Spa Talk With Constance McCarty of The Sanctuary Spa at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa

Meet Constance McCarty, spa director at The Sanctuary Spa at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa (Scottsdale, AZ), who has 25 years of experience in the spa and hospitality industry. 

Photo credit: Constance McCarty

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

I was extremely interested in skincare growing up and wanted to clear my own skin, so I went to esthetics school and that was the start of my journey.

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

The spa industry can be challenging, as it's evolving so quickly and with that, you have to be self-aware and ready for everything new that comes your way. I think the most rewarding part of the industry is friendships I have built over the years and watching everyone expand their roles in our industry. 

What is your proudest accomplishment? 

One of my proudest accomplishments was moving to Arizona from Washington with my husband when I was 19 years old. We had very limited resources and I had just graduated from esthetics school, so it was a bit scary. I started a new role at the front desk at The Phoenician and worked extra shifts at its spa, ultimately landing me the opportunity as a treatment provider. This was the beginning of my luxury spa career.

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

What surprises me most is how much the industry has evolved in the past 25 years – it’s more about creating customizable experiences based on what guests need rather than general treatments. I think it’s changed from people wanting to pamper themselves to now truly bettering themselves. 

Where do you think the industry is heading?   

Wellness has become a big part of people's lives and can be seen through increased memberships, private wellness clubs, and self-care travel. The spa and wellness programs are now the driving factor for travelers selecting a resort. At Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney's Resort & Spa, our goal is to cultivate this, providing guests with a space for relaxation and privacy, while truly creating a ‘sanctuary’. 

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?    

Zinc! At the moment, I’m especially loving Pot of Shade: Heliotropic SPF from Kypris Skincare.

What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?  

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to hold multiple positions in a spa environment, from the front desk to fitness. I’ve also managed different types of spas, which has provided me a better appreciation and understanding of what goes into a successful spa, making me a better and well-rounded leader.  

Was there a time you had to make a decision in your career that ended up changing your destiny? 

The move I made from Washington to Arizona was pivotal in shaping my career. Moving to a place where there were more opportunities in the wellness community catapulted my career into roles, which otherwise would not have been possible. My husband and I were both entering into new careers, so we were able to lean on one another during this time of uncertainty and growth. We never looked back and forged ahead in this new life we were creating. 

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

I’ve always loved traveling so I think something on the global level – helping people create wellness experiences for travel. 

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?   

I would sum up my personal philosophy in this quote, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” No matter who I am speaking with, I want them to leave feeling a little lighter.

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

With my family – watching my kid’s soccer games or having friends over for a great meal because my husband is a chef! I also love to be near water, so it is great when we can travel to a beautiful lake or the ocean for a getaway.   

What are your three greatest priorities in life?   

  1. Everything I do orbits around the needs of my family.
  2. Consistently looking for ways to increase my own personal wellness.
  3. I’m always looking for ways to create meaningful experiences for myself and others.   

What’s the best advice you’ve received?  

This too shall pass.