Taste of tranquillity: Hotel Spa of the Year shortlist27 September 2012
The spa has become big business, with guests now demanding an array of treatments and individually tailored programmes. Recent advancements in design, amenities and experience are showcased in the shortlist for Hotel Spa of the Year, sponsored by Dornbracht, at the upcoming European Hospitality Awards 2012, where we highlight our favourites.
Bulgari Hotel + Residence, London
The Bulgari Spa at the newly opened Bulgari Hotel & Residences, London, is one of the largest and most exclusive spas in central London. The creation of Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, the spacious 2,000m² facility reflects a contemporary Italian design ethos, influenced by the rich Bulgari heritage.
Arranged over two levels, the spa boasts a 25m swimming pool, lined with green and gold mosaic tiles, and a vitality pool tiled with gold-leaf mosaic. The Vicenza stone and refined colour combinations of gold and green inspire complete relaxation, calm and escapism from the busy world of Knightsbridge.
A Bulgari Private Spa Suite and 11 individual treatment rooms are available for guests booking from a range of exclusive and bespoke treatments, created especially for Bulgari and based on traditional Oriental practices. Signature treatments include the Enzyme Facial and Body Radiance. The Bulgari Private Spa Suite is the ideal place for couples or friends to enjoy an entirely exclusive spa experience. Almost a 'spa within a spa', the suite boasts its own bathroom, steam shower, relaxation room and an oversized hydro-massage tub, with a green onyx backdrop.
Adjacent to the treatment rooms, there are separate male and female changing areas, as well as saunas, steam rooms, ice fountains and cooling showers, all connected to a candlelit relaxation room with an impressive open fireplace.
Treatments at Margaret Dabbs' Foot and Nail Clinic at the Bulgari Spa use the award-winning Beauty for the Feet product range, fusing health and beauty to invigorate feet through therapies such as acupuncture, massage and oxygen revitalisation.
A state-of-the-art gymnasium, designed in cognac-coloured oak, is equipped with the latest Technogym cardiovascular and strength machines, and a free-weights area. Personal trainers and Bulgari spa members are on hand to help guests with fitness routines through the Bodyism programme.
The Bulgari Spa also offers a limited number of individual, joint or overseas exclusive memberships, in addition to specially tailored Bodyism memberships.
Chuan Spa at the Langham, London
Chuan Spa, London, is the first European outpost of the award-winning Chuan Spa brand, owned and managed by Langham Hospitality Group. It is London's first hotel spa to incorporate the ancient principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into its signature treatments, ambience and decor.
Housed in a former bank building, the Chuan Spa has made creative use of the space it now occupies. The former banking hall has been transformed into a tranquil contemplation lounge, while what was once the bank vault is now a serene, 16m underground swimming pool.
Working in conjunction with the UK's leading authority, Chuan Spa has embodied TCM in a way that no other hotel spa has. Professor Song Xuan Ke has practiced and taught TCM for over 25 years. Born in the Chine se province of Hubei, he first learned the basic skills of Chinese medicine aged 13 as an apprentice to three herbal masters, and continues to learn and expand his knowledge through his partnership with Chuan Spa. Ke has assisted in incorporating TCM into Chuan Spa's signature treatments and therapies, which also include services such as acupuncture, cupping and moxibustion.
Facilities at the luxurious spa include six treatment rooms including the exclusive Couple's Spa Suite for joint treatments to be enjoyed in complete privacy, a pre and post-treatment contemplation area, a vitality pool, and salt and herbal steam rooms and saunas.
Hotel Le Bristol Paris, Paris
The Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie opened in October 2011. Designed by hotel owner Maja Oetker, in collaboration with architect Pierre-Yves Rochon, it spans three floors and comprises eight treatment rooms, a fitness centre, a hairdressing salon and a children's club.
The spa is bathed in natural light and opens out onto an indoor garden. A welcoming water wall in the reception area invites guests to enter a world of well-being and beauty, in typical French-style luxury.
The Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie offers guests a variety of luxury therapies, including an exclusive range of facial treatments by Swiss beauty brand La Prairie. The spa also offers five other product brands: Organic Pharmacy, Russie Blanche, Maison d'Largon, Les Thermes Marins de Saint-Malo and By Terry.
The Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie is equipped with a Russian wet room, the first affusion shower in Paris, where clients can benefit from a traditional Russian treatment called Banïya. The Russian room also comes with its own private hammam.
There are also two duo cabins, one of which features a hammam, a whirlpool bath and a private terrace. There are two other hammams available: one devoted to women, which is located within the spa, while the men's hammam is sited near the swimming pool on the sixth floor and is accessible by a private lift.
While relaxing in Spa Le Bristol, guests can also enjoy tea or an energising cocktail accompanied by snacks specially prepared by head chef Eric Frechon. Le Bristol also caters for families: children are taken care of by the spa's activity leader hostesses in the children's club area Les Amis d'Hippolyte.
Pürovel Spa & Sport, Dresden
A combination of medieval construction and modern design, Pürovel Spa & Sport is styled around a 15th-century stone cellar, an Alpine-inspired solution for a naturally energising lifestyle. The Pürovel philosophy is derived from the origin of well-being and use of nature's resources, such as stone, wood, water, flora, pure Alpine air and the changing seasons of the Swiss mountains.
Pürovel spa treatments, using essential oils organically produced in Switzerland, work in symmetry with the modern sports training facilities, having both been designed to invigorate and vitalise in tandem with the seasons: spring is the season of new life and a time of preparation; summer represents the peak of activity to improve performance; autumn stands for cooling down and regeneration; and winter is a time of rest and relaxation.
The new brand name Pürovel Spa & Sport is a reference to the origin of Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts, a creation that has its roots in Romansh, the fourth national language of Switzerland, and means 'pure, gently flowing mountain stream'. The new range of Pürovel body care products can also be found in Swissôtel rooms and contain only ingredients from Switzerland. Some of the hotel chain's existing spas, such as those in the Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy in Moscow and the Swissôtel Tallinn, have already been converted into Pürovel Spa & Sport centres. More will follow in other Swissôtel locations in the near future.
The Spa at Coworth Park, Berkshire
The Spa at Coworth Park provides four leading product ranges in a contemporary eco-luxury setting. Decorated with natural and organic materials, and flooded throughout with natural daylight, this spa offers views over Coworth Park's 240 acres of Royal Berkshire parkland.
The Spa at Coworth Park is the first UK hotel spa - and first hotel spa outside the US - to offer 100% organic Dr Alkaitis treatments, alongside three of the award-winning product ranges currently offered at The Dorchester Spa: Carol Joy London, Aromatherapy Associates and Kerstin Florian. The facility features eight treatment rooms, including two doubles; a manicure and pedicure suite; a relaxation room; the Spatisserie gym; an indoor pool and an outdoor sun terrace with sun loungers.
The curved two-storey spa, which is built primarily from untreated cedar, limestone and lime hemp, is set against the natural bend of tall Silver Maple and English Oak trees. Designed by award-winning interior design company Fox Linton Associates, all items were sourced from the UK and influenced by the textures of the spa's raw materials. Its contemporary textiles are in understated colours and made from natural pigment dyes.
The minimalistic swimming pool has underwater music and a floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking the sun terrace. All treatment rooms have natural light from the recessed skylights, which cannot be seen by guests on the treatment bed. The two double suites overlook the Coworth Park meadow and a small terrace, and the relaxation room has a large selection of books available.
The spa also offers a steam room, experience shower and a relaxation area adjacent to the swimming pool. The experience shower offers five different waterflow settings, a rainwater mist and adjustable lighting effects.
The spa contains a workout area equipped with Technogym cardiovascular and resistance equipment, a stretching machine and a range of free weights for use with two adjustable benches. One side of the gym is made from glass and looks out on to the spa hillside.