To Your Health – Luxury Resort Spas!

Luxury resorts frequently offer their patrons deluxe spa treatments in well-appointed, aesthetically pleasing surroundings. Such is the case at two mountain resort spas that chose to make a statement with glass and mosaic tiles installed by master craftsmen.

Sparkling Hill Resort – Vernon, British Columbia

Sparkling Hill Resort is owned by Swarovski and combines the magic of more than 3.5 million crystals in all its designs, including Swarovski luminaires and lighting products, crystal strands, crystal art pieces and architectural elements. The Western Canada location features tranquil views of Lake Okanagan near Vernon, BC.

Plouto’s Enterprises of Kelowna supplied and installed various tile products in the pool, change rooms and sauna areas, and installed 40,000 square feet of tile and other flooring throughout the resort.
Begun in 2009, the majority of the work was done from February through May 2010. A crew of 45-60 began the job, swelling to 80 in the last two months, led by project manager Rob Kormish.

The KurSpa whole-body health and wellness area was a huge project with many challenges – from the waterproofing of pools and hot tubs to the typical tile- and stone-related issues common in fast-paced construction. To ensure success, all the lead installers on the crews had a set of plans with everything mapped out; Kormish constantly updated the book and conferred with his lead installers. Waterproofing was done with Mapelastic AquaDefense and tiles set with Kerabond/Keralastic and Granirapid mortar systems.

The pool deck and walls in the spa area were installed with mosaic tiles, and larger tiles in the treatment rooms.

The ultra-elegant Kneipp pool consists of a walking pool area, festooned with many curves. Slip-resistant European pool tiles by Agrobuchtal varied between 2” x 2” and 4” x 4”. The crews installed many cove caps and inside-outside corner pieces to meet stringent health code requirements, such as eliminating 90-degree corners.

“It was a lot like doing a negative-edge pool,” Kormish said. “The big deck sits in the middle, then large troughs of water fill the area where you walk around. Water must fall across gutters on both sides of the walking area at the same rate. There was a lot of work just to prepare the pool before we started tiling.”

A great deal of cut work was needed because of the detail requested by the owners.

The hot tub also presented challenges. “The water falls into gutters and grates all at the same rate,” Kormish said. “A lot of grinding, patching, filling and mathematics were required to get everything at the correct angle and at the right pitches to bring it all together.”

Kormish’s crews tiled the tub first; later when the grates arrived from a company in Europe, they were precisely installed to achieve a perfect fit.

Plouto’s tiled primarily the spa sauna floors since the cabins — which were pre-made in Europe and shipped to the site — already contained some tile. Workers came from Europe to install the cabinets, but wherever they ran out of installation products, Plouto’s crews finished the work for them, using the same MAPEI products, supplied locally.

The Orient room, featuring massage and hot mud areas, were installed with marble using Kerabond/ Keralastic on floors and walls. Installers also set tile on the floors surrounding this, North America’s first cold sauna, which operates at a temperature of minus 166 degrees Fahrenheit. Marble was installed on the walls of the wellness treatment areas, the pool areas and all the changing rooms.

Thousands of square feet of glass mosaic were used throughout the spa and the rest of the resort. Plouto’s crews used Kerabond/Keralastic to wrap huge pillars near the pools in glass mosaics, plus common areas and rest rooms.

“I’ve been in the flooring business since 1976, and I have never been faced with a challenge of this scale and scope detail before, especially the saunas and pool areas,” Kormish said. “However, I think our crews did an exceptional job and brought real luxury to Sparkling Hill Resort.”

Montage Resort – Park City, Utah
Caffall Tile & Marble of Salt Lake City, Utah, created another masterpiece at the Montage Resort at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. After winning a very tight competitive bid, they began this project at a time when the market had just changed dramatically. Caffall’s prior experience with several other resorts in the Park City area gave them the background needed to win the job.

Caffal’s crews worked both summer and winter on the resort’s interior tile work, tenting and heating the area in the winter. The general contractor resolved minor difficulties with propane heaters that brought the area to the necessary temperatures for tile installation.

Caffall’s biggest challenge was the limited staging area, requiring precise coordination to get needed materials in place on specific dates. Still, the project ran smoothly under the direction of project manager Jeremy Drake.

The pool deck and walls in the spa area were installed with mosaic tiles, and larger tiles in the treatment rooms. Most of the mosaics were mounted on 12” x 12” sheets, but liners were all individual pieces.

After waterproofing with Mapelastic AquaDefense, crews installed the floors with MAPEI’s Ultraflex 1 mortar and the walls with Ultraflex LFT, and then grouted with Keracolor S. In the spa rooms containing large soaking tubs, the large-format floor tile was also set with Ultraflex 1.

The resort’s interior designer supplied all the drawings with the details for the spa column and wall tile. Drake frequently consulted with the designer and architect to ensure everyone was on the same page. Call-outs showed the placement of materials, and Drake color-coded his crew’s drawings for clarity to facilitate the installation.

The completed project wowed everyone. “This turned out to be a great project for Caffall,” said Drake. “We worked very well with the owner and contractor. The job took from January to December 2010 to finish, and the whole project included over 100,000 square feet of flooring. We are celebrating our 100th year in business in 2011, and this was a great project to introduce our centennial anniversary year. We are sure it will lead to future work of this caliber.”