In San Francisco, the merits of a coffee shop are based on the number of power outlets it has. The laptops and cell phones often outnumber the patrons.
Seth Quest, owner of a venture-backed spa and social club coming to San Francisco in 2018, wants to give the community a new place to unplug. There’s one catch.
“I don’t want a lot of techies there,” Quest tells Business Insider. “I want radiant people, people who are passionate about what they’re doing in their life.”
It would seem entrepreneurs fit into that category, but Quest is going for more of a wellness-guru vibe. The Waterhouse Spa & Social Club aims to be an R&R destination where some 300 members — hand-picked by Quest based on their professional and personal interests and skills — will come to detox from technology and form authentic connections outside the office.
Located in the city’s gentrifying SoMa neighbourhood, the Waterhouse will have amenities that are hard to come by outside a resort. Members can soak in the heated tub or pool, enjoy a beverage from the kombucha bar or tea lounge, or unwind with a sound meditation session (a practice that uses gongs and symbols to help clear the mind).
Quest says he’s also looking to install flotation pods (or sensory deprivation tanks). They look like bathtubs with clamshell lids and contain about 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt, allowing the bather to float on the surface. The tubs pump music through the water and light up with LEDs. “You feel like you’re in outer space, it allows your muscles to completely relax,” Quest says.
Membership will cost about $US100 per month for people ages 27 and under, $US200 for people older than that, and $US400 for an “elite membership,” which includes consultations with holistic healers. However, anyone is welcome to tap the shoulder of an employee, who will wear a special necklace, and ask for a massage or acupuncture session, Quest says.
The Waterhouse blew past its goal on crowdfunding site Indiegogo in March, raising over $US22,000. Quest tells Business Insider the campaign was intended to validate demand for investors’ sake. He’s raising from angels and a handful of institutional venture capitalists.
The spa and social club’s mission holds special meaning for Quest, who previously ran an office design consulting company. The roller coaster of emotions that came with being an entrepreneur as well as the frequent run-ins with failure led him to become depressed.
“The ability to go to a place and create almost a retreat-like experience — carve out three or four hours and maybe a do a sound meditation, then have some tea, have a great conversation with someone — and come out of it feeling grounded and good,” Quest says.