Three months ‘til opening

Phase 3: Construction of Quebec’s Bleu Spa

So far so good—Bleu Spa is only two weeks behind schedule, due to a period of heavy rainfall in early May prolonging the installation of the outdoor thermal baths. But as construction and design continues, the essence of the spa is emerging, while marketing ramps up and the major effort required to select the ultimate staff gets underway.

The end of August is now the target date for our opening, which is still quite acceptable for the board of directors. Construction costs remain within five per cent of budget, with very few surprises to date. Leed certification is on schedule, and optimism prevails as we move into the final phase of development. Even the water-drilling proved successful, as an ample supply was discovered at a depth of 440 feet, ensuring adequate water sources for significant spa demand.

Design problems became an issue when the shareholders disagreed with several furniture and accessory choices made by the architects. Finally, a compromise was reached by engaging a new designer, Stéphanie Diotte, president, Cuisines Kitchens who possessed a more consistent philosophy with the spa founders.

Ordering of equipment, furniture, and supplies has already progressed tremendously. All sectors of the business must be scrutinized, so that nothing is left to chance. The key is to synchronize the delivery of absolutely all priority orders within two weeks of the projected opening date. Even the liquor licence application, as well as the Tourism signage application, needs to be processed during this time period.

The hiring process is underway, starting with the analysis of all submitted resumes, with interviews commencing shortly. There has been such an excitement over the past two months that the flow of interested candidates expanded exponentially. The key will be to screen candidates effectively, so to maximize the time to interview the star-performers.

The media vibe is all over town, as everyone is talking about a new spa in Cantley, Quebec. The marketing strategy has focused on a low-budget promotional campaign, reserving our publicity budget for a glitzy advertising campaign three weeks prior to opening. Bleu Spa has literally become involved in every happening over the summer months, from golf tournaments, charity fundraisers, high-profile events such as Ottawa’s Tulip Festival, Race Weekend, Blues Fest, and the Casino Lac Leamy Sound and Music Fireworks. Bleu Spa has succeeded in using spa packages as a way of partnering with all local events, thereby minimizing our pre-opening costs.

A VIP Opening Night Gala is planned for the end of September, one month after our opening, timed with the glorious fall colours that will be a highlight of the evening. Dignitaries from all walks of life will be invited, with an emphasis on Canadian Olympic and Para-Olympic Team coaches and athletes, many of whom are fervent believers of the spa and yoga experience as part of an annual training program for elite athletes.

Larry Greene is the co-developer of Bleu Spa. He is sharing his first-hand experience of constructing and and opening a new spa in this column. Tune in each issue to learn about his progress, and what challenges he must overcome.

by Larry Greene | Summer 2011