The 6 key factors in making spa designs attractive and profitable

Studio Apostoli shared its spa expertise and market analysis at a Piscine Connect 2021 conference dedicated to architects and wellness centers.

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Twice Pool Design Awards Winner in “the most beautiful tourism and leisure pool” contest, Studio Apostoli’s reputation is backed by 25 years experience. Over this time, Alberto Apostoli has seen the spa industry change: yesteryear’s successes no longer work. He shared his analysis at a Piscine Connect 2021 conference entitled “How to design attractive and profitable spas”.


See the whole conference on YouTube

1. Sustainable and eco-friendly spas 

This trend, related to lifestyle, has become a prime value leading to new approaches to spa designs. Alberto Apostoli quotes in example his creations for Lefay Resort & Spa, which won First prize in the pool design awards 2020 contest for “the most beautiful tourism and leisure pool” and the Portopiccolo eco-village which won the Pool Design Awards 2018 for “the most beautiful tourism and leisure pool” contest.

Both are built from local materials, blend into the surrounding landscapes and minimize their environmental impact. The first, a 6,000sq.m. 5 star hotel dedicated to wellness, even won the “ClimaHotel” label awarded to sustainable hotels.

2. Capitalize on the local cultural heritage

Today’s guests want to live an experience directly related to the spa’s location. The geographical location of the hotel thus defines the services and experiences each spa should propose.

For example, the Atrium Spa & Beauté (Mâcon - France) transformed the vaulted wine cellars into a wellbeing space without changing the character of the existing buildings. The spa in the Agrirelais Casale del Principe Hotel (Monreale - Italy) re-uses typical Sicilian architecture incorporating traditional elements.

Create an authentic Finnish sauna experience

3. Align body, mind and heart

Over the last 10 years, the spiritual dimension of wellbeing has grown to transcend the spa experience and gone far beyond simply looking after the body.

Alberto Apostoli now takes us to the Virtu Resort & Spa (Tulum), Mexico, which encourages customers to relax and “find themselves” spiritually. The resort has a cenote, a sinkhole emblematic of the Yucatan Peninsula and considered to be sacred by the Mayas.

4. Build shops into the program

In recent years, spa shops sell more and more products and advice. These sales spaces build resort turnover and special care should be taken to include them when designing a spa.

In Naples, Studio Apostoli worked on Liliana Paduano Beautyque in which the whole ground floor is devoted to a vast cosmetics shop, while the spa is in the basement.

5. Promote measurable benefits

Spas do not just care for guests but need to be able to prove scientifically that they contribute measurable benefits

Studio Apostoli cites the Chinese FAAS Medical Spa franchise as an example of spas using an innovative approach to anti-ageing. The resorts’ interiors reflect their scientific and medical approach with exteriors that look like traditional Chinese buildings. The ultramodern design is luminous, in tones of white, and resembles hospitals.

6. Spas are travel destinations

After leisure and business trips, traveling to live a wellness experience is a new trend which will grow fast in the years to come. 

Studio Apostoli designed the dynamic Nero Spa which mingles art and hydrotherapy in Europe’s biggest thermal area. A place of life which proposes a host of experiences transforming the resort into a do-it-all destination.

In coming years the spa industry will grow fast. To create resorts and services which meet the public’s new expectations, use this list of 6 fast-growing wellness trends to the full and don’t be afraid to combine them!

Other wellness trends to check out

© Photo credit: Alena Ozerova / Adobe Stock

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