Spa Talk With Lacey Matsumoto of Hawanawana Spa at Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Meet Lacey Matsumoto, spa director of Hawanawana Spa at Four Seasons Resort Lanai (Lanai City, HI), who has more than 15 years of experience in spa, hotel, and retail operations.

Photo credit: Lacey Matsumoto

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

I started in the industry as a corporate management trainee for the rooms division and held various positions before finding my niche with the spa industry.

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

Today’s clients are more sophisticated, and although they seek what is familiar, they also want something new. Remaining ahead of the curve in an industry that seems to move at light speed when it comes to innovation, design, technology, and most importantly, trends seem to be a constant challenge. Being in the spa industry is one of the most rewarding jobs in hospitality, a spa experience can be life-changing in so many ways. How we make someone feel is priceless!

What is your proudest accomplishment?  

As a leader, I have always been able to understand the bigger picture, to lead through integrity and with I believed, a keen sense of adaptability. But navigating post-COVID tested my skills and resourcefulness in completely new ways. The experience challenged me to really think creatively about how our guests could enjoy and benefit from our services, which are typically very high-touch. It also gave me the opportunity to learn how to flex at any given moment all while being a pillar of strength and positivity for my team and colleagues through enthusiastic and open leadership.

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

How incredibly supportive everyone in the spa industry is.

Where do you think the industry is heading?  

Something that was once perceived as a luxury is moving into preventative and prescriptive medicine as people are more aware of the benefits of massage, health and wellness, fitness, and meditation. Guests’ expectations are shifting toward more scientific and evidence-based wellness to promote deeper healing. They seek more results-driven as well as long-term benefits. Spas are starting to explore options to deliver on these expectations by partnering with medical aesthetic providers as wellness as moving toward a more individualized definition as people are looking to live in the healthiest was possible.  

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient? 

Vitamin C, but really anything anti-aging!

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

Managing housekeeping was instrumental in my career. There I learned the foundations of being a leader. Working alongside some of the most hard-working team members taught me humility and empathy.

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?  

When my position in housekeeping was eliminated, I was offered a receptionist position at the spa. I reluctantly accepted the job, but quickly changed my mindset and mastered my craft, advancing with each role. When I started my career in hospitality, spa was not in my plan, however, the choice to pivot departments and start anew in a completely different area turned out to be one the best decisions I ever made. Everything happens for a reason.

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

A professional golfer!

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?  

A quote by Maya Angelou - “People will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” My parents instilled in me an ethic to treat others the way you want to be treated, which coincidentally, is the mission statement of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Founder Isadore Sharp introduced The Golden Rule to colleagues, where it guides our interactions with our guests, our business partners, but most importantly, with each other. Several decades ago, Four Seasons was introduced based on The Golden Rule: to treat others as we’d wish to be treated ourselves. 

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

I enjoy being outdoors, going hiking, or relaxing at the beach with a good book. I recently took up golfing. It’s a work in progress, but a lot of fun.

What are your three greatest priorities in life?  

Family, health, and gratitude

What’s the best advice you’ve received? 

To remove the emotional component and believe in your ability to figure things out.