Yasuragi is a Japanese Spa Hotel in Sweden, located just 20 minutes away from Stockholm City. In February, the hotel was recognised in LUXlife’s 2019 Global Luxury Hotel & Spa Awards as the ‘Most Outstanding Luxury Spa Experience’ in the country. We spoke with Yasuragi’s Head of Brand, Kersti Olophsdotter, to find out more about this truly extraordinary establishment and their unique approach to luxury hospitality.
With its neo-traditionalist interiors, and authentic décor, you may be forgiven for thinking that Yasuragi is located on the island which has so inspired its creation. Yet, Yasuragi is truly evocative of the country and its values, embracing the idea of quiet mindfulness and contemplation away from urban noise. This is a spa that brings spirituality and wellness back to its core elements – revolving around the guest, their mind, their body and how they interact with the world around them.
As Kersti is keen to emphasise, Yasuragi is as close to authentically Japanese as it could possible be. “The building that now hosts Yasuragi was originally created by Japanese architect Yoji Kasajima and seems to rise out of the natural rock. We have Japanese onsen baths with outdoor hotsprings, and numerous treatments and relaxing activities. There are 191 rooms, all inspired by traditional Japanese aesthetics, and all with a view of the
Equally, food is an important part of Yasuragi, with three different restaurants – vegan, à la carte and Teppanyaki. The hotel is surrounded by water and pine trees, and guests can enjoy a stroll in the Japanese Garden. Our aim, ultimately, is for the guests to relax at Yasuragi and return home rejuvenated, with new energy. We want our guests to experience the peace and harmony of Japan, right here in Sweden.”
Kersti continues, giving more insight into Yasuragi’s tempting offerings. “the newly refurbished Japanese bath, by architects from DAP Stockholm, represents a modern, asymmetric version of a Japanese emperor’s courtyard, with a large swimming pool at its heart. The experience of cold and warm are constantly in focus, everything from a salt steam sauna to a carbonated bath, rain showers and alpine tub. Guests can bask in the warmth of Yasuragi’s indoor and outdoor Japanese hot spring baths, then pamper
themselves with soothing spa treatments. We invite our guests to discover a place where they can unwind and rediscover their strength.”
As you might imagine, Yasuragi’s innate spirituality lends itself well to an outlook that promotes sustainability across everything that the hotel offers. “We know that people who have more energy and are in touch with their inner selves are more likely to make better decisions and do good things. To influence people in positive ways is an important and powerful tool for creating a sustainable world.”
Moreover, this same ethos extends to Yasuragi’s staff, who embrace the idea of mindfulness and wellness to better serve the guests and their needs whilst staying at the hotel spa. Trust too, plays a significant role in ensuring that Yasuragi maintains its reputation for excellence and sophistication. “At Yasuragi, we work with a Culture of Trust, meaning that the aim is for everyone working with us to feel safe. As we work with guests to help them unwind, we need staff that are secure and are knowledgeable in the art of being mindful. All staff are offered an eight-week course, ‘Inner Growth’,
which is the programme in Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence started by Google. This is done on payed work time. Other than that, we also have several programmes designed to help staff find a work-life balance. At the end of the day, our staff are our most important brand carriers.”
By all regards, the global spa industry is booming on the back of a renewed interest in mindfulness, wellness, and spirituality. This interest has sparked a need for greater diversity and choice. Yasuragi’s enduring success over the last twenty years was, in some ways, driven by this need. Kersti fundamentally agrees and reinforces the idea that Yasuragi has always been slightly ahead of its time, a trend setter. “We see the spa business going into an era defined by more differentiation.
At its core, what people needs most is a total relaxation experience, away from their everyday digital lives and the beauty-obsessed age we are living in. People need a place where they can just be, without thinking of who they have to be on the surface. Many of the things that are now trending are things we have been offering for over twenty years, such as meditation, sustainability, mindfulness practice in different forms, Japanese food and interior design etc.”
As the world becomes ever more driven by technology, Kersti believes that ‘digital breaks’ will become ever more popular: “In a more technological world, we think people will realise the importance of taking a break and be, just for a while, human in all of its simplicity and complexity.”
Despite being twenty years old, Yasuragi has impressed through its ability to stay current, and often ahead of emerging trends. As Kersti concludes, the hotel spa continues to evoke a chameleonic ability to adapt to change even though the core concept of Yasuragi has always remained true to its original spirit and goals. “Yasuragi is a stable concept, yet also in constant change. We will do future refurbishments and of course will always look at what is sustainable ways of living in the future. We work constantly to minimising our ecological footprint and that will of course continue to be the case going into the foreseeable future.”