LONDON — As the wellness train gains steam in the global beauty market – and experiences become ever more important on the shop floor — Harrods is responding with the opening of its own Wellness Clinic, a new concept offering clients a combination of aesthetic and holistic treatments by practitioners sourced from across the globe.
The new space, which occupies 10,500 square feet on Harrods’ fourth floor, is not a spa, salon, or beauty space. It’s more of a high-end clinic that provides clients with a bespoke offer based on their personal needs.
The store said it’s designed to complement — rather than compete with — Harrods spa, Urban Retreat, by focusing instead on services and products that are more results-driven.
“Urban Retreat is about the most efficient and luxurious maintenance proposition: It’s about your hair, your nails, your blow dry or your lashes, the treatments that we all use on a regular basis,” said Annalise Fard, Harrods’ home and beauty director. “The clinic is about servicing very specific needs and complaints. I wouldn’t say it’s spa-like, and it’s not supposed to be an enjoyable environment from a pampering perspective. This is about getting incredible results from practitioners. It is a space where we hope our clients will enjoy a beautiful journey in a warm, approachable environment and see exceptional results.”
Designed in partnership with Stanton Williams Architects — which had never taken on a retail project before — the space aims to exude calm with the use of natural cherry timber and moleanos stone on the walls and sleek, contemporary furniture.
Fard said special attention was paid to the lighting: Harrods wanted the right amount of natural light in the clinics’ rooms and an ample sense of space, in line with the retailer’s luxury aesthetic.
With regard to the treatments on offer, Fard looked close to home, and in particular to London’s Harley Street, which is known for its specialists in medicine and surgery. It also looked as far as Thailand, Hong Kong and Seoul, cherry-picking practitioners and appealing services.
“We had a multidimensional approach to beauty and well-being in mind — that was the overarching factor in our decision-making. The concept remains holistic and integrative,” she added.
Treatments range from personal training to DNA skin care testing to nutritional therapy. Among the highlights is a personalized skin care service, called Gen Identity, that provides customers with targeted skin-care products based on their DNA, and a weekly clinic with chiropractor and posture specialist Ben Carraway.
Harley Street’s PHI Clinic, which is led by Dr. Tapan Patel, has the largest number of rooms in the new space and will offer a range of body and face treatments, from injectable procedures to body contouring.
There’s also a cryotherapy chamber by 111 Cryo, and an exclusive vitamin drip created with the Elixir Clinic that specializes in intravenous vitamin infusions and has centers in London’s Marylebone, as well as Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“They have created a vitamin drip just for Harrods, which has about 20 different ingredients, probably three times as much as most drips you see in the market. It’s an all-in-one treatment, the ultimate vitamin drink you could have — I think we are all queuing up for that one,” said Fard.
Another exclusive is a partnership with the weight-loss expert Louise Parker, known for her holistic approach to nutrition and exercise. Parker will have a team of personal trainers and dietitians at the clinic on a daily basis and has worked with Harrods to create an exclusive program that provides more customization features and a greater level of support.
“Louise’s method is about looking at your lifestyle and how to incorporate exercise or the right nutrition into it. She talks about sleep patterns and something called digital detox, which means no looking at e-mails or social media for an hour before you go to bed every night,” said Fard, pointing to the shift in consumers’ interest beyond external beauty to a more holistic approach that focuses on also taking care of their inner health.
“Historically, beauty was very much focused on the outside: What our makeup, our hair or nails look like. Now it’s much more about taking care of the physical but also emotional and mental wellbeing. Whether it’s exercise, nutrition or mindfulness, it’s really about protecting your emotional and mental health. The concept of our new clinic is about meeting all those needs.”
The new space will have a retail element, stocking a selection of beauty products such as the Lunar 28-day treatment from 111 Skin and Lancer’s Youth Recovery Elixir, as well as a supplement offer that will complement the vitamin infusion treatments offered.
As retailers continue to re-evaluate the purpose of a brick-and-mortar store in the digital age, Fard described the new space as a “unique experience” in a department store,” adding that Harrods will continue to focus on experiential beauty shopping, with plans to redevelop its beauty department on the ground floor.
“That [development] will speak in a very different way to you, and it will absolutely address the ideas of experience and engagement in a completely different way,” she said.
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