As soon as clients enter Knot Springs, they’re given a colorful, locally hand-knit “roncho” (robe/poncho) and slippers. Next to the open locker room (there are separate men’s/women’s bathrooms and showers) is an expansive, uber modern space with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking East Portland. Multiple hot and cold pools, a steam room and a sauna artfully fill the area, as do comfy chairs and pitchers of water. On the wall resides a list of suggestions for a spa ritual, which involves cycling through pools in a specific order to help release toxins from the body.
But the spa is only the beginning. Branded as a “social club,” Knot Springs sits on the fifth floor of a high-rise apartment/retail complex near Portland’s Burnside Bridge, and offers a gym, fitness classes (40 per week), personal training, massage therapy and facial services. “We like to say Knot Springs is centered around health, wellness and having a good time,” says Alli Lurie, spa and massage director. “We play rock music; we want people to enjoy themselves. Clients can come in for the day or buy a membership, which includes use of the springs, enrollment in our classes, access to the gym and 20 percent off massages and personal training sessions.”
The club’s demographic ranges from triathletes to business people of all ages. Since its opening in September 2016, marketing efforts have been mostly grassroots, focusing on nearby businesses and Knot Springs’ social media. “Instagram is our preferred method of marketing; we post between four and seven times a week. We also use Facebook for events,” says Nate Pereira, marketing director at Key Development, the company behind the property. “We’ve also found that small businesses like to visit us for team- building exercises.”
A longtime massage therapist, Lurie recruits local practitioners via word of mouth and referrals. Training is conducted regularly, and employees are offered instruction for continuing education credits at least once every quarter. “It’s important to keep our therapists happy; we don’t overwork them and we allow them to spend time on their own self-care,” she says. “That, plus continuing education, means everyone stays engaged.”
A variety of massage modalities are available, but Lurie notes that many clients enjoy the spa’s Fortify service (60-90 min./$104- $144 for members, $130-$180 for nonmembers)—a traditional Thai massage. “There aren’t many spas in town that offer mat work,” she explains. “All of our therapists have traveled to Thailand and studied extensively. With Thai massage, clients lie fully clothed on a cushioned mat, and we work with them through range of motion, passive yoga stretching and energetic balancing. It’s a great option for athletes, yogis and really anyone looking for more flexibility.”
The spa uses products made by local apothecary companies Midnight Collective and Maak Lab. Midnight Collective’s exfoliating scrub and lotion, and Maak Lab’s shampoo and conditioner are available in the retail area as well.
–by Katie Morell