Q & A with Spa Consultant Extraordinaire Rianna Riego

Rianna Riego

Rianna Riego

Find out which top spa consultant is a "closet speedster" and faithful fan of General Hospital and All My Children. 

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


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

In 1997, I was asked to consult in the leasing of the day spa at the Four Seasons Maui.  At the time, the Day Spa offered all the salon and facial services.  The spa there only offered the massage.  I was involved from the initial negotiations, to hiring, and set up of all the equipment and the financial  and retail systems in place.  My background at the time was mostly in marketing, sales and retail for resorts.  My only experience with spa was as a spa guest and the only spa I had ever been at was the Grand Wailea in Maui.  Needless to say, I had to learn very quickly about that side of the spa industry.  I continued to consult until 1999 and did full time membership sales at the Grand Wailea until I moved to California (Palm Springs area) in 2001 a few weeks before 9/11.  After weathering the 6 months of freeze hires all over the place, I got a call back from the Renaissance Esmeralda which was opening their spa in April.  They hired me in February of 2002 and handed me a spa still in its final stages of construction, without a name, a menu of services, staff, software or any supplies.  I opened the Esmeralda Spa, my very first resort spa barely three months later in early May.  Since then, I opened several spas for the Marriott and trained several of their directors.   Eventually I moved to La Costa in 2006 and assisted the acquisition of other KSL and Club Corp spas during my 3.5 year tenure.

What is your favorite place in the world?

HOME... I've lived in the Philippines, New Jersey, Maui and Palm Springs.  I've traveled to Europe, South America, Carribean, Asia and all over the US.  I truly believe that every place has its own beauty but home is where the heart is.

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

Helping set up and manage Wellness Centers for Women all over the world.

What is your motto or concept that you live by?

Be true to yourself.

What is your most treasured possession?

Our dogs Indy and Chawmba.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

80-100 custom deep tissue, reflexology, myofascial and nueromuscular massage.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Making it on my own... After my divorce in the early 90's, I had to start from scratch in Maui, a very expensive place to live.  I didn't ask for money from my parents, nor did I have any family in the area that could help me.  I managed my finances so after two years, I had my own nest egg and even started my own portfolio.  I reinvented myself as a spa operator when I was 39 and worked hard to be where I am now.If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My temper - I have a very short fuse when it comes to whining and pettiness.  it's been a work in progress, but I try my best to NOT REACT immediately or diffuse it by surrounding myself with buffers like great assistants...

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

I would wish that every person would have a spouse like mine who constantly tells me how proud he is of me, who is not intimidated by my successes and celebrates it, and who makes an effort to love my family, friends and all my TV shows as much as I do.  We have two 'boys' - a 8.5 year old Golden Retriever named Indy, and his younger brother, a 2.5 year old espresso lab named Chawmba.

Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.

As most of you know, I'm very transparent, maybe too much.  So this is a difficult one...I 'm a closet speedster (I love going 110 miles an hour on the 10 especially when I was traveling between Tucson and Palm Springs) and I am a faithful fan of General Hospital and All My Children since 1987.