24 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2023 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Ana Ramirez

Spa People

Ana Ramirez

We plan to partner with local healing people to learn about their distinctive wellness traditions and preserve their legacy

Ramirez is passionate about preserving cultural heritage photo: Ancestral Handmade
Wellness features include a retreat hub, longevity spa and herbal apothecary photo: Ancestral
Smart bungalows will be immersed in nature and equipped with wellness technology photo: Ancestral Handmade
photo: Ancestral Handmade
Price points will sit between US$350- US$550 a night photo: Ancestral
The target market includes wellness travellers, nature enthusiasts and families photo: Ancestral
Buildings will integrate sacred geometry with biophilic and bioclimatic design photo: Ancestral
photo: Ancestral
A flagship, 65-key property is in the works in Medellin, Columbia photo: Ancestral

Ana Ramirez, an architect deeply committed to prioritising human and planetary health in the built environment, has created a regenerative wellness hotel concept with the intention of rolling it out across South America.

Originally from Columbia, Ramirez is planning to launch a flagship Ancestral Handmade Hotels property in her hometown of Medellin, the second largest city in the country, but she also has her sights set on Peru and Ecuador.

The vision is to revive and celebrate ancestral wisdom and tribal traditions at every stage of the project – from building methods to wellness programming. Think coffee massages, cacao ceremonies and sound bath drum therapy.

She reveals more about her exciting plans to Spa Business.

What’s the story behind Ancestral?
I’ve specialised in luxury and wellness hospitality design for 15 years, managing turnkey projects for firms such as SB Architects and OBM International. However, during the pandemic, I decided to forge my own path to prioritise creating designs that truly resonate with me.

My goal with Ancestral is to create wellness retreats in collaboration with local communities that work in tandem with the land and are rooted in nature. In fact, Ancestral’s raison d’etre is to shine a spotlight on the power of ancient practices, local culture, traditional healing, regenerative tourism and nature in each of its locations.

What’s the blueprint for the properties?
Each destination will be anchored by a comprehensive wellness area called The Reserve Spa featuring a Herbal Sensorial and Longevity Spa, a Wellness and Wellbeing Retreat Hub, a herbal apothecary and a plant-based restaurant.

To create the wellness menu, we plan to partner with local healing people to learn about their distinctive wellness traditions to preserve their legacy.

In Colombia, for example, we’ve devised a menu of clay mud baths, coffee massages and exfoliations, essential oil workshops, sound bath drum therapy and equine therapy.

Other experiences will include a bioenergy dome, earthing pods, cacao ceremonies, quantum healing, fermentation classes and archaeological hiking trails.

Accommodation will consist of smart bungalows immersed in nature and equipped with wellness technology.

We’re designing all buildings sustainably and integrating sacred geometry with biophilic and bioclimatic design, as well as bio-energy to create hotels which are built to make people feel better.

In future, my team and I want to partner with neuroscientists to conduct research which proves the positive effects these spaces have on wellbeing.

The hotels will feature a main communal area complete with a lobby and lounge bar, bazaar, local fusion restaurant and an aborigen coffee-tea cacao shop.

We’re also going to create gardens with a botanic event nursery, farm organic produce and open a soil-to-table deli and bakery.

Who’s your target market?
We’ve designed our concept to appeal to wellness travellers, nature enthusiasts and also families – I believe in promoting wellbeing at all ages.

We want to connect all of our guests with nature and immerse them in a different culture – and this will be a concept for locals and tourists alike, so we foresee an equal split between these groups as our customers.

Price points of our destinations will sit between US$350-550 (€324-509, £281-442) a night.

Where are you planning to roll out the concept?
Our flagship property is in the works in the suburbs of Medellin and is in the environmental permitting stage. We’ve received a letter of positive viability from the municipality and anticipate that the 65-key project will take 18-19 months to build once we get the green light.

We’ll establish Ancestral in South America with multiple destinations in Colombia, as well as sites in Peru and Ecuador.

But we’re also open to the idea of expanding internationally into other spaces with vibrant ancestral healing cultures.

The plan is to realise our locations and then carefully select empathetic operating partners who feel open to collaborating, to curate the authenticity of our operation.

How do you want guests to feel?
My greatest intention is for our experience to ignite in our guests, hosts and collaborators a profound connection with the earth and their own inner essence.

I’m passionate about preserving cultural heritage and advocating for regenerative tourism to support local communities and create economic opportunities.

It’s not just about creating memorable experiences, but also about planting a seed for long-lasting lifestyle changes that allow our guests to thrive.

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 2

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