Alpine Oasis

Skiing is the heart and soul of many of the resort towns that are sprinkled throughout Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Nowhere is that more evident than in Beaver Creek, a charming alpine enclave in Vail Valley that boasts an exceptionally long ski season on the 140-plus trails that can be found on Beaver Creek Mountain. With an average annual snowfall of 300 inches, a ski season that runs from November to April, and an equally active summer season where vacationers enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, golf, and more, the area is a haven for outdoor aficionados. It's also home to Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa (Avon, CO), an ideal relaxation retreat for adventurers looking to soothe sore muscles and incorporate a spa element into their active vacations. "Beaver Creek attracts outdoor enthusiasts, particularly skiers, hikers, and golfers," says spa general manager Gaye Steinke. "Our clientele and our staff tend to be active people who take charge of their health and well-being. They are extremely well-traveled and discriminating customers." To meet the needs of this discerning clientele, the property underwent a $20 million renovation in 2006, much of which occurred in the 30,000-square-foot, 23-treatment-room spa and involved the creation of the Aqua Sanitas water sanctuary. Located on the first floor of the spa, the journey that occurs there emulates ancient Roman bathing traditions as guests participate in a self-guided hydrotherapy experience prior to their treatments that helps them relax and enhances their spa services. Included in the ritual are a series of hot and cold temperatures that restore the body and promote wellness and inner peace. Guests start in the co-ed warm thermae mineral pool before the men and women separate and move from the hot caldarium pool into the cool cascata rain shower and the caldarium steam room. They ultimately end up on heated loungers in the tepidarium. "Aqua Sanitas was born from a desire to return to the healing benefits of water and also to encourage the social aspects of spa," says Steinke. "The earliest spas were not only places of wellness but meeting places. Guests went to see friends, make business deals, or simply relax. In our ski resort, many guests create a frenetic schedule for themselves. We are trying to help them slow the pace down. Aqua Sanitas encourages guests to take a moment, be present in the moment, and fully realize the purpose of spa."

Allegria also encourages guests to enjoy the property's spectacular natural setting via a design intended to bring the outdoors in. "The beauty of the mountains, trees, flowers, and skies inspired the architecture and design of the spa," says Steinke. Because Colorado boasts approximately 350 days of sunshine a year, oversized windows were chosen to illuminate the spa reception area, fitness center, salon, retail boutique, café, locker rooms, and the treatment rooms. The spa's dramatic entrance also features a 25-foot engraved glass wall depicting a towering Aspen grove. The mosaic tile work at the caldarium pools represents trees swaying in the wind, and the caldarium steam room is highlighted with twinkling stars overhead. Additionally, the treatment corridor features a commissioned collection of artwork featuring native Colorado wildflowers, such as arnica, evening primrose, red clover, and wild rose. "The design really takes the natural beauty of the outdoors that we have at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain and incorporates it into the space," says Steinke.

Outdoor Jacuzzis allow spa-goers to stay toasty warm while enjoying the resort's alpine landscape.
Outdoor Jacuzzis allow spa-goers to stay toasty warm while enjoying the resort's alpine landscape.

The menu is also heavily influenced by the spa's locale, with native plants and herbs acting as inspiration for almost the entire spa menu, further linking the outdoors with the experiences within. Guests inhale the scents of indigenous juniper, melissa, spruce, and other wildflower plants as they move through the Aqua Sanitas. Other menu highlights include the Ginger Peach Cure ($260, 1 hour 40 minutes), a homage to the fact that Colorado is the second largest peach-growing state in the U.S.; the Juniper Sports Scrub ($150, 50 minutes); the Arnica Sports Relief Cure ($260, 1 hour 40 minutes); the Alpine Hayflowers Thermal Wrap ($220, 75 minutes); the Colorado Wild Rose Cure ($325, 3 hours 15 minutes); and the Indian Spring Clay Ritual ($260, 1 hour 40 minutes), which uses a local clay. Most treatments use Kneipp products, which are based on the teachings of Sebastian Kneipp, who is widely considered the father of aromatherapy. "Many of the indigenous plants of Germany, such as arnica, juniper, and melissa, are also native to Colorado, making Kneipp a natural choice for Allegria Spa," explains Steinke. Another natural product choice was the eponymous line by Veronica Ross, a Vail Valley local who creates custom massage oils, lotions, balms, and scrubs.

Clockwise: The Aqua Sanitas ritual concludes with a stop at the heated loungers in the tepidarium; a 25-foot wall depicting an Aspen grove greets clients as they enter the spa; wood accents and flickering candles further add to the spa's welcoming natural aesthetic.
Clockwise: The Aqua Sanitas ritual concludes with a stop at the heated loungers in the tepidarium; a 25-foot wall depicting an Aspen grove greets clients as they enter the spa; wood accents and flickering candles further add to the spa's welcoming natural aesthetic.

While the spectacular setting and the extensive menu are part of what makes Allegria Spa so distinctive, Steinke says its greatest asset is the talented team, which is made up of 150 full-time and 125 part-time employees. They service approximately 500 clients per day in the winter and 300 in the summer. "While it is true that our facility is beautiful and our mountain setting is inspiring, the heart of our success lies in our staff," she says. "We will never relax our standards. There is nothing more disappointing than going to a beautiful spa and receiving a mediocre service. Time and time again, our clients say the same thing—they receive the best treatments at Allegria Spa."

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek provides active vacationers with winter ski-in and ski-out access.
The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek provides active vacationers with winter ski-in and ski-out access.

Because of this high standard for excellence, Steinke says the spa tends to be busy year-round. But to keep business booming in the traditionally slower spring and fall, the spa offers discounted mid-week packages that combine fitness, a massage, and a facial, as well as comprehensive weight-loss programs and girlfriend getaway weekends with fashion, beauty, and culinary components. Allegria also appeals to locals with a membership program that includes use of the state-of-the-art weights and cardio equipment found in The Club and discounts on spa treatments, personal training sessions, group classes, and valet parking. The spa, which boasts four deluxe couples' suites, has also tripled its couples' business in the past year via its Spa for Two offerings, the most popular of which is the Spa Romance ($325 per person, 2 hours 15 minutes) package. Included in the session is an Herbal Wildflower Scrub for her and a Juniper Sports Scrub for him, a couples' steam shower, a 50-minute Swedish Massage, an Herbal Wildflower Bath for two, and champagne and chocolate truffles as a sweet treat to round out the experience.



Whether catering to couples wanting to connect or adventurers looking to ease the pains of active pursuits, Allegria Spa has most certainly found sweet success in its first post-renovation year. And with future plans that include developing a solid internet business, making an effort to become more eco-friendly, and continuing to monitor and respond to clients' needs and desires, Steinke and her team have moved beyond the spa bunny hill and are ready to successfully tackle business black-diamond style.

Suggested Articles

Located at Cidesco’s head office in Zurich, Switzerland, the training salon will provide the highest standard of education in spa and beauty.  

Grant Dipman takes on the senior leadership position, bringing plenty of industry experience with him.

The Aleksandrowicz System will give therapists the tools to create true wellness for their clients and themselves.