Credit: Niche Wellness
Scandinative is a winning concept that could be replicated throughout the US
– Suzanne Corcoran

Scandinative, a brand new Nordic spa-themed wellness concept will land in Alexandria, Washington DC, in 2023.

In an exclusive interview with Spa Business, Suzanne Corcoran, founder and CEO of Scandinative, says the thermal spa concept will offer guests a place to improve their mental and physical health while boosting mental wellbeing and immunity.

Corcoran brings her real estate, hospitality and marketing background to her role, leading a team that includes COO and founder of Exhale Julia Sutton and Enrique Martinez-Lopez, the former GM of Aire Ancient Baths in Barcelona.

Together they’re working towards the launch of the first Scandinative destination, with other urban and resort US locations in wellness-conscious cities, such as Boston and Denver, also in the pipeline.

“Scandinative offers a simple, clean and elegant way to relax alone or with friends, making it a winning concept that could be replicated throughout the US,” says Corcoran.

The adult-only, Nordic spa-themed wellness facilities will feature a range of bathing experiences, including salt pools, hot pools, steam and salt saunas, cold plunge and relaxation areas.

Entry prices will start at US$110 (€ 97, £81) for a standard thermal experience and US$155 (€137, £114) for a two- to three-hour experience, with a choice of massages.

Why Washington DC?

The location for the first property, in Old Town Alexandria, was chosen by the team because research findings, highlighted in the ACSM Fitness Index and Mindbody Wellness Index, indicate that Washington DC is one of the healthiest cities in the US.

With a population of 6.3 million, it’s an affluent city and has an educated population, meaning a raised awareness of the importance of prevention and more spending capacity for wellness experiences.

The project is being financed privately with an estimated budget of US$7.9m (€7m, £5.8m).

The architect is Bryan Dunkelberger from S3 Design - with previous recreation and welling projects that include spa facilities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Florida.

The Scandinative feasibility study was carried out by management consultant Lynn Curry.

The concept“The team’s mission is to offer guests an affordable, transformative thermal wellness experience to help them pause and centre themselves,” says Corcoran.

“The Scandinative spa experience, based on the Nordic spa model, offers an invigorating circuit that combines hot, cold and relaxation healing techniques to aid recreation and recovery for mind and body.”

According to the team’s research findings, thermal spas are few and far between in North America when compared to Europe.

Their popularity is increasing, particularly in Canada, where Corcoran says more than 52 Nordic-type spas have been operating successfully for some years.

“There’s nothing like the Scandinative Nordic spa model in the US, in terms of the size and scope we’re planning,” she explains.

“The only similar model is the ‘Roman, Greek and Ottoman’ bathing experience offered by Spanish operator, Aire Ancient Baths, at its US locations.”

Aire currently operates eight spas in the US, including New York and Chicago, as well as having spas in London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Seville, Almeria and Vallromanes – with a new premises expected to open in Toronto this year.

To learn more about how the pandemic has actually helped rather than hindered the journey towards creating the first Scandinative property, head to Spa Business magazine.