The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd

Ask the experts

Satellite sites

What could be better for the spa user than an annual week-long retreat topped up with regular visits to a local day spa to keep health goals on track? A burgeoning trend suggests this option is coming down the tracks. Kath Hudson reports

Destination spas are fantastic for a 360 overhaul, but the majority of guests visit once a year, which will never have as much impact on people’s health as year-round support.

In response, a growing number of operators are kickstarting rollout plans for satellite centres, usually in urban locations where they can connect with their clients all year round. An extension of the brand, these more accessible sites have pared down offerings of the flagships, but with the same ethos, level of service and access to expertise.

Operators who’ve already launched satellite sites say they’re great as feeders for the main property and vice versa. Around 10 to 20 per cent of clients use both and this figure will likely grow as locations increase.

It sounds an attractive proposition for operators to go down this road, but it’s not without challenges as it involves heavy investment and locations are sought with exacting criteria meaning they’re not easy to find.

If this becomes a widespread trend, it could mean the democratisation of spas, with more people who can’t travel to the main locations being able to access expertise, treatments and health technologies in their cities. Will we see more operators following this course of action? We ask the experts...

Simone Gibertoni
CEO, Clinique La Prairie
Photo: Clinique La Prairie

Creating smaller sites around the world is absolutely part of our strategy and we have two concepts we’re rolling out.

Longevity Hubs have been designed to offer a first access to our approach in city locations, so clients can regularly engage with experts to build healthy routines. The offer is focused on longevity, wellbeing and aesthetics, and services include health assessments, cryotherapy, far-infrared light, nutraceuticals, IV drips and brain stimulation.

We now have Longevity Hubs open in Madrid, Bangkok and Doha and the long-term goal is to reach about 40 in major cities worldwide.

Health Resorts will bridge the gap between Longevity Hubs and our flagship site in Switzerland. Set in stunning locations, they will offer week-long bespoke longevity and detox programmes combining preventative medicine and genetics/epigenetics, with wellbeing, lifestyle and nutrition plans.

Our first resort opens in Anji, China, in 2024 and two more will follow in the Middle East and the USA by 2028. There will be no more than 10 of these with a maximum of 50 rooms each – which is a big challenge considering the investment required. But we can’t replicate our ultra-personalised Swiss service if we go any larger.

The difficulty with expansion is retaining the highest degree of exclusivity and premium service as we grow. It’s an ambitious, but essential, balance.

All our projects will also contribute to what is at the heart of our company vision – to be at the forefront of innovation, with a commitment to source and develop the best technologies in the field of longevity.

The long-term objective is to reach about 40 Longevity Hubs in major cities around the world
Clinique La Prairie’s flagship spa is in Switzerland / Photo: Clinique La Prairie
John T G Nielsen
General manager, Fivelements Retreat
Photo: Fivelements

If we can locate a good business partner and the numbers stack up, then satellite sites are a great way of growing the Fivelements footprint. Since being acquired by Evolution Wellness, Asia’s largest fitness network, we can tap into its knowledge and experience so the brand extension is less of a risk for the operator, developers and investors. On the downside, any stand-alone venue requires a large upfront sum and regular ongoing expenses, which impacts ROI.

We tried this with the Fivelements Habitat in Hong Kong, where we created a club-style membership environment based on our flagship destination in Bali. Although it was showing many positive signs, the Hong Kong unrest, riots and COVID-19, meant the club never had the chance to reach its potential.

While we’re still exploring various models where the Habitat concept can be incorporated into projects, we’re also looking to form other partnerships. In April, for example, we’ll be launching and managing a branded wellness centre at the five-star Marianna Resort in Lake Toba, Indonesia. We’re open to having an equity stake in assets like this in the future, but these agreements tend to be slightly more challenging to complete. Lease options are also an opportunity, but again the landlord must be seen as a good partner to ensure future financial success.

Our flagship retreat has a unique location on the sacred Ayung River, which offers a complete immersion in nature and a permaculture garden where we harvest raw materials for our treatments. Fivelements Wellness Lake Toba will offer a similarly spectacular location, on the shores of the world’s largest volcanic lake. The land is rich, producing Sumatra coffee, kaffir lime, garlic and other wonderful produce which we can incorporate into the treatments.

Another big appeal of this partnership is the exposure and future opportunities that come with being part of a new five-star hotel.

Satellite sites are a great way of growing the Fivelements footprint if the numbers stack up
Nils Behrens
Chief marketing officer, Lanserhof
Photo: Luke Andrew Walker

To get the full Lanserhof experience you need to stay for 10 days, this gives the gut a break and the mental system can also rest. You can do this at our destination retreats – two in Germany and one in Austria. As most of our guests come just once a year, however, we wanted to create an outpatient experience, where people could come for the day, get some of the benefits and keep themselves on track. We see smaller sites as a companion for the whole journey, allowing us to remain in constant contact with clients.

We chose Hamburg for our first site because it’s where many of our clients live. London at the Arts Club in Mayfair was our second site because the second highest number of our clients come from the UK and most of them are from London.

Smaller sites will be part of our ongoing business strategy and we’re constantly evaluating locations. It’s difficult to find the right site as we need to have a city of a minimum size and suitable infrastructure. Also, it’s more complicated to develop medical centres than a regular wellness and hospitality offering, since regulations and health services vary between countries. As a result, we can’t just create the perfect blueprint to roll out.

Smaller urban sites are much quicker to develop than a retreat, but we’re still learning what the ideal offering is. Hamburg started out as a preventative model and is moving towards a more acute one. London started out as acute and is moving more towards preventative, performance and longevity.

Fifteen per cent of our retreat clients use our urban sites and the two concepts complement each other, creating markets for the other. Most of our clients in London became members first, then visited the retreat afterwards.

It’s difficult to find the right site as we need to have a city of a minimum size with suitable infrastructure
Lanserhof’s two concepts create markets for each other / Photo: Lanserhof Sylt
Anna Bjurstam
Wellness pioneer, Six Senses
photo: six senses

We all need to bring more balance into our lives. We’re busier and lonelier than ever. Although we can work from anywhere, we can’t seem to focus. While we’re trying to be proactive about our health, we’re overwhelmed by the choices.

Technology gives us the means to be more efficient, but less human connection and interaction can often make us inefficient. We’re lacking connection to other humans and community, physical and mental space and lacking opportunities to get away from it all in the middle of it all.

Our latest concept, Six Senses Place, aims to fill this gap, allowing people to join a local community which can keep them on track.

While a week-long retreat is great for a recalibration, often the real work is done when people leave the spa. Behavioural science has shown small incremental changes are longer lasting than boot camp for a week.

Reflecting the values we’re known for, this private members club will have a community-feel and our aim is to address wellbeing on a number of different planes.

We want to support our members to live their life to the fullest: balancing work, family, friends, social causes and wellbeing. These all-in-one venues will help members thrive, offering wellness guidance and practices which cut through the noise, as well as best-in-class programming, facilities and experiences, emotional and personalised service and outstanding food and beverage under one sustainable roof.

The concept will provide us with the opportunity to build on our brand. We’re opening our first Six Senses Place in London at the end of 2023, while six more will follow in Bangkok, Shanghai, Lisbon, Dubai and the US.

While a week-long retreat is great for a recalibration, often the real work is done when people leave the spa
Six Senses Place, a new club model, will build on the already successful brand / Photo: Kiattipong Panchee
Best-in-class programming remains a key focus / Photo: Six Senses Kaplankaya
company profile
Company profile: Alliance Leisure
The company’s core business is the provision of facility development and support for local authorities, educational establishments and leisure trusts that want to improve or expand the leisure products and services they offer.
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
Zumthor’s service buiding sits on the side of a stone wall
Peter Zumthor created three buildings at the site of the old Allmannajuvet zinc mines
"The designs portray the drudgery and strenuous nature of miners’ daily lives"

On his zinc mine museum in Norway

White City House features an indoor lap pool in the House Gym as well as the rooftop pool
Linda Boronkay grew up in Budapest. Her father was an architect and her mother was an antiques dealer and collector
"Nick Jones and I are both passionate about design. When we see the same thing twice, it bores us. It’s risky but interesting creatively"

At the end of a very busy year for Soho House, the group’s design director talks us through her plans

The food court is flooded with natural light. There are several dining options
Populous’ Christopher Lee has designed more than 30 stadia across five continents
"Our new stadium and wider scheme has been developed to deliver an unrivalled fan experience and significant benefits to our local community. We want to make this venue a world class sports and entertainment destination for everyone, in our birthplace of Tottenham - Daniel Levy, Tottenham Hotspur FC chair "

Tom Walker exploresthe storybehind TottenhamHotspur’sgroundbreakingnew footballstadium

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
The museum is embedded into the peak of Mount Kronplatz and features a viewing platform
Peter Irmscher, senior architect, Zaha Hadid
"The brief said you had to be able to walk through it with ski boots on"

A year on from the opening of Zaha Hadid’s Messner Mountain Museum, project architect Peter Irmscher talks us through the highs and lows of the development

Johannes Torpe has designed the spa so that the views of the landscape dominate throughout
"We want to create the illusion that guests are entering another world when they arrive at the resort"

An Icelandic spa retreat inspired by surrealist folk tales

David Adjaye set up Adjaye Associates in 2000. The practice has offices in London, New York and Accra
"The museum is about rethinking the connection between Africa and America"

Ahead of the launch of the National Museum of African American History & Culture, its designer tells us what the project means to him

"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary"

Used cleverly, colour has the power to influence how people use the spaces they inhabit, says the creative director of Dulux

Clodagh’s designs, use materials traded on the Silk Route
NYC-based designer Clodagh
"We were blown away by the light, colours and endless fields of grape vines"

The designer of Six Senses' first European resort

Levete said she respected the museum’s ’radical’ commitment to daring and innovation
AL_A’s design concept for the project was to ‘make visible the invisible through large moves and small details alike’
"There is no other institution that would be quite so audacious in its commission"

Pulls off the V&A's new £55m courtyard

cladkit product news
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
cladkit product news
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 ...
CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
The event will allow buyers and suppliers to meet
Magali Robathan
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo ...
Ojmar introduces battery-free electronic locker to cut carbon footprints in health clubs and spas
Ojmar says the batteryless lock is easy to install and features a user-friendly interface
Megan Whitby
Smart lock manufacturer Ojmar has released the OTS20 Batteryless – the first battery-free electronic locker lock on the market. The ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd