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Pampered Privacy: Malliouhana Spa by Earl Swensson Associates

Anguilla, British West Indies: A lush tropical setting offers design cues for a Caribbean spa.

by ArchNewsNow
March 24, 2003

The Malliouhana is a 25-acre resort nestled on the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla, British West Indies that opened in 1982. With only 55 rooms, suites, and villas overlooking Meads Bay, it is a favorite getaway for movie stars, honeymooners, and Disney World-phobic families. Fodor’s calls it “Anguilla's first and classiest resort.”


The latest addition to the resort is the 15,000-square-foot Malliouhana Spa, a pristine white structure that sits on a bluff and looks out over the brilliant blue-green bay below. As designed by Nashville, Tennessee-based Earl Swensson Associates (ESa), the spa strikes an elegant profile that blends seamlessly with the resort's existing hotel and villas. Health Fitness Dynamics, Inc. (HFD), a Pompano Beach, Florida-based spa planning, marketing, and management company was the consultant to provide a turnkey service from concept through opening. 


ESa and HFD collaborated on the design direction to make sure the spa flow is comfortable for guests and operationally efficient for staff, generates revenue for the owners, and is imbued with a sense-of-place in terms of the views, materials, and design theme of the resort.


"We selected a structural system that the island craftsmen were comfortable with," says Thom Meek, AIA, senior designer for ESa.  "The system we chose is a column and beam construction using block walls, basically a concrete rendered structure."


The building's design maintains the open tropical attitude of the resort's hotel.  Exterior doors are designed to be left open to take advantage of the incredible views. The interiors are finished in a neutral palette with accents of blues and greens, terra cotta Mexican floor tile, creamy white walls, and rich walnut wood trims in keeping with the setting. Bamboo, sea grass, and rattan furnishings are used throughout. The ocean and sky add the real color.


The fitness center is to the right of the main lobby. Also leading off the lobby is a boutique offering a selection of spa products and logo wear. The clean shelving system echoes the warm honey of the bamboo floor. Bamboo flooring is also used in the adjacent uni-sex salon, the men’s and women’s locker rooms, treatment rooms, and spa suites. Cane insets on the locker doors add texture. Windows that take full advantage of the ocean vista surround the indoor, air-conditioned lounge and refreshment bar. The outdoor terrace sports an inviting whirlpool at one end.


From the locker rooms, the hallway begins a progression toward the ocean-view lounge with the dressing, vanity, and shower areas as well as steam room, sauna room, and deluge shower along the way. Between the locker rooms and directly off the outdoor oceanfront lounge are five private treatment rooms for massage, skin care, and body treatments.  Each treatment room has its own music system and air controls.


The owners of the resort, father and son team Leon and Nigel Roydon, wanted the spa to have layers of high-end amenities as well as the more standard and popular treatment and wet areas. The solution is a "spa-within-a-spa" – three exclusive day suites on the second level, totally separate from the a la carte offerings on the first floor. The suites are the ultimate in pampering and privacy.


Each oceanfront suite has a private balcony that takes in the views of the bay and ocean, indoor and outdoor lounges, a jet-action whirlpool treatment tub, areas for massage, facial and body treatments, a specialty shower, and private bathroom vanity area. One of the suites has an outdoor couple's whirlpool, an indoor couples jet-action whirlpool treatment tub, and an indoor couples massage area.


Then there are the sunsets…


Architect/Interior Design: Earl Swensson Associates, Inc., Nashville, TN

Spa Consultant: Health Fitness Dynamics, Pompano Beach, FL

Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineer: I.C. Thomasson Associates, Inc., Nashville, TN

Structural Engineer: Structural Design Group, Nashville, TN

Photography: Doug Scaletta/Scaletta Photography


Since its founding in 1961, Earl Swensson Associates has designed over 8,000 projects throughout the United States and overseas. Projects include healthcare facilities, senior living communities, hotels/convention centers, resorts, spas and restaurants, educational and library facilities, and corporate office buildings.


See also:


Healthcare, Southern-style: River Region Medical Center by Earl Swensson Associates

(click on pictures to enlarge)

(Scaletta Photography)
The Malliouhana Spa strikes an elegant profile on a bluff overlooking Meads Bay.

(Scaletta Photography)
One of the private suites includes both outdoor and indoor couple's whirlpools.

(Scaletta Photography)
Terra cotta Mexican floor tile and creamy white walls are in keeping with the tropical setting.

(Scaletta Photography)
From the men's and women's locker rooms, the hallways lead to the steam and sauna rooms and deluge shower, before widening to an incredible view of the ocean.

(Scaletta Photography)
An outdoor shower

(Scaletta Photography)
A private treatment room

(Scaletta Photography)
The vanity areas in both the men's and women's private bathrooms are designed in neutral palettes with blue accents.

(Earl Swensson Associates)
First floor plan

(Earl Swensson Associates)
Second floor plan showing private suites

© 2003