Spa Savanna

Bringing wellness to the neighbourhood

Spa Savanna offers a little slice of paradise in one of Montreal’s historical working class regions. Built on a founding principle that you are your neighbourhood, the selection of the spa’s location was purposeful, explains Don Anderson, spa director.

“All three of us (Anderson and the co-owners Elizabeth and Catharine Lipsz) live in this neighbourhood,” he explains. “The spa could have gone anywhere – it could be ‘where the money is’ but a conscious decision was made based on our philosophy. There are spas dedicated to beauty and aesthetics, and then there are spas like ours, dedicated to finding that beauty in wellness. And no neighbourhood should have to go without that.”

Since opening its doors in April 2006, Spa Savanna quickly gained popularity and a reputation for excellence, and the neighbourhood grew up as well, spurred by Montreal’s exploding real estate market. Today, it’s a little less shocking to learn of a luxury day spa in St. Henri.

A complete menu

Spa Savanna has nine treatment rooms, as well as a warmly lit nail and makeup room, his- and her- locker rooms each with its own steam room, and an atmospheric relaxation room that just begs visitors to decompress.

The list of services and treatments available at Spa Savanna is lengthy, including a massage menu, facials, body care, Velashape cellulite treatments,, manicures, pedicures, makeup consultation (and application), hair removal, “just for him”, and various technologies such as microdermabrasion, LED light therapy, lifting and ultrasound therapy, and Palomar intense pulsed light technology. As well, the spa includes a resident physiotherapist, an osteopath, and a naturopath.

“All our massage therapists have multiple modalities they can offer, and the technology options on our menu compliment the other elements of wellness, as they have beneficial effects on the blood flow in the derma layer. For fun, I like to say, we do everything but hair,” Anderson smiles. “We’ve made sure that everything is as custom-suited to the client as possible. It’s our relationships with our clients that make the difference.”

With a trained medical aesthetician on staff, who specializes in intense pulse light treatments, Spa Savanna rents the equipment twice monthly for the in-house specialist to offer clinical medi-spa treatments. “We found it’s much preferable to have a specialist on staff, rather than using the technicians that may be contracted with the equipment rentals,” Anderson adds. “This way, she can manage the clients’ skin care in the interim, monitor their progress, and is fully familiar with our philosophy and products so the treatment becomes part of the Spa Savanna experience.”

Spa Savanna uses two main product lines – Comfort Zone and G.M. Collin. “We find the two lines offer a lot of synergy,” Anderson says. “Comfort Zone is more experiential. It transports you – you just need to relax and let it take you there. Meanwhile, G.M. Collin is more treatment focused and clinical. I think of white lab coats and dossiers. With both lines, the quality is excellent.”

Inspired environment

The design of Spa Savanna was inspired by the African region, “between the jungle and the desert, where all animals come together – a place of balance,” Anderson says. Earth tones and pastels are used throughout complemented by natural materials and a serene quality. All treatment rooms have Zulu names. Amanzi, for example, means ‘water from the mountain.’

“We offer a refined, chill environment and a super staff,” Anderson says. “In fact, currently, it’s probably the best staff we’ve ever had. The level of professionalism, their knowledge of our products, and their commitment to team work create the ultimate experience for our clients.”

As part of Spa Savanna’s commitment to wellness, a number of steps are taken to reduce the environmental impact. An extensive recycling program is in place, and all drinks are provided in reusable glasses and ceramic cups for tea. Laundry is done in-house, to reduce the impact of transportation and better control the use of chemicals. And both steam rooms are serviced by a high efficiency unit from Steam Sauna in Toronto.

The client is priority

The marketing plan for Spa Savanna focuses on who they know best: their core clients. Weekly specials are created based on the appointment book – each week they look ahead to see where opening lie, and an Email blast is distributed to their clientele list of 3,000 emails, advertising the special for the coming week. Additionally, monthly specials are offered – June’s was a 30 per cent discount on Man Space products from Comfort Zone, in honour of Father’s Day.

“We enjoy a really loyal clientele now, and that includes a number of men,” Anderson explains. “Our original estimate targeted about 10 to 15 per cent male market, but our actual numbers are around 30 per cent male.”

For first time clients booking, an extra 15 to 20 minutes is allotted for consultation, to establish the process. “Our therapists discuss a number of things with them – they talk health, diet, sleeping, vitamin pills. In fact, if a client says they take vitamin pills ‘sometimes’ that probably means they won’t follow a strict skin care regime. Answers can be revealing. At the end of a treatment, each client receives a prescription of what to take home to extend their skin care process.”

Spa Savanna is built on a true commitment to well-being, and success is measured in client satisfaction. “You see really touching cases – people with serious, long-term skin issues receiving honest information for the first time,” Anderson recalls. “We make sure everyone on staff has as much information as possible, and everyone is up on customer service and management. The pay-back for our efforts is clear. Our clients know the staff by name. And we get a lot of family referrals – daughters and sons now coming to us.”

Spa Savanna at a glance

Staff: 13 therapists, 6 support staff Product lines: Comfort Zone, G.M. Collin, Jane Iredale, OBI, Footlogix.

Heather Ednie | Summer 2011