26 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2022 issue 3

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Leisure Management - La Spa Helvetia & Bristol

New opening

La Spa Helvetia & Bristol

Florence spa splashes out with ancient Roman bathing traditions

Photo: Stefano Scatà
The site is built on the foundations of ancient patrician Roman baths Photo: Stefano Scatà
Spa facilities include two pools, a tepidarium, caldarium and sudatorium Photo: Stefano Scatà
Photo: Stefano Scatà

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

Italy-based spa and wellness consultancy bbspa_Group devised the spa concept for the five-star Helvetia & Bristol hotel, owned and managed by Starhotels. Spa management company Snow Group Italia, of which bbspa_Group is a shareholder, has been brought on board to helm the spa.

The team chose to channel a minimalist and modern vision of the historic Roman bathing tradition into its design. Regis Boudon Doris, CEO of The Snow Group Italia and bbspa_Group, told Spa Business this decision was due to the fact that the building is built on the foundations of ancient patrician Roman baths which, until recently, had been 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 baths back to life is what makes this project so unique,” he says, adding that the concept means that spa guests can view various period finds from the ancient Roman empire dotted around the spa.

“We’ve revived the baths to bring a fundamental pillar of spa culture into the 21st century. It’s been an exciting challenge and we’re delighted to bring this traditional offering to both hotel guests and local Florentines,” he says. “The property is the first spa in Italy to be added to a portfolio of 60 international properties managed by The Snow Group. There are also other projects in Italy in the implementation or contracting phase which form part of our ambitious development plan.”

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

Wellness facilities

The 550sq m La Spa Helvetia & Bristol provides a Roman-inspired bathing journey featuring two pools with whirlpool functions, a tepidarium, caldarium, frigidarium, sudatorium and an aquae Jet Pathway. Guests can 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 wellness equipment supplier Lemi Group provided the treatment beds and accessories.

Visitors are also able to upgrade their experience by choosing from a menu of Cinq Mondes spa treatments, including signature treatments and massages. A selection of fitness and movement activities are also available.

Originally published in Spa Business 2022 issue 3

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