Talking spa architectonics with Cary Collier and Doug Chambers, the owners of BluSpas. Clients accept included Four Seasons Resorts, Nobu Hotels, Waldorf-Astoria, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and abounding added affluence destinations.
Out of all the buzzy trends that go in and out of acceptance every year, here’s one that we’re captivated to see sticking—wellness. Sticking doesn’t alike absolutely do it justice, though, as letters from the Global Wellness Institute appraisal that the wellness abridgement is account an estimated $3.7 trillion. So, how does this breadth abide to not alone insolate but additionally boom?
Well, for one, it addresses the basal animal admiration to beforehand aloft one’s circumstances—to be happier, healthier, added able-bodied rested, added energetic, the account goes on. But conceivably alike added importantly—and like best added success stories—this industry artlessly has the appropriate bodies at its helm.
Exhibit A: Cary Collier and Doug Chambers. This absurd pair—a Texan cowboy and a advocate from the OC—joined armament in 2001 to actualize Blu Spas Inc., a design, consulting and administration aggregation for all-embracing spa, salon, fettle and wellness. They may accept started from scratch, but their acceleration has been one to watch; Blu Spas now boasts added than 400 spas in over 35 countries. And this duo not alone preaches about adorning affection of life, they’re additionally practicing parishioners.
Need your circadian dosage of positives vibes? Below we babble with Collier and Chambers about their affection for the industry, what makes the Blu Spa acquaintance unique, and their best attainable tips for ambitious wellness seekers.
What is it about the wellness (and accurately spa) industry that initially drew you in? Accept you consistently been amorous about bloom and wellness?
CARY: My activity is and consistently will be active. I endemic an aerobic flat and gym in the aboriginal 80s and that is aback I aboriginal heard of “spa”. This led me to Dallas, breadth I was on the aperture aggregation as a fettle trainer and adviser for one of the aboriginal auberge spas in the country, The Spa at The Crescent, Auberge Crescent Court – Rosewood.
The captivation into spa and wellness was a activity game-changer. Because of the abstracted administration of Robert Zimmer and Toni Beck and the superb accessories and services, The Spa at The Crescent would be on trend today, but this was 1986. It became credible that this was a activity administration I could not ignore. It is additionally breadth I met my wife, Kim. In 1990, we lived, formed and were affiliated in Hong Kong and again confused to Bali, Indonesia, breadth we lived a dream activity and were able to assignment about Asia, India and Dubai, and be alien to abounding admirable cultures. We were antecedents in a new industry that was angry to flourish. Bloom and wellness alive and abounding my karmic bite bowl—and still does.
DOUG: I was fatigued to the industry, in part, because it seemed such a abrupt adverse to the law industry, the industry in which I’d spent the aboriginal allocation of my adulthood. I was fatigued to the befalling to be complex in projects ambitious both adroitness and business skills. The adventitious to participate in projects that promised absolute adventures for people, that alien wellness in a array of easily-embraced ways, appealed to me.
Locality plays a big allotment in your designs. What is your action for accepting a accurate feel for a project’s city?
CARY: We abstruse abounding abounding acquaint active in Bali and traveling and alive about Asia about how important it is to account culture, ancestry and traditions. Our alternative is to accept the time to asperse into a location, as there are a amazing array of questions, concepts and crafting to be sorted out. However, we do not consistently accept this befalling or time. So, again architectonics is aesthetic by analysis and talking with locals, marketers and operators in-country. The analysis action guides us to acquaint the chance for the activity and stakeholders.
You acknowledgment on your armpit that your aggregation “breathes soul” into spas. What are the aspects of a amplitude that aback that faculty of abyss and actual activity to a guest?
CARY: My mantra has consistently been to actualize a “sensory sanctuary” for our projects. Attributes is the capital act wherever possible. Our role is to arrange layers of detail so the end after-effects are memorable bedfellow experiences. The flow, site-lines, crafting of calm and alfresco spaces, the lighting, the sounds, the aromas, the art. and the advantage of texture—these are all admired and charge a blessed ending. Added and more. angelic architecture, biophilic design, and acceptable aggregate [are acclimated as well]. All and added are acceptable our arctic brilliant for planning or must-haves to accomplish accurate definitions for wellness developments in hospitality, residential and association projects. It takes a apple of architects, designers, hoteliers, spa admiral and, of course, the best of our planet Earth, to plan, and architectonics and accomplish a knock-out wellness spa and fettle concept—one that is a “feel good” place.
What specific projects/spaces that your aggregation has created accept affiliated the best with you?
CARY: The aboriginal architectonics of The Spa at Nusa Dua Bank Hotel, in 1995, was the aboriginal chargeless continuing spa alcazar on the planet. Thereafter, aggregate about the aboriginal architectonics of The Spa at Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, was extraordinary. [For example,] the use of bounded artists for all furniture, fixtures, fabrics, and products, including the “Jamu Bar”. These Bali Spas were the best feel good, blessed places and spaces in my memory, alike 20 years later.
Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms Resort in Phoenix, Arizona, was a agnate acquaintance as Bali; we had the appropriate bodies at the appropriate time to accomplish abracadabra happen. Others to appear were Salishan Spa in Oregon, as able-bodied as Green Valley Ranch & Red Rock in Las Vegas. SilverLeaf in Scottsdale [and] Kakui’ula in Kauai accompany aback addicted memories. We accept been best advantageous to assignment on abounding Four Seasons projects: Istanbul, on the Bosphorus, Kyoto, Hong Kong, Marakkech, Bahrain, Kuwait, and—opening in 2018—Greece, Brazil and Tunisia.
Most afresh is the Loma de Vida Spa at La Cantera Resort & Spa, a Destination Auberge in San Antonio, Texas. As a built-in Texan, this was a activity that I absolutely capital and formed to get. And I had the amusement to assignment with a admired friend, Maggy Dunphy of Two Roads Hospitality. My favorites spaces at Loma de Vida are the “Sky Lofts”. They discount the Texas Hill Country, with interiors for treatments (and the views!) additional alfresco decks with “cowboy ablution tubs,” showers, and lounging (and added views!).
We are ablution a new wellness abstraction that is in architectonics and accept will flash ablaze for lodging, residential, community, and hot springs projects. Can’t allocution about it yet; we absolutely appetite to, but the delay is about over!
DOUG: I’m a close accepter that it starts with the abstraction and again it’s the allocation of, and absorption to, all the nuances that calm infuses the “soul” into spas. Our aggregation is advantageous to accept a actual adamant and commutual faculty of the administration for a spa and we’ve had the acceptable affluence of accommodating with amazing architects and autogenous designers.
A affiliation to attributes / the outdoors, including the anxious use of accustomed elements, is able capricious in creating this sensation. Additionally, it’s the advised and alert absorption to all the senses and aback all the elements of the spa adjust seamlessly that advice to actualize a adamant and acute amplitude for the guest.
Is there a assertive burghal or breadth that you’d adulation to assignment in that you haven’t yet?
CARY: Would adulation to acknowledgment to Costa Rica. We had a activity there that was cancelled, but would adulation to go back. Aback we lived in Bali, we had accompany who had lived in Bali for years but advised Costa Rica the abode to retire. The “Pura Vida” spirit of the bodies and the abounding attributes to alive and comedy all accomplish Costa Rica a attenuate abode on the planet.
With wellness as a new “frontier,” it makes me anticipate of places like Hawaii, genitalia of Central & South America, Mexico, and Greece as added dream places to work. Returning to Asia, breadth our lives were afflicted forever, will consistently be on our list. From the affection and anatomy is the achievement to accept added assignment in Montana, breadth we accept lived for about 20 years, aloft our accouchement and will consistently alarm home. Alike the anatomy of the Earth needs quiet admirable places and I accept Montana has abounding of them.
Having advised spas that amount so abounding countries and cultures, what is the best anarchistic analysis you accept approved that accepted to be effective?
CARY: 1994—Banyan Tree Spa [in] Phuket, Thailand—my aboriginal Thai beating in an alfresco garden on a “sala” belvedere pavilion. Aggregate about the ambience and acquaintance was a aboriginal for me, from the Thai PJs, Thai music, appearance and breeze of the beating to the therapist’s adroitness and smile.
Other stand-outs: Russian Banya (followed by vodka shots) in New York City—at the acme of rustling, mild besom branches boot up and bottomward my body, I was at my alluvial absolute of hot. I was about to scream as I anticipation my anatomy was activity to access into flames, again a algid brazier of baptize adored me. It was perfect. On a adjacent bank breadth we lived in Bali, an earlier Balinese man gave me the Bali adaptation of an Ashiatsu beating (barefoot massage). He had continued a braiding amid two attic copse so he could antithesis as he absolved and toe-jabbed me to submission. My anamnesis recalls him animated the absolute time as he absurd added basic than I anticipation I had. It was fantastic. Having a ‘skin scrub’ in Hong Kong and article agnate in a Turkish ablution or hammam in Istanbul, breadth you are apparent a brawl of bark at the end. The brawl of bark is your bark from actuality adjourned and shined like an old shoe. It was cleansing. Temazcal in Mexico and Sioux Indian Sweat Lodge abreast Sedona—both larboard me in blessed tears and were unforgettable. Assimilation at a hot bounce and walking in a river in Montana (or anywhere) animate my spirit. Attributes is the best able healer.
DOUG: Two acutely altered adventures appear to mind; the aboriginal was added abrupt than anarchistic and the additional was absolutely unconventional. The aboriginal acquaintance was one of a amazing one-hour bottom analysis I had in Hong Kong on the morning of my abandonment flight at an easily-overlooked hole-in-the-wall spa that was recommended to me by the babysitter at my adjacent hotel. Aggregate about the experience, from the basement to the bottom assimilation basin, was carefully commonsensical and annihilation that could alike accidentally be advised affluence standards … and still, the sequence, from the bottom absorb to the reflexology to the lower leg massage, was about hypnotically adequate and was absolutely memorable. I absolved abroad activity ambulatory with my alone affliction actuality I hadn’t advantaged in this anniversary day of my trip.
The additional acquaintance was added contempo in a alkali abutment pool. I’ve been researching and aggravating out assorted alkali abutment adventures over the accomplished brace of years, including those that action acoustic deprivation. This acquaintance stood out because it was in a grotto-like ambience and, afterwards afloat off in an other-worldly accompaniment of airiness floating, I awoke a brace of hours afterwards activity spectacular.
What is article that is missing or defective in the wellness industry that your aggregation would like to commence on remedying?
CARY: Accompany aback FUN. Remember these words: “Go out and PLAY!” Remember this Montana saying: “There is no bad weather, aloof bad clothing.” Get alfresco and get dirty.
DOUG: One of the things that keeps me absorbed with the wellness industry is the acutely amaranthine opportunities to beforehand the offerings, the bedfellow acquaintance and to appoint bodies in wellness. I accept that our angle of wellness and how to accomplish wellness will abide to evolve, alluringly in admonition that accomplish it added accessible. As Cary said, “Bring aback FUN,” which includes social, common adventures and those adventures in which aback we get absent in the moment
The wellness industry is booming, and travelers accept added options to accept from appropriate now than ever. What tips do you accept for travelers who are afflicted with the possibilities and borderline of how to plan a wellness acquaintance that is best ill-fitted for their claimed rejuvenation?
CARY: You accept to do your homework; accomplish an accomplishment to acquisition the appropriate place. Of beforehand the breadth is allotment of the draw and the array of attributes is analytical to me. In my opinion, it’s ascendant to get to apperceive as best you can the bodies who will be allegorical you. Reviews are great, but allocution to bodies that accept had the acquaintance you’re seeking. To me, the chance of a abounding wellness chance is the chance of aggravating new things. Embrace actuality a abecedarian at article and that you ability not excel at that something. It’s safe and attainable to stick to things you are already acceptable at, and additionally attainable to get very, actual bored. We become what we anticipate about—it’s that simple.