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AIDarchitecten create healing spa for Antwerp's Botanic Sanctuary

by Megan Whitby | 03 Jan 2023

A 15th-century monastery and chapel in Antwerp, Belgium, has been transformed into a 108-room hotel and spa focused on community, healing and comfort.

Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp sits next to the city’s botanic garden and this leafy, natural setting has been central to defining the concept of the Botanic Health Spa which spans three floors.

Designed to reflect a cloistral devotion to healing plants and herbs, the 10-treatment-room spa was brought to life by wellness consultant and designer Heinz Schletterer. Schletterer’s brief involved crafting an elegant space featuring natural, uncomplicated and sustainably-built interiors.

The finished article is an inner-city escape bathed in natural light and finished with natural stone, wood and glass design detailing.

The spa features a pool and relaxation spaces, as well as infrared loungers, a fireplace, waterbeds, a botanical shower experience, a whirlpool, vitamin and herbal bars and the Spa Bistro.

Additional facilities include a historically-inspired steamroom, panoramic Finnish sauna, textile sauna, salt and mineral sauna and a Kneipp walk.

History shapes the present

Naturopathy, herbalism, phytotherapy and alternative medicine guide the healing philosophy of the spa. Plant-based treatments, herbal products and nutritional supplements provide solutions to help prevent lifestyle diseases.

The focus on herbal healing stems from the monastery’s history when the convent’s brothers and sisters would grow vegetables and herbs for food and to create remedies for the sick.

Furthermore, in the 16th century, renowned chemist Pieter Coudenberg established a medicinal herb garden next door – considered the precursor of the city’s modern-day Botanical Garden.

IRET Development worked with AIDarchitecten to sensitively preserve the location’s identity and create an urban retreat that brings together a sense of the building’s history with contemporary sensibilities and sustainable design.

As part of the major restoration project, the monastery’s former pharmacy has been brought back to life and established as a flagship store for herbal apothecary skincare and spa brand Saint Charles Apothecary.

As well as supplying products for treatments, it promotes holistic wellbeing by curating herbal pharmaceutical remedies and developing exclusive products and scents inspired by the hotel.

Additional spa and equipment suppliers partnered with the spa include SPA4, Wattec NV, Dauwco BV, Gharieni and EviDenS de Beauté, as well as Methode Physiodermie, Skin Vital Concept, Jet Peel, InBody Scan, OMNIA3 and Ercolina Rehab.

Traditional European medicineThe Botanic Sanctuary Spa’s healing approach is also guided by a combination of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and traditional European medicine (TEM).

This sees spa therapists working with European herbs within the parameters of eastern healing methods. The spa menu offers guests anti-ageing facials, medical skin solutions, performance assessments, massages, body rituals, retreats and beauty services.

TCM diagnostics, full-body scans and in-depth consultations are also offered by the spa’s dedicated holistic medicine and experienced TCM practitioner – Xavier Le Clef.

The team told Spa Business that, since opening, the average spa guest spend-per-visit has hit €160 (US$158, £139) and the customer base has been split between 40 per cent locals and 60 per cent international tourists.

Roughly 50 treatments are performed each day, with massages and facials remaining the most popular.

The Botanic Health Club offers nutrition, fitness and lifestyle coaching services to complete the selection of facilities on offer.

The club has chosen Technogym to fit out its workout spaces. Workshops, yoga, meditation and mindfulness classes complete the bill to re-energise guests’ bodies and minds, while retreats are due to launch early in 2023.

To discover more of the latest new openings across the global spa and wellness industry, check out the most recent issue of Spa Business.

Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp  IRET Development  AIDarchitecthen  Heinz Schletterer  AIDarchitecten  Saint Charles Apothecary  EviDenS de Beauté 
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29 Oct 2021

AIDarchitecten creates Urban spa sanctuary inspired by renowned apothecary in former monastery

FEATURE: New opening – Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp

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