Health tech entrepreneur opening spa on the Plaza; Here’s how its ‘accessible luxury’ comes served with collaboration

After 20 years as a hospital executive, Ashley McClellan has a new way to help people on their wellness journey, the budding Kansas City serial entrepreneur shared.

In January, McClellan and her husband, Brett, plan to open Sojourn Spa in the Cascade Hotel on the Country Club Plaza.

Ashley McClellan, Sojourn Spa, MedCurate

“From my perspective, we want our guests to come out of the spa being a better version of themselves,” she said. “For one guest, that might mean they’re more relaxed. For one guest, that might mean they’re more refreshed. For another guest, that might be that they had an experience with a loved one or a friend that they really were able to bond over.”

“So we want them to experience relaxed sophistication, an inviting wellness retreat, and accessible luxury,” McClellan added.

The luxury spa will have eight treatment rooms and offer infrared light therapy, massage, skincare, reflexology and body treatments.

With her healthcare background, McClellan — who also is the founder of health tech startup MedCurate, which works to solve staffing shortages in the field by utilizing white-label technology and expertise to support and develop the workforce of the future — prioritized accessibility and inclusivity in the design of Sojourn, she noted.

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“When I was thinking about what I envisioned for the spa, ‘accessible luxury’ is a phrase that kept coming to mind,” McClellan explained. “So accessibility in terms of being able to get an appointment in the city, but then accessible — to me — means everyone can enjoy it.”

Sojourn Spa rendering; image courtesy of SixTwentyOne

The space’s accommodations include an ADA-compliant massage table that lowers for smoother transitions, advanced body positioning system designed specifically for expectant mothers, built-in chest comfort systems — offering maximum comfort to women lying on their stomachs — and an ADA-compliant sauna room.

“From my background in the hospital setting, I saw that many of these individuals would benefit from services that we can provide here at Sojourn,” McClellan continued, “but many aren’t able to take advantage of those opportunities because they can’t access those services.”

Instead of traditional men’s and women’s locker rooms, she noted, the spa will feature a deconstructed locker room experience with lockers surrounded by private changing rooms.

“Again, just trying to think of extra features that really make it a higher-end experience for our guests,” she added. “For me, it was important to make the investment to truly say that we’re accessible and inclusive.”

Sojourn — which will be accepting appointments in the coming weeks but is already selling gift cards — will also offer guests a custom food and drink menu in collaboration with Strang Chef Collective, Cascade’s dining partner, McClellan said.

Strang Chef Collective at the Cascade Hotel on the Country Club Plaza; photo by Nikki Overfelt Chifalu, Startland News

“If guests have multiple services, they can have bites between their services or before,” she explained. “The hotel has great offerings as well. So if you want to go to the coffee shop before you come up or grab a glass of wine after you’re able to do that too.”

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Strang Chef Collective is just one of many local partners that the McClellans have collaborated with through the process of opening the spa, she noted. They worked with Overland Park-based Sunlighten Sauna to build the two infrared light therapy sauna rooms. SixTwentyOne, Monarch Build, Kristen Ridler Interior Design, and UMB Bank have also been involved in the designing and constructing of Sojourn.

The Kansas City entrepreneur community has been welcoming and encouraging as McClellan has started her journey, she said, so it was important to her that the couple support local businesses themselves.

“Going from a traditional corporate executive role to being an entrepreneur, it has been incredibly refreshing how supportive the entrepreneurs and local businesses are in Kansas City,” she explained. “For me, whether it was in hospitals or here, being able to build a winning team brings me a lot of great joy. And to support other leaders and other businesses is incredibly rewarding.”


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