- Therme is opening an eponymous "wellness center" in New York City that'll start at $40 per person.
- The center will have saunas, a water park, meditation spaces, a botanical garden, communal baths, and more.
- Therme New York estimates it will cost about $300 million to $350 million to build.
Wellness and fitness tourism has been on the rise since before the anxiety-inducing, stress-snacking COVID-19 pandemic blistered the travel industry and our mental and physical health.
But in a few years, New Yorkers won't have to travel out of the city for a blissful retreat from the hoards of people and screaming sirens.
New York City isn't known as a destination for peace and tranquil getaways …
… but Therme Group, an international wellbeing resort company, is looking to change this mentality by opening what Travel and Leisure has called a "wellness theme park" right in the city.
Source: Travel and Leisure
"One simple way to describe the value of a Therme is it's the antidote to the meta universe that Mark Zuckerberg just announced," John Alschuler, the incoming Therme North America executive chairman, told Insider in an interview. "This is about an actual experience that can't be and shouldn't be digitized."
Opening a quiet refuge in one of the world's most bustling cities isn't an easy endeavor.
To do so, Therme has tapped Robert Hammond, the co-founder of another NYC haven, the High Line park, to join the team …
… with the hopes that Hammond can bring the High Line's design and emphasis of nature and community to Therme New York.
"All those things together, to me, is what makes the High Line and what will make Therme," Hammond told Insider in an interview.
In April 2022, Hammond will leave his post as the executive director at the High Line to serve as Therme North America's president and chief strategy officer.
The company — which can best be summarized by its "wellbeing for all" motto — currently has several locations around the world, specifically In Romania and Germany.
Its Bucharest, Romania location was the country's "most popular attraction from 2016 to 2018, welcoming over one million guests in the first year of operation," according to the company's website.
Besides the upcoming New York outpost, Therme has already announced plans for centers in Canada and the UK.
The latter will open in 2023, while the New York location will likely open within the next four to five years.
This stateside Therme is still being designed, but it could take after the other centers, which combine live plants and large glass walls to create a bright, relaxing, nature-centered space.
Therme's self-proclaimed "well-being center" in New York will be a combination of a family-friendly water park, meditation space, botanical garden, gym, spa, communal thermal bathhouse, and art gallery.
Together, all of these amenities will create a "wellbeing facility" that could be embraced by New Yorkers, Alschuler says.
"There's a very strong demand from whole segments of America for this kind of experience, just fragmented, " Alschuler said. "So when you put it together, the demand becomes exponentially stronger."
The tradition of communal bathing has existed for centuries, from ancient Roman baths to Japanese onsens.
Communal bathing centers currently aren't that popular across the US. But Americans love water parks, which is close enough: "I don't think it's a dramatic discontinuity with what Americans currently do," Alschuler noted.
Therme's goal is to "bring back the essence of these global bathing traditions," according to its website.
Source: Therme Group
"There's no experience in the Therme that Americans haven't already adopted," Alschuler said. "What's different is we've combined it all together with abundant nature and a focus on wellbeing."
Therme centers around the world all have similar amenities and services …
… which include several types of saunas, lounges, pools, restaurants, and a water park, all of which attract a wide age range.
"There's a theme park component of this … and Americans love theme parks," Alschuler said. "Americans flock in large numbers to Miami and the southwest to be outdoors in water, and that's what we will have in New Yorkers' backyards."
The New York location specifically will reflect the "emotion, taste, and sensibility of the city," Alschuler said, noting that the High Line — a public park that melds nature with the city — is an example of this sentiment.
And unlike other spas that primarily target adults with deeper pocketbooks, Therme wants to make its New York center widely accessible.
Entry into Therme New York will start at about $40. This price then increases when specialized services like a massage are added on.
"This is not an elite experience," Alschuler said. "This is not for the Lululemon culture. It's an inclusive experience that people of different ages, incomes, cultural, and racial experiences can all come and enjoy."
Unsurprisingly, all of the facility's amenities will take up a decent chunk of square footage, something New York City doesn't have much of anymore.
The team is still looking for an ideal location in the city, but "there is no five-acre site waiting to be developed in the middle of Manhattan," Hammond said.
Hammond believes the facility will likely end up in an old repurposed industrial building, while Alschuler says he could see Therme in a Manhattan skyscraper or on an abandoned pier.
The team is still figuring out the logistics and layout of the New York location, but one thing's for sure: the New York location will likely have to be more vertical than Therme's other centers.
"We're going to be a New York institution, so we will adopt … New York's building typology, which is vertical," Alschuler said.
As of now, Alschuler estimates the project will cost about $300 million to $350 million to construct.
“What’s special about the Therme is that it takes combinations that are very familiar [to Americans] and combines them in a way that’s magical and new,” he said.
Read the original article on Business Insider