Set in an exclusive location at an altitude of 850 metres in the Antigorio and Formazza Valleys near Verbania in north-west Italy, Hotel Belvedere is the ideal place to enjoy a hi-tech wellness experience in the extraordinary mountain landscape of the Val d’Ossola. The Aquilegia Spa was built as part of a general refurbishing project for the hotel, which also included renovation of the restaurant and the construction of an indoor pool as the natural extension of the wellness centre.
Wellness spaces are gradually becoming popular in the residential segment, but in hospitality structures a focus on complete well-being of the body and mind is no longer an option but an essential pre-requisite. The growing diffusion of hotel spas has created a strong market for the latest technologies, new materials and high-end products. In response to this demand, many architectural firms are now able to offer outstanding technical solutions and to develop projects in keeping with the most advanced contemporary international architecture.
The Aquilegia Spa offers a range of facilities in line with the latest industry trends, including a wellness area with sauna, bio sauna, Turkish bath, salt room, ice cascade and emotional watercourses, as well as a relaxation area with herbal tea corner where guests are invited to share pleasant emotions and moments of intense relaxation. The purpose-designed beauty area offers guests the opportunity to attain a «mens sana in corpore sano», a sound mind in a healthy body, through a sense of balance and highly effective natural and multisensory treatments.
The entire wellness area has been paved with Coem ceramic tiles. In particular, Travertino Romano Scanalato porcelain tile has been used in shower areas and alongside the whirlpool bath, together with Axis ceramic wood, also used in the entire beauty area (relaxation area, massage area and along the corridors).
We asked architect Dennis Pisoni why the wellness space was named after a flower. «Aquilegia Spa takes its name from the columbine, a typical flower of the Val d’Ossola which we wanted to use in our project to symbolise the valley for its simplicity, colours and delicacy,» he explained. «The flower’s name originally derives from the Latin term for a water receptacle, aquilegium. The Hotel Belvedere Wellness Center, with the simplicity and discretion worthy of the columbine, aspires to be as hospitable as the flower, welcoming visitors into a kingdom where water and its benefits reign supreme.» The Spa has been created by remodelling a basement floor previously used as a car park and with a rather elongated form. If not overcome, this constraint would have created a series of problems for access to the pool. The solution adopted focused on creating a fluid, curving space, a kind of gentle wave-shaped path that, as it extends, distributes the spaces in the wellness programme set aside for relaxation. The path, paved with river stones and ceramic wood planks, passes through spaces with plays of natural and artificial light and eventually arrives at a large external window, a striking screen of air and light offering a spectacular view over the valley. The wellness area comprises a complete thermal circuit. There are two equipped saunas, one with a temperature that can reach 100°C for Nordic sauna purists, the other gentler with a 60-70°C aroma vaporiser. And to complete the sauna experience, guests can plunge into an ice cascade illuminated by a cold blue LED light, or opt for a far less drastic itinerary that offers a choice of warm or cold water, gentle, transparent tropical showers and aromatic mists.
The white quartzite floor covering in the wet areas indicates the route to follow through the Turkish bath cabins.
Coem, Axis and Travertino Romano Scanalato series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0.1
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GLA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): PEI 4
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 45 N/MM2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant