Tips & Advice

  • Washington Spa Alliance Symposium 2016 (Event Recap + Video)

    On March 22, 2016, the Washington Spa Alliance held its 6th Annual Symposium in Washington, DC. The subject of the symposium was The New Language of Spa and I was a featured speaker on the topic of The New Design Language of Wellness.


    The video below contains excerpts from that speech covering a brief history of the spa business since 1990.  At that time building bigger and better was the rule, but in doing that we lost touch with our client base.  Since then we have made a shift away from the typical spa to something larger, which is wellness based and can benefit everyone.


    The video briefly covers some wellness design initiatives that we have completed or are currently working on. These include:


    WeWork Wellness – New York City

    Palm Integrative Health – St Louis, MO

    Jumeirah Hotel –  Guangzhou, China

    Governors Island – New York, NY

    The Spa by Ivanka Trump- Washington, DC


    All of these projects prove that Design plus Wellness Equals Profit. I hope you enjoy the video.



  • 6th Annual Washington Spa Alliance Symposium

    I’m excited to announce that on March 22, 2016, I will be speaking at the Washington Spa Alliance which is holding its 6th annual symposium and luncheon. The topic of the symposium is The New Language of Spa. The event will be held at the National Press Club, a private club for journalists and communications professionals in Washington, DC, which has been a Washington institution for more than a century.

    6th Annual Washington Spa Alliance Symposium

    Old Post Office, Washington, DC (


    I was asked to speak on our “new design language for wellness”, focusing on Destination, Hotel, Medical and WorkPlace Wellness. I will be sharing innovative case-studies that will impact the spa and wellness industry.


    WeWork Wellness – New York City


    WeWork is an incredibly successful collective office environment providing flexibility and dynamic options for its “community of office nomads”; we are delighted to be collaborating with them on a workplace wellness prototype that will provide a timely amenity to their existing rich culture of business not-as-usual collective.


    Palm Integrative Health – St Louis, MO


    Palm – (personalized advanced lifestyle medicine)  is located in St. Louis, Missouri by founder Dr. Lauren Munsch Dal Farra. We integrated our evidence based design within the project. Of utmost importance was a welcoming “wellness garden” that we located at the heart of the project. There is extensive research that supports how “nature-nurtures.” Views of gardens and nature provide a faster recovery time for patients and they request pain medication less frequently when they have a view or are allowed to engage w/ nature.


    Jumeirah Hotel –  Guangzhou, China


    In Guangzhou, China, we are doing a 15,000 square foot wellness facility and spa for the Jumeirah group.  With this project, we are trying to create signature treatments that will resonate and are particular to place.  With the Chinese population’s unique concern regarding pollution, we designed salt inhalation rooms that address the poor air quality. The salt inhalation helps asthmatics as well as those with other pulmonary conditions.


    Governors Island – New York, NY


    This project is a destination spa on Governors Island for QC-Terme.  This is an ambitious European style project that incorporates indoor and outdoor pools.  The experience can fill a full day of activities from body work and massage to facials and taking the waters with European Kneipp therapies.  Hydrotherapy pools both indoor and outdoor, will offer extraordinary views of Manhattan.


    6th Annual Washington Spa Alliance Symposium

    Trump family members (L to R) Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump break ground at the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. (


    The Spa by Ivanka Trump- Washington, DC


    The final project is a signature flagship spa curated by Ivanka Trump.  We collaborated with WTS spa management, in our role as architects + interior designers.  Ivanka wants to introduce a unique positioning within spa and wellness.


    Ivanka, at the groundbreaking ceremony said:


    This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop one of this country’s most historic buildings and we will spare no effort to ensure that the hotel, once completed, lives up to the legacy and integrity of the iconic landmark.[1]


    These projects, each a different type with different attributes, will contribute to our new New Language of Spa and Wellness in the coming years.


    6th Annual Washington Spa Alliance Symposium

    With Guest Speaker, Robert D. Henry

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016

    9:00 am – 7:00 pm


    The National Press Club

    529 14th St. NW, 13th Fl

    Washington, DC 20045




    [1] “Spa People.” Spa Business Digital Magazine. Cybertrek 2016, 2016. Web.


    Robert Henry

  • A Couple’s Suite Spa Experience – The Perfect Way to Say It With Love

    Marilyn Monroe Spa, Kamaha'o, Maui, Hawaii

    Marilyn Monroe Spa, Kamaha’o, Maui, Hawaii.

    {2:30 minutes to read} Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday! As designers and architects of spas, we are responsible for creating places where couples can spend quality time and enjoy a romantic experience.


    My wife and I, some 18 years ago, had a concept for a spa “couple’s suite” experience. It involved a couple’s massage after a shared bathing experience in a relaxing Japanese steeping tub. This original suite was actually built and designed for the Mar-a-lago Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. It was very successful and became a very popular signature therapy. So we are happy to say, that we designed the first couple’s spa suite, a different take on “couples therapy.”


    Valentine’s Day conjures up remarkable exchanges of romance, which coincides with our design for the Marilyn Monroe Spa, which opened recently in Maui. It is being celebrated as one of the more successful new spas on the Island. Obviously, Marilyn Monroe is an icon of both beauty and romance. One of the spa’s unique features is the “glamour room” where a guest can have her nails, makeup, and hair done and emerge feeling pampered, beautiful, and glamorous – a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day.


    Hollywood, CA - January 19: A lifesize wax figure of Marilyn Monroe is displayed on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard outside of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in

    Marilyn Monroe wax figure.

    The property is the Kamaha’o, located in the Hyatt Regency in Maui, Hawaii. It’s a beautiful, romantic waterfront setting and the perfect place for couples to go and experience a couple’s massage and a relaxing bath. The spa offers a very popular treatment, which is called the Marilyn Monroe Signature Massage. The whole couple’s ritual combined with this beautiful, bucolic location and views out to the Pacific, provides the utmost romantic experience. With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, I thought this was the perfect topic to commemorate the holiday and start planning a romantic escape.


    Robert Henry

  • Lessons from the Global Spa and Wellness Summit

    Lessons from the Global Spa and Wellness Summit

    Paul Scialla – Delos (left), Dr. Deepak Chopra (center) and Robert Henry (right).


    {4:06 minutes to read} The 2015 Global Spa and Wellness Summit was held in Mexico City in November. There were many dynamic speakers and presentations at this summit. Two of the most noteworthy presentations—one by Dr. Deepak Chopra and one by a group of school children from Mexico City—both shared wisdom, contrasting the intellect with purity of thought.


    Dr. Chopra spoke about our ability to influence the structure of our brains to optimize physical, emotional, and spiritual health. He explained that every day, our gene structure changes. If one were to take a vacation next year, from the standpoint of physical, emotional, and spiritual health, 98% of our cell structure will have changed; meanwhile, the suitcase we’d be carrying will still remain the same.


    Through a tremendous conscious effort, we can affect change. Dr. Chopra said it’s our being that transcends everything … our name, our identity, even who we think we are. It is really about beingas in a human being versus a human doing.


    These five factors profoundly affect our being:

    — Sleep

    — Stress Management

    — Flexibility

    — Emotions

    — Nutrition


    Many of us start the day with a prayer or meditation, but it’s equally important to be thankful at the end of our day. He suggested that we keep a gratitude journal where, each evening, we write down and celebrate the things for which we are grateful.


    The group of children were brought together by Esther Oldak, the head of Educational Development of Sustainable Intelligence at the Institute of Thomas Jefferson in Mexico, and Alfredo Carvajal, the president of Delos International located in New York City.


    Adults were asked to come up and speak with the children and share their frustrations. One gentleman was having difficulty at work; he felt that no one really listened to his ideas. As he was describing this, his anger started to build, his voice got louder and he began to lose control of his emotions.


    A 6-year-old girl was to act as his boss. She said, “Please, I understand what you’re saying. Take a deep breath and just relax. Let’s talk about this. It’s really not that bad. I think that if you can express yourself with more control, hopefully other people can hear you and understand what you’re trying to say because you do have good ideas and they’re very important.


    This led to a standing ovation from the audience. We often lose perspective as adults, get emotionally carried away, and act like children. Here was this first-grader explaining that it’s all going to be okay, building empathy, showing optimism, giving this gentleman a goal, and asking him to manage his emotions so that he can be a better communicator.


    Basically, the children presented the 5 Pillars of Health and Wellness.

    — Empathy – maintaining a positive relationship with the person you are speaking with.

    — Optimism – not allowing the outside world to affect your internal health and well being.

    — Goals and Planning – through visual clarity and having both short and long term goals.

    — Self-Management – managing your emotions.

    — Gratitude – don’t dwell on what you don’t have, but celebrate and be thankful everyday for what you DO have.


    The words of these children touched everyone so deeply. As adults, we grew up that day.


    Robert Henry

  • Governors Island Spa – Inclusive vs Exclusive

     In a recent interview with Sam Liebowitz of The Talking Alternative, Bob Henry spoke about their Governors Island project with QC Terme – Milan.  


    QC Terme is bringing a European grand spa experience to America, albeit we are tailoring it to the American audience. Governors Island will offer both co-ed hydrotherapy experiences within indoor & outdoor pools, as well as more private gender specific treatments. Spa experiences will include all types of body and facial treatments, eucalyptus steam rooms, hammams, aromatic saunas, kneipp-thermal walks, assorted hydro-massage pools and a number of unique relaxation rooms.


    The Governors Island project is meant to be inclusive versus exclusive which goes along with the current mayor’s social agenda, as it relates to Governors Island being a recreational experience for all of New York.


    Below is an excerpt from Bob’s interview: