Given how influenced we are by worldwide travel, for the typical client of today’s home builder, the brief for the perfect dream home often amounts to replicating the feel of an international luxury resort in one’s own abode. So, think six star hotel rated kitchens, enticing swimming pools and a stand out home entertainment zone.
It’s perhaps not surprising then that many luxury home architects are citing the birth of the luxury home spa as the next big thing in modern home designs.
More than simply bathrooms, or even luxury bathrooms, these rarefied, secluded parts of the home echo the elegant and pristine spas of the world’s leading six star resorts, with massage areas, steam rooms, shelving complete with arrays of candles, white fluffy towels and robes, precious oils and a selection of the best skin treatments money can buy.
Essentially, the aim is to bring holidays in from the outer world and place them firmly within the walls of million dollar homes.
And builders and architects specialising in modern home designs confirm there are a number of noteworthy products gaining ground in the market that will make the home spa a star feature.
First off, therapeutic baths promise more than simply a good wash! Many of them are designed to offer a hydro-thermo massage that creates an effective, even massage experience with smooth water jets and beautifully modulated water temperatures, resulting in an energising effect on the body akin to the therapeutic effects of acupressure. Some baths also deliver exotic sensory stimulation including aromatherapy, chromatherapy, and thermotherapy.
The first of these is created through aromatherapy diffusers seamlessly integrated into the bath deck that release a mist of essential oils that are quickly absorbed through the skin and respiratory system.
Meanwhile chromatherapy entails the use of high tech lighting systems to bring about relaxation and harmony with the vibrations emanating from various colours offering a calming or energising effect.
Finally thermotherapy entails key heating zones, usually around the head, back and seat, whose action enhances the flow of oxygen through the bloodstream.
According to luxury home architects, another product currently in demand is the steam shower. Found in many fitness centres and resorts, steam showers, often with accompanying steam baths, represent a tradition dating back to ancient Rome. They offer a number of benefits, chiefly enhanced blood circulation; exposure to steam causes a widening of blood vessels, enabling increased blood flow, with results including a positive effect on blood pressure. Combining a steam shower with a cold bath or shower can also help flush out toxins and waste. If you’re game enough, follow the Swedish principle of alternating between the heat of the steam and the cold bath to create a pumping action in the capillaries that enables the ‘flushing’ action.
Steam showers often come complete with their own chromatherapy and aromatherapy systems built in, as well as other luxuries such as high performance audio visual systems offering soundtracks from music to meditation as well as visually inspiring images. They can also offer dry thermal therapy, which involves using low humidity dry heat to improve blood flow, eliminate toxins, and revive skin.
In terms of how to design your spa into your dream home, one leading home builder notes that these spaces are generally seen as an addition to rather than a replacement for the luxury bathroom. Some million dollar homes may even feature two spas; one in a secluded spot at the top of the home near the master suite, another bordering the living area of the home and the outdoor area and pool. Many will feature a small ante chamber or entry zone to enhance privacy, along with separate zones for massage, reflection / meditation and bathing. A fully outdoor area with an in-ground spa is an old favourite and still retains its popularity, although homeowners are increasingly interested in creating secluded internal spaces in addition to this.
Key things to remember in luxury modern home designs featuring a spa include: buckets of natural light as well as state-of-the-art artificial lighting for nocturnal spa experiences; plentiful storage for a de-cluttered look; outdoor / indoor flow (think generous greenery and a Balinese resort feel); fine grained temperature control for maximum comfort; and warm finishes such as timber and semi matte stone. Facilities for brewing health giving teas (no alcohol here, thank you!) or creating the perfect fruit platter are also worth bearing in mind. While masseuse/masseur robots remain the stuff of dreams, brushing up your massage skills, or hiring someone who already has them, might also be useful. Although if you pick a winner in the hydro-thermo massage department, this might not be necessary!