At the conference here in the Philippines I kept coming across Tony de Leede and his infectious enthusiasm for the new Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, which he opened a mere six months ago. I met him in New York shortly before the opening of the retreat when he stopped in to meet our team at the Spa Finder office.
Tony is a salesman, and he made sure in a scant 20 minutes that I was aware of the Gwinganna concept. Other than having trouble pronouncing the name, I did “get” the concept and was anxious to see how it would develop. It sounded a bit like the California Golden Door or Cal-a-Vie destination spas (right down to the small number of rooms – 40) in the Australian bush with an organic and eco-friendly focus. Since I have some experience with this, I volunteered that he would probably have to be patient in terms of building occupancy.
Well, catching up with him here at this spa conference I find out that they are going gangbusters. Not only have they already had some sold-out weeks – but Hugh Jackman has apparently become a raving fan. He has already been there several times and wants to buy property in the area so he can visit more regularly.
Hmmm…I am a Hugh Jackman fan. My new suspicion? As soon as Hugh starts talking Gwinganna (hopefully he can pronounce it), that organic lifestyle retreat might be really hard to get into.