Q & A with Belgin Aksoy, owner of Richmond Nua Wellness-Spa (Sapanca Sakarya, Turkey)

Belgin AksoyHow many years have you been involved in the spa and hospitality industry?

I have been in the hospitality industry for 22 years and in the spa and wellness industry for 10 years.

What path led you to the spa industry?

Because we own Richmond Pamukkale Thermal, I visited many thermal areas throughout Europe over the years to learn more. The Aksoy Group, my family’s business, decided to invest in the spa industry. Being a spa industry pioneer in Turkey, we will be celebrating Richmond Nua’s 10 year as the first and only destination spa in the country.

What have you learned from working in the spa industry?

I personally believe everything happens for a reason. Ten years ago, I had health issues and realized nothing else matters if you don’t have your health. The industry pushes you to be more aware of the values money can’t buy. Richmond Nua has been a gift for me.

I had thyroid cancer 10 years ago, around the time my son was born. I was breast feeding him and had to stop when I had the operation. Since then, I’ve prioritized my health and wellness and put all the other things—like work—into perspective. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, and saying, “I have no thyroid. My medication will give me cellulite, and I’m going to gain tons of weight,” I started taking baby steps to exercise more and avoid sugar. I got hooked on being fit. Now, I get up at 5:30am every day to work out. My friends ask, “Are you crazy? Why are you doing it? And I say, “I’m doing it for me.” Only for me. By the time I wake up my son, I’m full of endorphins. I feel great, and I’m ready for the new day.”

What is your proudest accomplishment?

To know that every day we pull one more person into our wellness world with the Wellness Day project we started three years ago. Our aim is to celebrate it globally. That day will be my happiest.

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

How much the world needs the spa industry, and how everything, in the end, leads to wellness.

Where do you think the industry is heading?

The spa and wellness industry will no longer be thought of as a luxury but as a necessity. Every day, we need the industry more. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030, the world’s biggest health threat will be depression. The rapid growth of technology and social media is pushing us toward obesity, unhappiness, and loneliness. There will be a return to the basics, as we remember to listen to ourselves and connect with our hearts and Earth.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?

I tried a Hay Bath in Tyrol, Austria, and found it bizarre.

What new spa treatment would you like to try?

I would like to try a salt cave.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

Watsu. It’s a life-changing experience.

What brands are your favorites?

Ila and Kerstin Florian

What two things about yourself don’t we know?

I love crystals and have been a Swarovski collector for 20 years. Also, my nickname in high school was stork due to my height.

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

I would be a nutritionist.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Notes, notes, always take notes, so says my father.