The Sanctuary redevelops its space

The Sanctuary, one of London’s leading women’s day spas, is set to reveal the fruits of a major design revamp next month. Design consultancies Forster Inc and Spa Developments have been drafted in to refresh and reorganise the 90m2 space in an attempt to cater for the growing number of visitors to the spa.

Director of the spa Debi Green reveals that the fivemonth programme involves a revamping of existing areas such as the sleep retreat and the hydro and thermal area, as well as extensions, including the addition of a standalone skin spa and a manicure and pedicure area, which can be accessed separately. The budget for the programme stands at £345 000, with further refurbishment to come. Rachel Forster, founder of Forster, explains that her consultancy was brought on board to resolve space issues within the reception and retail areas. ‘The spa has always been about wellbeing and relaxation, but it just doesn’t have enough capacity at the moment to process the number of daily visitors, who need to check in, make appointments and wait to be called. It’s a really important space because it is the first and last port of call for clients entering and leaving the building,’ says Forster. ‘By reassessing the layout and designing bespoke furniture in the main reception area, we’ve tried to bring it back to being a haven of tranquillity within the city,’ she adds.

The key elements of the reception area – materials, colours, lighting – will be kept soft, natural and warm, according to Forster, and will be consistent with the existing Sanctuary branding. The retail area – a key showcase for The Sanctuary retail lines – has also been reworked to give visitors more opportunity to test products. ‘We’re designing a “play” area, where ladies can drop by for workshops that can accommodate up to eight people,’ Forster reveals. ‘It’s important to have connections with the product, and the challenge, really, is to get visitors to buy the products.’ Glasgow consultancy Spa Developments was briefed in September to develop the basement thermo and hydro area, and to devise concepts for the standalone skin clinic and manicure and pedicure sections.

Sheena McHugh, studio manager at Spa Developments, explains that the idea behind the skin clinic was to create a disparate treatment area that can be accessed by visitors who are not using the rest of the spa. Previously, treatments were only available to those using the spa facilities. ‘This area had to have its own reception area, and while it is separate, it still needed to be consistent with the rest of The Sanctuary. Because the treatments are almost medicalbased, we’ve given it a slightly more clinical feel,’ says McHugh. Although the interior design of spas often references the treatments offered, the basement of The Sanctuary will look radically different, according to McHugh. Current plans, though still in development and being closely guarded, are for the style of the thermal and hydro area to echo its basement location, rather than the treatments.

‘It’s going to be a direct negative of the existing space, with a richer and darker palette,’ McHugh hints.

• The Sanctuary celebrates its 30th anniversary next year
• It has around 64 000 female visitors a year
• It is London’s longest running ladies-only day spa
• The Sanctuary toiletries brand has 11 different product lines, plus gift ranges, and retails through Boots

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