Inside the Boringdon Hall Gaia Spa development
The long-awaited opening of Boringdon Hall’s major Gaia Spa development will take place this summer. The Plymouth hotel, located in a Grade I-listed 16th century manor house, has been waiting to add a spa since it was bought by the family-owned Nettleton Collection in 2011. “It was always our intention to build a spa but we put the project on hold because we were doing a big refurbishment of one of our hotels in Newquay. We started building in February 2015,” explains Diane Nettleton, director of the Nettleton Collection.
£5million has been invested in Gaia, though Nettleton predicts guests will get the impression of a bigger spend thanks to the group’s buying power. “We’ve still got the best quality but without compromising on the price,” she says. Boringdon Hall recently underwent some work of its own to bring it up to par with the new spa, which is located on the side of the hotel and uses natural materials such as wood, stone and glass. “It’s mixing old and new. There’s quite a contrast between the two buildings but they are linked and in keeping with the area we’re in,” says Nettleton.
In Greek mythology Gaia was the goddess of the Earth, and the spa’s natural Dartmoor setting has very much influenced its ethos. “We’ve got a lot of land at the back of the hotel and the views are amazing,” says Nettleton. “We’ve brought that outside element into the spa… you can see the landscape and it’s giving people the luxury of time and space.” At more than 19,000sq ft Gaia is certainly spacious. The team wanted to offer a variety of experiences so needed enough room to accommodate the different elements of the spa journey. “There are seven heat experiences and lots of non-revenue-generating breakout spaces to give guests space to just as and enjoy the whole feeling the spa creates,” says Nettleton. These include a deep relaxation room and two outside areas overlooking the views.
As well as 12 treatment rooms, Gaia offers a salon with four manicure and pedicure stations, two hair styling stations, a make-up area and a champagne bar, and there is also a gym. The spa’s main point of difference is its eponymous range of body and skincare products, which took two and a half years to bring to fruition. “We’re trying to create a whole experience in the spa and make sure our values are reflected in a brand,” explains Nettleton.
Nettleton wanted the aromatherapy-based formulas to “nurture and care for the guests”, and edited the initial choice of nine oil blends down to three, now bottled in green glass packaging as Awakening, Balancing and Calming. There are 12 retail and professional products, and rituals such as the signature Gaia Jade Facial have been created around them. Espa is the spa’s other main product house, chosen for its British credentials and the group’s existing relationship with the brand. Nettleton says she’s confident the spa will offer enough choice to accommodate every type of guest: “When we looked at all the different customer groups and what’s going to make their experience the best it can be, it generally comes down to an excellent treatment and seamless experience. So I don’t think customer segments matter too much; we’ll aim to give everyone a personalised experience.”
At a glance...
Size: 19,375sq ft
Staff: 24 therapists
Brands: Gaia, Espa, Mii Cosmetics, CND, Dermalux, Outback Organics, Morrocan Tan