Tranquility abounds in Melbourne’s St Kilda — as Ashleigh Sharman discovers.
Located above the chic Prince Hotel in St Kilda, Aurora Spa is the vision of founder Lyndall Mitchell; a vision that leaves clients feeling relaxed, revitalised and recharged at the hands of unique, high-performance, award-winning treatments and all within urban surrounds.
“I grew up on acreage and healthy living was simply part of life. I did work experience at Camp Eden Health Retreat when I was 14 and it not only opened my eyes to the foundations of wellness that were being practised but planted a seed which saw me return to work there when I was 18.
“I saw people change their path, have more meaning, purpose and joy in their life and feel happier within themselves — it was all about providing optimal wellness and giving a client an exceptional treatment experience in order to zone out and recharge,” explains Lyndall who lives in Melbourne’s leafy suburbs with her two young children, three chickens and an organic veggie garden. This is the heritage of Aurora Spa.
Aurora Spa has 16 treatment rooms and 22 treatment areas with different zones to help guide clients on their journey. From a manicure to a massage, Lyndall and her team look to get the most therapeutic benefit out of every treatment — it might be a simple maintenance treatment but total time out can be achieved with meditation recordings, a horizontal chair position and eye pillow — although two hours is the encouraged appointment time.
Signature treatments are performed in steam rooms to deliver maximum benefit to the client and from where all Aurora Spa Rituals products are essentially born.
“More than 15 years ago I was mixing my own product by hand and the journey of the next decade was to refine that offering. We create product for the therapeutic effect it will have in a treatment and I’m always tinkering. Our team are incredibly passionate about our products, which inspires them to encourage the client to continue with the homecare experience.
“Retail is about 15 percent of our business, yet product should be the client’s trigger to looking after themselves. As we say, ‘take a little of the spa home with you’,” says Lyndall of her product collection that is evolving and growing and joined by Kerstin Florian skincare, and OPI nail polish.
Believing beauty and wellness is as much about what you put into your body as what you put onto your skin, Aurora Spa have developed their own herbal tea with the assistance of naturopaths and communicate with clients through newsletters and master classes. Once a month, for an hour and a half, clients are invited into the spa to learn about inner peace and wellness.
This loyalty-building communication takes the form of an interactive workshop with the fifty dollar attendance fee redeemable against product. This opportunity allows Aurora Spa to convey what they are passionate about and leaves guests with a technique they can integrate into their lives.
“Ninety-five percent of our clients live within a five kilometre radius of Aurora Spa. It is not for us to put our philosophy onto our clients for the most important thing in our team is listening. The consultation process, the thoroughness, the active listening — we want to know where our clients are at today and where they want to be.
“We can help them bridge the gap and we believe we have the tools to do that in our staff, treatments and products. It’s about understanding what that is, from age lines to stress, healthy eating to time out and we need to adapt the experience,” Lyndall says.
Strength in philosophy also requires a framework. Training is conducted in-house and with brand trainers in order to achieve the consistency of experience and service Lyndall believes every client so greatly deserves.
“When I was initially researching for Aurora Spa, I did a trip overseas that took in 60 spas in six weeks. It was amazing to see the global culture of spa and the two I was most impressed with were those that had a very strong connection to their philosophy; Therme Vals in Switzerland and Mia Amo spa in Sedona (USA). Much like these spas, we haven’t been swayed by fads.
“I’ve maintained our focus on optimum health and wellness for clients, effective treatments, good therapists and training. People who work with me will say I’m incredibly client-focused, but to make a difference to someone’s life, that is the greatest gift and daily experience I cherish.”
SIGNATURE TREATMENT – Kitya Karnu
Aromatic body oils and pure mineral salts are applied for a full body exfoliation, followed by a massaging application of a rich and creamy walnut and wattle seed exfoliant. A nourishing hair treatment is applied along with a hydrating facial cleanse and masque. A cool river stone ritual that helps to clear and revive energy centres completes the 60 minute total body experience all within a private steam room.
Aurora Spa Retreat, 2 Acland Street, St Kilda www.aurorasparetreat.com.au