GET SPA BUSINESS
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital editions of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines and the FREE weekly Spa Business and Spa Business insider ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Interview
Lorenzo Giannuzzi

The hospitality industry veteran dreamed of reinventing an historic Italian palazzo as a world-class medical spa. Lisa Starr went to find out more


Lorenzo Giannuzzi was immersed in the hospitality industry from an early age, working as an intern and restaurant busboy. He attended the renowned École Hôtelière de Lausanne and after graduation, found himself in 1988 as area general manager for a hotel group which included a property known as Palazzo della Fonte.

Built in 1913, the iconic hotel was located in a park on the edge of Fiuggi, a thermal spring village 70km south east of Rome. The hotel had been a destination for European celebrities for many years, as well as serving as a hospital and a headquarters for the Allied Forces during World War II. At the time of his assignment, the hotel – then owned by Forte Group – was functioning with a business model catering for conventions and weekend leisure groups.

Eventually, Giannuzzi was promoted to be group director for the company’s Caribbean operations and moved out of the beautiful valley to pursue his career, eventually finding himself on the island of Sardinia, managing the iconic Forte Village.

Forte Village
Originally opened in 1970 as a holiday club, Forte Village gained international status in the 80s and 90s with the addition of pools, a spa and thalassotherapy centre featuring six pools, making it innovative and ahead of the times.

Voted the world’s leading resort twenty years in a row by the World Travel Awards, the unique family-oriented Forte Village comprises eight hotels, 21 restaurants, the services of a number of Michelin-starred chefs, a shopping arcade with 33 shops and a wide array of activities oriented to sun and sea. An arena seating 5,000 people showcases performing artists, while stars from a wide range of sports are available to coach guests.

Most are health-conscious couples and families and tend to come once or twice a year, so although it’s only open for six months of each year, Forte Village generates a turnover of around €100m pa, with EBITDA of close to €40m. This has made the Village a hot property and it has been sold several times over the years as a result.

Purchase of Palazzo della Fonte
With an eye on the future, Giannuzzi seized an opportunity to participate in the purchase, by the owners of the Forte Village, of Palazzo della Fonte in 2019, meaning this historic property became part of his remit once more, as he assumed the role of CEO of both Forte Village and the Palazzo.

With inspiration from his oversight of Forte Village and awareness of the demand for wellness, Giannuzzi envisioned Palazzo della Fonte being renamed Palazzo Fiuggi to reflect its thermal location and reimagined as a world-class medical spa – anticipating a demand for the restoration of health well before we’d ever even heard of COVID-19.

The lovely structure needed some refurbishment, but more importantly, a spa and wellness area had to be conceived and built that could create, according to Giannuzzi, “a total wow! effect”. Engaging GOCO Hospitality and consultant Thorsten Lipfert to guide the project, a 6,000sq m spa and wellness complex was added at a cost of €30m by completely reconstructing the lower level of the building.

The medical component includes the latest in technologies, such as MRI and infrared technologies for brain health, retinal scanning and diagnostic testing. An extensive hydrotherapy area includes thalassotherapy pools, Roman baths, private hammam suites and indoor and outdoor pools and lounges, while also incorporating the original outdoor pool – which at the time of its completion in 1936 was among the largest in Europe.

A 400sq m ballroom was refitted as a Movement Lab and offers the latest in equipment from Technogym, with Icarus for virtual fitness and Reaxing for balance and cognitive training – all with beautiful views of the countryside.

More than a spa
But Palazzo Fiuggi is more than a beautiful property. Already on top 10 lists of European spas, the goal is that it be considered a true destination health resort. Toward that effort, Giannuzzi collaborated with professor David Della Morte, a specialist in senescence-related ailments and Heinz Beck, a three Michelin star chef renowned for his healthy cuisine.

There are four main wellness programmes on offer: Complete Life Rewind, Optimal Weight, Deep Detox and Immuno Boost. Each is designed to be undertaken over a minimum of seven days and incorporate elements from the medical, hydro, movement and holistic treatments sectors.

Chef Beck worked with a team of nutritionists to design light, healthy menus using biodynamic, natural ingredients following the Food as Medicine approach. These beautifully presented meals are automatically delivered to guests in the dining room by elegant waiting staff according to their wellness programme, meaning guests need not concern themselves with making the right food choices during their visit.

Palazzo Fiuggi was originally scheduled to open in November 2020, but of course COVID-19 slowed the process considerably. Very strict construction protocols were put in place in Italy, and the procurement and delivery of materials and equipment suffered incredible delays.

The resort was finally able to soft open in May of 2021 and as with Forte Village, all team members have been vaccinated, and COVID-19 tests can be administered at check-in for unvaccinated guests.

Pandemic impact
How far back has the pandemic pushed their profitability targets? According to Giannuzzi, “We’re ready in the market with the most innovative, beautiful spa. Having this product ready at the end of COVID-19 will be a big plus – but we can recover what we lost within a year.”

It’s early days at this point, but so far clients are especially attracted to the Optimal Weight programme, while Russian and Eastern European clients seem especially keen on the concept of an “anti-COVID-19 check-up” – wanting to ensure their immune systems are fully functioning, and taking advantage of the therapies on offer for this, including IV infusions.

When asked about the EBITDA expectations of Palazzo Fiuggi in comparison to Forte Village, Giannuzzi explains the model will function differently. “We expect healthy occupancy, 75 per cent year-round and think we can perform very well.

“Margin in the spa is less than a normal resort, given the costs of equipment and medical personnel, but Palazzo Fiuggi will become an acorn of the health resort concept.” It is the intent that the resort will remain open year-round and attract a wide international following.

Does Giannuzzi believe many developers will be creating these kinds of properties? He says “Health tourism, prior to COVID-19, was increasing by double-digits every year and I’m sure this trend will continue –clients will pay more attention to prevention and remaining healthy.

“We don’t cure people,” he says, “The objective is to prevent them from getting sick – the Palazzo Fiuggi motto is, Longer Life, Better Lived.”

Lisa Starr is a contributing editor at Spa Business | [email protected]

Sign up here to get the Spa Business and Spa Business insider weekly ezines and every issue of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines free on digital.
The palace sits in a thermal location and is now a world-class medical spa Credit: Photo credit: Adriano Truscello
The thalassotherapy pool at Palazzo Fiuggi Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
The spa blends both ancient and modern rituals Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
A guest enjoying an IDome treatment Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
Treatments feature the latest technology Credit: photo credit: Adriano Truscello
The Movement Lab features Technogym kit and Icarus virtual equipment Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
Healthy meals are tailored to a guest’s particular wellness programme Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
Chef Beck works with a nutrition team Credit: photo credit: Adriano Truscello
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Living Earth Crafts: the first choice for world-class spas around the globe
Living Earth Crafts (LEC) is the world’s most recognised manufacturer of premium spa and wellness equipment. [more...]

Biologique Recherche: 45 years of passion
Biologique Recherche was founded by a family of passionate skincare experts. Today, it's managed by Rupert Schmid and Pierre-Louis Delapalme, while Philippe Allouche, son of founders Yvan and Josette Allouche, leads the Research & Development team. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Matrix

Matrix Fitness – one of the world’s leading commercial fitness brands – is a division of Johnson H [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

BC Softwear - Positioning Video for Pure Spa Linen & SupremeSoft
BC Softwear are the leading supplier of spa linen, luxury robes and footwear for the Spa Market. See how our Pure Spa Linen range can enhance your 5* spa and treatment offering. Thanks to The Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel. Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

31 Oct - 03 Nov 2021

GSN Buyers Conference - Green Spa Network

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Ojai, United States
09 Nov 2021

We Work Well North America

Virtual, United States
+ More diary  
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
SPA BUSINESS
SPA OPPORTUNITIES
SPA BUSINESS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021
News   Products   Magazine
Interview
Lorenzo Giannuzzi

The hospitality industry veteran dreamed of reinventing an historic Italian palazzo as a world-class medical spa. Lisa Starr went to find out more


Lorenzo Giannuzzi was immersed in the hospitality industry from an early age, working as an intern and restaurant busboy. He attended the renowned École Hôtelière de Lausanne and after graduation, found himself in 1988 as area general manager for a hotel group which included a property known as Palazzo della Fonte.

Built in 1913, the iconic hotel was located in a park on the edge of Fiuggi, a thermal spring village 70km south east of Rome. The hotel had been a destination for European celebrities for many years, as well as serving as a hospital and a headquarters for the Allied Forces during World War II. At the time of his assignment, the hotel – then owned by Forte Group – was functioning with a business model catering for conventions and weekend leisure groups.

Eventually, Giannuzzi was promoted to be group director for the company’s Caribbean operations and moved out of the beautiful valley to pursue his career, eventually finding himself on the island of Sardinia, managing the iconic Forte Village.

Forte Village
Originally opened in 1970 as a holiday club, Forte Village gained international status in the 80s and 90s with the addition of pools, a spa and thalassotherapy centre featuring six pools, making it innovative and ahead of the times.

Voted the world’s leading resort twenty years in a row by the World Travel Awards, the unique family-oriented Forte Village comprises eight hotels, 21 restaurants, the services of a number of Michelin-starred chefs, a shopping arcade with 33 shops and a wide array of activities oriented to sun and sea. An arena seating 5,000 people showcases performing artists, while stars from a wide range of sports are available to coach guests.

Most are health-conscious couples and families and tend to come once or twice a year, so although it’s only open for six months of each year, Forte Village generates a turnover of around €100m pa, with EBITDA of close to €40m. This has made the Village a hot property and it has been sold several times over the years as a result.

Purchase of Palazzo della Fonte
With an eye on the future, Giannuzzi seized an opportunity to participate in the purchase, by the owners of the Forte Village, of Palazzo della Fonte in 2019, meaning this historic property became part of his remit once more, as he assumed the role of CEO of both Forte Village and the Palazzo.

With inspiration from his oversight of Forte Village and awareness of the demand for wellness, Giannuzzi envisioned Palazzo della Fonte being renamed Palazzo Fiuggi to reflect its thermal location and reimagined as a world-class medical spa – anticipating a demand for the restoration of health well before we’d ever even heard of COVID-19.

The lovely structure needed some refurbishment, but more importantly, a spa and wellness area had to be conceived and built that could create, according to Giannuzzi, “a total wow! effect”. Engaging GOCO Hospitality and consultant Thorsten Lipfert to guide the project, a 6,000sq m spa and wellness complex was added at a cost of €30m by completely reconstructing the lower level of the building.

The medical component includes the latest in technologies, such as MRI and infrared technologies for brain health, retinal scanning and diagnostic testing. An extensive hydrotherapy area includes thalassotherapy pools, Roman baths, private hammam suites and indoor and outdoor pools and lounges, while also incorporating the original outdoor pool – which at the time of its completion in 1936 was among the largest in Europe.

A 400sq m ballroom was refitted as a Movement Lab and offers the latest in equipment from Technogym, with Icarus for virtual fitness and Reaxing for balance and cognitive training – all with beautiful views of the countryside.

More than a spa
But Palazzo Fiuggi is more than a beautiful property. Already on top 10 lists of European spas, the goal is that it be considered a true destination health resort. Toward that effort, Giannuzzi collaborated with professor David Della Morte, a specialist in senescence-related ailments and Heinz Beck, a three Michelin star chef renowned for his healthy cuisine.

There are four main wellness programmes on offer: Complete Life Rewind, Optimal Weight, Deep Detox and Immuno Boost. Each is designed to be undertaken over a minimum of seven days and incorporate elements from the medical, hydro, movement and holistic treatments sectors.

Chef Beck worked with a team of nutritionists to design light, healthy menus using biodynamic, natural ingredients following the Food as Medicine approach. These beautifully presented meals are automatically delivered to guests in the dining room by elegant waiting staff according to their wellness programme, meaning guests need not concern themselves with making the right food choices during their visit.

Palazzo Fiuggi was originally scheduled to open in November 2020, but of course COVID-19 slowed the process considerably. Very strict construction protocols were put in place in Italy, and the procurement and delivery of materials and equipment suffered incredible delays.

The resort was finally able to soft open in May of 2021 and as with Forte Village, all team members have been vaccinated, and COVID-19 tests can be administered at check-in for unvaccinated guests.

Pandemic impact
How far back has the pandemic pushed their profitability targets? According to Giannuzzi, “We’re ready in the market with the most innovative, beautiful spa. Having this product ready at the end of COVID-19 will be a big plus – but we can recover what we lost within a year.”

It’s early days at this point, but so far clients are especially attracted to the Optimal Weight programme, while Russian and Eastern European clients seem especially keen on the concept of an “anti-COVID-19 check-up” – wanting to ensure their immune systems are fully functioning, and taking advantage of the therapies on offer for this, including IV infusions.

When asked about the EBITDA expectations of Palazzo Fiuggi in comparison to Forte Village, Giannuzzi explains the model will function differently. “We expect healthy occupancy, 75 per cent year-round and think we can perform very well.

“Margin in the spa is less than a normal resort, given the costs of equipment and medical personnel, but Palazzo Fiuggi will become an acorn of the health resort concept.” It is the intent that the resort will remain open year-round and attract a wide international following.

Does Giannuzzi believe many developers will be creating these kinds of properties? He says “Health tourism, prior to COVID-19, was increasing by double-digits every year and I’m sure this trend will continue –clients will pay more attention to prevention and remaining healthy.

“We don’t cure people,” he says, “The objective is to prevent them from getting sick – the Palazzo Fiuggi motto is, Longer Life, Better Lived.”

Lisa Starr is a contributing editor at Spa Business | [email protected]

Sign up here to get the Spa Business and Spa Business insider weekly ezines and every issue of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines free on digital.
The palace sits in a thermal location and is now a world-class medical spa Credit: Photo credit: Adriano Truscello
The thalassotherapy pool at Palazzo Fiuggi Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
The spa blends both ancient and modern rituals Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
A guest enjoying an IDome treatment Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
Treatments feature the latest technology Credit: photo credit: Adriano Truscello
The Movement Lab features Technogym kit and Icarus virtual equipment Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
Healthy meals are tailored to a guest’s particular wellness programme Credit: photo credit: Tyson Saldo @ Herd Repsresented
Chef Beck works with a nutrition team Credit: photo credit: Adriano Truscello
LATEST NEWS
The Spa Collaborative launches The Spa Strategy Success Mapper to help build and elevate spa businesses
Spa business development company The Spa Collaborative (TSC) has unveiled a new service called The Spa Strategy Success Mapper.
Fairmont Century Plaza’s 14,000sq ft spa opens to underpin hotel’s mission to become sanctuary for the health-conscious
Fairmont Spa Century Plaza is now open at the new Fairmont Century Plaza hotel, in Los Angeles, formerly home to the iconic crescent-shaped former Century Plaza Hotel.
ESPA designs holistic treatment series for One&Only and will plant at least one tree for every ritual booked
Luxury resort operator One&Only Resorts and international skincare and spa brand ESPA have partnered to bring new spa programming to select One&Only resorts.
Marriott innovating to relaunch two of its major hotel spa concepts, reveals Kenneth Ryan
Marriott’s global head of spa Kenneth Ryan has revealed the company is preparing two new major spa concepts for its St. Regis and W Hotels hospitality brands, during an exclusive interview with Spa Business.
2021 World Spa and Wellness Award winners announced
The winners of the World Spa and Wellness (WSW) Awards have been crowned as part of the official 2021 WSW Conference, hosted on 17 and 18 October at Excel Centre in London.
Virtual Healing Summit to explore how to heal the self, the community and the earth
Anne Biging and Dr Elisabeth Ixmeier, founders of Healing Hotels of the World and the Healing Summit, are gathering activists, scientists and inspired leaders to host a virtual Healing Summit event on 23 October.
Exercise stops cancer growth
Exercise has been highlighted as a crucial weapon in cancer patients’ battle against the disease.
World Spa and Wellness Convention 2021 kicks off in London
Today (17 October) marks the first day of the annual World Spa and Wellness conference, hosted at London’s ExCeL exhibition centre.
Minor Hotels to unveil medi-wellness facility in Thailand in partnership with VLCC
Minor Hotels is realising its first location in collaboration with established India-based beauty and wellness brand VLCC, two years after the partnership was announced in 2019.
The convergence of healthcare and wellness: Global Wellness Summit announces key topics for 2021 conference
The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) has today announced its first round of speakers for the 2021 Summit.
Mindbody buys ClassPass
Mindbody has announced it's buying ClassPass, the consumer wellness subscription service which enables people to use a range of gyms, studios and wellness facilities for one monthly subscription.
Lanserhof’s all-new €120m island wellness retreat in Germany set for Q2 opening
Medical spa brand Lanserhof will open its first coastal resort on the island of Sylt in northern Germany, in Spring 2022.
+ More news   
 
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Living Earth Crafts: the first choice for world-class spas around the globe
Living Earth Crafts (LEC) is the world’s most recognised manufacturer of premium spa and wellness equipment. [more...]

Biologique Recherche: 45 years of passion
Biologique Recherche was founded by a family of passionate skincare experts. Today, it's managed by Rupert Schmid and Pierre-Louis Delapalme, while Philippe Allouche, son of founders Yvan and Josette Allouche, leads the Research & Development team. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Matrix

Matrix Fitness – one of the world’s leading commercial fitness brands – is a division of Johnson H [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

BC Softwear - Positioning Video for Pure Spa Linen & SupremeSoft
BC Softwear are the leading supplier of spa linen, luxury robes and footwear for the Spa Market. See how our Pure Spa Linen range can enhance your 5* spa and treatment offering. Thanks to The Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel. Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

31 Oct - 03 Nov 2021

GSN Buyers Conference - Green Spa Network

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Ojai, United States
09 Nov 2021

We Work Well North America

Virtual, United States
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS