We spoke with spa director Brandon Claypool of The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. He gave us an insight into the industry and told us about the strangest spa treatment he's experienced.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
I have always been intrigued with the wellness industry. With a background in exercise physiology and understanding the importance of spa therapies in addition to exercise, I was drawn to spa as a massage therapist and a trainer to marry the two disciplines and provide guests with what was, in 1998, a very unique experience and approach to spa.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry?
I believe it is the overall growth of the industry. Over the years and with increased competition with new spas opening every day, we have had to learn to cater our spa experiences to all demographics to ensure each individual’s needs and expectations are met and exceeded. This allows us to be creative in our menu of services, our marketing efforts, and our service delivery to our guests. It is so rewarding knowing that you are making a difference in a positive healthy way and enhancing people’s lives through wellness.
What has surprised you most about the spa world?
I think what surprises me most about spas in the U.S. is how quickly the industry moves and changes but how slowly it progresses. There are so many wonderful therapies and modalities being used around the world with amazing results and benefits. However, we have been reluctant to accept some of these philosophies and implement them into our operations. I believe with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow, these opportunities would have a profound effect on our operations, the ladies and gentlemen of the spa world, and each and every guest we encounter.
Where do you think the industry is heading?
For several years now, we have been talking about the spa and wellness movement. I think the future of spa is to fully integrate the two to provide not only fitness classes and spa services but also combine Eastern and Western modalities, nutritionists and dietitians, various doctors, and counselors to ensure physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of each of our guests.
What is the strangest client request?
As a massage therapist, I had a client once ask me to provide really deep pressure as they had contracted a parasite oversees and were trying to flush it out with a deep-tissue massage. I politely declined.
What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced? A fish pedicure. The thought of it was a bit disturbing, however, being in the industry, I had to try it just to see what the hype was all about. I will just say, it was not my favorite treatment, and I would not do it again.
What new spa treatment would you like to try?
I am intrigued by the cryo-chambers.
What’s your go-to spa treatment?
As a former collegiate powerlifter, I still rely on my neuromuscular and deep-tissue massage treatment to keep me balanced and active and ready for my day-to-day grind.