Hotel and spa designer Alexandra Champalimaud shares her wisdom.

Antony Crook Champalimaud's Newest Spa Design
| Credit: Antony Crook

“My intention is not to transform, but to enhance,” says Alexandra Champalimaud, the interior designer known for her work on hotels like New York’s Carlyle and the St. Regis Beijing. Champalimaud could easily be discussing her quietly elegant aesthetic. Instead she’s referring to her beauty philosophy—something she’s recently honed thanks to her newfound career as a spa designer and developer. She’s the creative force behind the spa rejuvenations of both the Peninsula New York and Nantucket’s White Elephant. But it’s Charym, a wellness center she opened in a restored lumberyard in Connecticut’s Litchfield County, that has her excited at the moment. The idea for the property coalesced during a restorative trip to Bhutan (indeed charym—pronounced “sha-reem”—means beauty in Bhutanese). The first phase consists of a barnlike yoga studio that melds traditional New England elements (shiplap siding) with Bhutanese decorative motifs (folkloric-style floral patterns, an ocher-tinged color palette). The East-West dynamic continues throughout: the spa, health center, and tearoom (opening in March 2009) will resemble a dzong, a traditional Bhutanese monastery, while a staff of holistic and medical practitioners—including the former head of women’s health at the Deepak Chopra Institute—will be available for consultations. “I want to create spaces where people can feel healthy, beautiful, and happy.”

Chanel Precision Sublimage Cream

“Great for travel, as I can apply it morning and night, and only need to take one cream. It’s rich, but light.”

Charym Essential Oils

“I use two ayurvedic oils that I developed for Charym. I start at my toes, and lightly massage them into my skin, all the way up to my head. They complement my body type, and help ease anxiety and tiredness.”

Sonya Dakar Red Grapefruit Wash

“It leaves my face feeling refreshed.”

IS Clinical Poly-vitamin Serum

“The vitamin C base provides natural sun protection.”

Laura Mercier Cheek Colour in Blushing Apple

“The perfect shade for both day and evening. Plus, it’s compact. Along with the brush, it fits into a small pouch.”