Q & A with Criswell Abel, spa director at the Island Spa Catalina

Criswell AbelMeet Criswell Abel, spa director at the Island Spa Catalina and a 14-year spa veteran. 

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

Thanks to my interest in science and interacting with people, I started off with a bachelor of arts in sociology at Concordia University and continued into pre-nursing. I then decided to attend esthetics school at the nationally acclaimed holistic Euro Institute of Skin Care.

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

The most challenging is balancing work and life, as the hours can be very demanding. The most rewarding is the ability to impact not just someone’s day but actually how they feel about themselves.

What has surprised you most about the spa world?

How incredibly blessed I’ve been to have such a fruitful and diverse career, all within the spa industry.

Where do you think the industry is heading?

I think skincare has been heading for some time in a much more scientific direction while spa, in general, is encompassing whole health.

What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?

A guest asked to leave in the middle of her facial to go pick up her dog from the groomers.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?


What new spa treatment would you like to try?

VenusFreeze for cellulite

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

The HydraFacial, a combination treatment that includes deep cleansing, exfoliation, and an infusion of hyaluronic acid. It absolutely brings back the glow.

What are two things about yourself we don’t know?

I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Whitefish, MT, and I have two titanium hips.

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

Animal rescue

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”—Paulo Coelho

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Actions first, feelings follow.