Spa wars bring new edge to condos as buyers seek in-home health and wellness facilities
Who’s up for an icy dip to soothe sore muscles? Or an anti-stress session bathed in blue light? How about an opportunity to breathe easier in the salty air?
The spa war is heating up as condominium developers include a range of incentives for potential buyers that make their well-being a priority when shopping for a home. Among the offerings for aching bodies and nervous nerves: Zen gardens, infrared saunas, hot and cold pools and Himalayan salt rooms, which a designer says will be the luxury of the well-being of the future.
Among those leading the charge is Curated Properties, builders of a 22-story condo tower called AKRA Living near Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave.
“In a post-pandemic world, investing in wellness is no longer enjoyable, it’s a fundamental feature of how people like to live,” says Jesse Speigel, senior vice president of development.
He was inspired by his personal experience with spa-like equipment dating back to his childhood when he ran from the sauna to a hole in the ice at the family cottage on Georgian Bay. These days it pours her post-workout body in a freezing shower.
“It feels a bit masochistic, and it’s shocking the first time, but your body quickly adapts,” Speigel says, bragging about the boost in his muscle recovery.
It is therefore not surprising that two plunge pools are available at AKRA, where residents can enjoy a healthier life in communal herb and zen gardens, private fitness rooms with UV air filtration, a spa with infrared saunas and integrated red light and halotherapy. (Not all alternative therapies are scientifically proven.)
Across town at Dufferin and Dupont streets, the spa circuit, meditation room, pool, fitness center and lush outdoor spaces of Almadev’s newest tower, the Galleria III, are welcome wellness facilities for buyer Riel Sammy, his wife and one-year-old son .
“We try to do everything we can to maintain good health over time,” says the 35-year-old brand strategist, describing himself as “very” health conscious.
Working from home part of the week, he is aware of the need to disconnect at the end of the day. Without physical and mental separation, “you’ll lose all trace of your sense of self,” says Sammy, applauding Galleria III’s therapy, relaxation and fitness facilities “right on your doorstep.”
And that’s the key, according to Kathy Chow, interior design team lead for developer Canderel. Being able to practice daily health and well-being activities without leaving your building is becoming a must, she observes.
As the market becomes more competitive, “developers are being challenged to come up with more unique spa and wellness offerings to attract homebuyers,” she says.
One of Canderel’s newest projects, Fôret Forest Hill, includes an outdoor secret garden “as a therapeutic escape from hectic city life,” says Chow, whose own company is called DesignGenics Inc.
She describes having easy access to things like fitness studios with smart technology, saunas and eucalyptus steam rooms as “life enhancing”.
Back at AKRA Living, under construction on Erskine Ave. near Sherwood Park with sales kicking off in mid-September, residents will have “the best environment… (for) a healthier, happier life,” according to Curated Properties.
The common areas and design of its 211 units — from studios to three-bedroom suites — were inspired by the five categories of health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness, says Speigel.
“The whole building was centered around this concept,” he says, noting that residents will experience the “tangible benefits” of indoor and outdoor amenities “in one of Toronto’s densest neighborhoods.”
The Meditation Garden, for example, is designed to provide a peaceful escape from the “sirens and constant construction of Yonge and Eglinton,” he says.
Speigel was among those who took a public dip in the freezing water Sept. 6 as part of Curated Properties’ fundraiser for Sick Not Weak, a charitable foundation that aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Condominium dwellers can also warm up to cold dips, based on a deep dive by market research and consulting firm, Grand View Research. Health-conscious consumers seeking alternative therapies to treat inflammation and muscle pain are helping to drive global sales of tubs and ice baths, the company reported this summer.
AKRA’s amenities are “not your typical tower offerings,” emphasizes the creative mind behind them. Boris Mathias, Partner at Toronto Chapi Chapo Design, says they’ve drawn on their experience designing luxury resorts and hotel spas such as Ritz-Carlton and The Four Seasons to create public and private spaces that “will balance the madness of the city “.
Some of these retreat-like features include an “intimate” yoga studio, the potential for a massage room, and an experiential shower with jets that change the water flow.
“You feel like real rain is falling on you,” says Mathias, adding that residents will also derive “calmness” from the building’s natural materials, indirect lighting, textures, finishes and palette. .
West of Toronto, another condominium developer is touting what it calls Port Credit’s first rooftop swim spa. It aims to improve personal health “mentally, physically and emotionally,” says Christina Giannone, Vice President of Planning and Development for Port Credit West Village Partners, the team behind the master-planned 72-acre Brightwater community.
The newest block of three towers, Bridge House, will share a “chic and serene” amenity space on the sixth floor with a rooftop swim spa, terrace, lounge and sauna in a fitness center.
“Moments of relaxation and decompression are more important than ever in our fast-paced world,” says Giannone. “Who wouldn’t want to relax in a swim spa overlooking the beautiful parks and blue waters of Lake Ontario?”
Some of the new health and wellness condo offerings include:
Halotherapy, or salt therapy, involves breathing air containing tiny particles of salt. Often performed in spa-like salt rooms, halotherapy is considered an alternative treatment for lung and respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and coughs. Himalayan salt is one of the varieties used.
Chromotherapyalso called chromotherapy or light therapy, is a type of alternative health treatment that uses different colored lights to improve certain mental and physical health conditions.
hydrotherapy uses hot or cold water, usually in swimming pools or bathtubs, to treat inflammation, muscle aches and pains, and chronic health conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.