Leisure Management - Multi-story
As the trend for parents travelling
with their grandparents and children
gathers pace, Jane Kitchen takes a
look at operators that have dedicated
spaces for the littlest spa-goers
Traditionally, spas are for adults. But with a rise in multi-generational tourism, and as wellness takes a more central seat in our lives, there’s growing pressure for spas to embrace family wellbeing.
“While it’s important to maintain spas as places of quiet relaxation, there’s an undeniable trend of wanting to include all members of a family in wellness – from children to grandparents,” says Ingo Schweder, CEO of wellness consultancy GOCO Hospitality. “We’ve been incorporating significant elements of family wellness for clients in the Caribbean, the Middle East and Thailand, so it really is a trend we’re seeing around the world.”
Adria Lake, founder of wellness design firm AW Lake, first created a Hydrothermal Kids spa concept in 2014. “In all the various cultures I’ve studied, hydrothermal traditions always play a vital part in the health and wellbeing of children,” says Lake, referencing Finnish saunas and Japanese onsen which are a family affair. “Properly designed and engineered hydrothermal kids spas allows children to experience the health benefits of exposure to heat, cold, mud/clay, and water pressure in an environment that’s both fun and safe.”
She adds: “Investing in such a facility will not only increase the capture rate of the adult spa and provide additional revenue, but it’s a valuable brand differentiation, as it shows a serious commitment to children’s health as well as to overall development.”
Family travel will increase by 25 per cent by 2022, according to analytics firm GlobalData. The market is becoming increasingly sophisticated, with growing disposable income, emerging markets and multi-generational travel driving demand for wellness activities for all ages. “As wellness tourism grows at an increasing rate due to hectic work schedules... more families will start to take wellness holidays,” says Ralph Hollister, associate analyst, travel & tourism for GlobalData.
Activities like yoga and meditation are growing in popularity for children, and with teens stressed by social and school pressure, parents are interested in giving them tools to support their mental and physical health. “Parents no longer want someone to simply look after their children in order for them to be alone – they want their children to be stimulated and engaged, without social media and games, and further, they want to connect more with their kids,” says Anna Bjurstam, who heads up spa and wellness for Six Senses, which launched a comprehensive programme for children last year.
Here, we take a look at some of the newest kid-friendly spas around the world. In Part 2 of this series later this year, we’ll explore other innovative ways spas are engaging with children and families.
Acquaree Spa Jakarta, Indonesia /
Media, kids and parents all love the concept, says Dharmadi (centre)
The Acquaree Spa in JHL Solitaire in Jakarta, Indonesia, is based on Adria Lake’s Hydrothermal Kids concept. Lake designed and conceptualised the 820sq m (8,000sq ft) spa, while Barr + Wray provided the engineering for the extensive hydrothermal circuit, which has been created specifically with child safety in mind. Children are guided and continuously monitored by highly trained spa coaches certified in first-aid, and the design features gentle curves and padded surfaces. Temperatures are adjusted to child-level tolerance, and Barr + Wray’s antibacterial ultraviolet technology ensures water hygiene.
The main hydrothermal circuit for kids aged 5–12 includes a long, winding cavernous water and heat tunnel; a rock sauna with climbing walls; a mud room where organic and freshly prepared therapeutic clays are provided and ‘octopi’ tentacles blow warm air to dry the mud; a Rainforest Chamber with scented rain showers; rinsing water buckets and shower hoops.
A separate water playground designed specifically for toddlers aged 3–5 features fun and educational hydro experiences such as a bubble pool, water guns, slides and a mushroom shower. An outdoor playground located on an adjacent roof terrace serves as a pre and post spa area for the children.
"You’re never too young to experience and learn about wellness, through our unique hydrothermal spa journey, enjoying a safe and fun educational experience on the importance of wellness," says Mega Dharmadi, director, JHL Group and owner-operator of Acquaree Spa. Dharmadi says while Acquaree is receiving lots of media buzz, what’s most encouraging is the response from the children and their parents. "The children love playing with the coloured muds, the octopi tentacles, the water guns and games in the rainforest area," she says. "The parents are so grateful the kids have this experiential learning journey that’s fun at the same time."
Adria Lake and Barr + Wray are behind the first Hydrothermal Kids spa concept
Deep Nature Family Spas:Belle Plagne Baths & Spa
Belle Plagne, France / opened: 2018
Three Forest Center Parcs
Moselle, France / opened: 2018
Deep Nature’s spa at Three Forest Center Parcs welcomes kids over 8
Global spa consultancy Deep Nature has added family spas to several of its most recent creations. At the 1,500sq m (16,145sq ft) Belle Plange Spa in the French Alps, 170sq m (1,830sq ft) is set aside as a family spa. Children under 15 can attend with their parents, with an admission for two adults and two children priced at €59 (US$66, £50). The aquatic course includes swan neck jets, a vertical water sheet, geysers, a water lounger area, counter current walkway and underwater jets, as well as a pool. Children’s treatments, such as Pretty Little Face and My First Massage which both cost €39 (US$44, £34), have been created using kids skincare brand Nougatine.
At the Three Forests Center Parcs in Moselle, France, Deep Nature operates a new 1,600sq m (17,222sq ft) spa in the 435-hectare forested family resort. One of Center Parcs’ main objectives is to help families create memories, so including a family spa in the offering made sense. Accessible to children aged 8 to 16, accompanied by a parent, the experience is designed as an introduction to wellbeing and relaxation and is priced at €19 (US$21, £16) for a two hour session.
My First Massage at Belle Plagne Baths & Spa is priced at €39 and uses Nougatine kids products
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Family Spa
Bad Ragaz, Switzerland / opened: 2018
Bad Ragaz’s new 550sq m family spa is part of a wider strategy to attract the three-generation market
The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Switzerland opened a 550sq m (5,920sq ft) spa for children last year, where different water zones range from 0.2 to 1.3 metres deep and are filled with balmy 33˚C water. The family spa is part of the luxury resort’s three-generation strategy, which also includes reconfigured guestrooms catering to families travelling with parents, grandparents and children together.
Interior designer Claudio Carbone recreated the Tamina Gorge in rustic rock faces for the children’s spa, and a wooden Alpine hut is a reminder of the story of Heidi. A mini slide invites youngsters to splash in the warm water, and activities include mermaid swimming, aqua Latin dance, learning about the underwater world and a kids’ party on Saturday.
Child-friendly treatments include the Funny Choco and Sweet Honey massages for CHF120 (US$118, €105, £90), Bling Bling Fingers and Happy Feet for CHF85 (US$84, €74, £64). “Children and their parents need space to let their hair down and to feel good,” says general manager Marco R Zanolari.
Krün, Germany / opened: 2015
Schloss Elmau has three family spas and ‘edutainment’ workshops which go way beyond typical kids clubs
At Germany’s Schloss Elmau – which bills itself as a ‘luxury spa retreat and cultural hideaway’ – families often visit each year with multiple generations, and the cultural programming and spa accessibility extends to all ages.
Three of the spas are aimed at families, including the Shantigiri Family Spa, which has an outdoor lap pool, seven treatment rooms, gym, spa lounge and restaurant; and the Family Spa at the Hideaway, which includes an indoor lap pool, five saunas and steam baths, a relaxation area and tea lounge. Treatments for children and teenagers are available, but there are also three separate adults-only spas, and even silent areas just for adults. “This strict separation enables high-quality service for all different age groups,” says Johannes Mikenda, director of spa and sport.
Additionally, Schloss Elmau’s Edutainment Workshops, designed and run by artists, authors and educators, go far beyond a traditional kids club, to include a chess academy, yoga for kids and teens, a debating club, theatre courses, iPhone photo workshops, philosophy classes and science lab, helping to address wellness in a more holistic way. Children stay for free at the resort and all of the cultural activities and use of the spa are included in the room rate.
Finisterra Spa, Martinhal Family Resorts
Four locations, Portugal / opened: 2010
Martinhal Family Resorts, which runs four hotels in Portugal, has positioned itself as five-star family-friendly hospitality, and its spas offer a wide range of treatments for all ages – from babies to grandparents. Children are welcome everywhere, including the spas, where whirlpools, saunas and steamrooms are set at lower temperatures to suit their sensitive skin, and hydrotherapy pool jets have a softer pressure. "Every nook and corner has to be about the whole family; there’s no space in any of our hotels that is not for families," explains Seema Lodi, GM of Martinhal Lisbon Cascais.
Martinhal also offers treatments for children aged 6 onwards, including a popular 25-minute, €65 (US$73, £56) parent-and-child massage, which Lodi says is booked almost every day. "The millennials especially are investing more time with their children," says Lodi. "These young adults are looking for meaningful experiences with their children, so if we don’t start looking at what they want, we’ll be falling way behind."
This summer, Martinhal plans to add a range of ayurveda treatments for families, as well as classes in baby massage and family meditation and yoga sessions. "If they can learn football or tennis at 4, they can also learn meditation," says Lodi. "Experiencing these as a family, and learning something you can carry on when you go home – we can add a lot of value."
Finisterra’s parent-and-child experience is booked nearly every day
Part 2 of this article will appear in the next issue of Spa Business,
and will look at innovative ways traditional spas are
incorporating wellness programming for children and families
|Originally published in Spa Business 2019 issue 2