Above and Beyond

Located in the center of downtown,The Hotel Ivy has much to tempt visitors to the Twin Cities. An ideal setting and an understated and elegant design make it a popular home away from home. Thanks to the recent debut of Ivy Spa Club, locals and guests have even more reason to pay a visit to the popular hotel. Created in part to help the hotel achieve status in Starwood's Luxury Collection, the spa was also an opportunity to develop one of the area's first true wellness destinations in conjunction with a five-star hotel, restaurant, and condominium project. Coming within approximately 5 percent of its original $4 million budget, the spa is poised to breathe new life into the historic hotel.

Guests can indulge in a variety of hydrotherapy offerings.
Guests can indulge in a variety of hydrotherapy offerings.

"The vision of Ivy Spa Club was, and is, a spa centered on wellness, where every person walking through the door is made to feel welcome no matter what their appearance, status, or past spa experience," says owner Pam Margolis. The spa's motto, "Simply Beyond," is meant to extend to the overall guest experience. Unlike other spas in the Twin Cities, Ivy Spa Club, at more than 17,000 square feet, is larger in size and scope. The 14-treatment-room spa offers a diverse menu with approximately 75 treatments that appeal to a broad clientele.

The spa's comfortable nailcare area is ideal for those wanting a pedicure during their lunch break.
The spa's comfortable nailcare area is ideal for those wanting a pedicure during their lunch break.

In choosing the spa's product lines, Margolis opted for Pevonia Botanica because it is a well-known line, advertises both nationally and internationally, and isn't widely distributed in the Twin Cities market. Margolis and the spa's management team also wanted to offer a fragrance-free line after noticing increasing consumer sensitivity to fragrance. As a result, B. Kamins, Chemist, a line intended to address various skin conditions, such as acne, menopausal skin, and more, was selected. Margolis also interviewed three private label companies before deciding on California-based La Natura to develop the spa's signature line. With this decision, fragrance played a key role. "La Natura founder Sabina Chazanas previously designed fragrances for Estée Lauder and truly understands the importance of both fragrance and product quality," says Margolis. The spa's signature scent—made up of grapefruit, lavender, and tangerine—has become especially popular among the spa's clientele. "La Natura was willing to develop products based on the wants, needs, and desires of Ivy Spa Club specifically, rather than what was already in existence," says Margolis.

In the lobby, guests can check in at the reception desk and browse the spa's retail area.
In the lobby, guests can check in at the reception desk and browse the spa's retail area.

As with any project this size, a fair number of challenges were to be expected. For Margolis, topping that list was having the confidence to run the spa without a spa director. Although a spa director was initially hired, he was later let go when it became apparent it wasn't a good fit. "I didn't realize I was the most qualified person to make decisions about my spa," says Margolis. Keeping the staff excited about the spa's opening was also difficult. "As construction delays mounted, it was challenging to ensure that the staff felt confident about the spa's progress and that they didn't view me as the emperor with no clothes," says Margolis. "To keep the staff motivated, I worked with the spa's management team to ensure extensive training protocols and testing were mastered prior to opening. It also gave the staff a great opportunity to get to know one another and bond as a group."

Staff Selection
Staff Selection

A lack of meeting and storage space while the spa was under development also posed its fair share of inconveniences. "I had a Vichy shower in my living room for longer than I'd like to admit," says Margolis. A small hotel room also served as the spa management team's center of operations for more than five months, making for rather tight quarters.

In Hindsight
In Hindsight

Another major issue Margolis had to contend with was a lack of communication with the developers and construction team and confusion about the construction timeline. "This was best resolved by my own resolution to be on-site every day and push the construction team to hold daily meetings," says Margolis. "This not only kept everyone on track but also ensured my vision was being realized." —Heather Mikesell

Spa Timeline
Spa Timeline



Members and guests can enjoy a selection of teas  and fruit-infused water.
Members and guests can enjoy a selection of teas and fruit-infused water.

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