Hot and cold bathing is known to strengthen the Central Nervous System, so the value to people of using these types of facilities can’t be understated,” explains Derek Barton, MD at Barr & Wray. “Alternatively, if the guest just wants to use the wellness experience to get away from it all, then that’s good too.”
While Barr & Wray offers a variety of hot experiences, Barton says large-scale cold water experiences can be more of a challenge to deliver, due to the cost of cooling large volumes of water. “Wet areas typically have air temperatures of between 29-31 degrees,” he explains, “so chilled pools cost a lot to run and to keep cool. Additionally, cold water experiences can be expensive when it comes to water usage and we find some are just not sustainable”.
Snow room solutions
If operators want to optimise their spa and wellness installations in terms of operating costs, but still want to deliver hot and cold experiences, Barton suggests they consider snow and ice rooms. “They’re a good fit,” he says. “They deliver the wow factor while also being constructed and operated to ensure sanitary conditions. They also accommodate multiple users, when compared to cold plunge pools and showers, which generally only accommodate one person at a time.”
When it comes to snow room trends, Barton – who partners with specialist TechnoAlpin to deliver these experiences – says larger wet areas are becoming more popular in the Asian and Middle East markets. “Whether this is to do with the pandemic and the need for more personal space, or simply that consumers are developing a preference for larger bathing areas remains to be seen,” he says. “In this context, snow and ice rooms can be the jewel in the crown, offering a unique experience for many regular spa users who have become a little jaded from seeing the same facilities time and time again.”
Barr & Wray has recently installed a snow room with TechnoAlpin in the spa at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre Dubai and is also working with them on a design project in Qatar, which will also incorporate snow.
So can a snowroom installation help the bottom line? Barton says although extra budget is required for the installation, it’s not possible to underestimate the power of the ‘wow’ factor when it comes to the impact of these playful cold experiences: “In addition to providing guests with a curative treatment, a snow room can be incorporated into a spa or wellness offering to simply put the property on the map,” he explains. “It could be the reason why guests make the journey to your spa rather than visiting another property.”