Your Wellness Spa: Wellness Spa Snapshot
Valeo Chicago sets a new wellness standard for urbanites clamoring for customized care.
A bustling urban center might not seem like a likely place to nurture profound inner personal growth. But Valeo Chicago, housed in the JW Marriott Hotel in the heart of the Midwestern metropolis, has set many a Chicagoan on the path to well-being. In fact, 85% of this spa, wellness center and fitness facility’s clientele come from the local community, thanks in part to the spa’s designated Express Lounge option for abbreviated treatments.
Katie Hurley, spa manager and co-owner of Maximus Worldwide, the designer and management outfit behind Spa Valeo, can explain why. “If history serves the present moment, we can see the departure of the fluff-and-buff spa client to the advent of the prudent and prevention-minded consumer,” Hurley says. “People want fitness and wellness, and they appreciate intuitive hospitality.” From the service newbie to the seasoned guest familiar with everything from rolfing to reiki, each client benefits from the Valeo “Wellness Defined by You” customized visit philosophy. Valeo is Latin for “well, powerful, strong and influential,” and Valeo Chicago offers guests many ways to develop those qualities.
The comprehensive guest experience begins with an extensive intake consultation. Personal care consultants are trained to vet out what guests truly need or desire—but the guest is expected to engage in the process. For instance, Hurley says, a client recently requested a basic one-hour massage, but during consultation, specific details emerged. “It turned out she wanted acupressure on her feet, and her quadriceps worked but her knees avoided.” Afterward, the guest reported the massage to be the best she’d ever had.
An innovative, no-stone-unturned approach helps Valeo make good on its promises. Spa facilities include so-called Clarity Chambers, temperature-controlled areas in the tradition of ancient hammams; a full-body belly stone for massage or relaxation time; and a Couples Connections suite in which an infinity whirlpool equipped with changing LED lights submerges clients into blissful escape. A full slate of yoga and fitness options rounds out Valeo’s offerings.
Opened: November 2010
Owner: Private investment group
Size: 22,000-square-foot main level plus 3,500-square-foot express lounge
Facility: Main level: 6 experience rooms; 2 couples’ suites; infinity tub; double shower and lounge; 2 Clarity Chambers; hot lounge; belly stone with fireplace; 2 studios; fitness center w/ pool and whirlpool; two lounges; and men’s and women’s locker rooms with steam and sauna. Express lounge: 5 experience beds; 2 nail areas; 1 styling area; and scalp treatment area.
Staff: 12 hospitality professionals; 28 personal care consultants who perform varied modalities
Products used/retailed: BYOURBEST, ISUN, Jane Iredale, Kaplan MD, Only Yours, Rene Furterer, SpaRitual, Valeo private label
Signature Service: Clarity Chamber, a modernized version of a traditional Turkish bath and Moroccan detox experience.
Mission: “To support one another in making the very best of ourselves.”
Valeo Chicago’s menu is rich with non-specifics, and that’s by design. To help create a custom experience for each guest, menu sections are organized like restaurant lists of à la carte items with short descriptions underneath each item. Treatment menu categories include: WELLBODY (massage), WELLSKIN (facials and body skin treatments), WELLWAX (hair removal), WELLELEMENTS (alternative medicine), WELLPALMS (manis), WELLSOLES (pedis) and WELLFIT (fitness training).
Most spa treatments are offered at a rate of $25 per 10 minutes, and guests can mix and match from the sections until they’ve created a visit with that’s theirs and theirs alone. “Ten minutes is a known entry-level time span,” says Hurley, “like for a polish change or a chair massage.”
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