Architect of Well Being: Tag Galyean
SPA REVIEW SPOTLIGHT ON TAG GALYEAN, AIA, founder and master design conceptualist of the TAG Studio in West Virginia, a group of resort design specialists nationwide who collaborate in defining the needs of each resort s environment, establish long-term planning and design concepts, and participate in all design decisions.
TAG attended Stanford University and the Pratt Institute and received a bachelor of architecture degree, with honors. He has served as Governor of Cranbrook Schools, thesis advisor at MIT, Resort Master Plan speaker for the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and guest lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.
If you ve visited spas at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Greenbrier Hotel, Turnberry Isle Resort, The Hotel Hershey, La Quinta Resort and Club, or The Broadmoor Hotel, you ve seen and experienced the work of TAG Galyean, an award-winning resort design consultant with more than 30 years of experience.
Recently Spa Review spoke with TAG about his work and his vision.
SR: Water, light, and color are the key elements in spa design. Please explain.
There is an inter-relationship among all these elements. They are serene, comforting, clean, and fresh; they take you out of the material world into the spiritual space that is free-flowing and translucent.
SR: One of the most exciting recent spa innovations you ve introduced is the Silver Shower, with a price tag of $100,000. Why so expensive?
The shower has traditionally been used in pre-massage hydro-heat therapies. It s been historically known since Roman times. At first it was delivered in pools of water; the actual shower phenomenon was only possible after the turn of the century, with the introduction of modern plumbing.
The first luxury spa post-World War I was created at the Greenbrier. They had a shower that was the severe Scotch spray or Swiss shower. We perfected that version there in 1987. For every spa since then, we ve created a unique shower in presentation and environment. Regarding the Silver Shower, hydrotherapy has traditionally been attendant driven, with someone adjusting the controls and so forth. In the last three years, we ve taken that concept and added technology. Now at the Broadmoor spa which we re expanding and re-doing though it s only 10 years old we will have two Silver Showers using 18 showerheads, electronically controlled, wired to a computer with 2 touch screens and programmed to customize the experience for each individual. The attendant will input the size and preference of the guest; the shower takes over and delivers a five-minute treatment that is truly spectacular, relaxing, energizing, better than anything we can manually control.
SR: You ve stated the bathtub is the second key important hydrotherapy in a spa. What s new in tub design?
We have 12 new flow-through bathtubs at the Broadmoor. They do not re-circulate any water; the water flows through. It enters the tub over the shoulder area, then spills over the infinity edge at the foot of the tub. It has a complex filtering system with no chlorine. In short, it gets you back to the natural hot water spring; the water is all fresh and clean. Once people understand that concept, they won t want to be in any other kind of tub again.
SR: What spa innovations do you foresee in the future?
There are two kinds of spas, the destination spa, where the guest can have a life-changing experience and the two-hour kind of experience, which is more like an amenity. I don t see the destination spa changing a great deal, except that perhaps there will be more of a medical side to it. The destination spa has a small but loyal market that is growing incrementally. The amenity spa, which is available at many resorts, offers more of a pampering interlude and doesn t really try to change your life. Pampering is still the major desire there, still experienced mainly by women, though men are becoming less fearful and more interested. A growing number of people are interested in what benefits these treatments offer. Consumers are getting smarter and better informed; they don t want faddish treatments rubbing barbecue sauce all over themselves they are looking for treatments that are sound and have benefits.
SR: Your plans for the future?
As I said, we re updating and expanding the Broadmoor; the opening is in April. We ve added ten rooms, freshened it up and introduced the spectacular new hydrotherapies. The Broadmoor is the only place on earth where those two therapies–the Silver Shower and the new tubs are available. We re expanding the Hershey Spa, doubling the capacity and adding a salon, so that it s a significant part of the spa and not just a footnote. In the future, we ll be working on Tucker s Point in Bermuda. That will be an extremely high-end resort hotel and residences; the spa there will set a new standard. Also, we re starting a project with Colonial Williamsburg, an upscale resort that will have a medical clinic and spa.
The TAG Studio
219 E. Washington St.
Lewisburg, WV 24901