What to Expect: Silver Dawn’s Roman-Inspired Otium Spa

When Silversea Cruises launches Silver Dawn in April, the third in a series of ships that includes Silver Moon and Silver Muse, it will unveil a brand new, exclusive spa concept. We’ve been sharing details about Otium, the Roman-influenced spa that focuses on wellness through the pursuit of pleasure rather than sacrifice, for the past six months. And now that Otium, which extends the wellness concept from its spa to suites, on verandas, and even via a special gourmet room service menu, is actually here, we can’t wait to tell you more.  

“For Otium we were inspired by the Romans’ philosophy of caring for the body and mind and reflects Silversea’s own Italian roots,” Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s Chief Commercial Officer and the inspiration behind Otium, reminds us. “Their baths are 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, and 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.”

First thing to know: The Otium Spa onboard Silver Dawn is not just a cosmetic transformation from those onboard Silver Moon and Silver Muse. The entire space has been reimagined and slightly expanded. (In fact, Otium’s interior, at 791 square meters, is 16.15 square meters larger than the spa on Silver Moon and 36 square meters larger than that of Silver Muse).

That’s because in the tradition of the Roman Bath, a visit involved more than just a massage or facial. It was a ritual, in which you not only are pampered with treatments but also spend time in steam rooms, saunas, showers, and, importantly, resting and socializing. The traditional Roman spa had individual spaces for all its functions.

As conceived, the concept of Otium positions the spa, which also includes a beauty salon, barber shop and fitness facility, as not just a destination. It’s a journey, one that begins in guest suites and then transports you to the otherworldliness of the spa. In this case, says Matteo Pace, an associate with global hospitality design firm HBA London, and the lead designer on Otium, “inspiration came from the idea that travelers today are looking for moments of magic. They are craving moments of being completely transported to a dreamier place, making the overall experience special in a way that we have lost for three years.”

And That’s Why Otium’s Ambience Is So Important

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Otium’s warm and welcoming lobby

The psychic impact begins when you arrive at the spa. You walk along a long, curving corridor, a colonnade inspired by Roman baths, that’s an architectural detail to make the entrance feel more welcoming. The beautiful colors and vibrant pieces that spice up the lobby may remind those of you who’ve traveled on Silver Moon and who have experienced the vibrant decor in S.A.L.T.’s bar and lab. You wouldn’t be wrong. Pace also designed those venues.

Throughout, in the treatment rooms and salon, the color theme, aiming to bring the outside indoors, is rife with earth tones and sea colors. The lighting is gentle, programmed to feel almost like dusk, that golden hour in the sky.

The treatment rooms, Pace tells us, “aren’t just cubicles in which spa treatments occur. They are part of the experience.” Quiet and serene, they reflect the shades of the sea’s blues and greens . Walls have a mural with texture that offers a softening effect. “Massage rooms,” he says, “were considered cozy retreats at the Roman baths.”

Relax Like a Roman: The Experience Behind Otium

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The relaxation room in Silver Dawn’s Otium spa.

Once you are massaged and facialized, the Otium journey introduces a ritual of combined experiences.  The relaxation room in a huge contrast, is contemporary, sleek and modern. The lighting is moody, inspiring reflection or, as was common in the day of the Roman Empire, quite vibrantly social. It’s anchored by a water plinth, which offers a wavy reflection in the ceiling and reminds you that you are at sea. This thermal suite, which features sauna and steam in addition to chaises for lounging, centers around a strong sense of community and of discovery. It’s an enchanting ambience in which to meditate or engage.

Treats (which are also available in the beauty salon to those having hair or nail treatments) adhere to the premise that wellness should include indulgence and so Champagne, Otium-inspired cocktails, macarons, and chocolates are all on hand. And, in keeping with the Roman philosophy that balance and personal choice are essential rights, you’ll also find fresh fruit and infused waters. Soothing music throughout is inspired by ancient Rome.

Beyond the thermal suite, on the aft, a spa-only open deck further reinforces the connection between Otium and the sea. Communing with the horizon is the next step on this particular spa journey. And then it’s back to your suite where await bathing and sleeping experiences, and the first dedicated balcony experience at sea.



Otium’s Wellness Menu, At Its Core

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Central to the concept of nurturing minds and indulging in pleasure is of course the treatments that have, like the spa itself, been inspired by the Roman baths — and their Mediterranean roots. Debuting on Silver Dawn will be 13 Otium signature services.

Another difference? Signature treatments last longer than the industry standard of 60- or 80-minutes; these clock in at the 100-minute mark, which translates to even more of a relaxation experience.

If you are like me, the only challenge surrounding the signature massages is to decide which treatment to choose from the Wellness Menu. Among them? The Otium, in which fragrant oils infused with shea butter, raspberry and chamomile are used and the massage therapist then applies a variety of natural materials, from mineral-rich pink salt stones to natural bamboo, to stimulate your body and soul. The Appollonian Spirit focuses on re-energizing tired muscles. And the Divine Experience also resonates; it uses mood-balancing aromatics and includes a decadent scalp, neck, shoulder and hand massage.

In the salon, there’s the Vulcano Island Mud Pedicure, inspired by Sicily, and the Mediterranean Hand Delight, which appeals to the senses with oils of sweet orange, cedarwood and sage and targets age spots and dry skin.  The Barber Salon has the Emperor’s Chair, a double-close shave, scalp, face, hand and arm massage, along with an eyebrow trim.

And of course, Silversea’s more traditional offerings, from nail treatments and facials to Medi-Spa and acupuncture, are on offer as well.

Stay tuned for more reports on Otium as we will continue to share our experiences from Silver Dawn.