Spa Snapshot: Saxon Spa in South Africa

saxon-indoor-pool[Image: Courtesy of Saxon Spa]An opulent, leafy suburb of Johannesburg harbors the enchanting Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa.

The Space: 7,500 square feet, including 11 treatment rooms, each with a shower; unisex steam room; flotation pod; hammam; Himalayan salt sauna; heated hydro pool; cold plunge pool for Kneipp therapy; heated outdoor plunge pool; wet room for rhassoul mud services; relaxation zone; manicure bar; pedicure lounge; hair spa and studio; organic juice bar; and indoor/outdoor dining areas.

The Distinction: The Saxon’s secluded location makes it a standout. Set back from the street amid lush botanical gardens, this 10-acre boutique retreat—once the home of a South African businessman—draws a roster of hotel regulars, from local couples and families to celebrities and dignitaries. The VIP treatment extends into the luxurious, two-level Saxon Spa, whose recently refreshed design melds natural and healing elements. The waiting area welcomes with copper details, dark wood finishes and a focal fireplace; treatment rooms are strung with handcrafted chandeliers made of recycled glass and Himalayan salt crystals; and cascading water features orchestrate a soothing backdrop.

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Capturing Clientele: Although the spa is situated in a hotel, 90 percent of its clientele comes from the surrounding neighborhoods and Greater Johannesburg. How does the spa convert one-timers into regulars? Through marketing, customer relationship management and direct contact, says spa manager Tanya Lopes: “Saxon guests are quite particular about how they prefer to receive ongoing communication, and our team makes a concerted effort to ensure that it’s both personalized and tailored.” In lieu of mass outreach, spa staff sends promotional offers and new product updates via the guest’s preferred mode, whether it’s a text, email or phone call from the spa manager.

Management M.O.: Lopes deems it important that her team has a clear understanding of the spa’s business goals and objectives, adding that “development and education are essential in an ever-changing industry dependent on interpersonal communication.” Staff is trained in individual products, retail upselling and Saxon Standards, including service practices, public behavior and guest communication. “Most importantly, establishing and maintaining industry contacts is vital to the recruitment process and the overall integrity of the people I hire,” opines Lopes.

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In Demand Service: “Our spa management team boasts extensive international and domestic industry experience, and spent a lot of time tailoring treatments to the Saxon,” says Lopes. Signature services revolve around the hammam as well as the healing and purifying properties of Himalayan salt. Named for the latter, the Himalayan Salt Journey (75 min./$93) flows from a salt scrub to a full body massage that first utilizes hot granite stones, then cool rose quartz crystals. Couples’ packages that take place in the stand-alone, glass-enclosed Eden treatment room also prove popular, especially as gifts. “They make for wonderful bonding opportunities,” adds the spa pro.

The Goods: Saxon Spa basks in its signature scent: The blend of rosemary, eucalyptus, rose, jasmine, pomegranate blossoms, musk, cedarwood and sandalwood is compressed into a soy disc and gifted to every client, reminding them of their visit long after they leave. Products used in treatments—and displayed in the retail walkway leading up to the sleek reception desk— include QMS Medicosmetics, La Prairie, Elemis, Harnn, OPI, Moroccanoil and Margaret Dabbs.

  • saxon-spa-balcony
    The spa at the Saxon Hotel.
–by Marina Kay

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