A mountain getaway located just minutes from Denver International Airport, the new Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center (Aurora, CO) is one of the largest resort projects to debut under the management of Marriott International in recent years. The spacious hotel features 1,501 guest rooms, including 114 suites and 14 presidential suites. In addition, it boasts eight food and beverage options, two pools and a lazy river, and 486,000 square feet of meetings and convention space. Even more enticing is Relâche Spa & Salon, a 17-treatment-room European-style spa.
Designed to capture the essence of Colorado, the spa features a custom chandelier that is an eye-catching highlight of the spa lobby. “This piece was designed to capture the effects of the mountains’ spring thaw,” says spa director Jocelyn Farmer. “Next, as our guests walk through the changing rooms and past the spa indulgences, they then enter our co-ed Alpenglow Fireside Lounge. This oasis incorporates the low reddish-orange glow that illuminates upon the mountains’ horizon along with beautiful white drapery that flows throughout the lounge like a snowy mist.” The inspired details also extend to the treatment rooms in the form of colors, textures, and materials. The mountain setting is even reflected in the salon, where custom mirrors depict frost and fog settling on a piece of glass on a winter day. “Our developer has mentioned that because of our proximity to the Rocky Mountains and all the benefits of being so close to such a beautiful natural resource, we really wanted to pay homage to those surroundings by making sure that every element of our spa design and development reflected that beauty in some way,” says Farmer. “Whether it’s our spring thaw chandelier or our warm hardwood accents, we really wanted to bring a sense of the outdoors in.”
Attracting a diverse clientele, the spa caters to conference guests looking for a brief break from work, locals looking for a relaxing and memorable day with friends and family, and frequent spa-goers wanting a new spa to experience the therapeutic benefits that come with a wellness-oriented visit. According to Farmer, the menu was created with both the Relâche Spa brand in mind as well as a sense of place. The spa offers Elemis and Naturopathica as its primary facial and body lines. Both fit well with the brand and help visiting guests address skincare concerns brought on by Colorado’s dry climate. One of the spa’s most popular treatments is the Alpine Arnica Deep Healing Massage ($160, 50 minutes; $210, 80 minutes), which uses aromatherapy and deep-tissue massage to unwind the body and reboot the mind. Guests are given the option of choosing among four aromatherapy blends: spicy cardamom, hypnotic neroli blossom, clarifying balsam fir needles, or energizing holy basil.
The spa is staffed with six full-time and three part-time providers; seven on-call providers; one full-time esthetician; one full-time, one part-time, and one on-call nail technician; one full-time stylist; four full-time concierges; and five full-time and two on-call attendants. According to Farmer, most of the providers are dual-licensed, and two of the spa’s operational team members are estheticians. The attendants are also trained to step in as concierges when needed. “We are increasing our provider and salon staff numbers based on business demand,” says Farmer. With all hands on deck, the spa can accommodate between 150 and 300 services in a typical day. Of course, with any new spa, there are challenges to be met. “I think we all go through this challenge in our industry—balancing the operation along with the paperwork and keeping up with appearances,” says Farmer. “All are key components to ensuring a successful operation.” As for the future, Farmer is focused on giving back. “I have made promises I intend to keep with my team, such as offering them a career path and advanced training as well as ensuring a sustainable commitment to the local community through retail partnerships and out-of-the-box events,” says Farmer. “We are brand new, and the sky is the limit.”
- Owners: Ryman Hospitality Properties of Nashville and Rida Development Corporation of Houston, managed by Marriott International
- Spa Director: Jocelyn Farmer
- Opened: December 2018
- Client Base: 70% female, 30% male
- Space: 13,900 square feet; 17 treatment rooms
- Products and Equipments: Cirépil by Perron Rigot, Dazzle Dry, Elemis, Gamma & Bross, L’Anza, Living Earth Crafts, Make Up Factory, Matrix, Moroccanoil, Naturopathica, OPI, SpaSoft, The Mansfield Robe Company, Zendals
- Architect: HKS Architects (Dallas)
- Interior Designer: Looney & Associates (Dallas)
- Spa Consultant: Suzanne Holbrook, senior corporate director of spa operations for Marriott, and Patty Field, senior manager of spa operations for Marriott