Michigan’s urban dwellers have had limited access to the full resort spa experience without traveling Up North or leaving the state for such destinations as Chicago.
Celeste Spa & Salon is setting out to change that.
The new $2.5 million spa opened in late summer as part a wellness center taking up the fourth floor of the Tower at the Amway Grand Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids.
In addition to the spa and salon, there is a fitness center filled with Pelotons and high-tech equipment, outdoor pickleball courts and an aquatics center with a pool and hot tub.
Caitlin McClelland, the wellness director at AHC Hospitality who oversees the spas at Amway and the neighboring JW Marriott, said they were intentional about creating an urban destination that could compete with the sprawling resort spas found outside the area.
“One of my big intentions was to bring in a full wellness floor,” McClelland said. “That is something unique and special within an urban setting. You see that in resort hotels and spas where everything’s together, but you don’t see that as much in urban settings, especially within the Michigan area.”
Amway Grand, which is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, partnered with global architectural and design firm Gensler to design the spa. Facilities include a hair salon, nail salon, five treatment rooms, a steam room in the men’s locker room, a dry sauna in the women’s locker room, hot tub whirlpool and indoor and outdoor relaxation spaces.
Ross Bartlett, general manager of the Amway Grand, said the floor previously housed guestrooms. That allowed renovators to capitalize on certain design elements, such as balconies that could be converted to outdoor shared spaces.
“While Amway Grand Plaza is a historic icon in its own right, we are always looking for new ways to keep the hotel fresh with in-demand amenities,” Bartlett said.
McClelland said she is looking forward to finding new ways to use those outdoor spaces, especially after they install portable heaters this winter.
“I’m really excited about that opportunity to have it open all year round,” McClelland said. “We’re going to utilize it in the winter because one thing that has really come about within the spa industry is ice baths or cold plunges and how much good that does to your body. I’m really excited to experiment and try some new things that we can do with the patios.”
The spa offers facials, massages and body treatments. Skincare treatments include galvanic current, glycolic refining peels and paraffin masks. Massage treatments incorporate Swedish methods, aromatherapies and hot stones. The signature skin care line for Celeste is Eminence Organic Skin Care.
While spa packages are popular, McClelland said her focus is on curating an individualized experience for guests.
“If someone did want to spend an entire day with us, they could do their workout in the morning, go to the pool, receive a massage, facial or pedicure, and then next go down to lunch at The Kitchen Counter by Wolfgang Puck, then come back and get a blowout and be able to go out to dinner at the MDRD or something like that,” McClelland said. “It’s definitely a unique opportunity.”
McClelland said the spa does not require a guest stay to access services.
The salon offers bridal packages for an entire bridal party. The balconies provide social spaces between services with the outdoor terraces offering a great backdrop for photos.
The rooftop pickleball courts, which used to be used for tennis, have quickly become a popular as the sport grows. They're even used by local tournaments.
McClelland said Celeste is becoming the urban oasis that she thinks so many people need. It’s something she also tries to bring to Seraphina at the JW Marriot.
“You would have to either travel north to Crystal Mountain Resort or even up to Boyne or travel down to Chicago to get the experience we are offering here in downtown Grand Rapids,” McClelland said. “We have two hotels in downtown Grand Rapids that have whole wellness floors, an entire floor dedicated to your mind and body. Those are two things, especially coming out of the pandemic and into this new age, that are really special to me and I want to continue to grow and develop.”
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Celeste Spa & Salon at Amway Grand brings resort feel to urban setting