Four leading spa design trends for 2024

Sparcstudio's Beverley Bayes outlines key spa design trends she believes will impact the wellness industry in 2024, including sauna culture and sound immersion


By Wendy Golledge

20 February 2024

Independent creative design studio Sparcstudio specialises in spa and wellness design. With more than 15 years’ experience in the spa and wellness sector, creative director Beverley Bayes has revealed the design trends she believes will impact the industry in 2024.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time in the world of spa design,” says Bayes. “Hoteliers, developers and the general public are all much more spa savvy and want to enjoy the benefits that spa can bring. For operators and owners this not only raises the profile of the wellness business, but places it the forefront of innovation.

“Enhancing facilities with considered, sustainable design is good business sense and, correctly done, can significantly improve revenue and return on investment.”

Flowing natural spaces, like the indoor/outdoor pool at Aqua Sana at Center Parcs Longford Forest, will continue to be sought after

Sparcstudio’s spa design trends for 2024

1. The growth of sauna culture

“Saunas have been an integral part of wellness rituals in the spa for decades, but there is a new sweat culture emerging that’s set to change the way people enjoy heat experiences in the next five years.

“Community and a sense of belonging is at the core of this new trend. Aufguss rituals are becoming more widespread and spas are designing their thermal spaces to accommodate these theatrical rituals.

woman wearing yellow jacket and white top in front of a yellow wall

“Spa and hotel owners need to be mindful of the growth of sauna culture when space planning, ensuring that the sauna is large enough to accommodate this growing audience and can host Aufguss rituals.”

Beverley Bayes

Creative director, Sparcstudio

“Russian Banyas are another way to offer the benefits of a wellness ritual combined with social connection. Friends can meet for an evening and enjoy a unique sauna ritual with drinks and nibbles served in a cosy lounge as part of the experience.

“Expect more saunas set in a natural landscape to offer true connection to the elements, with large, glazed walls offering impressive views of nature.

“Opportunities for cold immersion go hand-in-hand with the growth of sauna culture, and we’ll see spas designing in opportunities to plunge into a cold seas, lakes and natural pools, as well as ice baths and snow rooms, near to saunas.”

Sparcstudio has been opening the sauna to the outside world with floor to ceiling glass, such as at Cottonmill Club at Sopwell House

2. Immersive environments designed for movement

“A new wellness disruptor, Sanctum, took to the stage at the Global Wellness Summit 2023 in Miami. The brand is transforming the way mindful movement classes are run, which will have an impact on exercise space planning in spas.

“Movement/fitness studios are now an essential part of good spa design. They will be created (where possible) with natural light, via glazing or top-lit from a sky light, and be stylish and contemporary in look and feel.

“Historically a small space has been dedicated to exercise. However, as modalities change, so too do environments, so I predict more sliding or folding screens to help connect spaces for greater flexibility.

“We will see a rise in more elaborate forms of the conventional ‘studio’ evolving into immersive multi-sensory environments for movement meditation and group experiences. Boundaries between walls, floors and ceilings will be blurred, with back projected imagery to create a wraparound experience.”

Sanctum is transforming the way mindful movement classes are run

3. Wired for sound

“Sound is extremely powerful in shifting emotions, cleansing energy and elevating a spa experience. Spas have long known that sound can create a deeper treatment experience and set the right mood.

“Now, new players in the sound therapy market will mean spas need to be designed with the latest high-tech sound equipment. This will require heavy investment to ensure the maximum impact for guests.

“Global music brand Myndstream, for example, is creating new sonic experiences for guests.

DJ Brian D’Souza’s Swell has worked with a Scottish brand ishga, recording nature sounds, Gaelic singing and traditional Hebridean instruments to curate a series of meditative soundscapes for use in spa treatments. This is being used in spas such as Coworth Park.”

render of a gym
The new Grainstore at Calcot & Spa has an authentic, natural feel with a concrete-coloured finish

4. Flowing natural spaces and upcycled elements

“Flowing, organic space planning will continue to be an important part of our design approach going forward, reflecting a softer more natural feel,” says Bayes. “Specification of sustainable and upcycled materials will become the new normal.

“A recent example of a space where nature has been embraced is the new Grainstore at Calcot & Spa.

“The design has an authentic feel, reflecting the environmental credentials of the upcycled Grainstore building. Polished screed floors are complemented by clay-based wall renders by Cornish company Clayworks.“

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