How often do you finish a vacation, however enjoyable, with a trip to the hotel spa? Chances are the answer to that is “As often as possible”, and it is the reason the global spa industry was worth approximately US$100 billion in 2015 (according to the Global Wellness Institute).
The growth of the wellness-focused lifestyle has led to the organic food boom, the rise in natural cosmetics and a robust wellness tourism industry, which includes spas. There is nothing more decadent – and satisfying – than pampering oneself with a spa visit, but those can take hours, sometimes days, which isn’t always feasible. Enter the home spa.
For many years, consumers were under the impression a good knife was the purview of professional chefs only.
But anyone with even a modicum of interest in cooking has a Henckels knife in their kitchen now. The same can be said of the way the spa experience is making its way into our homes.
As is the case with many luxuries in Hong Kong, the space to create the ideal home spa comes at a premium, but the situation is by no means hopeless.
A respectable home spa will need a roomy shower stall, ideally a freestanding bathtub, a sitting area, a basin and a vanity. The shower is where the most therapeutic indulgences will occur, and if space is an issue, start with the shower and add elements in order of preference. Depending on the shower stall, designing the seating area may be moot; the bathtub may have to be sacrificed in favour of a vanity, but some of us may be happy with less room to gaze at our reflections. Bathtubs can also accommodate a shower function, so the first step is to consider how much room there is to play with.
Once the area is fixed, manufacturers from budget-friendly home furnishing retailers to trailblazing German hardware designer Dornbracht, all the way to fashion designer Giorgio Armani (Armani/Roca in collaboration with Spain’s bathroom specialists), offer home-spa solutions.
Dornbracht’s luxury fixtures, created to respond to both wellness and hygiene demands, are the ultimate in home spa-type showers, and “offer unique shower solutions for every requirement, so that you can create an experience that is as individual as possible”. The Rainmoon and Horizontal showers are demanding spacewise, but if the full spa vibe is the goal, either one is a must.
The dome-shaped Rainmoon, part of the LifeSpa series, is essentially a bespoke shower experience that combines water flow – the natural, gravity-assisted large droplets of Tempest or the more voluminous Aqua Circle – with moonlight ambience for a meditative, balancing experience. The Horizontal shower is a customised reclining shower fitted with six water bars in the upper deck, which gently sprays from the back (or front). The Horizontal’s controls include de-stressing, energising or balancing shower settings, substituting for the therapist, and includes ambient “lighting choreographies” for maximum mood.
If Dornbracht is too space- or budget-consuming, the Grohe SPA collection accomplishes many of the same functions at a more reasonable price and dimension. Grohe’s AquaSymphony, with six spray options from mist to waterfall, also features mood-light elements, bespoke temperature control and musical accompaniment, while the F-digital Deluxe shower is a multi-sensory three-head inlaid fixture. Both are hi-tech and offer customisable finishes.
As a bonus, the traditional ceiling-mounted design means Grohe’s spa accessories can be wedged into smaller spaces: the F-digital Deluxe measures just under 40cm; the more robust AquaSymphony mechanism requires a metre of ceiling space.
Finally, anyone who’s spent enough time in Hong Kong will comprehend the value placed on foot health here. True, reflexology is a different beast, but the focus on feet is no coincidence. For those of us with neither the time nor the interest in lounging in the tub or being pounded from all sides with a waterspout, but who still come home with achy trotters, it’s Dornbracht to the rescue again, this time with foot bath.
Dornbracht claims its foot bath has a therapeutic effect on the entire body due to targeted temperature stimulation that affects circulation, the immune system and metabolism, among other functions. It also feels really nice before bed in the winter, or after a long workday – it has four reflexology-inspired massage jets and a Kneipp “affusion pipe”, great for massaging the calves and knees. Best of all? The foot bath can be squeezed into a more spacious powder room for a home-made haven.