The newest ally for Austinites looking to improve their wellness? Believe it or not, Austin’s Four Seasons, where a full redesign of the downtown hotel’s Spa and Fitness Center was just completed.

Opened earlier this month, the revamped spaces feature state-of-the-art equipment, “refined yet rugged” design details and a new layout that takes full advantage of the property’s resort-like setting on the shores of Lady Bird Lake.

Fitness center

Fitness Center

Nearly tripling in size, the new 1,750-square-foot Fitness Center is a true testament to the power of guest feedback. “A larger fitness area is something our guests requested, which put it at the top of our priority list,” said General Manager Rob Hagelberg. “We’re truly excited about the upgraded product and confident it will enhance the guest experience.”

Described as “clean, bright and spacious” by Whitespace Interiors’ Michael Dalton, the redesigned Fitness Center is a study in understated luxury. Eschewing ornate fixtures and fussy details, Michael and his team instead accentuated two of the space’s innate advantages – expansive views of Lady Bird Lake and ample natural light. To maximize these assets, the ceilings were raised and the entire south-facing wall was replaced with dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, giving the illusion of a continuous space.

Free weights

“Guests will really feel like they’re part of the outdoors,” said Dalton. “Even when the doors are closed, they’ll get the sense that they’re one with nature.”

Further contributing to that feeling is the Fitness Center’s only other focal element: a mural made up of vertical wood panels that, when viewed together, depict a Texas live oak. This venerable theme is also carried into The Spa, where the names of the treatment rooms – Chinkapin, Shumard and Bigelow, three Hill Country oak species – are as majestic as the tree itself.

Rounding out the room is nearly $150,000 in the latest exercise equipment, ranging from a SYNRGY360 system and Elevation Series PowerMill Stair Climber to a kettlebell station and Bosu balance trainer. In addition, all cardiovascular machines will be equipped with intuitive flat-screen consoles that provide ample entertainment options and advanced workout tracking.

Spa and Relaxation Lounge

Relaxation lounge

Like the Fitness Center, the new look in The Spa was similarly intuitive, says Michael, borrowing inspiration from Austin’s youthful, ever-changing spirit and the traditional, rugged character of the Hill Country. The resulting design artfully blends these two seemingly opposite concepts, presenting modern touches like metallic sheers and bronze accents alongside rustic leather, rich walnut and other earthy materials.

“There’s a respect for balance and authenticity in everything that we touch,” he says. “A layering of materials, with richness in certain elements and a softer, more subdued tone in others.”

Prime examples of this design philosophy are subtly integrated throughout The Spa. Upon entering the downstairs space, guests are greeted at a walnut reception desk with bronze detailing, a statement piece that’s tempered by the serene lake views visible just outside adjacent doors. In the relaxation lounge, a water-inspired hand-tufted rug and sheer curtains are contrasted with wood paneled ceilings and sturdy leather and walnut chaise lounges.

With lighting levels known to impact relaxation and wellness, particular attention was paid to this element in both The Spa and Fitness Center. For example, while natural light is key to promoting energy in the Fitness Center, the lighting in the treatment rooms and relaxation lounge is more refined to convey warmth without feeling overly bright.

Another unique lighting element, a Himalayan pink salt wall in the relaxation lounge, provides soft illumination along with health and respiratory benefits. Himalayan salt crystals are said to produce negative ions that cancel out positive ions – often blamed for increased stress, insomnia and allergies – resulting in a purifying effect on the air.

The renovation of The Spa and Fitness Center was the second phase in a nearly top-to-bottom redesign at Four Seasons Hotel Austin. Phase one began in summer 2016 with a full revamp of the ballrooms and meeting spaces, with future phases – set to commence in summer 2017 – tackling guest rooms, suites, the lobby and other key areas.

More posts from March 2017