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Luxury eco hot springs development to position Victoria as Australia’s wellness state

23 Nov 2021
A sustainable hot springs retreat is set to open in Fingal on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, drawing on the healing benefits of water, immersion in nature and sleek minimalist design.

Set within 15 hectares of landscaped property, Alba Thermal Springs and Spa will open a short distance from Australia’s established Peninsula Hot Springs wellness destination.

The region's upcoming hot springs destination will encompass a 3,500sq m two-level spa with 21 treatment rooms, Vichy showers, steamrooms, a sauna, relaxation spaces and a restaurant serving locally sourced, seasonal produce.

However, the main attraction at Alba will be its 32 pools of varying sizes and temperatures, composed of a mix of geothermal, cold plunge pools and herbal-infused botanical pools, designed as either indoor, open-air or outdoor pools.

Enriched with naturally occurring minerals, the geothermal pools will be filled daily with geothermal water naturally heated between 37- 43oC in underground aquifers 550m below the surface.

General manager Craig Dodd told Spa Business it’s anticipated the facility will accommodate 400 guests per day.

Packages will consist of a dedicated bathing day – offering access to all hydrotherapy facilities – and a more comprehensive day package offering access to all hot pools, the spa and its restaurant.

“From its inception, the ethos behind Alba was based on finding synergies between the environment, community, culture and history,” Dodd says.

He explained that the investors on board are passionate about thermal springs bathing and are keen to see Victoria positioned as the wellness state.

“In appointing architects, we had to find practices that could work together to create a seamless indoor and outdoor experience.

“With building architecture and interiors by Hayball, and landscape architecture and pool design by MALA Studio, we’re creating a centre that will effortlessly connect clients to themselves and their environment.”

With a blended indoor-outdoor design, the spa will be partly embedded in the hilltop, giving the impression of disappearing and re-emerging from its surroundings, while its façade will be finished with a discrete ribbed texture, bronze glass and metallic details.

The main central structure will host a reception area, retail space and changing rooms, reached by a semi-subterranean entry-level.

Elsewhere, the sweeping curve of a sculptural cylinder staircase wrapped in bright, white polished plaster will lead guests to the second level.

Characterised by a minimalist décor and subtle colour palette, the majority of Alba’s interior spaces will be flooded with natural light from circular skylights while relaxation spaces will be gently lit.

Dodd has been working alongside industry consultant and director at Spa Wellness Consulting, Sonja Sorich, to create the spa’s treatment menu and select its partners; Vanessa Megan and Aika Wellness.

Spa Vision, Protea Distribution and Comfortel have also been brought on board to help supply the spa’s furniture and equipment, while Aquarius Pools is helping to realise thermal and hydrotherapy facilities.

The team behind Alba is currently recruiting for a spa director and will open applications for up to 70 therapists in early 2022.

“Alba will appeal to wellness seekers looking for tranquillity and an opportunity to relax and recharge on the Peninsula,” explains Dodd, “We’re confident there is a market for luxury wellness experiences, particularly as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Following Alba’s launch in late Q2/early Q3 of 2022, the next step will be to add a small number of luxury villas by 2023.

The site will operate with multiple sustainability practices such as rainwater collection for irrigation, solar power, limited use/retail of plastic items, a local employee base and protecting the natural ecosystem that surrounds the location.

“Alba is proud of its commitment to respect the natural environment and have a positive impact on the community it calls home,” says Dodd.

“Regenerating remnant native bushland and enhancing the existing coastal Moonah woodland is a key element of Alba’s long-term vision for the landscape.

“The team has even engaged a nearby indigenous nursery to collect seed and propagate plants of local provenance. This will not only help replace species lost due to past farming practices, but also encourage visitation and colonisation from a wide diversity of birds, insects and native wildlife.”

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