With a build time measured in days, not months, the SPAshell could be an instant answer to the search for an additional hotel revenue stream, says Lisa Jenkins
In an industry where smooth, uninterrupted service delivery is paramount, it’s important that guests don’t notice any major development work or construction. So when Acorn award winner Laura Penman wanted to add a spa to her three-AA-rosette hotel, Fishmore Hall in Ludlow, Shopshire, she had to ensure that the installation was swift and unobtrusive.
Penman bought her hotel in October 2006, paying £500,000 for a derelict private house to convert into a hotel at “a fortunate time with the banks,” she says. She had toyed with the idea of a spa before, offering in-room treatments as well as setting up a small unit in the grounds of the hotel, with therapists loaned from a local spa company.
When she wanted to expand, she couldn’t find the solution she was looking for until she met Alistair Johnson, managing director of Spa Creators, at the Independent Hotel Show in 2015.
Spa Creators is a team of designers and procurement specialists who develop and deliver spas for luxury and boutique hotels. SPAshell is the company’s new concept: a modular pod where the sections of the building are created off-site, transported on lorries, and then assembled in just a few hours – perfect for a hotelier not wishing to take time out.
There are two options: one with four treatment rooms and another with eight. Both have thermal suites with Italian-designed sauna and steam rooms, an outdoor vitality pool made from cedar wood, a bucket shower and monsoon drench showers.
The modular pods are designed by Johnson and his team using 3D modelling and manufactured in the UK in 10 weeks. The building is then delivered and linked together on site without the need for permanent foundations, which sidesteps the requirement for full planning permission. The final set-up takes just 10 days.
Penman took delivery of the SPAshell knowing that she had a wedding booked in two weeks. “We’d been told to expect a big delivery, and that’s exactly what we got,” she says. “On delivery day I did have one guest that said, ‘Oh I didn’t know you were having construction work done,’ and I explained that it was really just a big delivery that day. When they came back at check-in time, we were almost done.
“Fishmore Hall is sited on just over an acre so there isn’t a huge amount of land and so this solution is absolutely ideal for us, as is the interior, which is so well-designed and makes the best use of space, inside and outside.”
Johnson and Penman recruited the spa therapists together. The hotel employs the therapists directly and Spa Creators supplies periodic reports and audits on performance.
Revenue from the spa was delivered within seven days after delivery, and bookings are up year-on-year, so Penman is pleased with the extra dimension to her business.
- A reception area with juice bar and lounge area
- A thermal area with sauna and steam room
- A unisex changing room with vanity area and two private changing rooms with showers
- Accessible toilet
- Locker space for 18 guests
- Four treatment rooms equipped with electrical treatment couches; the rooms can be opened up to create two double rooms with sliding partition doors
- An outside six-seat cedar wood jacuzzi with massage jets and colour-changing lights
- An outdoor drench shower and bucket shower
- Patio area with loungers and two hammocks.
How Fishmore Hall benefits from SPAshell
- A support contract that includes diary management, stock control and management reports
- A new revenue stream from food and beverage served in the spa, as well as sales of beauty products
- Each modular building is turnkey supplied, from fully trained, managed staff members with minimal disruption to hotel guests and restricted building work on site
- Once installed, each SPAshell is operational in less than 10 days. The landscape can be fully integrated with the SPAshell so it blends into the hotel site
A four-room SPAshell (dependent on specification) costs approximately £6,000 a month