Leisure Management 2016 review

Page 14

PEOPLE

Maruia Springs – a multi-million dollar redevelopment – will create an experience in keeping with this magical location

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James White, managing director, Maruia Hot Springs

ot springs research and development consultant James White is the managing director of New Zealand’s Maruia Hot Springs and has promised a world-class bathing and wellbeing attraction, as well as a “total renewal of the Southern Alps bathing experience which fits harmoniously into the surrounding mountains.” South Islanders White and his partner, Kim Hamilton, are planning extensive revitalising and expansion of the open-air hot pools that will help Maruia Hot Springs “become the blissful New Zealand nature escape that it should be” he says. While this is the first property White has co-owned and managed, he’s no stranger to the industry. He headed up research for the Hot Springs Alliance Group between White and Hamilton 2013 and 2015, which identified White and Hamilton have been bought the springs as best practice in bathing industry. rejuvenating what was a Japanesepart of a consortium for His research analysed how style bath house at Maruia Hot a reported NZ$2.26m global natural hot springs create, Springs into two communal indoor deliver and capture value. And it bathing experiences. Other soon to be involved him visiting 20 countries developed facilities include thermal and 122 hot springs sites, as massaging showers, heated stone well as conducting more than 180 interviews. beds, new changing facilities, relaxation lounges, a sauna, White’s findings concluded that Australia steamroom and more indoor relaxation experiences. and New Zealand are well-placed to be premier The outdoor and indoor bathing pools are fed from a destinations for wellness activities. natural 56˚C mineral spring and the eco-resort generates The people behind Australia’s Peninsula Hot its electricity from its own hydro-power station. Springs (PHS), which is also undergoing a major “Over time, I’m looking to apply the knowledge gained expansion, are co-investors in the development from the global hot springs research to transform Maruia which was acquired by a consortium for a reported Hot Springs into an innovative, world-class hot springs NZ$2.26m (US$1.6m). PHS founder and CEO Charles experience and destination,” says White. “Maruia Springs Davidson sits on the board of the Australasian will be a multi-million dollar redevelopment to create an Spa and Wellness Association with White. experience that’s in keeping with this magical location.” 14

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