Water is the essence of life and the driving force behind the design, tradition, and treatments at Kohler Waters Spa (Kohler, WI). The spa, which is part of the five-star The American Club, is a 24,000-square-foot hydrotherapy-based haven that incorporates therapeutic water-infused treatments in a luxurious setting. "Any time someone comes in contact with water within the Kohler Waters Spa, whether it is showering, taking a drink from our custom-designed drinking fountain, listening to the soothing sounds of the waterfalls, or bathing in one of our color therapy Whirlpools, it is sure to be a unique and memorable experience," says Jean Kolb, director of wellness business and product development.
The spa itself is distinctive by name alone, as it is a showcase for Kohler, a company known for the production of beautiful creations for the kitchen and bath. Kohler plumbing, furniture, and tile are part of the design components of the spa, and water is the spa's main focus. "Kohler Company has been in the business of water for more than one-hundred-and-thirty years, and we have developed products that make water experiential," says Kolb. "Our spa and our treatments do the same."
Even in the massage rooms, water is a vital design component at the spa.
While the expansive spa menu includes offerings ranging from body treatments to massages to facials and more, the true Kohler experience comes from the bathing therapies in one of the spa's signature water-themed rooms. Guests are plunged into a state of rejuvenating calm in the bathing areas, which include the Zen-inspired Riverbath Room, the infinity pool and color therapy-themed sōk Room, and the Renaissance Bath with a copper bathtub. Water-themed and water-inspired treatments are also particularly popular. The new Cooler Near the Lake ($135, 50 minutes), which uses a warm Vichy shower with occasional spurts of ice therapy, was designed to recreate the warm and cool effects of Lake Michigan's weather pattern and is one of the most requested experiences.
The Renaissance Bath features a copper steeping bathtub where guests can indulge in a rose petal milk bath.
As for other offerings, the spa, which opened in 2000, is always updating its menu to accommodate the calendar and the ever-growing marketplace. The Seasonal Sensation Scrub ($135, 50 minutes), for example, is a body exfoliation and waterfall treatment that changes according to the time of year. Guests leave the exfoliating and moisturizing experience smelling like green tea and lime in the spring, mandarin and mango in the summer, milk and honey in the fall, and cranberry and pomegranate in the winter. "Our biggest challenge is to be ever changing," says Kolb. "We have to continue to focus on not getting complacent and push the bar higher in customer service, types of treatments, and the overall experience. We never want to be ordinary. Only extraordinary will do."
Guests can enjoy the Relaxation Pool before and after treatments.
Most recently, Kohler lived up to its goal of constant excellence with the addition of a new rooftop deck and open-air patio, as well as 10 new Immersion Suites, which added 9,045 square feet of overnight spa-themed accommodations to the resort. In-room massage and treatment areas, as well as a Kohler Whirlpool bathtub for two with mood-inducing chromotherapy lights and a refreshing, customized showering space, are centrally located within each 560-square-foot room and are ideal for secluded body and water treatments. The rooms, which feature bamboo-style flooring, furniture designed with an Eastern influence, natural textures, and a palette of soft greens and oranges, were designed to be personal havens of color, light, texture, and water that offer guests a luxurious place to rejuvenate and reconnect with themselves. According to Kolb, the rooms are an ideal expansion of the spa experience and are "plush, private, and the perfect place to 'stay within' mentally, emotionally, and physically."
A growing male clientele is also evident at the spa. Men's treatments, like the Golfer's Massage ($125, 50 minutes; $160, 75 minutes), have been created to cater to relaxation-seeking male guests. Kolb says she also sees more men moving beyond massage and taking advantage of bathing experiences, facials, foot and scalp treatments, and more. "Men are becoming more spa savvy," she says. "They care about their appearance and want their skin to look good." This growing demographic was also the impetus behind the introduction of John Michael Kohler for Him. This private label product line is available in the spa's retail area and includes an Americana-inspired shave kit, a complete scrub treatment, and a bathing kit that pays homage to male grooming traditions that were commonplace when the company was founded in 1873 by John Michael Kohler.
While innovative treatments and products are important to the company and its growth, retail is also a significant part of the spa's business and accounts for approximately 20 percent of sales. "Retail is the educational component of the experience," says Kolb. "I remember someone telling me you shouldn't go to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned on an annual basis and then do nothing in between. The same applies to spa treatments. To receive a facial once or twice a year and then not take care of your skin with effective products would be unfortunate, and that is something we relay to our clients."
As for the future, Kolb says the company plans to expand the successful Kohler Waters Spa brand into other markets. In January 2006, a second Kohler Waters Spa will open in St. Andrews, Scotland, at the Old Course Hotel. The spa will feature many of the same water therapy treatments offered at the Wisconsin location. No matter where it makes its home, the Kohler brand and its exclusive spa offerings will continue to cater to and satisfy its customers like it has at The American Club for more than five years, says Kolb. "Our guests know that Kohler stands for quality, and they are looking for an experience that is unlike any other," she says. "They know they receive five-diamond service within the hotel, and the expectation is the same for the spa."