TRENDS: Top five spa design trends for 2021

Natural Pool – Spa at South Lodge

Sparcstudio an independent, creative design studio, whose hotel clients include the likes of Rockliffe Hall, South Lodge and Sopwell House, has revealed its key trends in spa design for 2021.

Creative director, Beverley Bayes comments: “It is inevitable that spa and wellness, post pandemic will become an ever more important and integral part of our lives. We are entering a new era where ‘Health is the New Wealth’ and  a healthy lifestyle is recognised as a preventative medicine. UK hotel spas will provide an alternative to holidays abroad as staycations are set to boom.”


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This new hybrid concept of Japanese design meeting Scandinavian aesthetic embraces escapism and works to create a calming, comforting atmosphere with clean lines, minimalism and beautiful (often bespoke) furniture that is functional and stylish. Expect to see neutral, earthy colour tones, natural stones and timbers contrasted with soft linens and fabrics. On a deeper level (beyond the style’ and colour palette) there are elements of Japanese design and it’s physical connection to the natural world that provides inspiration which is at the heart of our approach to the space-planning and creation of contemporary spas.

Spa within a spa

As the pandemic has continued, spa guests are valuing their own space and privacy much more. I expect to see a growth in the demand for intimate spa suites and couples’ rooms with private changing pods.  These can be designed with a dual function and include a bathing element or hydro pool, sauna and steam room and offered as a premium service.

The spa itself can be subdivided into sections creating dedicated areas which can be hired by couples or small groups of friends. Clever space design can facilitate this so that the private spaces can be extended or removed (utilizing a contemporary take on Japanese ‘Shoji’ style screens) depending on the size of the group and capacity within the spa.

In addition to treatment and relax spaces, we are already designing micro ‘gyms within a gym’ and private spa gardens within a spa garden to provide private zones as part of the spa experience.

Reconnecting with nature

2020 saw the entire country embrace the great outdoors and spas followed by extending their spa gardens, making use of outside space to help social distancing which created a true connection between the spa and nature. This trend will explode in 2021 as spas realise the full potential of converting outside terraces and underused gardens to useable spa relaxation & wellness spaces.

Experiences can also include a yoga deck or dedicated area for ‘Forest bathing’, curved seating around a firepit, a circular walk through a herb garden, or bathing in a natural pool. Natural swimming pools offer a sense of freedom and escapism whilst tapping into the popularity of ‘wild swimming’. These fresh water, naturally filtered pools and ponds are set to become an essential element for any forward thinking, eco-conscious spa developer. We are also designing stretch and personal training zones that extend to an outside deck beyond the interior gym spaces.

Interior spaces will also continue to have a strong Biophilic feel and visual link to natural surroundings. I love the Japanese concept of ‘Yukimi-shoji’ meaning ‘Snow viewing Shoji’, which is a type of window made so the bottom half slides upwards, often to reveal a beautiful view. Taking inspiration from this concept, we often frame a view with a single pane of glass in a treatment room or even a heat cabin (such as the Organic Sauna at South Lodge Spa), features organic forms look out onto the curving South Downs.

Curves, waves and organic forms

Curved soft cosseting forms will be a strong theme in spa design offering a comforting embrace to spa users. These will be evident in many elements ranging from curved organic pools (such as the ‘wild swimming’ pool at South Lodge). Bespoke joinery and furniture (for example the statement curved sofas that we created for Champneys Mottram Hall or the bespoke organic sauna designs and ice feature that we designed as part of the new pool there.


I concur with ‘Global color authority’ Pantone which announced its selection for Colour of the Year 2021 and it’s a combination of two: Sunshine Yellow and Rock Grey. The company says: ‘This clever combination of colours brings the message of strength and reliability paired with the joy of sunshine filled days to come’.

I have always been a fan of yellow in fashion and interiors, for example, Dormy House Spa (designed by Sparcstudio) features spring yellow and green accents throughout. Yellow works well alongside a muted natural palette of materials including natural stones, timbers and concrete. The move to natural colour palettes can be seen in the shift away from bright blue mosaic tiles as the ‘go to’ finish in swimming and spa pools towards soft greens, greys (in large format tile) and dark grey slate colours that can dramatically reflect back the natural surroundings.

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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