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
News   Features   Video    Products   Magazine   Handbook   Email sign up   Advertise  
Top team
Botanique Hotel & Spa

We talk to the top team at Botanique Hotel & Spa – Brazil’s hottest new opening that proudly showcases the best the country has to offer and has been developed by a group of internationally renown pioneers

By Katie Barnes | Published in Spa Business 2013 issue 1


When Botanique Hotel & Spa opened in Brazil in November 2012, it first caught the industry’s attention with its powerhouse investors and partners – namely AOL co-founder David Cole; Body Shop co-founder Gordon Roddick; and the South American entrepreneur Ricardo Semler, CEO of the systems engineering and management conglomerate Semco. But there’s much more to its story than that.

The vision of Semler and his wife, Fernanda, Botanique has been developed over five years with the intention of setting a new benchmark in luxury hospitality that’s entirely home-grown and unique in a location that’s dominated by Swiss chalet-style hotels. The boutique resort is situated on a hillside amid 700 acres (283 hectares) of lush forest in the fashionable Campos do Jordão area – halfway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro – that’s often called the Hamptons of Brazil. It’s been built by regional architects and designers using local chocolate slate, stone and 120-year-old wooden timbers, serves farm-to-fork contemporary cuisine and wines and even has a library of 400 titles by Brazilian authors.

Nowhere is the local influence more evident than in the 10,000sq ft (930sq m) spa, which is referred to as the “first 100 per cent Brazilian spa” thanks to its fully home-made offering of everything from the floatation pool and CO2 bath to the essential oils and indigenous-inspired treatment menu. Not wanting anything remotely similar to what’s already available, the Semlers avoided working with spa consultants or industry professionals. Instead, they insisted on learning the ropes themselves with the back up of up and coming local architects, university professors specialising in aromatherapy, geology and physics and practitioners/shamans – all of whom had little to no spa experience.

Here, some of the top team members share their views on this unusual project.

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.

Botanique Hotel & Spa
Designed by São Paulo architectural firm Candida Tabet Arquitetura, Botanique Hotel & Spa is made up of six suites connected to a main building and 11 villas dotted about the property. The main building has a lounge, a 40-seat cinema, library, a fine dining restaurant and the Botanique Spa. The interiors, a homage to contemporary Brazilian design, have been created by some of the country’s top interior experts, including curator and writer Adélia Borges, furniture designer Aristeu Pires and eco-craftsman Pedro Petry.

Rooms start at BRL2,500 (US$1,224, €921, £766) and include meals, drinks and service but not treatments.

To create the spa, the Semlers turned to the young, fresh-thinking Coletivo de Arquitetos practice from São Paulo which focused on subtle and refined Brazilian flavours while bringing the outside in with expansive windows.

The two-storey spa features eight treatment rooms – four of which are for wet treatments and include a floatation pool, CO2 bath, a Rain Forest Sauna. The spa also features a bath filled with fresh milk and ground Brazil nuts, as well as three relaxation areas, an indoor isotonic pool with water jets and minerals and a dry sauna. When it comes to treatments, all massages are 90 minutes long and prices start at BRL305, (US$150, €113, £94).

Perched on the edge of the site, overlooking a forested valley, there’s a heated pool and a swimmable lake, plus a building with a sports doctor’s office and a fully-equipped gym with an outdoor pavilion for Brazilian martial arts such as capoeira. Elsewhere is a stable of Olympic-standard horses enabling guests to explore the beautiful surroundings.


Entrepreneurs behind the projects
Each of the four entrepreneurs investing in Botanique Hotel & Spa have brought their own expertise to the development to create a modern, luxurious, yet socially responsible retreat that embraces Brazil’s indigenous nature.

Ricardo Semler is one of Brazil’s best known businessmen and a pioneer in ‘industrial democracy’, which involves workers making decisions and sharing authority in the workplace. He is the CEO of Semco – a multi-billion dollar company that offers a broad range of products from air-conditioning components to inventory management and environmental planning – the latter of which he’s put to work at Botanique. Meanwhile his wife Fernanda Semler has also been the driving force in bringing the Botanique concept to market and brings a touch of class and luxury to the development from her years in the marketing and fashion sectors.

David Cole is most well known as the co-founder of internet company AOL (America Online), but he’s also recognised for investment management, philanthropy, organic farming, renewable energy and sustainability initiatives. He has expert knowledge of the environment/great outdoors and luxury hospitality, as the owner of Twin Farms, a five-star resort in Vermont, USA.

Gordon Roddick, with his late wife Dame Anita Roddick, co-founded The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing ethical beauty products and most famous for supporting disadvantaged groups worldwide with its fair trade programme. Roddick remains a passionate social activist.



DAVID COLE Partner and co-owner Botanique Hotel & Spa

How did your partnership with the Semlers come about?
In 2006, Ricardo [Semler] and I worked on a large renewable fuels project in Brazil that ran head on into the 2008 recession, putting thousands of employees and a huge investment at risk. Through it all, we focused on the tasks at hand and worked as best we could through the challenges. I found a good friend and business partner in the wreckage. A most welcome bonus!

Why was Brazil, and this location, chosen?
First, Brazil is where Ricardo and Fernanda live. Second, as the economic and cultural flywheel for Latin America, Brazil is defining the premium end of the hospitality market for the continent. Third, in Brazil, Campos do Jordão is a mere two hours from São Paulo, a city where a growing number of residents have the means and inclination to discover and savour new experiences. From my first visit, I was intrigued by the inherent beauty of the place and kindness of the people. Like many, I’d been to the beaches near São Paulo, but I had no idea that a mountain oasis existed so close by too. I immediately joined the Botanique team.

How involved have you been in Botanique’s development?
My role is as a friend, partner and critic. My resort work has been exclusively at the high-end, from a 20-bed boutique resort in Vermont to landscape-scale projects in Hawaii. This has enabled me to highlight key spa performance indicators such as the importance of repeat bookings (preferably before guests leave) and to suggest we pre-plan for obstacles in recruiting, teaching, motivating and retaining staff by fostering an environment of trust, sharing and continuous learning.

Another key insight was to incorporate the spa [previously located separately onsite] into the main building, providing the opportunity for multi-treatments, intensive water therapies and smarter energy and water use.

How important is the spa to the business?
Our guests spend much of their lives subjected to the rigours of urban living. Our purpose is to reinvigorate – and, for a select few, help them to imagine Botanique as an ongoing (and necessary) part of their lives. A well-executed spa experience awakens your senses to the other dimensions of the resort: the flora, fauna, food, people and culture to enhance the total journey. 

What’s been the biggest challenge?
Our project was mid-stream when the recession hit and we had too many [16] partners to effectively navigate our future course. I suggested we buy out most shareholders so we could streamline decision making. Ricardo, Fernanda and I made the offer, most sold, and we re-booted.  


Our project was mid-stream when the recession hit and we had too many partners... I suggested we buy out most shareholders to streamline decision making



FERNANDA SEMLER Partner and co-owner Botanique Hotel & Spa

 

FERNANDA SEMLER
 

What is the Botanique concept?
It’s something my husband and I have nurtured for five years and one that puts a post-luxury spin on hospitality, where brand names are left behind and replaced with real luxury values that enrich the guest experience. Whatever is expensive is that way because the product was deeply researched, is rare and costs a lot at origin. Our bathrobes, for example, were redone eight times and the material cost alone was US$700 (compared to US$200 ones from China), so the US$1,100 price still means we make a relatively small profit.

What’s your role?
I’m the guardian of the vision and there were very few aspects of development I wasn’t involved with. I also assist the general manager and staff in creating a rarified atmosphere for guests.

Why did you move the spa into the main building?
Initially, we planned for the spa to perch on the highest part of the property 200m away, but it was only a small building. So, we moved it to the main building as there was 700sq m (7,535sq ft) more space. It now features my favourite part of Botanique’s design – an isotonic pool with incredible views of the valley. The pool has minerals which replicate those found in the human body and is the same temperature as the body. The effect is a complete balance with the body and water around it to enhance relaxation. We also built a compressed air system which generates bubbles to stimulate the speed and movement of the heartbeat.

The original spa building now houses the gym and a physiologist/sports doctor’s office where we can prescribe exercise based on DNA. Next to it is an outdoor heated pool and a swimmable lake.

Who did you work with to develop and build the spa?
I’m an avid spa-goer, having been to Christina Ong’s COMO Shambhala in the Maldives and dozens of La Prairie spas, so I knew early on that I didn’t want to work with spa consultants for fear of repeating what’s already out there. We had conversations with many of the leading ones, but concluded that we needed to strike out on our own and tread new ground – especially as there are no Brazilian-themed spas anyway.

Instead, we turned to local experts. A geologist from a nearby university advised on a water menu consisting of 15 sparkling and still waters from around the country while another professor specialising in aromatherapy helped to create the 28 essential spa oils from ingredients in the surrounding mountains. In total, we worked with 19 professors and scientists who have collated 2,200 pages of research to prove the effects produced in our treatments.

In addition, Coletivo de Arquitetos, the spa architects, didn’t specialise in wellness so brought a fresh look. We have fixtures that no cost-concerned designer would include. But the winner is the guest.

What makes your spa stand out?
As we did everything from scratch, we have sensorially stimulating experiences no one else offers. For example, our wet Rain Forest Sauna, has a perforated plate in the ceiling through which warm mineral ‘rain water’ is released every two minutes to eliminate the sense of claustrophobia or extreme heat typical to saunas. To add more depth, the scent of the surrounding woods comes from one of our essential oils.

Elsewhere, a large room has a floatation tank filled with Epsom salts. It features a cinema projection system showing nature films on the ceiling, as well as underwater music, so that people who are floating have visual and aural cues for further relaxation. This is a standalone treatment, but we sometimes use it in longer programmes as a pre-massage tool to unlock muscle tension.

What’s been the biggest challenge?
To make an experience that was totally local and avoiding the comfort zone of Asian, Indian or European treatments and techniques. We consulted with native Brazilian practitioners, local shamans of sort, and carried out extensive work with universities to develop authentic treatments.

Afro-Brazilian massage techniques are strong and vibrant, so some of our massages include more pressure to bring oxygen to the muscle tissue. Meanwhile, native Indian movements are inspired by animals, so our treatments include gripping techniques that emulate puma paws or bird claws – this is much smoother than it sounds and helps to dissipate muscle tension in specific spots.

What drives you?
The feedback from guests having a unique experience; and the feeling that we’ve created something completely new that’s good for Brazilian self-esteem.


In total, we worked with 19 professors and scientists who have collated 2,200 pages of research to prove the effects produced in our treatments



GUILE AMADEU Co-founder and co-owner Coletivo de Arquitetos

 

GUILE AMADEU
 

How did you become involved in Botanique?
I set up our studio with Rodrigo Lacerda, who I went to university with, in 2009. Ricardo [Semler] was looking for a relatively new architecture company and became interested in us after we won the 10? Young Architect Award by the Brazilian Institute of Architects in 2011.

I had previously worked on preliminary studies for the San Pelegrino spa project in Italy while at EMBT architects in Barcelona, but the learning curve for Botanique was steep. We extensively researched the technical aspects of spas and visited spas in Brazil and abroad and set up meetings with their spa managers to get a deeper understanding of operational dynamics.

What Brazilian references are included in the design?
From the start, it was made clear that the spa had to have Brazilian influences, but we wanted to avoid the obvious and go for something more refined. After thoroughly investigating Brazilian social, culture and artistic elements we chose to focus on ‘silicogravura’ – hand-crafted glass bottles produced along the north-east coast which contain coloured sand designs replicating the landscape. We emulated this by blasting sand into the walls of the spa and protecting the coloured strips with glass panels.

What challenges did you face?
When the spa moved into the main building, it took the space originally intended for a restaurant, so the existing footprint dictated the design. We had to carefully plan the internal layout, paying particular attention to guest and operational flow. Spread over two storeys, with a mezzanine level, we kept the reception, changing rooms and dry treatment rooms on one floor separate from water-based facilities.
As only one side of the spa had views over the landscape, we created more intimate, discrete areas – two massage rooms and the changing rooms – on the side that had no natural light. However, we made sure we exploited the outside views in every other area possible.

What considerations did you give to functionality?
Understanding the operational needs was a priority. In our design we included a laundry/goods service elevator, for example, that connects to the hotel’s main back of house area, so used towels and robes can be quickly cleaned away without guests seeing them. We also closely analysed building materials for practicality. We chose a non-slip, easy-clean polyurethane resin floor that has an elastic quality to allow for a seamless application. This eliminated the need for joints and rounded footers that accumulate dust and dirt, making the spa easier to clean.

What part of the design are you most proud of?
Botanique is situated in an untouched area of natural beauty and being able to exploit the spectacular views in every area we possibly could has given the spa a majestic feel. Special double glass, capable of withstanding the huge amount of pressure from the pool and the varying indoor/outdoor temperatures of the sauna, was installed for this purpose. And we intentionally used neutral, timeless colours to emphasise bringing the outdoors indoors. Wherever you go in the spa, the landscape is always there, helping people to chill out, relax and enjoy themselves.


From the start, it was made clear that the spa had to have Brazilian influences, but we wanted to avoid the obvious and go for something more refined

The contemporary design is a change from the Swiss chalet-style hotels that dominate the local area
The spa was designed by Coletivo de Arquitetos
Cole says the spa is important as it heightens the whole sensory experience of the resort
The isotonic pool with various minerals and jets is Fernanda’s favourite part of Botanique’s design
Coletivo de Arquitetos adapted a local sand crafting technique, silicogravura, to create feature walls with subtle Brazilian flair
The architects used neutral, timeless colours to emphasise bringing the outdoors indoors
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

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...]

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...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Zenoti

After experiencing the difficulties in running spas, salons and fitness centers without a software s [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
Top team
Botanique Hotel & Spa

We talk to the top team at Botanique Hotel & Spa – Brazil’s hottest new opening that proudly showcases the best the country has to offer and has been developed by a group of internationally renown pioneers

By Katie Barnes | Published in Spa Business 2013 issue 1


When Botanique Hotel & Spa opened in Brazil in November 2012, it first caught the industry’s attention with its powerhouse investors and partners – namely AOL co-founder David Cole; Body Shop co-founder Gordon Roddick; and the South American entrepreneur Ricardo Semler, CEO of the systems engineering and management conglomerate Semco. But there’s much more to its story than that.

The vision of Semler and his wife, Fernanda, Botanique has been developed over five years with the intention of setting a new benchmark in luxury hospitality that’s entirely home-grown and unique in a location that’s dominated by Swiss chalet-style hotels. The boutique resort is situated on a hillside amid 700 acres (283 hectares) of lush forest in the fashionable Campos do Jordão area – halfway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro – that’s often called the Hamptons of Brazil. It’s been built by regional architects and designers using local chocolate slate, stone and 120-year-old wooden timbers, serves farm-to-fork contemporary cuisine and wines and even has a library of 400 titles by Brazilian authors.

Nowhere is the local influence more evident than in the 10,000sq ft (930sq m) spa, which is referred to as the “first 100 per cent Brazilian spa” thanks to its fully home-made offering of everything from the floatation pool and CO2 bath to the essential oils and indigenous-inspired treatment menu. Not wanting anything remotely similar to what’s already available, the Semlers avoided working with spa consultants or industry professionals. Instead, they insisted on learning the ropes themselves with the back up of up and coming local architects, university professors specialising in aromatherapy, geology and physics and practitioners/shamans – all of whom had little to no spa experience.

Here, some of the top team members share their views on this unusual project.

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.

Botanique Hotel & Spa
Designed by São Paulo architectural firm Candida Tabet Arquitetura, Botanique Hotel & Spa is made up of six suites connected to a main building and 11 villas dotted about the property. The main building has a lounge, a 40-seat cinema, library, a fine dining restaurant and the Botanique Spa. The interiors, a homage to contemporary Brazilian design, have been created by some of the country’s top interior experts, including curator and writer Adélia Borges, furniture designer Aristeu Pires and eco-craftsman Pedro Petry.

Rooms start at BRL2,500 (US$1,224, €921, £766) and include meals, drinks and service but not treatments.

To create the spa, the Semlers turned to the young, fresh-thinking Coletivo de Arquitetos practice from São Paulo which focused on subtle and refined Brazilian flavours while bringing the outside in with expansive windows.

The two-storey spa features eight treatment rooms – four of which are for wet treatments and include a floatation pool, CO2 bath, a Rain Forest Sauna. The spa also features a bath filled with fresh milk and ground Brazil nuts, as well as three relaxation areas, an indoor isotonic pool with water jets and minerals and a dry sauna. When it comes to treatments, all massages are 90 minutes long and prices start at BRL305, (US$150, €113, £94).

Perched on the edge of the site, overlooking a forested valley, there’s a heated pool and a swimmable lake, plus a building with a sports doctor’s office and a fully-equipped gym with an outdoor pavilion for Brazilian martial arts such as capoeira. Elsewhere is a stable of Olympic-standard horses enabling guests to explore the beautiful surroundings.


Entrepreneurs behind the projects
Each of the four entrepreneurs investing in Botanique Hotel & Spa have brought their own expertise to the development to create a modern, luxurious, yet socially responsible retreat that embraces Brazil’s indigenous nature.

Ricardo Semler is one of Brazil’s best known businessmen and a pioneer in ‘industrial democracy’, which involves workers making decisions and sharing authority in the workplace. He is the CEO of Semco – a multi-billion dollar company that offers a broad range of products from air-conditioning components to inventory management and environmental planning – the latter of which he’s put to work at Botanique. Meanwhile his wife Fernanda Semler has also been the driving force in bringing the Botanique concept to market and brings a touch of class and luxury to the development from her years in the marketing and fashion sectors.

David Cole is most well known as the co-founder of internet company AOL (America Online), but he’s also recognised for investment management, philanthropy, organic farming, renewable energy and sustainability initiatives. He has expert knowledge of the environment/great outdoors and luxury hospitality, as the owner of Twin Farms, a five-star resort in Vermont, USA.

Gordon Roddick, with his late wife Dame Anita Roddick, co-founded The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing ethical beauty products and most famous for supporting disadvantaged groups worldwide with its fair trade programme. Roddick remains a passionate social activist.



DAVID COLE Partner and co-owner Botanique Hotel & Spa

How did your partnership with the Semlers come about?
In 2006, Ricardo [Semler] and I worked on a large renewable fuels project in Brazil that ran head on into the 2008 recession, putting thousands of employees and a huge investment at risk. Through it all, we focused on the tasks at hand and worked as best we could through the challenges. I found a good friend and business partner in the wreckage. A most welcome bonus!

Why was Brazil, and this location, chosen?
First, Brazil is where Ricardo and Fernanda live. Second, as the economic and cultural flywheel for Latin America, Brazil is defining the premium end of the hospitality market for the continent. Third, in Brazil, Campos do Jordão is a mere two hours from São Paulo, a city where a growing number of residents have the means and inclination to discover and savour new experiences. From my first visit, I was intrigued by the inherent beauty of the place and kindness of the people. Like many, I’d been to the beaches near São Paulo, but I had no idea that a mountain oasis existed so close by too. I immediately joined the Botanique team.

How involved have you been in Botanique’s development?
My role is as a friend, partner and critic. My resort work has been exclusively at the high-end, from a 20-bed boutique resort in Vermont to landscape-scale projects in Hawaii. This has enabled me to highlight key spa performance indicators such as the importance of repeat bookings (preferably before guests leave) and to suggest we pre-plan for obstacles in recruiting, teaching, motivating and retaining staff by fostering an environment of trust, sharing and continuous learning.

Another key insight was to incorporate the spa [previously located separately onsite] into the main building, providing the opportunity for multi-treatments, intensive water therapies and smarter energy and water use.

How important is the spa to the business?
Our guests spend much of their lives subjected to the rigours of urban living. Our purpose is to reinvigorate – and, for a select few, help them to imagine Botanique as an ongoing (and necessary) part of their lives. A well-executed spa experience awakens your senses to the other dimensions of the resort: the flora, fauna, food, people and culture to enhance the total journey. 

What’s been the biggest challenge?
Our project was mid-stream when the recession hit and we had too many [16] partners to effectively navigate our future course. I suggested we buy out most shareholders so we could streamline decision making. Ricardo, Fernanda and I made the offer, most sold, and we re-booted.  


Our project was mid-stream when the recession hit and we had too many partners... I suggested we buy out most shareholders to streamline decision making



FERNANDA SEMLER Partner and co-owner Botanique Hotel & Spa

 

FERNANDA SEMLER
 

What is the Botanique concept?
It’s something my husband and I have nurtured for five years and one that puts a post-luxury spin on hospitality, where brand names are left behind and replaced with real luxury values that enrich the guest experience. Whatever is expensive is that way because the product was deeply researched, is rare and costs a lot at origin. Our bathrobes, for example, were redone eight times and the material cost alone was US$700 (compared to US$200 ones from China), so the US$1,100 price still means we make a relatively small profit.

What’s your role?
I’m the guardian of the vision and there were very few aspects of development I wasn’t involved with. I also assist the general manager and staff in creating a rarified atmosphere for guests.

Why did you move the spa into the main building?
Initially, we planned for the spa to perch on the highest part of the property 200m away, but it was only a small building. So, we moved it to the main building as there was 700sq m (7,535sq ft) more space. It now features my favourite part of Botanique’s design – an isotonic pool with incredible views of the valley. The pool has minerals which replicate those found in the human body and is the same temperature as the body. The effect is a complete balance with the body and water around it to enhance relaxation. We also built a compressed air system which generates bubbles to stimulate the speed and movement of the heartbeat.

The original spa building now houses the gym and a physiologist/sports doctor’s office where we can prescribe exercise based on DNA. Next to it is an outdoor heated pool and a swimmable lake.

Who did you work with to develop and build the spa?
I’m an avid spa-goer, having been to Christina Ong’s COMO Shambhala in the Maldives and dozens of La Prairie spas, so I knew early on that I didn’t want to work with spa consultants for fear of repeating what’s already out there. We had conversations with many of the leading ones, but concluded that we needed to strike out on our own and tread new ground – especially as there are no Brazilian-themed spas anyway.

Instead, we turned to local experts. A geologist from a nearby university advised on a water menu consisting of 15 sparkling and still waters from around the country while another professor specialising in aromatherapy helped to create the 28 essential spa oils from ingredients in the surrounding mountains. In total, we worked with 19 professors and scientists who have collated 2,200 pages of research to prove the effects produced in our treatments.

In addition, Coletivo de Arquitetos, the spa architects, didn’t specialise in wellness so brought a fresh look. We have fixtures that no cost-concerned designer would include. But the winner is the guest.

What makes your spa stand out?
As we did everything from scratch, we have sensorially stimulating experiences no one else offers. For example, our wet Rain Forest Sauna, has a perforated plate in the ceiling through which warm mineral ‘rain water’ is released every two minutes to eliminate the sense of claustrophobia or extreme heat typical to saunas. To add more depth, the scent of the surrounding woods comes from one of our essential oils.

Elsewhere, a large room has a floatation tank filled with Epsom salts. It features a cinema projection system showing nature films on the ceiling, as well as underwater music, so that people who are floating have visual and aural cues for further relaxation. This is a standalone treatment, but we sometimes use it in longer programmes as a pre-massage tool to unlock muscle tension.

What’s been the biggest challenge?
To make an experience that was totally local and avoiding the comfort zone of Asian, Indian or European treatments and techniques. We consulted with native Brazilian practitioners, local shamans of sort, and carried out extensive work with universities to develop authentic treatments.

Afro-Brazilian massage techniques are strong and vibrant, so some of our massages include more pressure to bring oxygen to the muscle tissue. Meanwhile, native Indian movements are inspired by animals, so our treatments include gripping techniques that emulate puma paws or bird claws – this is much smoother than it sounds and helps to dissipate muscle tension in specific spots.

What drives you?
The feedback from guests having a unique experience; and the feeling that we’ve created something completely new that’s good for Brazilian self-esteem.


In total, we worked with 19 professors and scientists who have collated 2,200 pages of research to prove the effects produced in our treatments



GUILE AMADEU Co-founder and co-owner Coletivo de Arquitetos

 

GUILE AMADEU
 

How did you become involved in Botanique?
I set up our studio with Rodrigo Lacerda, who I went to university with, in 2009. Ricardo [Semler] was looking for a relatively new architecture company and became interested in us after we won the 10? Young Architect Award by the Brazilian Institute of Architects in 2011.

I had previously worked on preliminary studies for the San Pelegrino spa project in Italy while at EMBT architects in Barcelona, but the learning curve for Botanique was steep. We extensively researched the technical aspects of spas and visited spas in Brazil and abroad and set up meetings with their spa managers to get a deeper understanding of operational dynamics.

What Brazilian references are included in the design?
From the start, it was made clear that the spa had to have Brazilian influences, but we wanted to avoid the obvious and go for something more refined. After thoroughly investigating Brazilian social, culture and artistic elements we chose to focus on ‘silicogravura’ – hand-crafted glass bottles produced along the north-east coast which contain coloured sand designs replicating the landscape. We emulated this by blasting sand into the walls of the spa and protecting the coloured strips with glass panels.

What challenges did you face?
When the spa moved into the main building, it took the space originally intended for a restaurant, so the existing footprint dictated the design. We had to carefully plan the internal layout, paying particular attention to guest and operational flow. Spread over two storeys, with a mezzanine level, we kept the reception, changing rooms and dry treatment rooms on one floor separate from water-based facilities.
As only one side of the spa had views over the landscape, we created more intimate, discrete areas – two massage rooms and the changing rooms – on the side that had no natural light. However, we made sure we exploited the outside views in every other area possible.

What considerations did you give to functionality?
Understanding the operational needs was a priority. In our design we included a laundry/goods service elevator, for example, that connects to the hotel’s main back of house area, so used towels and robes can be quickly cleaned away without guests seeing them. We also closely analysed building materials for practicality. We chose a non-slip, easy-clean polyurethane resin floor that has an elastic quality to allow for a seamless application. This eliminated the need for joints and rounded footers that accumulate dust and dirt, making the spa easier to clean.

What part of the design are you most proud of?
Botanique is situated in an untouched area of natural beauty and being able to exploit the spectacular views in every area we possibly could has given the spa a majestic feel. Special double glass, capable of withstanding the huge amount of pressure from the pool and the varying indoor/outdoor temperatures of the sauna, was installed for this purpose. And we intentionally used neutral, timeless colours to emphasise bringing the outdoors indoors. Wherever you go in the spa, the landscape is always there, helping people to chill out, relax and enjoy themselves.


From the start, it was made clear that the spa had to have Brazilian influences, but we wanted to avoid the obvious and go for something more refined

The contemporary design is a change from the Swiss chalet-style hotels that dominate the local area
The spa was designed by Coletivo de Arquitetos
Cole says the spa is important as it heightens the whole sensory experience of the resort
The isotonic pool with various minerals and jets is Fernanda’s favourite part of Botanique’s design
Coletivo de Arquitetos adapted a local sand crafting technique, silicogravura, to create feature walls with subtle Brazilian flair
The architects used neutral, timeless colours to emphasise bringing the outdoors indoors
LATEST NEWS
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.
Healthy travel: Singapore Airlines and Golden Door team up to curate inflight wellness programme
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has announced a new partnership with established US Californian health, wellness and destination spa resort Golden Door – the facility founded in 1958 by industry veteran Deborah Szekely.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo launches tree-hugging retreat to encourage healing within nature
Boutique hotel and spa The Grand Hotel Tremezzo on the South-West shores of Lake Como, Italy, has enhanced its wellness offering with the introduction of a new nature-orientated retreat.
Kohler Waters’ Chicago spa relaunches with new design and exclusive Kohler hydrotherapy service
Bathroom fixtures company Kohler has unveiled its redesigned and expanded Kohler Waters Spa in Burr Ridge, Chicago.
Technogym partners with Dior to create limited-edition fitness line
Technogym has partnered with French luxury fashion house Dior to create an exclusive limited-edition series of fitness products.
Gleneagles schedules educational retreats hosted by leading naturopath and Harley Street nutritionist
Following the official relaunch of the Gleneagles Spa in September, the team behind the Scottish country estate and hotel has announced an exclusive partnership with renowned naturopath, functional medicine specialist and Harley Street nutritionist, Rosemary Ferguson.
The Well prepares to kick off global expansion strategy with new tropical wellness resort in Costa Rican rainforest
Modern US wellness brand The Well is set to open its first international holistic wellbeing retreat outside of the US at the Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection, located in the foothills of Costa Rica’s Talamanca Mountains.
+ More news   
 
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

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...]

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...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Zenoti

After experiencing the difficulties in running spas, salons and fitness centers without a software s [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