Spa People

Marc Cohen

Our vision is to spread a culture of peace, love and understanding across the globe


Integrative medicine expert Marc Cohen has been fascinated by water since he can remember. At medical school, Cohen realised he learned best when relaxing in the bath so took to reading his textbooks while soaking in the tub.

The interest carried on into adulthood and most recently he’s been appointed medical director at the Peninsula Hot Springs Group (PHSG), a thermal spa operator based in Victoria, Australia. The new role will see him directing the medical, research, science and educational activities across the group’s three current properties and its two in the pipeline (see p14).

“This is my dream job,” exclaims Cohen. “I’m getting to live out my passion supported by an inspired executive team.” Their vision, he says, “is to create a culture of wellness that will spread peace, love and understanding across the globe.”

A long history
Cohen, who has a background as a medical doctor and a professor of health sciences and complementary medicine, has a long history with PHSG and its chair, founder and creative director Charles Davidson.

Davidson says: “He’s been a part of our story since we first met back in 2002 when I was running Mizu Spa.” The facility, says Davidson, was a test-bed for creating one of the first thermal facilities in the region.

It was an arduous, eight-year journey he recalls, but Peninsula Hot Springs finally launched in 2005. “Marc was a shining light of energy, enthusiasm, passion, intelligence, ideas and inspiration who helped keep our dream alive as he believed in it almost as much (possibly more) than we did.”

Davidson refers to his new team mate as a true pioneer of the global wellness sector, thanks to the fact Cohen was one of the founding board members of the Global Spa Summit (which has evolved into the Global Wellness Summit) and, for 16 years, was a professor of Complementary Medicine at RMIT university where he created the world’s first Master of Wellness Programme.

He’s also set up an Extreme Wellness retreat company based on the limits of hot and cold bathing and breathwork and launched wellness tonic and water filter products.

Davidson says: “While this director role is a new one for PHSG, we’ve been working in all the medical, science, research and education disciplines for many years – much of which has been together with Marc.”

Scouring the globe
As part of his role, Cohen will be instrumental in fulfilling the group’s expansion plans. He’s already advising on potential new hot springs sites including alpine, outback, riverside, lakeside, coastal, urban and historic locations – and possibly even mobile offerings.
Work is already underway on two sites in Australia: a desert destination called Cunnamulla Hot Springs in south-west Queensland and Phillip Island Hot Springs in Victoria – both of which are slated to open in mid-2023. There are also exciting plans for urban bathing facilities in Melbourne and a restoration project overseas.

Cohen will get inspiration for future projects by investigating unique wellness locations and offerings across the globe. His travels in the coming months will see him taking in hot spring sites in Israel, Italy, France and New Zealand.

“I’ll meet with hot springs owners and operators, academics, architects and geothermal engineers to explore how we can develop further products, experiences and locations,” he says.

Davidson adds: “Before a beautiful piece of art can emerge, the yarn needs to be collected. Marc is one of the colourful threads of our tapestry that tells the story of how to build beautiful hot spring-led wellness communities that can spread wellness around the world.”

To support the company’s growth, Davidson is also looking to appoint further people to new key positions in marketing, operations, wellness, culture, arts and development.

Multifaceted role
It’s fair to say Cohen’s new position is multifaceted. His workload spans guiding strategy, wellness experience design, staff education, programming, guest messaging, community outreach, health and safety and strategic collaborations to name just a few.

He’s already been tasked with assisting in the development of a curriculum for a Diploma of Health Wellness and Thermal Bathing Therapies with Melbourne’s Chisholm Institute to support career development in the industry. “This will not only help to develop career pathways within the industry and strengthen community outreach and messaging,” says Cohen, “but, it will allow the hot springs sector to become renowned as a trusted thought leader and nature-based experience provider in the wellness space.”

Another mission is to explore the potential of integration with existing health services.

Davidson says: “Marc brings passion, intelligence, fun and academic rigour to our team. He’s highly productive and focused on helping us deliver our purpose which is ‘creating a better life, naturally’.” The long-term goal is to co-create a meaningful wellness culture through relaxing experiences in nature.

Evidence-based wellness
A crucial part of Cohen’s work includes evaluating, designing, supervising and implementing scientific studies which build on his previous published research covering a myriad of topics – from how heat can treat viral infections such as COVID-19 and the mental health benefits of bathing to the clinical benefits of health retreats.

He and Davidson expect areas of interest for future research to include contrast bathing, the properties of different waters, the health effects of ingesting geothermal mineral water and developing international standards for best practice in hot springs design. There are also aspirations to explore the social, environmental and economic impact of hot springs and the development of intentional wellness communities.

“My involvement and passion for hot springs has been a long and wonderful journey driven by a focus on fun,” states Cohen. “The past decade has seen rapid growth of the global hot springs industry and I’m proud that Charles and I have been actively involved in this.”

Davidson concludes: “We created Marc’s role as it’s time... We’re growing rapidly and need to consolidate our collective energies to help make the push that will enable us to be the best conduit to worldwide wellness that we can be.”

Image Credit here if required

"Marc is one of the colourful threads of our tapestry that tells the story of how to build beautiful hot spring-led wellness communities," – PHSG chair, founder and creative director, Charles Davidson

PHSG PROPERTIES
Already opened

• Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

• Maruia Hot Springs, Lewis Pass, New Zealand

• Metung Hot Springs, East Gippsland, Australia (opened October 2022)

In the works

• Cunnamulla Hot Springs, south-west Queensland, Australia (outback) (opening mid-2023)

• Phillip Island Hot Springs, Victoria, Australia (opening mid-2023)

Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
featured supplier
Featured Supplier: CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo Americas in Miami, Florida, the region’s only event dedicated to cruise ship interior design.
company profile
Company profile: Polin Waterparks
Design, engineering, manufacturing, installation of waterslides, waterparks and waterplay attractions. Polin has perfected hundreds of exclusive and successful projects all around the world: outdoor parks, indoor parks and hotel/resort packages, regardless of the project’s size.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Hashimoto has used traditional Japanese materials but in an unusual way, such as the red lacquer used in the bathtub
"The difference between a hotel and a ryokan is that a hotel is more public and a ryokan is less intense and more intimate"

Across Japan, architects are giving traditional ryokans a modern makeover with surprising results. We take a look

Phillip Tabb designed a series of omega-shaped hamlets separated by undeveloped land
Steve and Marie Nygren
"The vision was to create a community that feels as though it’s always been there"

Eco community Serenbe was launched in the heart of the Giorgia countryside to provide an alternative to the traditional American suburb. As work starts on a new wellness hamlet, we speak to the founders

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace opened last year
"A vast yet understated investment in cultural institutions and tourist infrastructure is taking place without lavish budgets, starchitects or international fanfare"

The amazing projects transforming Canada’s second city

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The DCS-designed Shoe Heaven for Harrods
Dublin-born David Collins moved to London in the 1980s and founded David Collins Studio in 1985
"The Studio is such a big part of our lives, that it just continued, albeit through a very challenging period"

David Collins was behind the design of many of London’s hottest destinations Today his legacy lives on via the studio’s glamorous international projects

The design of the new HQ for the International Olympic Committee was inspired by the movement of athletes
Kim Herforth Nielsen founded 3XN in 1986 with Lars Frank Nielsen and Hans Peter Svendler Nielsen
"I always wanted to do more than just designing buildings"

How Danish firm 3XN is harnessing the power of architecture to shape human behaviour

Charpente Concept created the wooden structure, which was lifted into place in year two of the build
"Heat and oxygen levels are adjusted by sensors in response to the number of people inside and their body temperature"

Designing a climbers’ refuge on Mont Blanc was anything but straightforward, but for Groupe H’s Nikolai Bersenev the challenges were what made the project so memorable

features
The Vo Trong Nghia-designed Roc Von restaurant opened in rural Vietnam earlier this year
"Without green design we’re finished"

Pushing green design practices and caring for the natural world

Richard Hassell is co-founder of WOHA, the firm responsible for the design of The Parkroyal on Pickering hotel and the School of the Arts
"Because of the demand, they kept raising the hotel’s room rate, and people kept coming, so they raised it more"

The architects behind some of Singapore’s greenest buildings explain how urban density and nature can go hand in hand

cladkit product news
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
cladkit product news
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
cladkit product news
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...