Spa News April 2014

The Great White Shirt

Photograph by Lionel Phoenix

Everyone needs a great white shirt or two, it’s a wardrobe staple. And spa style just catapulted to a whole new level with these easy, breezy, tunic-style designs from the White Lace Shirt Collection by Char Designs (, based in Santa Fe, NM, and now available at Travaasa Resort & Spa in Austin, TX ( The soft San Juan Blouse, left, and the sleek Spanish Tunic feature hand-cut lace designs and shell buttons, perfect over jeans or leggings for a casual weekend, or under a blazer, for work.

These shirts are made in Indonesia from 100 percent locally sourced cotton by Balinese women who create hand-sewn goods to support their community, and photographed for Organic Spa Magazine in the spa at Travaasa, a luxurious 11-room organic spa in the beautiful Balcones Canyonlands Preserve overlooking Lake Travis. Jewelry by Demian&Alex;

—Rona Berg

The Gift of Giving Back

Big news is breaking on the spa front! Philippe Therene, founder of SpaEquip, Inc., recently announced the launch of The Gift of Spa, a new nonprofit program he created to help spread the spa love around. It kicks off with Akela Spa in Deadwood, SD. We sat down with Therene to discuss how this industry first will work.

What is The Gift of Spa?

Philippe Therene: It will provide spa services to people in need who might otherwise never experience the healing benefits of spa. Spas who buy from SpaEquip and choose to participate will receive an annual 2 percent reimbursement of their total purchases, which they will in turn match to total 4 percent, and provide spa services of equal value to a local charity of their choice.

Where did the inspiration come from?

PT: I also always thought the business world has to contribute as much as possible to help improve people’s lives by being socially responsible. I was inspired after discussing “give back” initiatives within the spa industry with Rona Berg, Editor-In-Chief of Organic Spa Magazine, at a Green Spa Network Conference, and after listening to keynote speaker Blake Mycoskie, Toms Shoes founder, at the ISPA conference.

How does it work?

PT: The spa purchasing equipment and supplies from SpaEquip will receive a 2 percent rebate at the end of the year, use that money to provide services to an agreed-upon local charity, and also match the same amount in spa services. To increase the services offered to battered women’s shelters, organizations that help struggling single moms and dads, cancer patients, underprivileged teens and others for whom a spa treatment might be out of reach, spas will have the option of asking other local businesses and organizations to match the 2 percent and increase the in-kind donation. The services can be performed at the spa, the charity’s location, or a third party location within the community.

What is your goal for The Gift of Spa?

PT: Through my business I wanted to find a way for under-served individuals to enjoy a spa experience, feel better about themselves and hopefully enjoy a better life. I look forward to partnering with many of our clients to spread the positive impact of spa.

Why is it important for the industry?

PT: The spa industry is about healing and well-being—this is the core of our business. By reaching people who need this the most, we are spreading good karma in the world and ultimately making the world a better place for all. —Lily Nikolai 

Checking in with Six Senses

It’s been a busy year for Six Senses.  Along with welcoming new owners and announcing plans for new properties (including its first-ever North American location), the groundbreaking eco-luxury spa and resort brand created a number of new executive positions, including a Vice President of Sustainability and a Vice President of Spa & Wellness.  We checked in with Amber Marie Beard, the new Sustainability head, for her thoughts on trends, 2014 plans—and to find out whether her job is as interesting as it sounds.

Tell us a bit about your background prior to joining Six Senses.

Amber Marie Beard: After studying architecture, I worked as a sustainability manager for a global construction and development company in Boston, then I oversaw sustainability programs for property development and real estate investment finance companies in Hong Kong and Singapore. Sustainability in hospitality is a whole new area for me, and I love it, as it presents an even greater ability to have a positive impact on communities and environments.

What are some of the key aspects of your post?

AMB: I provide executive-level leadership to ensure that sustainability is integrated consistently across the Six Senses hotels, resorts and spas, and that we work to preserve and conserve the local environments and cultural heritages of our destinations—and have a positive impact in the communities beyond our property walls.  I also want to make sure we communicate and share our sustainability initiatives with our guests.

What are some projects to look forward to this year?

AMB: We are going to develop a Sustainability Team across the company to support the roll-out of enhanced practices at our properties—including our spas—and will also develop a uniform strategy around how Six Senses works with our local communities on these issues.

What are some trends you are seeing in sustainable hospitality?

AMB: Sustainability has always been at the heart of our brand since its beginning 20 years ago, but we are now seeing an increasing amount of transparency, accountability and reporting on these issues in the hospitality industry. There’s also a growing awareness among travelers on the importance of sustainable tourism, and an increased demand to stay in green or sustainable hotels, and for hotels that grow fresh, organic fruits and vegetables directly on property.  —Sandra Ramani

Organic Spa Magazine
Organic Spa Magazine

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