The Park Hyatt Chicago recently unveiled a creative conversion of its seventh floor to a haven of healthy living called NoMI (which stands for the hotel’s location north of the city’s famed Michigan Avenue). Among the elements of this new lifestyle level are NoMI Kitchen, NoMI Lounge, NoMI Garden, and NoMI Spa, all of which espouse the philosophy of “Eat well, be well, live well.” In the kitchen, guests can dine on healthy, flavorful dishes created from seasonal bounty. The garden offers a serene outdoor terrace and bar, NoMI Lounge offers a host of colorful drink concoctions, and the 8,100-square-foot spa is a place where customized experiences are paired with healthy culinary creations to encourage wellness and healing from the inside out. In fact, each service is proceeded with a tasty amuse bouche created by executive chef Ryan LaRoche that enhances its benefits. “Our kitchen can be the most important room of our house,” says spa manager Rachael E. McCrory. “Our spice cabinet can become our medicine cabinet. We treat our guests by pairing an artfully selected indulgent bite and a unique beverage with every spa treatment.”
Another way McCrory and her team of 13 treat guests is through total personalization, whether they partake in services that occur in one of the spa’s two treatment suites or manicure and pedicure space or in the privacy of their hotel rooms. “Each treatment experience is completely customized,” says McCrory. “This begins during the initial reservation process that focuses more on the unique needs of the client and how much time the guest has to experience the spa.” At the beginning of almost every spa experience, guests are presented with different aromatherapy options and select one based on what their body is instinctively drawn toward. This aromatherapy is then incorporated into the treatment. In addition, guests have an extra 15 minutes in their spa suite to use before or after their treatment. “During this time they are able to have a private steam or Swiss shower or take time getting ready in the suite versus going to the locker rooms,” she says. “The goal was to make the spa feel like their home.”
The spa offers guests a variety of tempting services that can curb any treatment appetite. For those who want total pampering, Spa Indulgences packages, which range from two to three-and-a-half hours, allow guests to relax while enjoying services of their choice. The Spa Tasting Menu is ideal for guests who would like to sample some of the spa’s top offerings. There, guests choose three 45-minute treatments to create an experience that best meets their needs. NoMI Spa also offers a variety of results-oriented skincare services that incorporate the HydraFacial machine from Edge Systems, as well as products from Aromatherapy Associates, Carita, and Hommage.
McCrory says the menu was inspired, in part, by her arrival in Chicago from Hawaii, where she had been living, in the midst of a record-setting blizzard. “I had to bear the cold and try to become acclimated to the city,” she says. “During that time, I became very aware of all of the different emotional and physical fluctuations I was experiencing. I wanted to translate this into the spa by offering guests an experience that is customized to their unique needs the day they come in.” As such, therapists have free reign to create a custom-tailored spa treatments for guests and are not locked into rigid protocols. The menu was further inspired by McCrory’s quest to create meaningful and effective services. “I feel strongly that there has become too much ‘fluff and buff’ in the industry, and spas were not providing clients with the true results that they were looking for, which is something at which we are exceeding,” she says.
Another way McCrory says the spa excels is through its retail offerings. To make the spa feel more like a home, the retail area is filled with open wood shelving and stocked with books on Chicago architecture, cooking, gardening, and more. It also features high-end home accent pieces, such as DayNa Decker candles and jewelry pieces from Momi and Gillian Julius. “At the close of each treatment, the guest is also provided with a recipe card, which recommends products used in the treatment, as well as other retail items our staff feels they may benefit from based on getting to know the guest,” she adds.
Staffing the spa was as well thought out as the spa menu and retail selection. McCrory spent months looking for the right staff members. “Each of my staff members brings something unique to the team and are extremely passionate about what they do,” she says. “When interviewing, I focused more on how they would interact with the other team members than their actual experiences. Through this, I was able to compile a truly amazing team that is incredibly close and complement each other so well.”
McCrory is also lucky in that her biggest challenge so far has been too much demand—with such an intimate space, it is difficult to accommodate every spa request, particularly during peak times on the weekends. She will be meeting this demand by launching a separate in-room menu. In the meantime, she’s just focusing on creating an experience that will keep guests coming back for more. “Keeping it simple and providing people with the results they are looking for is key,” she says. “If they can see that there is value in your treatments and that the services truly help them achieve their treatment goals, then they will come back.”
Park Hyatt Chicago
Rachael E. McCrory
8,100 square feet;
2 treatment rooms
aromatherapy, body treatments, couples’ treatments, energy work, facials, fitness, scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, massage, nailcare, prenatal services, reflexology, waxing
Premium Skin Care Treatment ($170, 25 minutes), a skincare service that offers medical-grade results, and the Spa Tasting Menu (choice of three, 45 minutes each, market price)
MOST EXPENSIVE OFFERING
Spa Indulgence ($495, 3 hours 30 minutes), which includes a Firming Facial and a Custom Massage
Aromatherapy Associates, Carita, DayNa Decker, Deborah Lippmann, Gillian Julius, Hommage, Momi
Andrew Morgan Collection, Frette, HydraFacial by Edge Systems, Reservation Assistant, Touch America
Lohan Anderson (Chicago)