star resort. Built around a 250-year-old mango tree said to possess healing powers, it’s a beautifully landscaped oasis where nature redresses the imbalances of modern life.

The Farm’s exquisite luxury villas reflect the pristine natural setting. Entry category Sulu Terrace villas reference the area’s traditional rice barns with thatched roofs and wood beamed ceilings, while others combine rustic chic with contemporary design cues, including The Lakan, a jaw-dropping, design-led hideaway complete with koi ponds in the private gardens and hydro jets in the heated pool. Dotted around the grounds, most villas also feature an open-air bathroom experience, and all benefit from WiFi, iPod docking stations, yoga mats and handmade bath amenities produced from the resort’s organic coconut plantation.

Much of the produce for the award-winning restaurant Alive! is also sourced from The Farm’s own organic garden, with vegan and raw food dishes a stand-out speciality. Spa treatment programmes are all-encompassing, with everything from stress reduction to circuit training and ayervedic yoga to aqua aerobics offered by highly trained therapists. The resort also features a 27-hole all-weather championship golf course.

Increasingly popular with small corporate groups and incentives as well as affluent spa aficionados, this holistic healing hub has consistently glowing reviews, and is ranked among the world’s best health resorts. Vivek Thadhani, VP Sales & Marketing for Luxury Hotels Group, said of the new partnership: “We’re thrilled to be working with The Farm at San Benito. It’s not only a beautiful product, but also a true pioneer in the luxury wellness market. This kind of individuality and unique appeal is the perfect fit for our portfolio”.

Rouel Guanzon, General Manager of The Farm at San Benito, agreed, commenting: “From our first meeting with Luxury Hotels Group it was clear they understand the challenges and opportunities of our market, and their bespoke approach is important for us. We’re delighted to have found such a good fit for our business”