The future of luxury Spas: in conversation with Kasha Shillington of Resense for Kempinski

Kasha Shillington CEO of Resense S.A., a joint venture between Kempinski Hotels & Resorts and Raison d’Etre Spas has spoken exclusively to CPP-LUXURY.COM about his company’s vision for the future of Spa, opportunities, challenges and trends.

What is your approach to Spa operations? Does each property, individually, have the liberty to opt for a particular Spa brand and/or consultant?

In early 2009, Kempinski decided that they wanted to define a clear spa strategy for spa and wellness. Kempinski first evaluated two of the typical models of managing hotel spas in the hotel market, i.e.:
1. Outsource spa and wellness to external operators via lease or management agreement; or
2. Create an internal division with direct employees experienced in spa.

Kempinski ultimately decided that these options were not the best solution for their hotels as they wanted to ensure that standards and profits to owners were not compromised and to have the depth and breadth of expertise of a company, rather than individuals.

As a result, Kempinski canvassed the market to find the ideal independent, luxury spa company to set up a joint venture company with. Resense Spa SA (‘Resense’) was created in 2009 and is a collaboration between Kempinski Hotels and Raison d’Etre. This union brought together Kempinski’s hotel management excellence and Raison d’Etre’s experience in tailor-making holistic spas and spa brands.

This joint venture recognises that hotel spas ultimately need strong cooperation between the hotel and the spa to be successful. Resense and Kempinski are focussed upon ensuring the guest’s experience is one they will wish to repeat and to also maximise the spa’s financial performance. So far, Kempinski Hotel’s spas managed by Resense are achieving higher profitability and quality ratings than they did before. As a result, Resense is arguably the fastest growing global spa company with 39 spas in operation and development after only 4.5 years.

Across your chain of hotels and resorts, which properties boast the most comprehensive Spa offering?

Our flagship spas are the following:
• ‘The Adlon Spa by Resense’ at Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, Germany
• Kempinski The Spa at Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains Saint Moritz, Switzerland
• Kempinski The Spa at Das Tirol Hotel Kempinski Jochberg – Kitzbühel Alps, Austria
• Resense Spa at Summerland Hotel & Resort Kempinski Beirut, Lebanon (opening 2014)
• Resense Spa at Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City Accra, Ghana (opening 2014)

 What are the most popular Spa services/packages requested by your guests? Is there a preferred brand or a set of brands you feature at your Spas?

As for most hotel spas, massages do tend to make up the majority of treatments. This is typically because most guests will opt to try this first prior to trying other treatments.

In our view, the best treatment for a guest is the one that provides them with what they truly desire and need at that point in time. Our Kempinski The Spa brand was designed to achieve this. The European Seasons, inspired by Kempinski’s heritage, provide an effective way for guests and our spa teams to ensure that our guests leave with the right result… the result they wanted; by ensuring they select or we recommend the right treatment in the first place.

Resense operates two brands in Kempinski Hotels – Resense ‘The European Spa’ and Kempinski The Spa.

Kempinski The Spa is a journey inspired by the European cycle of the seasons. Drawing on the elemental wisdom of nature, the treatments both invoke and restore the body’s natural equilibrium. Kempinski The Spa can be incorporated easily in Kempinski hotels or residences, and adapted to their geographical location.

Resense – The European Spa is the renaissance of the classical European spa. A fusion of modern and traditional design, art, music, therapies and bathing. Resense Spa is the ultimate luxury spa that leaves no detail to chance. Resense Spa is available to Kempinski hotels, other luxury hotels or as standalone spas.

Drawing on Resense’s ability to create the perfectly tailored spa or spa brand for a particular hotel or group, Resense also creates white label spas for specific target markets.

From your research and feedback from guests, what do your guests seek from a Spa experience? (instant effects when it comes to skin related treatments versus healthy and lifestyle)

Our experience show that guests are looking for authentic and luxurious experiences; and a wide variety of outcomes. This is why Resense’s tailored approach to each spa works. Each spa may have one of the above brands at its core, but it is then tailored to its particular market and the predominant guest profile is carefully considered. There is definitely a clear demand in the world for ‘instant results’, but equally there is a growing consciousness of the benefits of a consistent approach to wellness considering diet, fitness and lifestyle.