Wellness Watch

  • ISPA Conference + Expo Speaker = Bob Henry


    {1:42 minutes to read} I was recently invited to speak at the International Spa Association (ISPA) conference and expo, which was held at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.


    The title of my presentation was Design Trends that Bring Clients + Revenue.


    During the session, I presented seven different spa and wellness case studies, where revenue and client share were increased by design. The trends discussed included:


    1. Make-Over – Mandarin Oriental – Miami, FL
    2. Problem Solver – Jumeirah Talise Spa – Guangzhou, China
    3. Tale of Two Cities – Obagi Beverly Hills / Palm Integrated Health – St Louis, MO
    4. Full Immersion – Setai Wall Street – New York, NY
    5. Guest Circulation – Vdara Health and Beauty – Las Vegas, NV
    6. Less is More – Old Post Office – Washington, DC
    7. The Future of Spa – QC Terme – Governors Island, NY


    Each facility provided strategic touch-points, while a common thread emerged: a spa’s regionally based treatments and programs should ultimately drive the design of your business, while providing an impactful guest experience.


    Do you have other insights about increasing profits through design to be shared with architects and designers?


    Healthy regards,


    Robert Henry


  • Saks Fifth Avenue Loves Our Salt Inhalation Capsule

    Saks Fifth Avenue Loves Our Salt Inhalation Capsule The 16,000-square-foot space has been transformed into a healthy living mecca for the mind, body and soul! Saks scoured the “wellness industry” and created a comprehensive list of their favorite wellness related brands, eventually selecting just 20 vendors for their loyal clientele. Everything from boutique fitness classes, manicures + meditation and athleisure gear; yet the winner went to Breathe and our Salt Capsule™ designed by “wellness architect” Bob Henry:

    Saks Fifth Avenue Loves Our Salt Inhalation Capsule


    Halo-therapy, or salt inhalation therapy, appeals to my wife, Nancy, who has eczema and my son, Bo,  who suffers from allergies and asthma; for me it is a mood enhancer. After trying a series of sessions at Breathe – NYC, my family experienced benefits, so I decided to design a custom booth for salt inhalation that supercharged the delivery system. Spending 10 minutes in our 4’x 3’ Salt Capsule™ provides my family with the same health benefits as spending 2 hours at the ocean.



    Saks Fifth Avenue Loves Our Salt Inhalation Capsule 

    I ordered a capsule for our home. It takes the same area as a shower and requires only a 110v. outlet connection. Our family decided that we didn’t need another car in the driveway and instead opted for the health benefits of salt inhalation. The cost is $14,800. It’s improving Nancy’s eczema, and Bo is no longer sleepy from his allergy medication, which he has since stopped. I’ve decided that I will do my daily 10-minute meditation each morning in our new Salt Capsule.™


    Try out the Halo-therapy at Breathe on the 2nd floor of the Saks Wellery and let me know if getting “Salted” helps your psoriasis, bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections, snoring, or just helps reduce your stress and fatigue, as it has for me and my family!”


    To read more about the Saks Wellery, click the link below:

    Now at Saks: Salt Rooms, a Bootcamp and a Peek at Retail’s Future

  • The Spa of the Future

    Photo Credit: Copyright: 1971yes / 123RF Stock Photo

    Photo Credit: Copyright: 1971yes / 123RF Stock Photo

    Technology is changing the way we do everything at breathtaking speed, and the spa experience is no exception. But tech is not the only thing affecting change in the industry. Shifts towards mindfulness and a focus on personal “wellness” outside of the medical sector are also drivers of change.


    Spa Executive Magazine delved into some of the research and technological developments and spoke to some of the people who are both driving and predicting these shifts about what spas of the future will look (and smell and sound) like a few years from now.


    These people are:


    • Robert Henry, Owner, Robert D. Henry Architects
    • Dr. James Canton, CEO, Global Futurist
    • Aaron Nicholson, Co-Founder and CEO of Studio Transcendent


    Here’s what you need to know about spas of the future

    Photo Credit: Copyright: bernardbodo / 123RF / Stock Photo


    “Wellness Architecture” was identified as one of the 8 Wellness Trends for 2017 and Beyond at the 2017 Global Wellness Summit. What does this mean? It means sustainable, “living,” and responsive buildings with pristine air quality. It means focus on acoustics, light, temperature, scent, and biophilic design.


    The spa environment will move in this direction as people develop more of an understanding of the impact of environment on health and well being. This includes both measurable pollutants and more esoteric factors like the psychological and physiological response to stimuli like sound and scent.


    Architect Robert Henry says, “Imagine integrating all the senses into an experiential journey for guests. The more senses you can engage to create the surrounding experience, the more committed it is to your memory. Ideally, you want it to be all favorable. We delve into the psychology of space.”


    Spas will become places to seek out human connection


    Photo Credit: Copyright: bernardbodo / 123RF / Stock Photo

    Photo Credit: Copyright: bernardbodo / 123RF / Stock Photo


    “You can get a massage or a workout in your home, but you won’t get that shared experience unless you’re sweating alongside someone, or relaxing and sharing stories in the waters,” says Henry. “I think spas are going to create new kinds of social experiences to compete with the home environment. We’re seeing a lot of spas that are fashion-forward regarding this, and that address those socialization needs with communal pools, saunas, and hammams that take a larger audience into account—and that create something memorable, as well as Instagrammable. It’s visual and experiential.”


    Henry also believes that our reliance on technology and automation has the risk of “dehumanizing” us.


    And so, he says, “The high touch in spa and having people touch us on a human level—whether it be physically, emotionally, or psychologically—is going to become even more important.”


    Your manicurist might be a robot


    Photo Credit: Copyright: sarah5 / 123RF Stock Photo

    Photo Credit: Copyright: sarah5 / 123RF Stock Photo


    Your manicurist might be a robot—but people will still want people.


    Guests will seek out humans to provide specific services, while others will be automated. In the somewhat distant future, as booking becomes increasingly automated and software takes over much of the minutiae of CRM management, spas may find themselves without a need for front desk staff. A 2013 report from Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne at Oxford University stated that receptionist is among the job most likely to be automated in or around the next decade or two, with a 96% likelihood of automation. Perhaps surprisingly, manicurists and pedicurists were also at a high likelihood—95%—for automation in the same time frame. Massage therapists fared better with a 55% likelihood of automation, despite the recent development of massage robots. People will still want to be touched by people—but we won’t need them to do our nails.


    Allowing James Canton to have the last word, the futurist warns that spa leaders should start prepping for his Human 2.0 scenario now.


    “I think spa leaders should get out in front of this, and understand that the consumer marketplace is going to be shifting and changing. Millennials will be living perhaps a decade longer than the boomers and at least five-seven years longer than Gen Xers. So, you could end up with middle age being in the 70s. And I don’t think any spa leader is ready for that today.”


    Spa Executive Magazine is published by Book4Time, the world’s most innovative spa, salon, wellness, and activity management software. Learn more at Book4Time.com


    To view full article click here.



    Upcoming Event: Meet Robert D. Henry

    2017 ISPA Conference & Expo

    Mandalay Bay – Las Vegas, NV

    October 16-18, 2017



    Session Title: Design Trends That Bring Clients and Revenue

    2017 ISPA Conference & Expo

    Mandalay Bay – Las Vegas, NV

    Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    Time: 8:00 – 9:00 am


  • Lifestyle by Design

    {3:48 minutes to read} Have you ever met someone whose design dialogue + brainstorming gets you both so excited that you welcome every opportunity just to get together and share that dynamic energy?
    Barbra Littman in study



    Our collaboration with Barbara Littman—a true design diva—and our team produced some of our best work.



    Recently, Barbara Littman passed away, but her enduring passion for design and how she integrated design—including fashion, interiors and architecture—into her daily life remains an inspiration.


    I met Barbara after she decided to formally pursue architecture. She already had a degree in interior design, yet yearned for more. She had the tenacity and brilliance to pursue an architectural degree at that point in her life (dare I say 50 years old).Barbara Littman - Residence Upon her graduation, I had a chance to really get to know her; I invited her to assist me while teaching an overseas program in Venice. Barb put forth a riveting presentation on Carlo Scarpa’s Olivetti showroom located in St. Mark’s Square, an architect that she had admired. The students were jazzed!


    She later approached me, during the height of the financial meltdown, to work with her on an apartmenta penthouse that she and her husband, Lenny, bought in New York City. At that point, she was a grandmother and felt she earned the right to design a ‘dream space’ in the sky and chase her muse.Littman Louise Nevelson She wanted to surround herself with everything that she collected and loved about design. She had furniture by Ron Arad, Ettore Sottsass, and Michele De Lucchi, and artwork by our favorite artist, Louise Nevelson.


    We began to collaborate on the interior design; her only requirement was to make it reductive and modern. We came up with a spatial design that celebrated the reason theyLittman Living Area purchased this particular apartment: the bright light and city views. I suggested a fashion runway that took you from the front door, up a stairway, bringing you to the rooftop sculpture garden. It was a simple axial procession of entry-path-goal.


    Barbara’s personal design aesthetic is restricted to black and white, with an occasional shade of gray. Littman EntrywayThis prescriptive pallette encompassed everything she pursued: Fashion + ID + Architecture.
    I encouraged her to bring a little color into her life! So we chose an accent wall that divided the private from public space; the circulation armature that led you to the upstairs rooftop garden. I suggested an acid yellow. “Are you insane?” was her reply. After she left the site that evening, I had the painter hit it with a brilliant Van Gogh yellow. The next morning I got a phone call: “You jerk, I love it!” Later in her New York Times interview, she described the color as a really unexpected pleasure, introducing a strong statement that was both powerful and yet calming.


    For her, it was a “lifestyle by design.” She remains an inspiration to her students, colleagues, and collaborators, and continues to inspire all of us to chase our muse!



    Robert Henry

  • Melding the Urban Spa with the Resort Spa

    {2:40 minutes to read} In the January/February 2017 edition of Professional Spa and Wellness, Bob was interviewed regarding the topic of urban spas. The question being asked was: What are the different challenges you face when designing an urban spa vs.a resort spa in natural settings?


    Melding the Urban Spa with the Resort Spa

    Nestling into a beautiful natural setting – Amelia Island Plantation – Resort Spa

    “In a resort setting, nature provides the solution; you can just go out and take a walk and relax in an inspired, natural garden setting, ‘nature nurtures.’ In an urban environment, we try to recreate the calm that nature naturally provides as best we can for guests,” he says.


    “In the design of urban environments, it’s all about getting the guest to relax and drop their shoulders down, changing up their frenetic energy and allowing them to just let go and unwind. City dwellers really need relaxation and the sooner you can alter their energy from stressed-out to blissed-out the more successful the spa experience will be,” Henry says. He adds: “[At Robert D Henry Architects] we’re really conscious of designing spaces that soothe and nurture guests, we create transition spaces, where clients are brought a warm chamomile tea and then asked [what they really desire from their spa visit].”


    Melding the Urban Spa with the Resort Spa

    The urban spa welcome – Mandarin Oriental, Miami

    “Especially in urban spas, the challenge is to transport guests to another world, replacing their hectic urban [environments] and stress and replace it with a cocooning nurturing space.  


    Henry, whose firm is currently working on the redesign of the pool at the Mandarin Oriental New York, says that lighting is pivotal. Consider the Mandarin’s global traveler,  “We’re [focused] on helping that guest re-calibrate their circadian rhythm and adapt to the new time zone they are in. We integrated special lighting that produced a cooler blue wavelength in the morning, that energizes the guest, while in the evening, that lighting transitions over to an amber wavelength, creating a more peaceful, restful environment,” that produces melatonin for the guest, calming them down and preparing them for a restful sleep.


    Melding the Urban Spa with the Resort Spa

    Rendering of the pool renovation proposed for Mandarin Oriental, New York


    Designing a Spa in a beautiful natural context is easier than trying to recreate that same “wow” factor in the urban spa. Mother nature does all the work, in those bucolic settings, Henry says. “As designers and architects, it’s often when we’re given the more difficult problems to solve that real breakthroughs occur.” The design of an urban spa provides just that challenge.


    Robert Henry