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09 May 2022

bbspa_Group reimagines classical Roman baths to create new spa in Florence
BY Megan Whitby

bbspa_Group’s role involved developing the spa concept and menu, organising staffing and training and offering advisory services

bbspa_Group’s role involved developing the spa concept and menu, organising staffing and training and offering advisory services
photo: Stefano Scatà

A new urban wellness sanctuary has opened in the heart of Florence, Italy, inspired by ancient civilisations and their tradition of thermal bathing.

Italy-based spa and wellness consultancy bbspa_Group oversaw the realisation of the new spa at the five-star Helvetia & Bristol hotel. The team chose to channel a minimalist and modern vision of the historic Roman bathing tradition into its design.

Regis Boudon Doris, CEO of bbspa_Group, told Spa Business this is because the building is built on the foundations of ancient patrician Roman baths, buried underneath a bank vault.

“Being in the heart of Florence is already magical – especially in a building with such rich history – but bringing the city’s ancient Roman bathing tradition back to life is what makes this project so unique,” he says.

Spa guests can even see various period finds from the ancient Roman empire dotted around the spa.

“We’ve reinstated a fundamental pillar of spa culture into 21st century Florence. It’s been an exciting challenge and we’re delighted to bring this traditional offering to both hotel guests and locals.”

The wellness facilities
The 550sq m La Spa Helvetia & Bristol provides a Roman bathing journey featuring two pools with whirlpool functions, a tepidarium, caldarium, frigidarium, sudatorium and an Aquae water jet pathway.

Guests are then invited to complete their experience by reclining in either of the spa’s two relaxation rooms.

In addition, the facility is home to two single treatment rooms, a couples’ suite, a hand and foot treatment room, a beauty room, a check-up space and a suite for water massages.

Shower system specialist Aquaform supplied all water technologies within the facility, while spa and beauty equipment supplier Lemi Group was selected to provide treatment beds and accessories.

Visitors can upgrade their experience by choosing from a menu of Cinq Mondes spa treatments, devised by bbspa_Group, including signature treatments and massages. A selection of fitness and movement activities are also available throughout the week.

The collaboration
bbspa_Group’s role in the project also involved developing the spa concept, organising staffing and training and offering advisory services throughout.

The consultancy conceived and designed La Spa Helvetia & Bristol on behalf of Starhotels – owner and manager of the hotel – as well as The Snow Group, of which bbspa_Group is a shareholder.

The Snow Group manages the hotel spa via its Italian branch and comprises Deep Nature, Cinq Mondes and Algotherm. It is owned by Deep Nature’s original shareholders Groupe Bateur.

The national branch is the result of an association between Snow Group and bbspa_Group in order to be the first company offering the Italian market an international lease management service.

“The property is the first spa in Italy to be added to the other 60 in the world managed by Snow Group,” adds Boudon Doris. “There are also other projects in Italy in the implementation or contracting phase which form part of our very ambitious development plan.”

bbspa_Group worked with Starhotels’ architecture and interior design departments to execute the recent project in Florence.

The team collaborated closely with Starhotels architects Silvia Stoppacciari and Francesca della Rosa, as well as Starhotels’ president Dr Elisabetta Fabri, who influences the mood and design of each hotel in the group.



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