Hi Bali! Q & A with Mary Darling.


Forget bi-coastal, how about bi-hemispheric?  Get to know the talented Mary Darling, whose many irons in the fire currently include starting Bali Wellness Journeys.

How many years have you been involved in the spa/hospitality industry?

I have been involved with the hospitality community for over 30 years, yikes!

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

Pathways can be very surprising; I served Big Macs, balloons, and unpacked boxes as a teenager then created sandwiches while in college so that when I tired of smelling like french fries I thought a job in hotel would be fun and clean ~ it is that and so much more.  Hotel work 'hooks' you and for years I followed the career path that is expected in large American hotel companies. Then we went sailing, and encountered some personal stormy seas which caused another series of detours into Training & Development teaching Leadership classes to new Hotel Managers. Then an opportunity presented itself to be a Country Manager for a Spa Management company which then led to a Regional Director role ~ the transition opened my eyes to an entire new language;  essential oils? carriers oils? the pros and cons of disposable underwear, etc. to new profiles for hiring as well as the challenges of professionalizing an industry with a sometimes shady reputation & business practices.  Spa & Wellness world is fascinating and never dull offering a wide range of opportunities.

What is your favorite place in the whole world?

Hmm…. so difficult since I love walking city streets like Bangkok or Chicago ( in the summer never in winter :) but there is something about the Sonoran desert especially once in Mexico with both the mountains and the Sea of Cortez ~ so quiet and peaceful like north Bali with its black sand beaches or Catalina with its amazing evening light.

If you could have any profession in the world, other than what you do now, what would you be?

The new Oprah, with her grace to influence so many along with her ability to change people's lives.

What is your motto or concept that you live by?

Lately 'its been delegate or delete'……

What is your most treasured possession?

Red glittered shoes that were a gift from my sister to remind me 'there is no place like home' and no, I do not wear them since they are baby sized and split up between our home in Arizona and Bali.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

Thai Massage ~ it really is a lazy person's yoga.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Being selected as a Top Spa Guru by Asia Spa took me by surprise and I feel terribly honored to be in the company of Susie Ellis, Sam Foster, Cathy Chon, and others.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To have the ability to lose the mental baggage 'earned' by years of living.

Care to share any details on family life; i.e. spouse, partner, children, pets?

Sure, my husband & I met at work ages ago, he too is a Hospitality Consultant specializing in preOpening QA Technical Services.  We have (2) Bali dogs ~ Elle & Chi Chi ~ who were orphaned and rescued by us. We also consider our 'village' as our  extended family in both Arizona and Bali ~ need them or could not do what we do.
Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.

I left my Hotel GM job in Southern California to sail off to Mexico and the South Pacific with my husband for an uknown amount of time and an unknown final destination & I went to Speech classes for stuttering when I was a kid which surprises me even now given how much I can talk.

Suggested Articles

Teresa Flyger of Hilton Worldwide and Sallie Fraenkel of Mind Body Spirit Network have joined the GSN Planet Board of Directors.

Watch as American Spa gets to experience the device that's setting itself apart in the skincare industry.

Meet Natalie Gilbert, wellness director at Mountain Sky Wellness Center (Emigrant, MT), who started in the industry at age 17.