Connecticut Connection

Located minutes away from the bustling train station in Stamford, CT, Agora Spa has quickly distinguished itself from other spas in the area by becoming an interesting hybrid of a local day spa, popular hotel spa, businessperson's retreat, and membership-only club. Nestled in the 500-room Stamford Marriott Hotel, the spa opened in the fall of 2005 and is flourishing as a result of its relaxing setting, comprehensive list of amenities, and commitment to customized spa treatments.

 Both the men's and women's lounges feature comfortable couches and flat-screen televisions.
Both the men's and women's lounges feature comfortable couches and flat-screen televisions.

Appealing to the local community was important to spa consultant Glenn Colarossi when developing the spa, because there is a dearth of day spas in close proximity. "We wanted to create an environment where our guests can spend hours, even when their treatment is complete," explains Colarossi. "Our spa caters to individuals looking for a rich experience rather than just a service." Among the distinct amenities at the 3,600-square-foot facility are fully equipped locker rooms for men and women featuring a 13-head Swiss shower and steam room and separate men's and women's lounges that boast flat-screen TVs and comfortable couches and chairs to provide undisturbed relaxation before and after treatments. To further attract local residents, the spa recently kicked off a membership program called "Fortunate 100," which gives members unlimited use of the spa facilities, a discount on their desired treatments, a newsletter subscription, and preferred bookings for $95 per month (plus $200 initiation fee), according to Colarossi. This membership program is particularly appealing to local businesspeople—the spa is located in the heart of the city's thriving business district—who want to periodically partake in a quick midday treatment or even spend some time in the steam room, sauna, or Swiss shower.

The spa features muted, cool blue tones.
The spa features muted, cool blue tones.

While a local focus is important, Colarossi and his team also worked hard to attract hotel guests, many of whom are there for corporate meetings and events. The hotel promotes the spa at every opportunity—the Agora logo can be seen on room keys, courtesy vans, and signage throughout the hotel, and even on the turndown card. Additionally, the receptionists offer to book treatments during check-in, the on-hold message reminds guests about the spa, and there are signs in the elevators to grab the attention of even the most hardened traveler.

The men's and women's locker rooms feature 13-head Swiss showers
The men's and women's locker rooms feature 13-head Swiss showers

Whether it be from locals or tourists, the spa's staff can easily accommodate heavy traffic, which Colarossi expects will increase as the membership program grows. The team includes 11 full- and part-time estheticians and therapists, as well as eight receptionists and other support staff. "We can manage forty-eight appointments per day at maximum capacity, with six to seven individuals at a time, depending on the services," says Colarossi.

Hydrotherapy treatments and massage are available at Agora
Hydrotherapy treatments and massage are available at Agora

Another factor in the Agora experience is the possible flexibility with virtually all of the treatments on the menu. "We offer our guests the ability to choose the treatment they want for any length of time they want," says spa director Tracey Reid. "It's all about customization." If a guest wants to modify the length of any treatment, all of which incorporate Bella Luccè, Comfort Zone, Phytomer, or the spa's private label product line, the change will simply be reflected in the price, no questions asked. Guests can also add enhancements to any visit, such as an antioxidant skin booster ($25), a relaxing scalp treatment ($10, 15 minutes), or an eye contour remedy ($25). Spa guests can also opt for an extra indulgence, such as a light snack from the hotel dining room or a glass of champagne or wine to accompany their treatments or to enjoy in the relaxation room.

A variety of retail products are on display in the reception area.
A variety of retail products are on display in the reception area.

Also in the works is an upcoming spa renovation. The Marriott has responded to the early success of Agora Spa by giving the green light to convert a boardroom into an 850-square-foot spa suite that can accommodate up to eight people. This private haven will have its own shower, wet bar, entertainment system, full bath, makeup station, and portable manicure and pedicure stations. "The Marriott has been a true partner in creating the experience at Agora, not only from the financial perspective, but also by doing whatever is necessary to continue the spa's success," says Colarossi.

Agora Spa
Agora Spa

Looking into the future of Agora Spa, Colarossi's vision is clear: "We're looking to expand this model to other high-end properties in the area and elsewhere while continuing to fine tune the efficacy of our private label products."

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