Whenever I travel, I typically try and squeeze in an appointment at the resort spa. As a consumer and an architect, I have my own set of criteria by which I judge my experience, from circulation to lighting to locker type. In this series, I will share my observations on what constitutes an ultimate spa experience.

Good circulation, (in this case, describing the flow of the space) is probably not the first descriptor that comes to mind when one thinks of a spa, but if one encounters a spa with poor circulation, one will most likely notice right away, such as when one is forced to walk through a main lobby to get to a relaxation room after changing into robe and slippers.

When the team at Glavé & Holmes Architecture designed The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg, one of the key drivers was the distinction between not only public, semi-public, and private circulation paths, but also between men and women. We gave careful consideration in designing a space that provided a tranquil, smooth flow for the visitor

Upon entering the lobby one has the choice of remaining on the public ground floor and enjoying the lap pool, fitness center, or salon, or descending the grand stairs to the lower level.


Once in the lower level, the separate men’s and women’s circulation paths begin upon entering the semi-private Men’s or Women’s Locker Rooms and Wet Lounge. Inside the separate locker rooms there are areas of repose and relaxation, as well as space for changing. From there, one ascends to the second level treatment rooms by way of a gender specific elevator with an entry point directly from the locker room.


On the second floor, an available relaxation room provides another separate and tranquil experience. From this room, the visitor is led by his or her masseuse or masseur into a private treatment room. Following treatment, the entire process is reversed, at the clients’ leisure.

For those who choose to enjoy the day with their partner, the second floor also offers a couple’s treatment room, as well as a unisex lounge.


The wide array of circulation options allow the visitor to choose their own path to relaxation and provide each client with a unique and rewarding, personal experience.


Jennifer Wimmer