In conversation with Aurora Spa & Bathhouse

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Welcome to our exclusive interview with Lyndall Mitchell, the visionary founder of Aurora Spa & Bathhouse. With a passion for wellness and innovative spa experiences, Lyndall established Aurora as a sanctuary for those seeking rejuvenation and balance in their busy lives. Join us as we uncover the story behind one of Australia’s leading figures in the wellness community.

02 February 2024

Lyndall, could you share the story behind the inception of Aurora? What inspired you to start this journey, first in St Kilda, and then in Sorrento?

Raised on a Queensland fruit farm, I spent my early years in a healthy, natural environment, selling bananas at a roadside stall. This led to an encounter with staff from the nearby Eden Health Retreat, igniting my curiosity in wellness. At 14, I chose Eden for work experience, influenced by the staff’s vibrant, health-focused lifestyle.

Post-graduation, I returned to Eden, inspired by guests' transformations through the wellness program. After five years, my passion for sustaining clients' wellness progress led me to establish an urban retreat. My vision was to create a space for ongoing wellness practice and for those unable to attend extended retreats.

In 1997, I opened Aurora Spa Retreat in St Kilda, adapting retreat benefits into hour-long spa sessions. Aurora evolved into an industry leader, winning four awards in 2023, including Best Bathhouse and Best Spa in Australasia. Our mission is to nurture wellness, allowing guests to pause and replenish. The new Aurora Spa & Bathhouse in Sorrento combines wellbeing expertise with evidence-based wellness for a regenerative experience.

Aurora offers a unique thermal hydro spa experience, with ten different bathing options and state-of-the-art facilities, providing guests with a pleasurable wellness elevation. Our consistent, exceptional service and skilled team ensure a memorable experience, reinforcing our commitment to exceeding guest expectations.

In your view, why has wellness become such an essential part of people's lives today?

Wellness, with its growing evidence and firsthand benefits, is increasingly recognised. Living at a fast pace, combined with information overload and constant access to technology, can lead to imbalance and stress on our nervous system. Wellness offers a way to create more equilibrium.

How has Aurora evolved since its beginnings to meet the changing wellness needs of your clientele?

Twenty-six years ago, when we started, 'wellness' was considered a bit 'woo woo' and left field, so it wasn’t widely discussed. Now, we can openly talk about wellness, and our guests are actively seeking solutions in this area. There has been a slow but consistent positive shift in embracing wellness, both personally and professionally, within businesses.

Can you share the story behind introducing your ASPAR product range and how they enhance the treatments at Aurora Spa?

When I moved to Melbourne and established Aurora Spa, my approach had to shift. We no longer had guests for 6 days; we had them for 60 minutes, so we needed to be really savvy in delivering results quickly. Every minute mattered.

That's when I began hand-mixing our products to achieve the highest therapeutic effect in the least amount of time. Each product was developed from the treatment room. The turning point came the day a client wanted to purchase some body cream, and I had to put it in a Ziplock bag – that's when I realised it was time to get more professional! Initially, I was so focused on the treatment experience that I hadn’t considered people using our products at home. However, this made sense and provided our clients a way to continue their self-care between visits. ASPAR is locally made, infused with high-quality ingredients to deliver the most therapeutic results for our guests. Having featured in Qantas flights and lounges, and now available nationally and in New Zealand, ASPAR signifies our growth and commitment to wellness beyond the spa.

Could you tell us about a particular wellness practice that has significantly influenced Aurora's approach?

At Aurora, we have three foundational pillars of wellness:

  • European Curative Therapies - encompassing bathing and thermal rituals.
  • Eastern Mind-Body Connection – which includes mindfulness, touch therapy, energy work, and aromatherapy.
  • Mindful Rituals – moments of intention along your journey, such as cleansing rituals and tea ceremonies.

We integrate these pillars into the complete Aurora guest journey.

How do you envision the future of wellness and spa experiences, and what role will Aurora Spa play in this landscape?

The global wellness industry, including wellness travel, is expanding rapidly. The European culture of bathing, steeped in history, sees weekly bathing as a standard practice to enhance health.

Our mission at Aurora is to cultivate this regular bathing culture in Australia and help our guests understand and experience its extraordinary wellbeing benefits.

Our flagship location in Sorrento elevates bathing with our 10-step ritual before your treatment experience. This bathing ritual not only enhances your treatment's impact but also deeply restores the nervous system, heightens relaxation, and serves as a remedy to improve sleep and reduce stress.

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