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Founder and managing director of MKV Design, Maria Vafiadis reveals her latest luxury spa creation at the Hotel Schweizerhof, in Switzerland


[Report by Sarah Todd]


Clockwise from above: The five-star Hotel Schweizerhof; one of the five treatment rooms; the hydrotherapy pool, located at the heart of the spa; the soothing relaxation area; natural materials create a comforting environment


ounded 12 years ago, MKV Design has an impressive portfolio of award-winning work with destination spas, resorts and hotels. Drawing inspiration from the local culture of each location, MKV’s managing


Sanctuary in the city F


director Maria Vafiadis has an intuitive approach to design that embraces space, light, texture and colour in responding to the demands for sanctuary, repose and stimulation at each facility. The firm’s wellness portfolio includes Costa


Navarino’s Ananzoe Spa in Greece and the Royal Savoy Spa in Lausanne, Switzerland, while its recent project at the five-star Hotel Schweizerhof in Bern required the replacement of a basement nightclub with a chic, contemporary wellness facility as part of a widescale renovation of the revered property.


Maria Vafiadis Managing director, MKV Design


A feast for the senses Combining five beautifully appointed treatment rooms with a relaxation area, swimming pool, Finnish sauna and hammam, each space within the Schweizerhof Spa was created to be both tranquil and


european spa | www.europeanspamagazine.com


warm. “I love the sense of sanctuary as soon as I step into the spa,” says Vafiadis. “The street outside is very busy, it’s near the railway station and lots of shops, but the spa immediately embraces guests and gets to work on their senses. “I also like that the spa is a modern contrast to the


hotel, which was refurbished in a classical manner in keeping with the architecture of the old building. The juxtaposition of the old and the new is a delightful surprise for hotel guests, helping them change pace and feel rejuvenated, even if their visit is short.” MKV’s design aims to relax guests right from their


entrance into the spa through the use of wood, natural slate and mosaics. “Hewn out of the basement of Bern’s most illustrious historic hotel, the Schweizerhof Spa immerses its guests in a world quite apart from even the hotel above,” says Vafiadis. “The reception area quickly establishes the design language with warm, walnut timber and soft, textured fabrics, which are comforting to the eye and calming to the touch, she adds”. The lack of natural light in the basement space was


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