London’s River Thames set to welcome floating botanical wellness spa and hot springs
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London’s River Thames set to welcome floating botanical wellness spa and hot springs

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While there are a few floating pools peppered around Europe we’d be the first to deliver one on a large barge and as far as we’re aware the facility would be the first naturally filtered pool for public use

Planning permission has been submitted for a naturally filtered thermal experience and botanical spa and wellbeing hub on a dutch barge moored in West India Quay, London.

Conceptualised by bodywork therapist Nico Thoemmes, the Water Cures Spa project has received permission from the Canal and River Trust and has been submitted for planning permission with the local authority which should be determined by the end of July, working towards a soft launch for Q2/Q3 2022.

The 1,000sq m spa will be spread over two floors and include an open-air pool, with plans for two to six treatment rooms, dependent on final design.

The spa’s focal point will be a traditional finnish sauna and steam bath overlooking a 30m landscaped naturally filtered and landscaped pool with a cold plunge, swimming zone and heated hot spring style zone decorated with live flora and fauna.

These facilities will be built onto the top deck while the pool has been designed to nestle into the barge’s existing cargo hold.

On the ground floor, the wellbeing concept will include changing shower facilities, treatment rooms and a large event space destined to host a range of well-being events including yoga, meditation, talks, exhibitions and music events.

“We want to broaden the spa offer to include a social and cultural option as well as relaxation and recovery,” Thoemmes told Spa Business.

Water Cures will provide a range of traditional spa therapies such as body scrubs, venik, massage and bodywork, but Thoemmes has ambitions to incorporate complementary medicine treatments such as coaching, acupuncture and nutritional therapy once the concept takes off.

The initial inspiration came to Thoemmes after he took an outdoor bath on a freezing night in January.

“I didn’t have enough space on my boat to have an indoor bath, so I put it in the garden!” he explained. “The experience of being immersed in a warm body of water with views to the sky enclosed by frosty air was incredibly relaxing, curative and exhilarating.

“It started a passionate interest in the sauna and cold plunge practice and in particular how it can improve mental wellbeing.”

Thoemmes launched a previous wellbeing venture in 2015 when he co-founded ‘Morning Gloryville’ – an immersive and sober wellness rave experience that took place on Wednesday mornings before work.

In order to realise his new spa concept, Thoemmes has collaborated with the help of a Venezuelan architect and visual, along with feedback from a naval architect and marine engineer.

When the project moves into the detailed design phase, he will look to appoint a scheme architect and a series of specialist contractors.

“Delivering the pool and services remain our biggest challenges,” he explained, “so at the moment we’re exploring options and speaking to a couple of firms, but haven’t made any decisions yet.

“While there are a few floating pools peppered around Europe we’d be the first to deliver one on a large barge and as far as we’re aware the facility would be the first naturally filtered pool for public use.”

The long-term goal is to successfully deliver the facility in London, prove the business model and then utilise the expertise and ambition to expand the concept in the UK and other suitable locations.

“I’m passionate about establishing the spa as a practical, accessible, well being and social institution providing an antidote to our modern ‘techified’ lifestyles,” concluded Thoemmes, “I believe there is a symbiotic relationship between the spa and the water space to help deliver this.”

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Planning permission has been submitted for a naturally filtered thermal experience and botanical spa and wellbeing hub on a dutch barge moored in West India Quay, London.
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