Although Mississippi isn’t necessarily known for health and wellness, the Sanctuary Body Spa of St. Dominic’s (Ridgeland, MS) is working to change that perception. “St. Dominic Hospital, like many other hospitals, recognizes the value of preventative medicine and the benefits of spas,” says architect Nicole Migeon, who designed the nature-inspired spa. “Such institutions are increasingly concerned about the role of obesity, nutrition, and stress in inducing common diseases.” According to Debbie Jansen, director of retail operations, the spa’s role within the medical center is a perfect fit. “St. Dominic’s mission is to care for the whole person—body, mind, and spirit,” she says. “Visits to Sanctuary Body Spa encourage self-care via intentional relaxation, compassionate care, and the skilled services of its highly trained providers.”
In creating the spa, it was important that the environment strike the right chord with its clientele. “Spa owners, developers, and designers alike realize that good design—especially design reminiscent of the natural environment—can relieve stress,” says Migeon. In addition, the spa also needed to integrate with the medical facility. “Our mission was to design an efficient space that would support the complex operations of a state-of-the-art medical spa,” says Migeon. “At the same time, we wanted to create an elegant, contemporary space that integrated the outdoors with the indoors.” To achieve that goal, Migeon and her team incorporated several design elements that capture Mississippi’s natural surroundings. For example, the spa interiors are inspired by the Pearl River and the orange coreopsis wild flowers that grow in the area. A long central walkway with a teak plank floor and ceiling travels through the reception area, the waiting room, and the Green Room, which serves as a versatile lounge or event space. The color orange is also used throughout the spa, such as in the reception area and salon, which feature counter-top surfaces made of an orange recycled acrylic material. The treatment rooms also have orange glass backsplashes.
Nature’s influence is also on display in the Green Room, which incorporates custom planters filled with live vegetation and a fountain that is inspired by natural springs once found in the area. “Lastly, we curated an art collection consisting of photographs of landscapes taken in and around Mississippi by mainly local artists,” says Migeon. “The photos are hung throughout the spa, creating another one of my favorite design elements.”
It’s not only the spa’s soothing design that puts people at ease but also its lineup of time-tested services. According to Jansen, the spa’s most popular treatment is the Spa Body Bliss ($235, 2 hours), a stimulating Vichy shower body polish followed by a 60-minute massage and a hydrotherapy bath. Despite its popularity, some of the treatment’s highlights aren’t always an easy sale. “Hydrotherapy baths and Vichy spa treatments are the most difficult to sell, because words fall short of communicating how enjoyable these experiences are,” says Jansen. “Once clients try them, however, they do the selling for us by telling their friends, so it’s always worth the effort.” Sanctuary Body Spa also offers a complete menu of medical treatments, such as anti-aging injectables, rejuvenating laser treatments, medical-grade peels, and sclerotherapy, all overseen by the spa’s medical director, William “Dotie” Jackson, M.D., a noted plastic surgeon.
With 11 full-time and four part-time staff members, the spa is equipped to handle 30 to 40 clients each day. “Our core clientele is made up of people who understand the value of self-care,” says Jansen. “They know that by taking time to care for themselves they will be healthier, more productive, and better able to handle the stressors of everyday life.” Thanks to Sanctuary Body Spa of St. Dominic’s, looking and feeling good is easier than ever.