Q&A with Amy Olthoff, Spa Director, Spa Nalai at Park Hyatt New York

Amy Olthoff, Spa Nalai, Park Hyatt New YorkHow many years have you been involved in the spa and hospitality industry?
12 years

What has surprised you most about the spa world?
The variety: there are so many different schools of thought within the spa industry (holistic, naturopathic, cosmeceuticals, dermatology, ayurvedia, crystal therapy, etc.). It is evolving every day and in the past 10-plus years, I have seen the industry shift greatly.
Where do you think the industry is heading?
Over the past 10 years, I have seen the industry shift to support the mind/body connection, and that average person is now seeing this connection. It means our work is making an impact on the community around us and our society as a whole. People seem more aware of what they are putting into their bodies (food, chemicals, hormones, etc.) and the positive and negative effects of external factors. The sheer impact of stress on the human body is almost overwhelming—interrupted sleep patterns, weight gain or loss, skin conditions such as blemishes and eczema, etc.

What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?
I have had guests request their massage pressure to be so firm that it “causes pain." This is always a strange one because it is contraindicative to what a spa service should be.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?
The Kur! I had my very first European Kur treatment (a contrast of hot and cold, typically involving a cold sheet wrap) about 12 years ago. I had never had a spa treatment before and this one was a shock to the system. But to this day, I swear by the benefits of hot and cold contrast therapies; you will never have better sleep, renewed energy or more rapid detoxification than with something like a Kur.

What new spa treatment would you like to try?
I am really interested in visiting a “health hotel” where it is a complete retreat of spa, fitness, nutrition – the total wellness experience. There is also a resurgence of mineral springs/ hot springs happening right now that is very exciting…now I just have to convince my husband to join me!

What’s your go-to spa treatment?
A facial, 100 percent. I love the glow I have after a good facial, there is nothing quite like receiving compliments on how youthful your skins looks…everyone wants to appear more youthful!

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
I would be a doctor of naturopathic medicine; my grandfather was a chiropractor and doctor of naturopathic medicine. I used to ask him so many questions as a kid and he would let me help out at his office. I am sure I was terrible at answering the phones, but his patients loved me. It was the reason I began working in a spa; I was so fascinated not only by medicine, but the alternative means of healing we have available to us throughout the world.