Three Sisters Mountain Village Canmore has formed a partnership with the Dharma Group, developer of one of the leading spa resorts in North America, El Mone Sagrado.

"It's a huge step forward for Three Sisters," says Chris Ollenberger, president of Three Sisters, "It will be a spa and wellness centre that will become the centre-piece of the much anticipated Resort Centre."

The Dharma Group consists of engineers, architects and ecologists specializing in the holistic integration of water, energy and green building systems. El Monte Sagrado is in Taos, New Mexico. 

Dharma will be working with Three Sisters Mountain Village to build a similar program in Canmore - the five-star spa's first expansion into Canada.

It will be comprehensive, says Jeremy Tomalin-Reeves, vice-president of marketing for Three Sisters. "It will be much more than a spa. It will have all the great luxury therapies that connote a great spa, which El Monte Sagrado is the best at in the industry, but it will encompass more. "The spa will be building programs - such as hiking with a guided tour, a concert at the Banff Centre, or perhaps, horseback riding - to customize the experience for people. "That's the concept behind Three Sisters to make it much more than the whole entity of a spa, but to become a true health, wellness and adventure resort," he says.

El Monte Sagrado also has environmental features that appeal to Three Sisters Mountain Village, says Ollenberger. "They're leading edge when it comes to social sustainability." 
In fact, says Tomalin-Reeves, the group and Three Sisters share the same core values of health, wellness and sustainability.

The wellness centre will be south of Cairns on the Bow - located just off of the future Three Sisters Golf Resort - in an area that will include 150,000 square feet of commercial space and about 2,000 hotel rooms, says Ollenberger.

"We want to incorporate as much of the business community here and in the Bow Valley Corridor because we've identified a lot of existing residents who are working now from their basements," he says "It will be a great mix with local and international shops and the health and wellness centre."

The developer hopes to have zoning in place next year for the Resort Centre, with the first building by 2007. Meanwhile, Ollenberger says that he's hoping the application for the second golf course in Three Sisters will be finalized by the end of this year. 

Work is also slated to soon begin on a more comprehensive retail village at Three Sisters Boulevard and Three Sisters Parkway, right off the interchange leading to Three Sisters from the Trans Canada Highway. 

"It will be a mixed-use retail village with 350,000 square feet allocated to it," says Ollenberger."It will be a retail destination with shops and restaurants. There will be a real buzz to it, unlike the resort centre which will offer tranquility and relaxation. "Yet, they will be close to each other, within a 10-minute walk."

Written by: Kathy McCormick and published in the Calgary Herald.