Spa Talk With Anne Melby of Loma de Vida Spa at La Cantera Resort & Spa

Meet Anne Melby, director of spa and recreation at Loma de Vida Spa at La Cantera Resort & Spa (San Antonio), who has nearly 30 years of experience in the spa and hospitality industry.

Photo credit: Anne Melby

What was the path that led you into the spa industry?

I was going through the Foreign Service Exam Testing and I had to wait in between testing and passing to the next level and wanted a job to pay my bills across a six-month period. My friend worked at Lake Austin Spa Resort and mentioned that they needed someone in Reservations. I fell in love with the industry and the rest is history.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being in the spa industry?

For me, the most challenging part of working at a senior level in the spa industry is traveling as a single mother. Having a toddler child with 105 degree fever while I’m across the country taking care of business is not a great feeling. I’m sure all parents can relate to this one!

The most rewarding part of being in the spa industry is getting to be part of making someone’s day, week, month, or even life. We have a privileged position of being able to be a part of someone’s engagement, wedding, birthday, or special celebration. We also get to be part of a healing journey for those who are suffering from emotional loss, distress, or physical challenges. Having a job where we get the instant gratification of seeing our guests smile and relaxed is a gift. 

What is your proudest accomplishment?  

Successfully having two kids after five years of IVF. My wellness journey included acupuncture, v-steams, Mayan massage, moxibustion, nutrition, Kundalini yoga, and Meditation. The mind-body connection is powerful. I'm proud of connecting with other people going through IVF and supporting them on this very sensitive, emotionally stressful, highly judged, and often painful journey. 

What has surprised you most about working in the spa industry?  

I did not anticipate the long impact that Covid would have on the industry. I was very optimistic in the beginning and was hoping to move through it in two months.  

Where do you think the industry is heading?   

I believe integrative medicine will take a bigger focus in spa and in our lives overall. There are a lot of predictive tests and blood tests that can be done to identify cancer and other illnesses in the earliest stage to where immediate action can be taken to manage the potential outcome. IV hydration therapy and IV vitamin hydration therapy are already starting to be available in most cities. Also, mental wellness will play a bigger role in programming. I also think there will be more treatments to combat the effects of COVID, such as hair loss, memory fog, and a compromised immunity system.

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?

Peptides. Peptides are amino acids that improve skin elasticity, promote collagen production, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Was there a time you had to make a decision in your career that ended up changing your destiny? How did you handle that challenge and what was your thought process?

Starting my own company during COVID was for many reasons the right thing to do. High-level positions were being downsized so options were not plentiful at that time. Creating my own company attracted many opportunities where I got to work with different companies and in some cases was hired by them as an employee. Coming from a company where I had been the master of all systems; having to navigate into fresh waters with new technology, different cultures, and different onboarding systems vastly broadened my skillset and knowledgebase in a very short period of time.   

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would you be?

I love animals so would have loved to have been a veterinarian. However, it is so devastating when an animal dies that I’m better suited for my current profession. One of my favorite life memories is when I was a teenager at my grandparents’ farm, with plastic gloves up to my shoulders, reaching in and pulling a calf out of a cow that was stuck. I saved the cow and the calf and, of course, the calf was named after me.

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?  

Do the right thing. Sometimes that is really hard and you know you will get personal consequences but it will always lead to good outcomes. I truly believe that good things come to good people even if they are a little delayed at times.  

How do you like to spend your time away from work?  

I like to spend my time with my kids, friends, and family. I like to make memories and truly enjoy every moment.

What are your three greatest priorities in life?  

Providing a great life and education for my kids; making sure I learn all the life lessons I’m here to learn; staying healthy and living until I’m 90+.

What’s the best advice you’ve received? 

Take care of yourself. Without you, there is nothing to give to everyone else.