Inge Moore has called on hospitality designers to incorporate fun, interactivity and individuality into spa and gym design.
The interior designer – who is in the process of launching bespoke hospitality design studio MUSE after leaving Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) – told CLAD that spa and fitness spaces have been “totally neglected” in the past, but are now coming to be seen as essential parts of the hotel experience.
“The whole way we’re thinking about our travel experience is changing,” she said. “These days when we stay at a nice place we expect there to be great spa, gym, fitness facilities and yoga. The better you can deliver those spaces, the more special you make people’s experience.
“For too long spas and gyms were the last space on everyone’s programme, with the few rooms left at the end turned into the gym. Now the demand is for them to be more than just rows and rows of exercise machines. They should be super fun areas to socialise and learn.
“This can be achieved through the lighting, textures and materials you use and by bringing in the narrative of the resort into these spaces. There are lots of opportunities to really push the design of these areas further.”
Moore has previously designed a host of hospitality projects with HBA – who will invest in MUSE, despite it being a standalone company – including the renovation of London’s Grosvenor House for JW Marriott, a luxury sleeper train for Belmond in Ireland and the Belmond Eagle Island Safari Lodge in Botswana. With the new studio, Moore, co-founder Nathan Hutchins and their team of 15 are working on a spa resort in Goa, a new hotel in Ibiza and another luxury train for Belmond, this time in Peru.
Individuality is the feature that unifies all of these projects, Moore told CLAD.
“The design standard in hotels has gone way beyond what it was 10 years ago,” she said. “There’s so much competition within the hospitality space that everyone wants a unique project, whether it’s a Hyatt, a Four Seasons or a Marriott.
“It’s so important to stand out. Everywhere you go, there are good hotels and countless Airbnbs, so yours needs to be special. People choose to stay at the more interesting spaces, especially now the world’s become much more visual, with social media and everyone sending selfies of the places they visit. That creates a huge opportunity for designers to make beautiful spaces that also make people feel good.”
Asked how MUSE will create uniqueness in spas and gyms, Moore said the key is delivering a story, as well as allowing guests to receive a fun lesson or experience. “People increasingly want to learn about health and wellbeing through spaces where you do some interactive things together,” she said.
“For example, you can learn why it’s good to eat certain foods or to exercise in a certain way. Our idea is you go to a hotel and learn or experience something new. By presenting this in a fun, interactive way that includes spaces for people across the age spectrum you can create really interesting, memorable experiences.”