Sparcstudio, an independent, creative design studio with a reputation for excellence in the spa, wellness, hotel and resort sectors has collaborated on one of the UK’s most highly anticipated spa refurbishments, Aqua Sana Elveden Forest.
Following a £6.5 million investment and a large-scale re-development project, Aqua Sana Longleat Forest fully opened to guests in September 2023.
Sparcstudio worked alongside Center Parcs own spa experts to help create and design the new ‘Forest Spa’ concept for Center Parcs. This is the fourth ‘Forest Spa’ concept to launch, designed by the team.
“As designers we welcome the opportunity to evolve the design with fresh new concepts and experiences which are unique to each site and give a ‘sense of place’,” says Neil Fairplay, Director, Sparcstudio.
The spa, which has undergone the biggest refurbishment in Aqua Sana’s history, has completely transformed into a multi-sensory forest escape – inspired by natural environments, from volcanos and hot springs to forest glades and mineral caves.
Aqua Sana Elveden Forest boasts a large range of steam rooms and saunas, a heated outdoor pool, an ice cave and a selection of relaxation rooms. The spa has also introduced three new experiences, which are exclusive to Aqua Sana Elveden Forest – The Nest, Sole Therapy and Forest View.
“The concept behind the project was to create a forest inspired spa journey with each thermal forest zone inspired by different geological and geographical locations,” explains Neil Fairplay, Director, Sparcstudio. “For example, there is a cold Nordic Forest, Japanese Onsen inspired Hot Springs to the Volcanic Forest, all designed to encourage spa guests to enjoy a different experience each time they visit.”
The Nest sauna space reflects the forest canopy and the feeling of being in a nest. Surrounded by natural cedar wood, guests can recline on a body contoured lounger as they look out above the treetops at the natural woodland. “One of the most unique features is The Nest, a bespoke designed panoramic sauna which has seven individual, semi reclined wooden loungers all orientated towards a large picture window providing first floor views across the forest,” says Fairplay.
The ground floor of the spa houses the majority of thermal experiences with Sole Therapy foot spa bathing at the entrance, a large outdoor ‘forest bathing’ pool in the central double height space which is open to the elements and access to the Hot Springs Garden, the Japanese tranquility garden with hot tubs, and Nordic Garden with Snug room. The first floor is focused on rest, mediation, sleep, relaxation and treetop views and vistas of the forest.
Inspired by Ashiyu Japanese foot baths, Sole Therapy includes free-flowing water to stimulate reflex zones on the bottom of the feet, which calms the body and prepares the mind for relaxation. Surrounded by natural daylight and natural forest sounds, it’s the perfect way to begin your spa journey. Forest View is an immersive spa experience, offering guests a unique journey for meditation as they observe a scene slowly transitioning through all four seasons of the year, while surrounded by aromatic scents of the woodlands.
The spa is split across five ‘zones’ – Nordic Forest, Hot Springs, Volcanic Forest, Forest Immersion and Treetop Nesting – each designed to improve mental and physical wellbeing, taking inspiration from the sights, sounds and scents of the natural world.
In addition to the transformation of the spa, Vitalé Café Bar has received a £1.2m investment to give it a complete redesign, bringing the outside in with decorative foliage large windows that allow in natural daylight while overlooking the woodland setting.
“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Center Parcs again on such a transformational and creative project. We ‘opened up’ the original building so that the external gardens and forest spaces are visible from all angles and many of the thermal experiences. The Spa is now, very much ‘in the forest and of the forest’ and its impossible not to feel connected with the Forest.”
Neil Fairplay – Director – Sparcstudio
Sparcstudio worked with the following key consultants and suppliers:
ABS/Cocksedge – main contractor
Town and Country – Joinery
Spa 4 – Heat Cabins & thermal experiences
Hans Grohe – Sanitaryware
Porcelanosa – Tiles