Design Trends of Spa Websites

Design Trends of Spa Websites

Inspired by a showcase on hotel site design over at Onextrapixel, this post will explore the design trends and features of well designed spa websites.

Hotels and spas tend to go together. As shown by some of the examples featured in this post, spas are often one of several amenities offered besides standard hotel rooms. As a result, the spa is often a micro-site within the hotel or resort page. While some of the trends to hotel design carry over (e.g. highly visual photography), the target audience is more specific than that of the average hotel.

We’ll start with a brief crash course in spas. To understand the goals of spa websites, you have to understand the background. Why do spas exist? The spa is an outlet for relaxation and escape from schedules. Business meetings and internet access take a backseat to massage tables and aroma therapy.

They come in several formats: day spas are (as the name suggests) a single day adventure, while destination spas are multiple days in a hotel-like environment. These are the two main “recreational” types, but it is also possible to have spas with medical staff for more involved procedures.

For the average person, spas are not an everyday event. A trip to a spa is a special treat. Help them feel luxurious before even setting foot in the door. This is where the website comes in.

Components of a Great Spa Design

Across the board, several main trends came up when researching spa’s websites for this post. Let’s start with the big idea:

You Want to be Here

There are massage parlors in malls and shopping outlets all over the world. Why should a person come here instead?

Environment matters, so sell the location! Would you rather read about an outdoor hot tub or see it in action? Pictures of the building and facilities help demonstrate a unique atmosphere that won’t be so easy to duplicate elsewhere. Consider the room in the picture above. How many words would you need to describe it with the same impact as the photo?

Keep Calm & Collected

These sites describe a luxury service. Page copy keeps this in mind by appealing to physical pleasures rather than business-like intelligence. Read any of the pages on sites listed below, and you’ll know in an instant that they want you to feel amazing. Take a look at a couple page excerpts:

A sanctuary from the pressures of everyday living, our dedicated aim is to purify and detoxify, promote well being, and leave you feeling totally at one with yourself. (Mayflower Inn Spa)

A world where you are unique and special. This spa in Melbourne will greet you with plush interiors with exquisite furnishings and welcoming hues of green and pink. Let soothing music fill you as you sip your aromatic herbal tea. (Calma Medispa)

Anxious to find one near you now? Thought so.

Subdued Color Palettes

Subdued and cool colors are associated with relaxation and feelings of calm. Expect to see shades of whites, blues, and other faded palettes. The comfort level from soft colors at the physical location is extended to the site too.

Successful spa websites are highly visual designs. Miles of descriptive text won’t give the same message of relation that a candlelit room does. Images that are considered “peaceful” (e.g. clouds) are commonly used to express this feeling of calm.

Shopping for Relaxation

Most of the researched spa sites have itemized lists of available services. Even though day spas are full experiences, customers are able to select a variety of activities based on their preference and budget. Since these prices are relatively fixed for each customer, it’s good practice to have common service prices available on the website.

Examples in Spa Site Design

Below are 15 spa sites that represent a wide range of current design trends. Click on an image to view the full site.

Overall Impressions

As it turns out, good spa website design is not easy to find. It’s interesting to see luxury spas with dated websites, especially because of the high class environment. Web designers with spa experience, you have your work cut out for you.

Biggest lesson learned from spa design trends? When in doubt, show someone in a towel. If you remember that, you’ll be perfectly fine.

What elements of these sites do you think make them most successful? Notice any other important trends? Do you know of any outstanding ones that weren’t mentioned here? Leave your thoughts and links in the comments below.

Posted Sunday, November 22nd, 2009 · Back to Top

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50 Comments 10 Mentions

  1. Eric B. Author Editor

    There are some excellent designs here! I’ve visited the websites of a couple spas that had horrible designs.

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  2. Aidan Author Editor

    Cool, hotels & spas do work together in hand in hand. Like many industry out there, most of them are link directly or indirectly with one another.

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  3. Shawn B. Author Editor

    I really liked this post. I would like to see more oddly specific showcases.

    I am sure examples of great design are harder to find the more specific you get but I think it is a nice change of pace.

    Good work!

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  4. BooshMedia Author Editor

    Some nice designs, will bookmark

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  5. dotndot Author Editor

    Really Awesome collection.Great post.

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  6. Patrick Author Editor

    Interesting that where there a pictures of people, they are almost all of young, very attractive women. I wonder if this is really going to appeal to their target audience?

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    • Zach Dunn Author Editor

      @Patrick

      I think definitely it would. Even if the target audience is other young women, it’s the same concept that helps sell glamour magazines. Living like attractive people is exciting.

      ·

  7. Design Ideas Author Editor

    Some of designs are nice!

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  8. Nick Author Editor

    The photography is excellent in all these. I guess the site doesn’t matter as much as how enjoyable my massage and pedicure are..

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  9. Tyron Bache Author Editor

    Awesome post loved, “When in doubt, show someone in a towel”, ha ha ha :)
    Here is a brilliant South African one –
    http://www.karkloofspa.com/

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  10. Mat Author Editor

    Great post for inspiration…and relaxation.
    Thanks

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  11. Design Informer Author Editor

    Some really good examples!

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  12. Jason Author Editor

    This is an awesome post. Thank you.

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  13. D Author Editor

    Take a look at this:
    http://www.spasana.lt/index.php?lang=2

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  14. Callum Chapman Author Editor

    Great showcase, some beautiful designs there!

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  15. isis Author Editor

    i like i like a lot, gives me ideas…

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  16. trCreative Author Editor

    Some of them of simply outstanding. Hats off to the designers!

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  17. Sarah Author Editor

    Great showcase! It must have taken you ages to find these. We’re currently working on small changes to an incredibly old spa site with the plan to eventually convince the owner a complete revamp is entirely necessary. They really don’t appear to get it.

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  18. Website Design Maidstone Author Editor

    Soaky Spa in particular had all the right elements

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  19. Piotr Author Editor

    The Soaky Spa website looks great but doesn’t work on safari. Un able to load images etc.

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  20. Servet Author Editor

    This is the most pathetic post I have seen in a while! You got up one morning and decided to write a post that should be considered spam with that much unuseful content! Then you finished the post, looked out the window, and the sun was still on its way up! That’s how long it took you, 10 min. The quality of the post is lower than ever because of only 3-4 lines being useful (the part about how they try to make spa site calm). But else than that, this sucks! Everyone can find 50 Spa sites and pick the 15 best!

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    • Zach Dunn Author Editor

      @Servet

      I’d encourage you to look at the post again. You’ll find that this was not “15 spa websites”, but rather a discussion of trends followed by a collection of examples. Not every grouping of related items is a half-assed list.

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  21. Drew Author Editor

    Nice sites, yet just because it is a trend doesn’t mean that these designs have legs, or will necessarily be good earners. Good website make money. Sure, they share exceptional images, fortunate locations and sleek designs however I see a void of personality in many of these examples. The fact is the Spa Bubble crashed in 2008, and without a more personalized approach, sexy is not necessarily going to equate to money for owners. What’s best… good looks or fiscal health? Question: What makes these examples unique in their message and psychological approach? Do any of these actually break from the pack and try something new? To me, it seems like a bunch of models, nice to look at but not much to say.

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  22. Ron Kustek Author Editor

    I understand your point of trying to be more ‘experiential’ for spa sites. The biggest omission in this article, is the integration of knowing who your consumer target is — so, for a day spa like ours in the heart of LA, I believe we’re spot-on with http://www.LPRdayspa.com as we’re not a luxury spa, but believe we are the best day spa in Los Angeles!

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  23. Okami-san Author Editor

    We actually went for totally different angle when come to design our spa website. It is a “animated” Japanese painting with seamless details, which seems to capture the overall theme of our spa. Check it out – http://www.ikedaspa.com

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  24. izdelava spletnih strani Author Editor

    Nice collection. Got some ideas on how to design a website for our customer.

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  25. Mike Author Editor

    Great Post!. This came in handy for me over the last few weeks. I’ve just recently designed a spa site.
    http://www.urbanbodyspa.com.

    Would love feedback on it.

    Thanks Mike

    BTW I love the Soaky Spa Design

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  26. Shower Cubicle · Author Editor

    there are many hotel rooms these days that are quite cheap and at bargain prices `

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  27. Led Spots Author Editor

    i would alway prefer hotel rooms with flannel sheets and cotton beddings, i love the feel of those fabric “.”

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  28. Andy Author Editor

    Thanks for the article. They all do sort of look a like, don’t they?

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  29. Abeba Author Editor

    Thanks for the post Zach

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  30. dart Author Editor

    I could have never ununderstood why person has dealt so qualifierly with this issue. Now give up to me full travel. Really interesting your thesis. Although my English is not so practiced, your text I can see. Keep up the Light.

    ·

  31. Violet Author Editor

    Very creativity design and room is really beautiful.

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  34. elisa Author Editor

    Thanks a lot for your collection and trend analysis.

    I’d just like to point out how a well designed spa website such as The Soaky Spa one is probably used merely as a lure to attract a different “kind of clients”, given the pictures you may see clicking on Instalaciones (soft-porn style).

    Perhaps you may want to remove this specific website from your otherwise excellently constructed list?

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  35. Inspirational Quotes Author Editor

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is fantastic, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about Design Trends of Spa Websites | Build Internet .

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    Great resources here. I will be back for the next your posting. keep writing and happy blogging.

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  40. Glenn Author Editor

    Hi Zach,

    Just came across your post. Love the concept of matching a web design experience with a great spa experience. Totally makes sense to me. Some of the best designs are simple, less clutter is best, with easy to access menus and information. I love visuals, too. Love the post.

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  41. content filtering Author Editor

    Viewing your post here relaxes my mind, i feel going to a spa now.thanks.

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  42. Meldog Author Editor

    Interesting…good SEO :) made me stop by!
    Anyhoo a good “trend” is hard to find. What are these trends saying?
    Is it a good trend? Poor trend?

    I honestly have to say that very few of these websites
    engage me as a female to come and visit. Not that it has anything to do
    with your post, just thought it might be helpful to other readers :)

    The comment about “natural” images for the target audience might have some merit.
    Look into Avedas branding if anyone comes across this comment. Natural yet fashion forward. This will hit your spa audience, but the “what you get” portion always comes from the content and how it’s conveyed. Create interaction.

    Simple “clicks” and easy navigation don’t always leave a lasting impression.
    Not many women (myself included) will want a “just click twice” and come visit us website when the potential business people will be touching our bodies. If that’s what your website says, so will your massage (or whatever).

    Anyways hope that helps to anyone reading!

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    Would love hear feedback from you guys.

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