Shannon Mariani joined the Forbes Five Star Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas in May of 2014, but her interest in beauty and wellness began long before that. As a child growing up in Colorado, her mother owned a hair salon where Mariani would dream of a future running the business. Since then, Mariani hasmade her dreams come true having forged an impressive career in the luxury spa that has spanned more than 10 years. We chat with the mother of two to find out what the spa industry has been like for her.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
Looking back, I have always been in the spa and beauty industry and have my mother to thank for that. My mother owned a hair salon in Colorado and I used to go to work with her when I was very young. I never wanted to do hair or nails, but I would sit behind the desk and pretend to "run the business" and book appointments. I liked to organize the shop and pretend I was responsible for all decisions. In our household, my mother encouraged a very healthy lifestyle. She taught me how to eat healthy and the importance of exercise. I took my first yoga class with her. I washed my face with great skincare lines at a very young age and learned the importance of taking care of your hair, skin, body and mind. She would buy me massages at the end of the school year as a "good job" present. So, the progression into the spa industry for me was a natural one – I have been living this lifestyle since I was born.
What has surprised you most about the spa world?
I am always surprised by how intertwined and connected we all are in this industry. I always find that no matter who I am talking to – we are somehow connected through a
mutual friend or acquaintance. I think it is this connection that makes us all so willing to help one another. I love that the industry is not a cut throat competitive field, but rather a sharing of like minds and best practices. It betters our community and makes us all stronger.
What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?
A guest requested a two-day service; the first day the entire left side of their body would be massaged but only the left side. The second day the entire right side of their body would be massaged. The services had to be at the same time both days, with the same employees checking the guest in and out and doing the massage. The idea behind it was that the two days mirrored each other exactly. It was part of a cleansing ritual that they were doing following a moon cycle.
What new spa treatment would you like to try?
I am intrigued but the authenticity behind vibrational healing; and would love to try the ancient Thai art of Toksen massage.
What’s your go-to spa treatment?
My go-to spa treatment is cupping therapy on my back and shoulders – preferably with fire cupping; followed by a craniosacral massage and reflexology on my feet. It is absolutely hands down the best combination of services ever.
If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
I would be a stay-at-home mom. I think it is the most rewarding and under recognized job out there.
What’s the best advice you've received?
“The beauty of the rain-dance is in the timing.” This quote meant nothing to me when I was younger and thought it was just silly but as time passed I have come to realize that it is much deeper and has to do with timing of life and patience. I remind myself of this quote and often repeat it to myself when I am unsure of things or impatient. It causes me to sit back and reflect with a clearer mind instead of rushing into decisions that don’t need to be made right away.