Going by the dictionary definition, a spa is a location where mineral-rich spring water, or sometimes seawater is used to give medicinal baths. The concept of the spa has been prevalent for centuries. We get to see many huge baths in Roman history. 

In the 15th and 16th centuries, there was a boom in the trend of spa culture which became a major economic factor. With each passing century, the concept of a spa underwent many changes and survived the tests of time.

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In recent times, a spa has no longer remained a mere service providing the location. It helps one to unwind, relax and rejuvenate, leaving all their stresses and pressures aside. The ambiance and architecture of a spa help tremendously in this process.

In this article, we will look at how spas and resorts are designed to give relaxing surroundings to the users, few case studies of the best resorts and spas, types of spas, and the basic rules of designing a spa.

Types of Spa

Day Spa: A day spa is a facility where customers get to visit the spa for a specific amount of time, according to their requirements. Overnight accommodation is not provided. Treatments that may be provided include body massage, facials, body treatments, manicures, pedicures, aromatherapy, and many more.

Destination Spa: Destination spas are ones that work toward the overall wellness of the customers. They help guests develop healthy lifestyles, overall wellbeing, and an entire itinerary especially designed to promote a healthy lifestyle is provided too.

Nutritional meals, fitness and stress reduction classes, and educational lectures that educate guests on how to remain healthy once they have returned to their normal lives are also included. Consultations with doctors, nutritionists, and instructors happen rigorously through the process.

Resort Spa: A resort spa would generally be focussed on a particular theme or sport, says Golf or swimming as such. The spa would focus more on pampering, relaxation, and beauty treatments rather than intensive wellbeing programs which focus on the fostering of personal growth of the customers.

Basic features of a Spa

Welcome or Reception Area: The area marks the entrance to the spa and hence, should be inviting as well as it should set the customers into the mood of the place.

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Spa Boutique: It is a small store where beauty and healthcare-related products would be a sale. It should be well-lit and accentuate the products so that they are eye-catchy and attract potential customers. It is recommended that they are close to the welcome area.

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Treatment Rooms: This is the part of the spa where the actual service happens. It should primarily be airy and spacious. The interiors should induce a sense of calmness and tranquility in the minds of the customers. Warm colors can be used to make up the interiors which calm the mind and soothe. Blaring colors and textures should be avoided.

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Locker Rooms: Locker rooms must be easily accessible and circulation spaces should be comfortable for unhindered movement of the users. They must be directly accessible from the waiting area.

Waiting Area: Waiting area is generally used before the treatment begins in the spa. This space should be made interesting as customers tend to get bored while waiting for their turn. Contrast can be treated using bright cushions on subtle colored sofas and colorful paintings on a plain wall.

These help to enliven one’s spirit. Local handicrafts and arts, if any, can also be displayed to arouse a sense of interest and curiosity. The waiting room should be close to the treatment rooms and the welcome area.

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Showers and Baths: The shower and bath area must be directly accessible from the treatment rooms and must be sufficiently large to avoid congestion and circulation issues. 

Apart from these spaces, optional facilities can be provided according to the needs of the customers and the feasibility of the context and surroundings. Some of them include private meditation areas, fitness equipment studios, swimming pools, staff lounge, storage areas, laundry room, cafe and juice bar, and beauty salon to name a few.

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Few Best Spa Designs Around the World:

1. Hotel Marqués de Riscal (Elciego, Spain)

Designed by architect Frank Gehry, along with Yves Collet, the Caudalie spa at this Spanish resort is one of its kind. The exterior of the building showcases the undulating formsa major Gehry style that he is known for, and the spa’s interior has a much more refined approach. 

It features a minimalist-chic pool and treatment rooms with breathtaking views of the vineyards surrounding the structure.

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2. La Réserve (Paris)

Located in Paris, this spa resort is the only establishment in the city which provides cosmeceutical products and treatments of the Nescens-Swiss anti-aging science brand. 

The spa’s interior is richly done by designer Jacques Garcia, which features a 50-foot indoor pool—a rare sight in the jam-packed city of Paris and the major highlight of the spa—is perfectly lined with crimson banquettes and billowing draperies.

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3. Huvafen Fushi (Maldives)

Eight meters below the ground and you encounter the first and only one of its kind-underwater spa! Yes, you heard it right. Located in the Maldives, the panoramic reef views and soothing design inspired by the colors and textures of the seano stone is left unturned to make sure the customers benefit from the services to the fullest. 

Treatment pavilions above water, one is drawn into the relaxing surroundings around them. The waves lapping, the trees swaying and the mind entering a soothing trance. 

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Author

Sahana M Swamy is a third year architecture student at BMS College of Architecture, Bangalore. Besides art and architecture, Sahana loves history, movies, acting and photography. She believes that writing helps to de-stress and re-discover oneself.

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