On Silver Dawn, Introducing Otium: Indulgent Wellness at Sea

Much like luxury, wellness is a rather elusive concept. Traditionally associated with a gospel of sacrifice and delayed gratification, of prescription and restriction, it is at the very core, closer to an idea of well-balanced indulgence (no, it’s not an oxymoron). This realization is at the core of Silversea’s new spa program, Otium, which will debut aboard Silver Dawn and will then be rolled out to the rest of the fleet. Inspired by the philosophy of the Roman baths and infused with the expert art of nonstop pampering Silversea has become famous for, the Otium experience will start at the spa and then trickle out to permeate every moment of the cruise with multiple touches. We asked Barbara Muckermann, Chief Commercial Officer of Silversea, to share the details of the program with us.   

This is the first time Silversea introduces an on-brand, proprietary spa concept: Why now?

Silversea’s positioning has always been: “travel deeper… in luxury”. The “travel deeper” part has always been easy to explain, but the luxury part I have always found harder to convey. You have to see it – to live it – to understand what real luxury means. It’s about anticipating our customers’ needs, about pampering them. A punitive wellness concept based on calorie restriction simply didn’t belong in our primary territory. Also luxury is evolving. Take S.A.L.T., the program we announced in 2020: it looks through the lens of food culture to better understand the destinations we visit, and this translates into a culinary offering based on exceptional authenticity.

After S.A.L.T. we realized we were ready to tackle a new luxury of wellness as well: with Silver Dawn the time has come to unveil the concept of Otium to the world.

This concept is a rather radical one…

Yes! The first time I explained it to my husband (Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s CEO) he was a little puzzled! He’s a marine engineer and a fitness enthusiast: he never eats anything he shouldn’t. So the concept of a spa where while you have your treatment you could either enjoy a celery juice or a glass of chilled champagne and some Calvisius caviar was foreign to him at first. But then he saw it: our core mission has always been about pampering, about weaving a tapestry of comfort around you, about allowing you to have anything you desire even before you know you want it. Luxury is about choice, and this goes as much for, say, the best mixology program, as for the way you care for your body and mind, at any given moment. We’re the enablers of your pursuit of pleasure and happiness.  

Barbara Muckermann, Monaco, Silversea’s Chief Marketing Officer

Is it correct to say a certain Mediterranean way of life was the inspiration?

It’s a nod to an even more specific way of life, the Italian one. Silversea was born in Italy, after all. Our culture has always celebrated the ability to joyfully live in the moment: this is at the core of what makes our lifestyle one of the most sought after. Even more specifically, for Otium we were inspired by the Romans’ philosophy of caring for the body and mind, and their baths, precursors of our modern-day spas: they were the designated places where enjoyment and wellness were organically connected through the architectural beauty and luxurious materials of the halls, the invigorating properties of the water pools and saunas, but also the music, poetry, food, wine and conversation. With this in mind, we wanted to create a holistic experience focused on pleasure. But the important thing to understand is that encouraging indulgence is not an ode to being unhealthy, it’s about balance: about doing what you feel like doing right now, with the help of an expert and with the highest quality products and experiences.

Let’s see the program in detail.

Otium will not be the kind of spa experience where you’ll have to suffer through a menu of hundreds of treatments with lengthy explanations; this is simply not what we do, and the same goes for technology: you won’t step into a futuristic laboratory where the age defying machinery of the future is developed. What you will find is a customized multi-dimensional experience that will start before the spa, perhaps picking with a butler the fragrance that will accompany you or choosing between a robe and a kimono andfully unfold at the spa, with a personalized path combining special treatments, thermal areas, precious natural elements and ingredients — and also unexpected luxurious touches, like sipping your favorite cocktail or snacking on delicious canapes in the most comfortable armchair.

Otium will continue after the spa, by the swimming pool or in your suite, with a series of moments, amenities and physical objects – some completely unprompted and surprising – inspired by your journey: a soft blanket and hot chocolate, a bottle of champagne to drink while taking a bath with the same salts you’ve enjoyed at the spa. And then there’s a completely redesigned sleeping experience: guests spend in bed more than a third of their time on board so it made sense to develop a brand-new mattress – the Otium Soft Touch – which will accompany our redesigned pillow menu, a selection of blankets and our pillow mists. Some of these moments will be quiet, designed for your own enjoyment.  Others will prompt socialization with fellow travelers, as human exchange is proven to be nourishing and to naturally enhance the relaxation.  

Inspired by the philosophy of the Roman baths and infused with the expert art of nonstop pampering Silversea has become famous for, the Otium experience will start at the spa and then trickle out to permeate every moment of the cruise with multiple touches, both physical and intangible. 

This sounds fantastic, but aren’t you afraid people won’t know when to stop being indulgent?

In a way, we’ve been testing this idea of indulgence for 25 years, with our luxurious all-inclusive policy (we’re the only cruise line offering caviar 24 hours a day anywhere). And you know what? In 25 years no one has ever exaggerated: When you can have anything you like, you settle on what you really want. As long as the superb quality is there, that’s all you need.

And if you don’t know what you want?

We’re here to help you figure it out.