This put a smile on my face. I received a happy email a few weeks ago from Anthony Lawrence who is the group director of marketing for Jumeirah. He credited my blog for having introduced him to his future wife. I was puzzled but went back through all the blogs I wrote while in Dubai and found the one I’ve cut and pasted below.
All I can say is…smart man….for quickly following up after I mentioned “stunning” “gorgeous” “Swedish” and “blonde.” Although I wasn’t in town when Anthony came by our Spa Finder offices to say thanks, I was thrilled to know that my blog might have had a bit to do with the two of them getting together.
And to think that I had left off an additional adjective describing Cecelia….she is also very sweet.
My best to you both!
From May 2006:
Dubai SPAspitality: Over to Emirates Towers and a peek at their brand new H²0 Spa – the first all-male spa in Dubai. I’m curious to see how this concept works – a very large hotel with a spa only for men? After meeting with Anthony Lawrence, the group director of marketing (and a very busy man with the telephone), I head down to the all-male spa for a tour. Cecelia Larson, the stunningly gorgeous Swedish, blond spa manager, greets me (I know instantly at least one reason why this spa would be popular with men!) She shows me around – lovely ambiance, minimalist décor, blacks and woods, very small (just a few treatment rooms). The hotel is comprised of 80% male business travelers. Females are relegated to the day spa in the attached shopping center. This hotel does, however, offer the “Chopard Floor,” which has guest rooms for women only, with an all-female staff. The women don’t get a spa – but they do get a floor.
Rarely do I have a spa experience these days which amazes me. But the three hour Royal Sphatika Signature Experience at the pristine clean and inviting Sphatika Spa near Columbus Circle did just that.
Afterward when I spoke to owner Janet League-Katzin, and her colleague Candace Darling, I learned that they have been working to perfect this treatment for five years! And true to my experience, it appears that every move of the therapist’s hand, every spoken word, every touch of product is choreographed to be the most comfortable, the most therapeutic, and the most restful experience possible. It starts with time in one of their three individual infrared saunas (I am a fan of infrared saunas) and moves to a treatment room where partway through the session, which includes exfoliation and massage among other blissful additions, a canopy is lowered from the ceiling and covers the body for a steam.
Helping people get into deep sleep is part of the goal at Sphatika. I was told that almost 100 percent of the people who have this Royal Sphatika fall asleep during the treatment. But it is the restorative sleep that same night that really is impressive.
My advice? This is a day spa amidst many hotels in the area – some have spas and some don’t. The Mandarin Oriental is right across the street, with the Trump International Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton Central Park nearby, among others. If the concierges in those hotels were smart, they would let their guests in on this secret, private, and very unusual spa.
Dinner with Ian Brewis, head of the Chi Spas from the Hong Kong-based Shangri La group, is always a lot of fun because Ian is a lot of fun. (Good thing too, since I surprised him in Shanghai by using the Shangri La website as an example during my speech on spa website design. The conference was held at the Shanghai Shangri La and it seemed fitting to use them as an example, so I showed a photo of their website every few years from inception. Hint, you can go to a website called http://www.waybackmachine.org/ and do this for almost any website.)
Ian was in New York for a few days and stopped by to see our offices and catch up. I remember meeting Ian for the first time when I attended the European ISPA conference held at Celtic Manor – it must have been in the mid 90′s. I was on a pre-conference tour of UK health farms at the time and we stopped at Grayshott Hall where he was the spa director. I remember thinking that Grayshott was a bit like a haunted house at the time but apparently they have remodeled extensively, and Ian tells me it is really quite something now. From a glance at their website, I can see that it has a totally new, even “hip” look.
You have to check out this new product, which is marketed as “color for the hair down there.” Even if you never use it, you’ll want to know about it. Here is the introduction from Nancy Jarecki, who I understand from a friend of hers is quite a hoot. What a clever idea. Wonder what spa will carry it first?
The Betty Story: “I hadn’t planned on starting a cosmetics company. But sitting in a hair salon in Rome a few years ago, I made a discovery. As I saw women leaving the salon, I couldn’t help noticing that some would linger by the door. After a few minutes, their colorist would come back with a little paper bag, hand it to them and send them cheerfully on their way. When I inquired about this mysterious ritual, the receptionist said: “Per sotto, per farli combaciare,” meaning: “For the hair down there… to make it match.” I thought, “How genius… A home coloring kit for the hair down there!”
You can get various shades: brown betty, blonde betty, auburn betty, black betty, or fun betty!
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