Spa Business issue 2 2021

Page 60

INTERVIEW

We’ve reimagined global bathing traditions for the modern, urbanised world focuses on relaxation with a huge tropical lagoon, aromatherapy pools, outdoor pool and an external beach for summer use. Elysium, for people aged 16 and over, is the spa and wellness area which can host up to 800 people at a time. It features a panoramic pool enriched with zinc and selenium, six themed saunas, an infrared lounger area and three treatment cabins. “The dedicated adult areas offer an essential opportunity to ‘unplug’ from the stresses and strains of daily life, including the always-on digital world,” says Iacob. “They enable people to focus on personal wellbeing while socialising with others and are perfect for couples, singles, groups of friends and seniors.” He feels “guided multi-sensorial aufguss journeys in exquisitely designed saunas” are a particular highlight, along with the nature-based surroundings – Bucharest has up to 800,000 plants, including 1,500 palm trees and countless species of orchids – which create areas for yoga, pilates and meditation. Located 10 minutes outside of the capital, Therme Bucharest attracted 4 million people in its first four years and while locals are its biggest market, Iacob says it’s becoming known as a worldwide wellbeing destination which draws visitors from the UK, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Israel and the US. As with all Therme venues it’s a day attraction but it partners with local hotels for overnight deals. And many spas could learn from its dynamic pricing. Guests buy a time slot – 3 hours, 4.5 hours or all day – per zone, but costs vary according to time of day, whether it’s a weekday or weekend and age. Plus there are various family packages and concessions for people with disabilities. In Elysium, the most expensive zone, prices start at RON79 (US$20, €16, £14) in the week for a single adult for 3 hours, or RON88 (US$22, €18, £15) at weekends, and go up to RON100 (US$25, €20, £17) and RON109 (US$27, €22, £19), respectively, for a whole day. In Germany the model is slightly different. Costs change per time slot, day of the week and user, but also according to lounger location – you can view an entire plan of the complex online and see

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which ones are booked – and type, such as a luxury bed in a private room with food/drinks service.

A UK first In early 2020, Therme Group revealed plans for its first site outside of mainland Europe in Manchester, north England. Located in TraffordCity, a retail and leisure destination five miles to the west of the city centre, work is already underway on the development which covers 28 acres, the equivalent of 19 football pitches, and is still on track for completion in 2023. “This a major project for the leisure and wellbeing sector in the UK,” says Iacob, hitting the nail on the head when he calls it “a completely new concept for the country”. The building itself will take up 100,000sq m, making it three times the size of the facility in Bucharest, and will have the capacity for around 7,500 guests at a time.