Creating the perfect thermal wellbeing room usually involves months of detailed planning, design, ordering and construction. When we were asked to build a new dry sauna experience in a local Hotel and Spa, the brief was slightly different as we had to change some of our methods to fit in with the requested timeframe. Here we take you behind the scenes, as we build Pennyhill Park’s new sauna room.
Pennyhill Park is a 5* Exclusive Hotel and Spa, set in the beautiful Surrey countryside. Already home to an extensive range of bathing experiences in their renowned Spa, they decided to add a dry sauna room to complement their existing thermal rooms, as one of the first steps in their spa rejuvenation project.
The brief was to design and construct a sauna with a strong visual impact, both internally and externally, with minimum guest disturbance in a working spa.
To begin with, CAD drawings were produced to show the Client the initial design concept and once these were agreed a build programme was arranged. The Client requested we were on site during a specific two week period so that the project could be finished by a certain date, ahead of the England rugby team taking up residence for their World Cup 2015 training.
Beautiful cedar wood tongue and grooved panels, chosen to give a more natural feel to the room, were used on the walls and ceiling with the two tier benching created from complementary Thermo Aspen timber. Frameless glass was used for the walls and door so that guests look out across a view of the outdoor swimming pool. The frameless glass door and frontage was decorated with etched flowers (in keeping with the Spa’s existing theme) which gives a greater visual impact both internally and externally, allowing a spectacular view across the outdoor pool and grounds.
Due to the size and layout of the room, we used a unique combination of hidden and visible heaters. The EOS Corona S60 heater, with stones and slate detail, can be used for traditional sauna bathing, where water is ladled over the stones manually to increase the heat. The traditional heater will also be utilised by if a Sauna Master is employed to give guests a more intense sauna experience.
Our installers then had to overcome the challenge of constructing the sauna with minimum guest disturbance in a working spa!
The majority of work was undertaken behind the existing walls before they were removed and the sauna benches were built off-site to cut down on noise, disruption and dirt. A lot of the noisy work was undertaken early in the day before guests arrived. There was a lot of stopping and starting as we had to wait for some of the extremely disruptive work to be completed overnight, such as the eventual removal of the walls and floor tiles.
One of the major tasks was co-ordinating several different trades in the timescale we were given, e.g. tilers, glass installation, plumbing and electricians, not all of whom were under our supervision. The electrical supply was found to be inadequate for the sauna requirements and we had to bring in our own electrical experts to run new cables and provide a new, more suitable, supply. Materials had to be procured in a different sequence to normal. The glass had to be ordered before the sauna was even built due to a long lead in time and only a two week time scale on site. This meant that the sauna had to be millimetre perfect to ensure the glass fitted perfectly when it arrived.
An S-guard safety system was installed which detects any abnormalities with the sauna heater and automatically shuts it off. Not everything goes to plan however and it is not unusual to have a few teething issues when commissioning large commercial rooms. For example, the engineers were unaware the S-guard system needed to be calibrated when the temperature is below 25 degrees Celsius (due to this not being encountered when dealing with new builds or residential installations). However, due to the spa being in operation we could not get the temperatures below this level during normal working hours. We therefore had to turn off all the heating and add in additional ventilation overnight to be able to calibrate the S-guard system early in the morning, prior to the spa opening.
The finished room looks beautiful and spa guests have been tweeting their delight with the new dry sauna experience.
Let’s hope the England Rugby Team enjoy it too!