Feature Article - January/February 2002
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There’s No Business Like Spa Business

With some rec centers and health clubs adding or converting space for spas, how do you plan a successful place for pampering?

By Jenny E. Beeh


Up and running

Adjacent to the Fitness Etc. Fitness Center for Women in Boston, Amyris Day Spa provides full spa services including manicures and pedicures, massage, wet and dry body treatments, facials, waxing, and makeup. Consisting of about 700 square feet and two rooms, the spa has a private entry as well as direct access to the fitness center's locker rooms.

"It's a totally different atmosphere," says spa owner Maura Hegarty, comparing the spa environment to the rest of Fitness Etc. Hegarty estimates that about 85 to 90 percent of her clients are members of the club.

Adjacent to Fitness Etc. Fitness Center for Women
in Boston, Amyris Day Spa provides full spa
services, including manicures and pedicures,
massage, wet and dry body treatments, facials,
waxing, and makeup. The spa has a private entry
as well as direct access to the fitness center
locker rooms.

"It's basically one-stop shopping for someone who's working out at the club," she says. "Everyone's always running, running to another [stop or errand]. Here they can really relax."

Amyris opened in October 2000.

"It's an ongoing learning experience," she says.

Head first

On a larger scale, the Boar's Head Inn, a 573-acre country resort in Charlottesville, Va., opened a 5,000-square-foot spa connected to its 171-room hotel in the spring of 2001.

The spa facilities at Boar's Head Inn, a Sports
Club, Resort and Spa in Charlottesville, Va.

"It's a very popular amenity for hotel guests," says Jorg Lippuner, general manager of the Boar's Head Inn, which recently underwent a two-year, $12-million restoration. "It was time for a facelift."

A facelift, both literally and figuratively, it seems.

The new spa offers private dressing, steam and sauna rooms for men and women, an outdoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, a quiet room for meditation that overlooks a pond, and a therapy center with four treatment rooms and one wet treatment room with a hydrotherapy tub that can be rented for private soaks. Treatments available range from body massage therapies (including reflexology, aromatherapy, stone and cranial sacral) to hydrotherapy as well as esthetic treatments such as botanical wraps, facials, salt glows, manicures, pedicures, hair removal and makeup application.

"Spas are in demand," Lippuner says, noting that with the trend toward shorter vacations, people have limited time to relax. "Anything you do must be quality. People come in for the experience, and once you have that, word spreads," he says.

The spa is also near the resort's Sports Club, which offers a fitness center, swimming pools and tennis courts to about 900 members as well as hotel guests. The 18-hole championship Birdwood Golf Course is also part of the complex.

The centerpiece of the resort is an 1834 gristmill, the historic theme of which was carried over in the new spa's design along with the resorts English country motif. The spa was designed to resemble an elegant farmhouse complete with active spring in the spa's main foyer.

Lippuner estimates that about 55 percent of the spa's clients are hotel guests, while about 20 percent are members of the Sports Club and about 25 are local residents.

Lippuner's advice on spa design?

"Make sure you have ample space," he says. "Think bigger than what you are in the process of thinking. In our case, at times, we wish we had eight [treatment rooms]."