Meet Kimberly DeOrsey, former spa director at Salamander Spa at The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort (Destin, FL)
How many years have you been involved in the spa and hospitality industry?
I have been in the spa industry for 25 years. My major in college was Commercial Recreation and Facility Management with a minor in advertising from Central Michigan University.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
As a young child, I was always drawn to healthy living. Both my mother and grandmother were positive role models who also influenced me, which is surely why I was attracted to the health and wellness industry. During college, I was accepted to intern at PGA National Resort & Spa, which was one of the first destination spas in the country. From there, I launched my spa career.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry?
I love being an integral part of creating a spa from concept to reality. The spa community is small, so the bonds and familial friendships created within the industry are strong and everlasting. One of the most challenging is broadening the employee base. Given the obvious need for personal services, staffing concerns affect our industry more than many others. Spa growth is very strong but not when compared with the number of spa employees going into the industry. Sometimes when spas are busy, they still have open rooms and no staff to fill them. I also relish the challenge of keeping the spa experience central to a property’s brand image and at the forefront with management and leadership.
What has surprised you most about the spa world?
That it is not just for women. It is for men, women, and children of all ages. It’s a positive bonding experience for everyone. It’s a lifelong way of life.
Where do you think the industry is heading?
It is following in the growing social media trend and use of technology. Social media has entered into the wellness world and is helping to grow the market with brand image, smart phone promotions, and internet bookings. I think it is becoming more of a necessity versus a luxury, and people are being more mindful to take time care for themselves.
What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?
When I was at a trendy boutique spa in Ft. Lauderdale, a guest would order a beer while at the spa. We decided create a Signature Beer Treatment, which became popular for male spa-goers. Eventually, it was featured on “The Today Show.”
What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?
An ionic footbath. It’s just amazing what comes out and how much better you feel. The ionic cleanings promote the removal of toxins and other impurities in the body through the soles of your feet. The treatment produces a frequency of positive and negative ions, which resonate through the body, stimulating cells and rebalancing energy while giving an all over body cleanse. After the treatment, I felt more mental clarity and had an increase in my energy level.
What new spa treatment would you like to try?
I would like to try cryotherapy. I have done a lot research on this treatment, and it is on the top of my spa bucket list.
What’s your go-to spa treatment?
Depending on what my body needs—whether it is skincare or all-over body care—the two I gravitate to are the HydraFacial or cupping therapy. The Hydrafacial is a non-invasive treatment that provides instant results that restores the skin to its healthiest state. Cupping therapy is a treatment my body responds to very well. I add it to my deep-tissue massages to improve blood flow in my muscles and to help treat pain and muscle tension.
What two things about yourself don’t we know?
In college at Central Michigan University, I was a Special Olympics coach, and we took a ski team to the games. I really enjoyed being able to help promote health and wellness to some really incredible children.
When my husband passed away I was having a hard time getting back into the gym. I wanted to find a way to work out that I could really enjoy and do something totally different. I started surfing. I was 37 years old and able to enjoy the outdoors with my 11-year-old son who just took up the sport. We had the opportunity to bond and do something healthy together.
If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
I always say I should have been a lawyer. I love watching law shows on TV and imagine being an attorney.
How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
Like I tell my kids, especially my daughter, your body is your temple, and no one will take care of it as well as yourself. We are all personally responsible for ourselves.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
I wear a bracelet engraved with “One Day at a Time.” Sometimes I need to take things one hour at a time or one moment at a time. Sometimes you have to slow down to move ahead.