Spa in the Sky

An initial consultation for steam baths has led to more contracts being signed by spa designers, Barr + Wray

Rayana Spa at the Hyatt Capital Gate, which holds the distinction of being Abu Dhabi’s only “Sky Spa”, has been fitted out by Barr + Wray.

The hotel, which opened its doors in December last year, is located in the iconic Capital Gate building, which leans a record-breaking 18 degrees. It offers 189 five-star guestrooms and suites occupying the 18th to 33rd floors of the building. The spa can be found on the 19th floor overlooking the city.

Barr + Wray was awarded the supply, installation and commissioning of the wet area facilities including the male and female steam rooms, and the male and female walk-in showers.

Both the steam baths and experience showers are now fully commissioned and being used within Rayana Spa.

The 823m2 space includes five treatment rooms in addition to the steam baths, experience showers, relaxation room and spa tea lounge.

The treatment area is complemented by a pool terrace with an outdoor pool as well as a 124m2 fitness centre, which has a selection of Technogym cardio machines along with strength and conditioning equipment.

Following a string of successful contracts for hotels and health spas around Abu Dhabi, Barr + Wray was approached by the main contractor for the Hyatt Capital Gate, Habtoor-Leighton Group (HLG), and asked to give a quote for the male and female steam baths.

The firm worked closely with the interior design team to make sure the facilities would remain in line with the luxurious design of the spa area, specifying mosaic tiles which were suitable for the hot, wet environment.

The colour pattern was carefully sampled and discussed — right down to the colour of the grout — to ensure optimum aesthetic impact.

“Having impressed HLG with its concept for the steam baths, Barr + Wray was asked to consult on plans for the spa’s male and female showers. These were well-received and the result is two spacious experience showers with both Niagara rain and Caribbean storm settings. The female shower mists are perfumed with essences, further enhancing the experience for guests,” said Peter Rietveld, managing director, Barr + Wray FZE, Dubai

The initial design brief included supply, installation and commissioning of male and female steam baths within the wet area of the sky spa. These were developed with 45-degree temperature and 100% relative humidity.

“HLG also sought Barr + Wray’s specialist advice on existing shower plans, which had been prepared by a European company without a base in the Middle East. These designs fell short of the luxury experience Hyatt Capital Gate wanted to offer,” added Rietveld.

The design, supply, installation and commissioning of showers to complement the steam experiences was added to Barr + Wray’s brief as a consequence of this consultation work. The client had a very clear idea of how the facilities should be shaped, so the spa firm collaborated at length with the interior design team to make the vision a reality.

“The spa makes the most of its position on the 19th floor of the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows and the steam and shower experiences were developed to mirror its spectacular, luxurious setting,” he added.

The firm has been building wet area spa facilities for 15 years and knew what worked best in spaces like this. “We therefore had a good understanding of how to meet the hotel’s requirements for elements such as the floor slope, drain preparation and location of steam inlets and ensure the best result,” said Rietveld.

The main challenge with any wet area spa installation tends to be the preparation of the floor and drainage locations and ventilation. “In permanent wet areas such as steam baths, a slope of 2% toward the drains is necessary as is appropriate waterproofing. One may believe that finding a slope in a building that leans 18-degrees to one side would not be a problem, but of course all the floors inside are level,” he said.

The ventilation of an area using humid air and essences must be perfectly engineered so as to preserve the climate while maintaining an appropriate fog within the room.

With this project, the company also faced the further challenge of a tight deadline for installing the showers since the new plans required various materials. It worked closely with Hyatt Capital Gate and HLG to ensure the job was completed to the highest standard and delivered on time.

“We built up a great relationship with the management at Hyatt Capital Gate and they have said how delighted they are with the high quality finish on the mosaic steam baths and tropical experience showers we created within Rayana Spa,” added Rietveld.

The firm has just begun work at the Fairmont Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, after finalising the spa for the One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh, Dubai.

It will provide wet area facilities for the Willow Stream Spa within the Fairmont Palm Resort, including a custom-made sauna and rasul treatment room as well as hammams, steam baths and ice fountains for both the male and female areas.

It will also take on the installment of furniture, fixtures and equipment, such as specially designed Fairmont massage tables and salon fittings.

Further east, the company will be working on the Leela Hotel in Chennai, India and Bangalore’s Ritz Carlton.

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