Alyeska Resort’s Nordic Spa Plan
By Emily Maxwell
Hot. Warm. Cold. Rest. Repeat.
Alyeska Resort’s Nordic Spa is set to debut in 2020.
Come Christmas 2020, Girdwood locals and visitors will have a new way to enjoy the great outdoors come rain, snow (fingers crossed) or shine. The Nordic Spa, the first big project by new Alyeska Resort & Hotel owner Pomeroy Lodging, will start construction this spring.
The Nordic Spa originates from the centuries-old tradition of European hydrotherapy, which uses water at varying temperatures as a means to relax the body, improve circulation and activate the lymphatic system, all of which aims to detoxify the body. Hydrotherapy utilizes a cycle of hot, warm, and cold temperatures, followed by a rest before repeating the cycle, with each cycle lasting about 45 minutes and a suggested 2-3 cycles per visit. Guests will be invited to end their visit at the exfoliation room, featuring salts for self-exfoliation and high-pressure showers.
“We’ve been really happy and excited since day one as to the potential and opportunity,” said Ryan Pomeroy at a November 4th press conference at Alyeska Resort.
“We wanted to build it in a manner that was reflective of the local environment,” Pomeroy said. “There are so many beautiful trees here in the northern rainforest and we wanted to celebrate that. Our goal is to not cut down one tree.”
In addition to working with the local environment, Pomeroy is working with local business, employing Z Architects to design the spa. Marco Zaccaro, owner of Z Architects, echoes Pomeroy’s goals of working with the environment.
“The whole idea is that we’re celebrating the rainforest and the water, and we’re actually using water that’s naturally there,” said Zaccaro.
The spa design has a bioswale to contain and reuse rainwater, which will circulate through the water features.
The spa will accommodate up to 290 guests at a time and be open year-round and, as Pomeroy pointed out, a rainy day may be the best kind of day to enjoy the spa. “Sitting in a Nordic spa in the rain with the steam rolling off the saunas and the whirlpools creates a sort of mystical environment.”
Indeed, as I look over the design plans with Zaccaro, the spa seems downright dreamy, complete with heated hammocks, barrel saunas, moss-covered grottos, waterfalls and the “forest loop”-an elevated boardwalk (similar to Winner Creek trail) which weaves through existing trees, with saunas and pools dotting the path. Says Zaccaro, “The entire loop will be woven into the forest, with a low-key, tranquil feel.”
The larger pools and buildings will be built in what is already open space. The main entrance building will house a restaurant, locker rooms, patios that overlook the spa and an upstairs rainforest room, featuring many native Alaskan plants in a nod to the local flora and fauna.
The design even takes into account when and where light will stream into the spa throughout the year (there’s a “sun study” feature on the design software used by Z architects) and, of course, the view. Zaccaro gestures to one of the pools in the open area, saying “You’ll be able to sit here and look out across the valley and see Penguin Ridge and across to the Kenai mountains and the sun will pour in.”
It sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon.