Australia’s Peninsula Hot Springs (PHS) is significantly expanding its offerings, adding in an educational building, new sauna rooms, a deep therapy pool, a Fire & Ice hot and cold bathing area, a ‘Food Bowl’ area with on-site agriculture and picnic areas where guests are invited to “eat [themselves] to good health,” and an arts and culture area with an open-air amphitheatre with seven pools and seated terraces for up to 700 people. Plans are also underway to add 126 rooms of accommodation, a first for the hot springs.
“The purpose of our business is to create experiences where our visitors can relax in nature and connect with the deep well of their being,” says founder Charles Davidson. “Many of our experiences are story-driven – we want them to be places where guests can be engaged in the experience.”
The first stage of the Food Bowl area – a 3-acre (1.2 hectare) terraced garden – was completed in December, and is used for growing vegetables, herbs, teas, mushrooms and medicinal plants.
“Visitors will be able to walk the gardens and talk to the horticulturist,” says Davidson. “The chefs in the wood-fired pizza oven area will walk with groups to collect fresh tomatoes, capsicums and other vegetables, and use for toppings on pizzas.”
The Food Bowl will ultimately have seven terraces, with a lake at the bottom and a stage that will host performances.
Arts and culture
Additionally, a new arts and culture area will include seven pools with underwater speakers, allowing 70 people to float in the water and listen to talks and music while they look up at the sky. The amphitheatre has seated terraces that provide space for up to 580 people to watch plays, talks and concerts, while another 120 can listen from in the pools.
“These are two unique, open-air spaces for arts, culture, relaxation, health and wellbeing,” says Davidson.
The hot springs is also building 126 rooms of overnight accommodation, including 22 private lodges with access to their own private thermal hot spring pool, as well as condominiums and a glamping area with luxury tents. These will be introduced in a staged rollout from July 2018 through November 2020, and thermal heat from the hot spring water will be used to hydroponically heat the buildings.
A new building designed for education has also been added. “We see ourselves as creators of spaces where wellness can be provided at both theoretical and experiential levels,” says Davidson.
Saunas that enable groups of 20 to 30 people to be in the space at once are being added so that sauna masters can train classes. Two new sauna rooms will provide a variety of temperatures and humidities and will enable a class to be held on one side while the public can enjoy the facility on the other.
A new deep therapy pool will allow guests to experience floating treatments such as watsu, and is large enough for three treatments at one time so that it can be used for education. PHS’s hammam also has a capacity of 24, as does the new Clay Ridge area, which features a programme where guests can paint mineral-rich mud on their skin before washing it off.
Davidson said he’s also developing training modules for various global bathing modalities, with the intention of creating a Global Bathing Masters programme. The programme will include training in hammam, sauna, hydrotherapy, floating water therapies, clays, contrast therapies, Kneipp therapy and more.
Fire & Ice
A Fire & Ice area will include cold baths, ice baths and an ice cave for guests to experience contrast bathing – spending time in saunas and hot springs pools, followed by plunging into cold and ice experiences. The size and styles of the pools are specifically designed for social bathing experiences.
“Finding time to relax and be with friends or yourself in a natural setting is at the core of the hot springs bathing experience,” says Davidson. “There is a lot of fun and laughter to be had with friends when going in and out of what could be considered extreme bathing experiences.”