Alex Kudrjavceva, Spa Manager at Losehill House in the Peak District, uncovers how they create the perfect wellness retreats for their guests. Learn how to create a relaxing atmosphere, whether it’s worth hiring instructors, and why it’s important to consider your guests’ wellbeing.
How do you create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for your guests?
Alex: Where our treatment rooms are located, they are set almost in like a separate wing, connected to the main hotel so we have dimmed lights, quiet music and a separate spa lounge, where people can wait for their treatments and just relax afterwards too.
There’s nice fruity water on the side and glossy beauty magazines that are based on wellness and holistic treatments.
As for the spa facilities downstairs, we only allow up to eight people at the same time, so people pre-book their slots before arrival and that’s just to make sure that everyone has enough space and not all over each other.
People can stay in their groups and enjoy their time without feeling crowded.
Where should business owners start if they want to start offering wellness retreats or facilities to improve wellbeing?
Alex: I would definitely do some googling because the wellness industry is massive and every year new things come out.
You need to be on the same level, progressing with the new things coming out.
If you’re a business owner and you don’t have any knowledge in the spa or wellness sector, then you would definitely need to hire somebody.
Knowledge is of massive importance in this sector, especially because you’re working with people’s physical health and their mental health too.
When looking to hire someone with knowledge, is there anything in particular that you should look for?
Alex: I’ve been at Losehill for seven years and as Spa Manager, I’ll always be looking for qualifications and relevant experience.
However, sometimes you may not have a lot of experience, but you might be a very nice and caring person and you’re a team player.
Experience and knowledge can come with time. At the moment I do look for the people who love what they’re doing.
What facilities do you have at Losehill House specifically related to wellness?
Alex: We have spa facilities that include a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub.
We do offer treatments as well. We have four treatment rooms and, mostly concentrate on facials and body treatments and massages.
We have a lot of spa days, where people will come and use our spa facilities. They might have a treatment and also have lunch with us. I would say the most popular treatment is the full body massage.
Do you have any activities that are good for wellness? Such as yoga?
Alex: We’re quite a small hotel so we don’t actually offer activities, but only because we don’t have the facilities for that.
We did think about offering pilates because one of our staff is a qualified pilates teacher. So in the future, that might be something people can do here, but at the moment we don’t do any sports activities.
If an owner knows that one of their staff members is a qualified instructor, do you think they should start there? Or should they hire an external person?
Alex: I feel like if you already have this person on board, then why not? I think it’s a great idea. It just depends on whether you have the facilities or not.
Unfortunately, at the moment we don’t have the space to do this, but I think it’s a great idea.
If you have the space and someone who is already trained, then why would you go and look for someone else?
I even considered training in Pilates myself, because it’s not a very long training process and I think it’s great for everyone to have something extra.
And if you don’t already have someone in-house, do you think it would be worth it to hire an external person? In terms of the cost?
Alex: I think so, because it’s very popular now.
People are starting to think more about their health and they aren’t just looking for massages and treatments.
I think as a cost, it’s definitely a win-win for everyone if you can offer something like a yoga class.
What about the products you use at Losehill?
Alex: As a hotel, we like to use local products. The soaps we use in our rooms are locally made.
As a spa, we work with a French company called Thalgo. It’s a marine based company and we’ve been in partnership with them for more than ten years.
Their products are all cruelty free and they use environmentally friendly packaging.
They also do a lot of work with you on your recycling system and they also work with a massive French charity who help to clean beaches and clean the seas.
I think it’s very important at the moment that any products you use in your hotel need to be environmentally friendly.
Why do you think it’s important for hospitality businesses to offer wellness retreats or wellness packages?
Alex: I think because the past couple of years have been a stressful time, whether that’s COVID related or some other situation in the world, it’s nice to have a place where you can just leave your phone on the side, relax and not have to think about anything.
You can be looked after, even if it’s just half a day, it’s really nice to feel this pamper and care.
Do you have any advice for introducing aspects of wellness to your business?
Alex: It all depends on what you can offer. Do you have the facilities? Do you have the space? Do you have enough staff?
If you don’t have enough staff, and for example, they’re poorly and can’t run their yoga session, who else will do it?
It’s very important that you don’t upset your guests. You need to have enough staff to call on to cover any classes or treatments.