Stemming from Middle Eastern traditions – themed spas have been a very favourable trend in the region. Theodora Kioussis, design director at spa consultancy Esadore, developed a similar concept for the interiors of Nine Degrees Spa in the Fairmont hotel, Ajman.
Using traditional healing methods, this spa has been voted one of the Global Winners for Luxury Emerging Spa at the recently held World Luxury Spa Awards in Switzerland.
All treatment rooms follow straightforward and functional design, reflecting the Middle Eastern theme through different elements and features such as the antique mirrors, carpets, mashrabiya screens for privacy and natural mood lighting.
Kioussis says: “Our philosophy includes developing a story for a spa that can be translated into a beautiful design and overall experience. We use the layout, function and aesthetics of a hotel and factor in the overall offering and target audience to make each spa and wellness space aesthetically pleasing but also functional. This ensures that operation is smooth and seamless and revenue-making a priority. For example, is the spa situated in a beach resort and catering to leisure travellers or is it in a business hotel frequented by corporate guests?”
Kioussis notices that the current trend in spa design is maximising the use of communal or social spaces where guests can enjoy a treatment, socialise and relax.
She says: “Spa Finder recently mentioned the resurgence of the ‘Temazcal’ or ‘House of Steam’ dating back to the Aztec times as one of the new spa trends that cleanses the body, mind and spirit. We also have a similar tradition of hammam culture in this region and at the Spa at Fairmont Ajman, we have a hammam, which boasts a fantastic view of the Arabian Gulf. There is also a social aspect when the guests are given time to relax with their friends at the tepidarium, a warm area connected to the hammam.”
Spa trends: Artisanal products
In recent years, the farm-to-spa movement has taken hold in the global wellness industry, and as the trend continues, many spas in the region have grasped onto this concept. Nine Degrees Spa, for instance, introduced the “Souk at the Nine” concept as an homage to the traditional souks, which displays spa and skin care products, as well as handmade health products from local entrepreneurs and artisans.