Human beings have an innate biological affinity to nature. Biophilia, spending time immersed in natural environments, is proven to reduce stress and improve a person’s well-being. As architects, we thoughtfully design environments that are rooted in nature, or at least provide a solid connection to the outdoors. In a resort setting, where a site’s footprint is usually larger and more remote, bringing the outdoors in is easily achieved. How do you reach the same level of disconnect and calm in an urban resort? That is where technology steps in.
According to Michael Lahm, Vice President of TLEE Spas, technology has established its supremacy in all facets of life and will likely become more prevalent within the spa setting, to amplify high-touch therapies or as a stand-alone option for guests who wish to limit their personal contact or are simply pressed for time. These include LED and infrared light therapy to reduce inflammation and speed the recovery process, sound therapy and acoustic resonance technology to target stress and anxiety while recalibrating the mind-body connection, and halotherapy to improve respiratory health and boost immunity.
“In terms of the built environment, the crisis has reinforced my belief in the positive power of nature,” said Lahm, “placing it front and center of the spa experience through outdoor facilities, natural light, and fresh airflow. It also reinforces a broader trend in luxury hospitality design for intimately scaled environments that emphasize privacy and personal space.”
As consumers demand more wellness options, and a more experiential approach to the tedium of exercise, hotels, and resorts have begun incorporating some of the entrepreneurial ideas spinning around the fitness market. Lulu Lemon has joined the fitness revolution with its acquisition of the game-changing Mirror, a home fitness start-up that produces elegantly designed, wall-mounted displays for streaming workout classes. Home fitness products have boomed during the pandemic, and as hotels become more and more a home away from home, consumers will expect the same level of innovation.
At the Equinox Hotel, Hudson Yard, New York, the luxury fitness club’s first entrée into hospitality, TLEE Spas worked alongside the company to create a spa concept as impactful as the brand’s fitness offerings. Innovations within the spa menu include quantum harmonics, a sound therapy session designed to train the brain to relax through acoustic and vibrational therapy, and nutrient and vitamin IV drips. Private relaxation cabins called E.scape pods, incorporate an intelligent audio library and EEG data, developed with sleep scientists, to help manage guests’ stress and decompress.
Authored by Bruce Wright, Senior Vice President, and Principal, SB Architects.
Originally created for and published on Hotel Executive as ‘The New Elements of Hotel Design in a Hi-Tech World.’