A thoroughly exotic destination is in the works in an unlikely place: acreage off a Ga. Highway 400 exit in South Forsyth County.

That’s the word today from a company called Passport Experiences, which is planning a 10-acre hot springs attraction in Cumming billed as the largest spa in North America.

The concept, Passport Springs & Spa, calls for about 150,000 square feet of outdoor space, plus another 40,000 square feet under roofs. An array of watery facets is meant to recall Japanese hot springs (think: pagodas and koi fish), the Dead Sea, Roman baths, and the volcanic waterfalls of Costa Rica. Project leaders say there’s nothing else like it in the Southeast—or on the planet. 

The site is located along Ronald Reagan Parkway next to The Collection at Forsyth, an outdoor entertainment and shopping complex near Ga. Highway 400 at Exit 13.

Passport Springs & Spa's 10-acre site is located adjacent to The Collection at Forsyth, a shopping and entertainment complex. Google Maps

Jacob Bloch, Passport Experiences’ CEO, says metro Atlanta’s “vibrant culture” and emergence as an international hub makes it the perfect launchpad for his spa enterprise.

Voelker Gray Design, a firm with resort-design experience in California, Cabo, and Las Vegas, is on board as architect and designer. Kimley-Horn has been hired for civil engineering.

“Across the globe, hot springs resorts are sought-after destinations for socializing, wellness, and escaping the routine,” said Bloch, an industry veteran, in a media release. “Passport is unveiling this upscale venue, which is globally unprecedented, with the sophistication of Atlanta in mind.”

Site layout for the Cumming recreational attraction off Ga. Highway 400. Courtesy of Passport Experiences

Plans call for 25 thermal mineral pools, 19 spa rooms, private themed cabanas and VIP villas, plus a rooftop restaurant called The Passport Café and Bistro. Also in the works is a subterranean cave network, the Grotto, that will feature snow, steam, sauna, and salt rooms, according to Passport Experiences.

Costs to experience such things haven’t been specified.

Passport Springs will be divided into four pavilions—Costa Rica, Rome, Israel, and Japan—with food and drink options and designs to echo each place.

Here’s the official description for each globally inspired, transportive Passports section in the northern suburbs:

“In the Costa Rica pavilion, visitors will find waterfalls and rapids within a tropical jungle, inspired by the Arenal Hot Springs. The Rome pavilion will feature an outdoor courtyard and colonnade with reflexology pools and a monumental Pantheon dome that encloses a Roman hot spring bathing experience. The Dead Sea pool in the Israel pavilion will be the largest flotation pool in the world, excluding the Dead Sea itself, and will be surrounded by authentic mud pools, Western Wall stone, and Bedouin casbahs. As guests walk into the Japan pavilion, they will be greeted by giant origami sculptures, moon gates, and dragon fountains in a lantern-lit space inspired by Japanese onsens.”

It’s all scheduled to open in fall 2023, in time for cooler weather, according to Bloch and company.

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