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  • Writer's pictureDesign for Leisure

Striving for Differentiation and Increased ROI, Developers Turn to Centuries-Old Wellness Amenities

Design for Leisure reports Kneipp walks, Russian Banyas and coed hydrotherapy circuits are in demand at U.S. properties including recently-renovated CIVANA Spa and ambitious, 50,000-square foot World Spa, Brooklyn (opening 2020)


Design for Leisure (DFL), specialists in the design and build of award-winning hydrothermal spa and wellness areas, has seen an increase in interest from both large and small U.S. properties that are looking to extend – or even replace – standard spa treatment rooms with self-service European bathing circuits that give guests the freedom to explore and experience wellness benefits at their leisure. The company, which was founded in the UK nearly thirty years ago, opened a U.S. office after being tapped by Canyon Ranch to design and build the hydrothermal area of its 134,000-square-foot spa at the Venetian Resort. Dubbed Aquavana®, the European-inspired suite of thermal spa cabins, tubs and hydrothermal bathing experiences remains a key signature of the spa’s wellness offerings.

“It’s inspiring to see more U.S. developers embracing hydrothermal bathing areas as a key differentiator in their wellness offerings,” said Don Genders, CEO of Design for Leisure. “Not only does European-inspired hot/cold contrast therapy offer significant health and wellness benefits for guests, the self-service areas also have a tremendous ROI benefit and are a great alternative to staffed spa treatment rooms which can be underutilized and expensive to maintain.”

DFL recently finalized schematic design drawings and is now in the detailed design stage for the new, 50,000-square foot World Spa ( located in Brooklyn, N.Y. Slated to open in 2020, World Spa will feature one of the largest coed hydrothermal bathing areas in New York and will offer bathing practices from Europe, Russia, Turkey, Finland and Japan, including public and private Russian Banyas, an event-size Finnish sauna, a traditional European bathing circuit with the first-ever snow rooms of its kind in the U.S., a Kneipp walk and salt inhalation room, multiple Turkish hamam areas and much more.

“We want to give New Yorkers access to a true hydrothermal bathing circuit – letting them experience the intense warmth of a sauna, the benefits of a gentle steam bath or salt inhalation therapy and ending with the exhilaration of a cold plunge pool or a ‘roll in the snow’ in the snow room,” said Leonid Khanin, Project Leader of World Spa. “With DFL, we have an expert partner who has proven they can design something that has never been seen before and help us insure that the project is world-class and executed to the exacting building codes of New York City.”

“We’re seeing a huge increase in interest from luxury home builders, hotels, spas, fitness facilities and even multifamily markets, where differentiation is becoming extremely important as more consumers are opting to swap home ownership for amenity-rich apartment living,” said CEO Genders, who also chairs the Global Wellness Institute’s Hydrothermal Initiative. “A prime example is New York’s Gotham Plaza in Harlem, a mixed-use building that will house a 1,200-square-foot, coed hydrothermal spa for tenants in its leased apartments. Wellness is becoming a vital amenity in today’s urban developments.”

In addition, Design for Leisure is currently working on a 64-story glass residential tower in the heart of Tribeca created by renowned developers Fisher Brothers, Witkoff and New Valley. The homes in the building, dubbed 111 Murray Street, range from $2.5 to $40 million for one-bedrooms to full-floor penthouses and the wellness area spans over 20,000 square feet – featuring several distinct spaces, including a 500 square foot Turkish hamam, that flow naturally into one another.

No matter how large or small, Design for Leisure is committed to crafting 5-star, wellness journeys that seamlessly merge the health benefits of ancient bathing practices with modern design, materials and technology. In addition to its design services, Design for Leisure are also specialists in the installation and building of hydrothermal wet areas and often project manage builds working with local and specialist sub-contractors.


For more information: Cassandra Cavanah (; +1 (818) 397-4630 or Elizabeth Johnson (; or +1 (213) 713-4865

About Design for Leisure: Design for Leisure specializes in the design of award-winning hydrothermal spa and wellness environments. Headquartered in London and Austin, TX, the company has been creating high-end, turnkey wet spa areas for both luxury homes and professional wellness projects for almost three decades. Clients include well-known hospitality and spa brands, such as Disney, Canyon Ranch, Caesars Palace, Four Seasons and Six Senses, as well as well-known architect groups, including Foster and Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Bjark Ingels Group, Michael Graves and Thomas Hatherwick.

Release date: April 24, 2019


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