Trends in Spa Design

Over the past 10 years, spa design has definitely changed; it is less about buildings and architecture than it was. The spa is no longer a glitzy showpiece, a destination, a distraction or entertainment. Nor is it an external point of validation for one's sense of self. Now it's all about creating the environment, the experience, an ambiance in which to develop introspection, growth, fitness, wellness, nutrition, connection and balance. Successful and profitable properties spend money on design that supports their guests' journey to connecting to the physical and inner self.

Natural Design Elements

Spa goers are interested in making a connection within and to the outside world. Use of natural elements, materials and textures creates an organic atmosphere and earth colors, wood, stone and other natural materials reinforce that connection. Spas and resort owners, in response to guest feedback, are looking for green materials — ones that are made of natural fibers, have sustainability and that don't emit noxious fumes. Spaces now rely equally on architecturally based elements and the integrity of the materials to carry the space.

Residential Look and Feel

When visiting a spa, guests want to feel at home. The percentage of male spa guests is on the rise, so the look has to appeal equally to both sexes. By thoughtfully using materials more commonly seen in a residence — ones that are stain- and abrasion-resistant and also meet code — you can create the warm and inviting feeling of a high-end residence in a commercial setting. The types of wood and how we use them are critical elements in creating a residential environment, especially in the guestrooms. Residential wall covering can be used selectively in low traffic areas or coated for higher traffic areas. Also, more options are now available at the commercial level-products that look comfortable and inviting and are functional in terms of commercial maintenance and budgets, yet share the residential look. Lastly, art and accessories that are evocative of what would be found at home, carefully selected and placed, add the final layer to the interior.

Ergonomic Design

This is a trend we'd like furthered. We feel that it is paramount to determine the ergonomic requirements of the staff and the treatments they provide and to design treatment spaces around those needs. This is a natural extension of the supportive and healing environment to the service providers. Our experience has shown that this approach is very popular with staff and with Human Resources as well as spa owners.

Impact on Residential Design

In our residential work, we have seen a shift away from emphasizing material possessions and surroundings designed for show. Our clients want some of the elements of the spa environment; those that support health, wellness, balance, family and connection. Spaces and furnishing reflect a simpler life, a more grounded existence and connection with core values and what is truly important in their lives.

William Caligari specializes in spa design. His company is William Caligari Interiors/Architecture in Great Barrington, MA. Reach him at 413-528-3556 or at

Reprints and Licensing
© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Recent

More Recent Articles

Career Center

Quick Job Search
Enter Keyword(s):
Enter a City:

Select a State:

Select a Category:
Franchise Fact File Top Brands
Brand Company Basics Top Management Companies
Owners & Operators Industry Consultants
Industry Associations Industry Events
Design Firms Purchasing Companies
Top Ownership Groups

Click here to view all of the Lodging Hospitality Photo Galleries

Accor Best Western
Carlson Rezidor Choice
Hilton Hyatt
IHG La Quinta
Marriott Starwood
Vantage Wyndham

Free Product Information
News and Trends for the Hotel, Motel, and Hospitality Markets.

Lodging Hospitality eReport
Lodging Hospitality electronic newsletters are FREE to requested subscribers.

Lodging Hospitality Resource Center
The Lodging Hospitality Resource Center is the ultimate resource to find products and services to build, equip, and renovate hotels, motels and resorts.

Subscribe / Renew
Visit our subscription center to subscribe or renew your subscription to Lodging Hospitality.

Visit our webinars page to view all our upcoming and on demand webinars.

Visit our White Papers page to view all our current White Papers.