Over the past 15 years, Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa has developed into one of the more comprehensive spa destinations in the Southeast and beyond. The Forbes Five-Star Spa is renowned for its “Pause, Play and Perfect’’ philosophy, Self-Centered Garden (complete with dipping pools and hanging chairs) and 42,000 square-feet of wellness bliss set hard against the Atlantic Ocean.
But as Alison Kirsten sees it, that’s just the beginning. Kirsten, the luxury resort’s new director of spa and leisure, has bigger plans, including a Spa Café, Garden butler service, a Tai Chi instructor in the Garden, and cooking and wellness seminars.
“I knew this was a magical place,’’ said Kirsten, who came to Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa from Beverly Hills, CA., where she was the spa director of the Peninsula Hotels. “We’re definitely focused on keeping all of that, but elevating the experience.
“One of my ideas is to elevate the whole Garden experience. Make it super fun and entertaining and call it our ‘Wanderlust Experience.’’’ It’s a whimsical vibe I’m really excited about.’’
Kirsten, a native of South Africa, is equally excited about the Spa Café, an amenity that’s a staple of California spa experiences.
“Things trend West to East. A lot of these types of trends are coming to Florida,’’ Kirsten said. “People here are looking for a more (playful) spa experience, whereas people in California want that ‘how am I going to feel good from the inside out?’ experience with food and nutrition. West Coast people are really focused on what they are putting in their bodies and on the wellness side. Florida is more of a play land. California is organic and almost regimented.’’
The Spa Café at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Kirsten said, can offer a nutrition-based menu, but perhaps not as strict as at some California spas.
“We can do Wellness Shots and elixirs and signature Matcha Lattes. When I travel to a hotel, I go right to the fitness and spa to see what they have to offer. Do they have a Spa Café? Do they have a vegan menu? I think we can do more of that here. I think we can create unique, cooking-school style experiences with the Spa Café.’’
Kirsten also is exploring introducing “Dream Kits’’ in spa suites to aid guests who suffer from sleep deprivation. Each kit would include a mist, balm and moisturizer.
“I want to create a sleep program around bath rituals and a Bath Butler,’’ Kirsten said. “Those would enhance the entire suite experience at the Spa.
“The Spa is such a huge selling point for the resort. I think people are looking for unique wellness experiences. We probably have more locals coming than hotel guests right now. But I think those booking rooms are looking into the Spa. Couples are booking services together and individually. I lot of people I spoken with say these are their first treatments since Covid. They are looking forward to that playfulness. We are definitely an escape.’’