The Water is Fine In March of 2020 , Kohler Waters Spas began an expansion of their 13-year-old day spa property in Burr Ridge , Illinois , seeking to reimagine the space to better accommodate guests whose attitudes toward the spa experience had shifted since the location opened more than a decade earlier .“ In 2008 , when you ’ re opening a day spa in the hub of a shopping complex , the intention was not that [ guests ] were staying for the day — it was that quick , in-and-out day spa experience ,” says Nikki Miller , director of Kohler Waters Spas .
Reimagining the property started with a shift in approach from that outdated guest experience to one that better reflected guest expectations and put the spa ’ s signature hydrotherapy offerings front and center .“ Once the guest came and had that hydrotherapy experience , they were like ,‘ We don ’ t want to just stay here for an hour . We want to stay for four hours , have lunch , maybe have two services and really make it a day versus an hour or two ,’” Miller explains . The Burr Ridge expansion was therefore designed with a deeper , more comprehensive experience in mind . Improving the space ’ s food and beverage options were at the top of the priority list because guests would then have the opportunity to remain onsite throughout their experience without breaking the spell by popping out for a bite to eat .
Though Miller explains that adjustments like these were planned prior to the pandemic , they align well with guests ’ recent tendency to opt for longer treatments or packages that cause them to stay longer in the spa and have a deeper , more comprehensive experience .
Another trend that the expanded Burr Ridge property has woven into their reckoning is guests ’ increasing interest in using spa services as a more core part of their overall health and well-being routines . For example , Kohler Waters Burr Ridge features a new Vichy shower that can be customized to meet a guests ’ specific needs , but while the therapist performs their treatment , the guest is also enjoying the effects of red light therapy ( from a separate device ) and chromotherapy ( from the Vichy device ) as secondary benefits .
When paired with the spa ’ s existing “ Uniquely Yours ” personalized treatments , multifaceted services like that allow the spa to serve as a one-stop shop for guests who use spa services to benefit specific aspects of their physical and mental well-being , rather than as merely a way to unwind .
A Prescription for Wellness “ How do we change the story that ended here ?” That ’ s the question that Christina Stratton and her longtime business partner Ilana Alberico asked while surveying a property once run by Elizabeth Arden Red Door . Since that company ’ s bankruptcy in early 2020 ( which was preceded by a 2019 rebrand as Mynd Salon & Spa ), the fully outfitted space had sat empty . For Stratton , who owns the luxury skin and body care line Privai , the opportunity to write a new ending for the story of that space and several others in the Washington , D . C ., area was ultimately too tempting to pass up . The result ? Privai Spa + Salons , the first of which opened late last year .
Throughout Privai ’ s planning , Stratton says that creating a personalized , world class guest experiences and putting wellness providers — from the spa attendants to lead therapists — in the best position to use their gifts have been top priorities .“ Our goal is that everyone should feel important ,” Stratton says . She views spa visits as “ a prescription for wellness , for the whole being ,” and adds that spas have an opportunity to position themselves in a more attractive light to the wellness-focused
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“ In 2008 … the intention was not that [ guests ] were staying for the day . It was that quick , in-and-out day spa experience .”
— NIKKI MILLER l Director , Kohler Waters Spas
JANUARY 2022 n PULSE 45