Spa, Wellness & Hospitality Consultant
My journey to becoming a Spa, Wellness and Hospitality consultant began 30 years ago, as a therapist. It is here I realised the unsurpassed benefits that a carefully considered and well-conceived spa can have on an individual’s path to relaxation and wellness, as well as profitability for its owner. I have since gathered a wealth of experience over the years as a Spa Director, Spa Development Project Director, both in the UK and overseas with 18 of those years within ESPA International, working on the creation and launch of some of the best Spas worldwide including Corinthia London, Four Seasons Park Lane London, Metropole Monte Carlo, Ritz Carlton Moscow, Bulgari Bali, Gleneagles to name a few… As an expert in my field, I now enjoy collaborating with others who are also exceptional in theirs and feel honoured to regularly be invited to speak at prominent industry events such as the World Spa and Wellness Convention, Spatec and Mediterranean Hotel Investors forum as well as being a judge for many industry awards.
My growing portfolio has seen me work alongside many of the world’s most respected architects, interior designers, lighting consultants, hoteliers and leading hotel groups. I am privileged to work with those whose attention to detail, dedication and delivery matches my own: with current and recent clients including Four Seasons, Nobu, Corinthia, Ennismore, Marbella Club, Discovery Land. My personal education also continues with qualifications and personal practice secured across Naturopathic Nutrition, Mindfulness and Yoga as I feel it is imperative to practice what I preach.
With extensive global experience in the 5-star luxury hotel, wellness and spa sector, I am a passionate consultant comprehensively covering all phases of spa and wellness development and ongoing operational management. I am dedicated to creating inspiring spa facilities whilst integrating wellness opportunities throughout a hotel or resort to ensure individuals can experience wellbeing throughout their stay, whilst ensuring my clients benefit from a healthy return on their investment.
Small or large, my approach is wholly tailored to the individual projects needs and aims. Whether an owner or operator of a hotel, spa or wellness resort, my consultancy services ensure focus, collaboration and unwavering commitment to excellence. The result? A comprehensive and dependable business strategy to optimise the brand and project, ensuring the realisation of the property’s full potential.
To have an “air for curiosity” as the more you challenge the norm, the more the “extraordinary” can be created and Courage as its not the absence of fear, rather the commitment to overcome it.
Personal To continue my love of travel… spring blossoms in Japan, White water rafting in Canada, the tea plantations of Sri Lanka and the wine trials of Argentina are hot on my list.
Professional – I would hope to open my own boutique wellness retreat one day, where I can put all I have learned into one location…. I am unsure as yet where it will be located however it will probably be close to the sea or by a lake and most certainly in a warmer climate…
The most challenging moment was certainly, making the decision to leave the safety and security of a company that I loved and had worked for, for 18 years, to venture out on my own. Some days it can be a challenge doing everything from sales and negotiation, accounting, administrating and being your own cheerleader, however I wouldn’t change a thing, as it is so incredibly rewarding.
David Attenborough has been an influence in my life from as young as I can remember. He has always showcased the beauty, diversity, strength and incredible resilience of the natural world and he instilled my passion and respect for nature in my formative years. I have total admiration and respect for his upfaulting dedication and impact throughout his career, but particularly more recently, with Blue Planet and how we are destroying our beautiful planet. Thankfully he speaks and people listen… I just hope we are not too late.
I have been so fortunate to have traveled extensively throughout my life however there is one place in the world that holds a special place in my heart and that is Bermuda. I lived there for 3 years in the early stages of my career and also helped develop and open the Spa at Elbow Beach for Mandarin Oriental. The ocean surrounding the island has so many incredible shades of blue with sand tinged with a pink hue due to the coral formations and sun sets filled with pink, purple and orange. The natural beauty took my breath away on many occasions and that is how I like to measure my life.
Any emerging industry trends?
Demand for all-round wellness is growing. Life today is dramatically diﬀerent to even a few years ago: fast-paced, demanding and driven by constant technological development and engagement. With this has come a steep rise and change in both physical and emotional wellbeing issues; anxiety, negative stress, sleep disruption and premature ageing to name a few. Traditional medical services have proven themselves ill-equipped to deal with the scale and nature of demand, resulting in increasing numbers of consumers taking responsibility for their own long-term health – travelling to destination retreats and resorts oﬀering alternative or complementary medicine and specialist holistic lifestyle solutions combined with advanced integrative medical services is moving quickly from niche to mainstream.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Staffing is consistently one of the biggest problems in the spa and wellness industry (in fact in the hospitality industry in general) and is becoming an even bigger one as the wellness industry is growing at such a phenomenal rate (up 12.8 % from 3.7 trillion to 4.2 trillion in 2018).
The industry has always put a lot of its focus on training its therapists, which is absolutely needed but I do not believe we focus enough on training and supporting the managers. In some cases, the spa managers are running huge assets, costing multi millions of pounds to develop, yet they need to be nurtured and developed to enhance their leadership skills and business acumen to prevent disillusionment in this critical role. Traditionally managers have grown through the ranks yet their knowledge base needs to be increased in so many essential areas. The understanding of KPIs and how they can be utilized to manage their business as well as how to effectively performance manage, inspire and develop their teams is paramount. Yield management combined with successful sales and marketing campaigns, how to run a progressive training schedule or looking after inventory to prevent wastage of stock are other key areas I find, that need attention. I focus a lot of my time developing the Spa managers I work with, this pays dividends not only for the individual but for the team as a whole and for the ongoing success of talent, in our industry.
How do you motivate others?
I believe the best way to motivate people is to present them with a clear vision and to give them the reasons “Why” … as written by Simon Sinek “People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.” . The Why followed by supportive guidance, constructive feedback and rewards along the way, will encourage team members to feel motivated and inspired to achieve more easily, whatever task has been set.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I decided to launch my own consultancy company as I had a burning desire to be able to experience more diversity in the projects I was working on, with the opportunity to collaborate with others that would bring specific expertise and flair to the development in hand. From concept creation of a resort, guiding the development of a natural skincare product range to turning a failing wellness strategy in a profitable business …. I love the challenge and making the difference …
What’s next for the Business in the near future?
I am working on some really exciting large international developments at the moment, delving even deeper into integrative medical wellness combined with holistic lifestyle solutions, nourishing cuisine and advanced fitness concepts. I believe it is essential for any project to start with how a facility is going to “physically and subconsciously” make a guest feel, therefore air and water quality, maximizing exposure to nature and less environmental impact is just as important as is the facility and service offering. Excitingly I find myself being approached by more of these advanced and progressive projects.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
I believe the success of my business has been based on my reputation of expertise and delivery, combined with the forging of strong relationships built on integrity.
Career advice to those in your industry?
To be truly successful in today’s fast moving, challenging and competitive world, authenticity, openness and tenacity are essential, along with a constant willingness to learn and taking action.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about where you live?
I travel regularly and being at home with beautiful countryside on my doorstop is the perfect antidote . ‘Prescribing Nature’ is one of the wellness trends for 2019. Humankind is intrinsically connected to nature. While modern life is lived in urban settings, for hundreds of thousands of years we lived rurally. It is therefore no surprise that, when we return to nature, our minds and bodies instinctively relax, we feel settled, reconnected with both ourselves and the surrounding environment.
For me nature and being connected to it has always played an important role within my life and in later years I have prioritized its importance.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
My drink of choice is water. My day starts with a large mug of hot water with the juice of half a lemon, to kick start my digestion and aid detoxifcation followed by many glasses throughout the day. It’s the best solution to keep alert and your body functioning efficiently, plus its so versatile. I like to prepare a jug of it in the morning and fill it with herbs and fruits to make it more interesting and beneficial – today was Ginger, Lime and Basil – great for the digestion, is anti – inflammatory and aids the immune system.
I do also insist on one fabulous coffee every morning – it has to a rich dark roast – life is too short for bad coffee… in fact bad anything!
What should everyone try at least once?
Hot air ballooning – I was astounded by the tranquility and silence when up there and it showcased the beauty of British countryside. A little tricky to get a flight booked due to our unpredictable weather however, most certainly worth the effort.
Your favourite time of day is?
Morning- the start of another day, so make it count from the beginning.
If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?
A professional dancer- I studied contemporary dance at school and in more later years learned Salsa however as a teenager that was always my dream.