Meet Dawn Page, spa director of The Spa at Cliff House (Neddick, ME) and a 25-year veteran in the hospitality industry.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry? I sold residential real estate for seven years in Las Vegas. After the market crashed in ’07, I decided to change careers. My now- husband (and massage therapist) encouraged me to go to massage school. He helped me find an amazing school and packed up all my belongings and moved to Austin, TX. While attending school full time, I got a position working at Lake Austin Resort Spa. I started working as a spa concierge and then on to many positions there. I loved it, and working in a luxury spa was a natural fit for me. My mother was the owner of a beauty salon, so I guess you could say that I grew up around health and beauty.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry? The most challenging and rewarding is leading free-spirited people and delivering to corporate bottom lines. It’s like herding butterflies. What has surprised you most about the spa world? It amazes me that still after thousands of years of wellness traditions throughout the world that there are still modalities and techniques that are just being discovered by the Western world.
Where do you think the industry is heading? The public is becoming more educated about positive health and wellness habits. They are more conscientious of how stress, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition negatively affect their wellbeing and want to take an active role to prevent this. I believe now more than ever, people will be looking to spas and wellness providers to be the teachers and guides to help integrate these self-care practices into their daily lives. There will be more botanicals and fewer chemicals and organic plant-based products straight from nature. Spas will be key players to lead green initiatives throughout the world. I believe the spa industry is a force to lead in the movement of conscious wellbeing and peaceful human interaction.
What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded? A guest had a special request to leave the spa through our back-of-house area. She said she was so relaxed and clean after her spa experience, she did not want to leave through the regular exit for fear that she would become stressed out and contaminated by going back into the public areas.
What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced? I once received a pedicure in Panama where they soaked my feet in an old ice cream pan with hot water and Ajax liquid soap and filed my callouses with a sanding pad that was rolled like a cone. I think it was a 50-grit—like the one you’d find in your grandpa’s woodshed used to strip wood furniture. I was living on a sailboat for months and was desperate.
What new spa treatment would you like to try? A sensory deprivation float tank.
What’s your go-to spa treatment? Thai massage is my favorite, and recently, I’ve become more interested in sound healing.
What two things don’t we know about you? My first career was a professional dancer in Las Vegas, and I crewed on a sailboat for seven months that sailed from Ensenada, Mexico, to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
If you could work in any other profession, what would it be? I would be a beekeeper. I am fascinated with bees and all they contribute to our ecosystem.
How would you sum up your personal philosophy? Make it a priority in your life to amaze yourself. Seek to learn about things you never knew existed, communicate with people who are different than you, and do things you never imagined that you could do. You will be rewarded with courage, lifelong friends, and endless possibilities.
What’s the best advice you’ve received? Don’t be fooled by the Golden Rule and assume that others want to be treated the same way you do. Listen to what others have to say, and treat them how they want and need to be treated. You cannot project your needs onto others. Being a better listener improves communication and when those around you feel heard, love grows.