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Posts from the ‘Hospitality’ Category

Bringing Rock Spa® experience to Swiss Alps

R&M treatment room

This October, Hard Rock Hotel Davos celebrated the opening of Rock Spa® Davos. The power of music was mixed with the beauty of location in the Swiss Alps to create an unforgettable experience for guests. This philosophy was fully reflected through the sights, sounds and other sensory experiences.

Combining spa, fitness, yoga and retail, the new Rock Spa® Davos offers a 360-degree approach to wellness, in keeping with Raison d’Etre’s philosophy to encourage guests to maximise their potential. The 945 sq. metre spa boasts a series of thermal experiences including a main pool, Kneipp Walk Pool, Whirl Pool, sauna, Hammam and Ice Room. As guests of the Hard Rock Hotel Davos celebration weekend, we enjoyed a varied choice of Body Rock® fun fitness activities ranging from functional training and cardio to the more unusual acrobatics and Rock Om® yoga rave. Words and expressions like “synchronicity”, “smooth operator”, “wrap mix” and “rhythm and pressure” acquired new meanings, completely transforming our experience. It is truly a unique place and unique experience.

Our collaboration with Hard Rock International began in December 2017. While building the residences we realized that the existing spa and pool was not consistent with the expectations of our potential guests, however due to the historical legacy of the building and all the architectural limitations to go with it, very limited changes to special allocation and zoning could be implemented during reconstruction. Furthermore, the budget was tight (as usual) and all parties involved were to bring to life a decent Spa complex that would fit the profile of the Hard Rock Hotel Davos at a reasonable investment cost. Our team designed and opened our first spa – Roman Holidays in 2006 as part of the massive reconstruction and refurbishment of St. Petersburg’s Park Inn by Radisson Pribaltiyskaya Hotel & Congress Center in 2006. [DISCLAIMER: a series of tragic incidents that had eventually caused Waterville and Roman Holidays its licence and led to suspension of operations had occurred long after we have divested that property.] And in 2014 we opened Luceo Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg, which quickly became a market leader in Russia and was consistently voted one of the best spas in Europe. We really had to call on the knowledge gained from all of our past experience to make the Rock Spa® not only work, but also ROCK!

The way I see it, a contemporary Spa should be not a cost, but a profit centre for a hotel. To achieve this, rather obviously, it has to be more than just a few treadmills, a pool, a massage parlor and a sauna. An efficient contemporary spa must offer its guests a sufficient number of versatile treatment rooms (for example, requests for couples treatment have recently increased significantly). There should be a good balance between dry and wet areas. The gym concept that has only a few cardio machines is gone – more and more guests demand Yoga, Pilates and free weights and body weight exercises. You can no longer surprise anyone with just a laps pool, it should additionally have different temperatures and water pressure systems. Now it is more about the experience itself, and not just about the usage of facilities. Modern sophisticated travelers have high expectations. And the hotel has to be ready to meet them, otherwise it would be close to impossible to develop a loyal base of returning guests, which is essential for a location such as Davos.

This is why Rock Spa® Davos developed a unique approach – the experience it created makes you enjoy your time. It is the place where travelers find pleasure during their stay.  As a result there is a stunning hexagon Jacuzzi pool (the idea of which, by the way, started with just a Woods Bagot’s suggestion of hexagon tiles  for decorating the hotel reception’s back wall).  There are Body Rock® fitness activities and Rock Om® – all to delight and rejuvenate guests.

I am also convinced that a modern hotel is not only about rooms, a breakfast area or spa. There is much more to it – and this is why various programmes are continually being developed for each specific location, which later become a signature for the region. For example, you can host a rock concert during the pre-World Economic Forum party.  Setting the tent over the open sky restaurant, you capture the zoning between a restaurant and bar area and you manage to have a dedicated space for the louder part of the event. Being involved in the Hard Rock Hotel Davos opening party, I was very pleased to experience this approach – during the evening programme there was a rock concert featuring American music star Big A who came straight from Mississippi. As Davos was hit by the first major snowfall of the season that weekend delivering more than 50 cm of fresh powder, the guests really needed to keep themselves warms in the improvised concert zone by standing close to each other and drinking Hard Rock Hotel signature cocktails.

Most likely, in the constant pursuit for profitability in public areas, such zone adaptations will become more popular. For example, during the Grand Opening Party of Hard Rock Cafe St. Petersburg at Nikolsky Ryady, the courtyard was converted seamlessly into a concert venue for 5,000+ guests.

All the Hotel’s achievements during 2018 (hosting one of the key breakfasts during the World Economic Forum 2018 at the end of January, being included in The Hospitality Industry Network’s Top Interior Design 2018 list, being awarded second best “Newcomer” Hotel of the year in Switzerland within “The 222 best hotels in Switzerland” ranking, and much more) demonstrate that the Hard Rock Hotel Davos is one of the desirable destinations for sophisticated tourists. Let’s wait for Rock Spa® Davos to join the list of awards.

From now on guests of Hard Rock Hotel Davos Rock Spa® will be the best judges to decide what was and was not achieved. And we will carry on and apply our experience in new and exciting projects, such as Antognolla Luxury Resort and Residences where more than 1,800 sq. meters need to be developed into a world leading spa. There is a lot of work to be done, so back to the drawing board!  Again…


Four Seasons comes to Moscow

I have written before of my loyalty to St Petersburg (“A tale of two cities” – here), and it is fitting that the city is home to one of VIYM’s leading projects: the Four Seasons Lion Palace hotel. However, it has not escaped my notice that Moscow too has now joined the Four Seasons club, with its own hotel under the top Canadian brand. Continue Reading

East to West Capital Flow in Travel & Leisure Sector Gets a New Boost

In 2007 a ‘bombshell’ hit the well established European tourism market: Alexey Mordashov of Severstal, a Newcastle University MBA alumnus, bucked the trend and invested in a leading European tour operator TUI AG. Over time Mr Mordashov’s G-Groupe became the largest shareholder of the GBP 5.0 billion tourism behemoth. He hasn’t done badly – at least doubling his investment over the last 6 years. continue reading

Sochi Hotels: The power of the brand

No occurrence is sole and solitary,

but is merely a repetition of a thing

which has happened before,

and perhaps often.

Mark Twain

Have you ever wondered when reading the latest news headlines how “old”, if not ancient, the stories are? One of the recurring headlines that accompanies almost every major international sporting event is the readiness of the host city.  continue reading

Vanity Fair March 2014

I was very pleased to discover Victoria Mather – an infamously discerning travel writer – gave a glowing report of the Four Seasons St Petersburg in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair. Mather alludes to the difficulties of working and attaining quality service in Russia, and especially in the “notoriously difficult St Petersburg”.

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HOTELS Magazine Investment Outlook December Edition 2013 – Down and Out in the BRICS

HOTELS Magazine has published its December investment outlook, focusing on hotel development in the BRICS. The Associate Editor, Nathan Greenhalgh, argues the hotel pipeline remains robust despite slowing economic growth.

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Feci, quod potui, faciant meliora potentes…

All great countries have a legacy and cultural identity that should be cherished and passed on to future generations. Part of this legacy manifests itself in architecture and interior design. Sadly, however, even the great pyramids of Giza are not immune to the sands of time, and more modern construction is often even less robust. So the inevitable questions arise:

  • Who should bear the cost of preserving the great buildings of the world if they are in a state of disrepair?
  • Who should inject new life into these leviathans which tend to be situated in prime locations in some of the world’s most spectacular cities?

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