Located on historic Bellevue Avenue in Newport, RI, is the Hotel Viking, an iconic hotel and member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America since 1997. The hotel, which first opened in May 1926, offers a unique combination of old-world style and comfort with the latest technological offerings and amenities. In fact, the hotel recently underwent a $6.2 million renovation, which included extensive updates to Spa Fjör and the fitness center, demonstrating the hotel’s continued commitment to wellness. In addition to aesthetic changes, the spa and fitness center also feature new and upgraded amenities and design elements, such as Matrix equipment and Peloton bikes. Coupled with the renovation, the spa menu was revamped to feature innovative treatments and services for an elevated guest experience.
Spa Fjör, which first opened in 2004, now features a coed infrared sauna as well as an expanded relaxation room, which has a large sea salt wall of pink salt crystals mined from the edge of the Himalayan Mountains. The pink structure functions to help with air ionization and purification, removing pollen, dust, smoke, and many other types of allergens from the air while also balancing ions in the space to help rejuvenate the mind and body. The six treatment rooms were all revamped and are named to correspond with the services that take place in the room. For instance, Love is a spacious couples’ room with a double shower, Serenity is a smaller couples’ room with a single shower, Peace and Beauty are facial rooms, and Harmony and Tranquility are single treatment rooms with showers and beautiful large soaking tubs.
Spa director Monique Michaud believes Spa Fjör’s new menu of treatments is what sets the spa apart. “Our new menu of services was created with the meaning of Spa Fjör in mind,” she says. “‘Fjör’ is an old Norse word meaning vitality, energy, and life. We paid homage to our past, keeping the services that our reputation was built on, while adding new treatments that focus on the guest experience with our personalized signature services. The core spa services can take a guest on a multicultural journey. Our new signature services are highly personalized, tie into the hotel food and beverage offerings, and feature elements of traditional Chinese medicine and healing sound therapy. We have spa treatments for the spa novice or the spa aficionado.”
In addition to traditional services like facials and massage, Spa Fjör offers guests a selection of signature treatments that are sure to please, such as the One Bellevue Bourbon Body Scrub ($135, 50 minutes), which is inspired by the resort’s signature house-infused bourbon cocktails at One Bellevue Restaurant. The service includes a bourbon-drenched sugar scrub that is rich in nourishing oils and anti-aging properties and exfoliates and moisturizes the skin. Meanwhile, the Hill Market Coffee Body Scrub ($135, 50 minutes), which is influenced by the coffee served in Hotel Viking’s Hill Market café, is another energizing body treatment that includes a coffee-infused sugar scrub to exfoliate and hydrate the skin.
Global Rituals allow guests to enjoy the healing benefits of ingredients and techniques from exotic locales. For instance, guests can opt for the Javanese Royal Ritual ($275, 1 hour 50 minutes), an Indonesian experience that begins with a Balinese massage with a jasmine flower-scented oil, a lulur exfoliant, and a warm yogurt splash. After a jasmine frangipani shower, guests enter a warm soaking tub filled with flower petals, and the treatment ends with an application of a jasmine-scented lotion. The Volcanic Earth Clay Ritual ($190, 80 minutes) helps to soften, purify, and renew the skin, includes a traditional Balinese massage, and uses clay from Java to help encourage circulation and detoxify the body. A pampering foot massage and aromatic shower are also included in this treatment.
According to Michaud, most guests who visit Spa Fjör are local to the Newport area and generally hail from the Northeast. “We find that our guests select our spa to celebrate their special occasions,” says Michaud. “It is not unusual to have several birthday or anniversary celebrations in one weekend.” Most guests are also looking for longer treatments and unique experiences, and many are finding that relaxation and immune-boosting are paramount in their mind during the pandemic. They’re sure to find what they are looking for in one of the spa’s Bath Rituals ($75), which utilize the age-old practice of water therapy and can be added to any 50- or 80-minute massage or body treatment. The Bath Rituals combine the soothing powers of essential oils, therapeutic salts, and essences to help guests relax. Guests can choose from among several options, including Restful Sleep, which promotes relaxation with the use of soothing essential oils and herbs; Stress Relief, which utilizes calming aromatics and herbs to help alleviate the effects of daily stress, rejuvenate the mind and body, and restore inner peace; Muscle Soother, which helps relieve back aches, minor muscle strains, and stiffness; and Immunity Boost, which helps enhance the body’s circulation, promote perspiration, and accelerate natural immune responses.
Along with a new menu of services, the renovation prompted the spa to reconsider the product lines that are used and sold at the spa. “For me, it’s all about the benefits of the products and if our guests will fi nd value in them,” says Michaud. “During our renovation, I had the opportunity and time to test several lines. I added Patchology because of the effectiveness of the products; Pure Inventions as our beverage service due to the many wellness benefits that fit with our messaging; Cause & Medic for a CBD line, which has a compelling story behind its creation; and Me Care for its bourbon line that smells amazing and was the inspiration for our signature service, One Bellevue Bourbon Body Scrub.”
To encourage guests to visit the spa during their stay, Hotel Viking created innovative packages to include hotel, spa, and the restaurant. The spa also utilizes social media to market to its local audience, and the spa launched a membership program that offers one facial or massage per month along with other perks. Additional benefits include a discount for a friend on the day of the monthly service so guests can spa together, retail discounts, an additional service discount during each month, and a complimentary service enhancement in the month of the member’s birthday.
The spa’s loyal guests are in good company with the spa’s devoted staff. In fact, according to Michaud, many of the 14 current staff members have been with the spa since it opened 17 year ago. Michaud attributes this longevity to the staff’s engagement with the variety of treatments as well as the ongoing training offered. Spa Fjör has also implemented some important green initiatives that help keep guests and staff looking and feeling good. For example, the spa uses a QR code in lieu of handing out brochures and eliminated the waste of coffee/tea service in the relaxation areas, opting instead for a more holistic experience by incorporating the wellness benefits of Pure Inventions water boosters. “Pure Inventions water boosters are part of the entire guest experience, from their welcome wellness beverage to the immune-boosting water enhancer after their spa treatment,” says Michaud.
It’s these green initiatives, fresh and exciting treatments, and amazing customer service that will ensure the spa continues to attract new and returning guests. Michaud also believes this is achieved by staying open to opportunities, both flexible and creative, to create a place for guests to relax, be pampered, and enhance their overall wellbeing. Says Michaud, “I plan on continuing to build a platform of wellness, the true essence of spa.”