Rock Solid Rituals

Verdura Spa lobby at the Verdura Resort (Italy)

Hotel De Rome PoolWith a collection of iconic properties throughout Europe, Rocco Forte Hotels is delving into the world of wellness. This spring, the company launched Rocco Forte Spas, a holistic wellness program that will be incorporated into each of the brand’s seven spas. Overseeing training and development for the hotels, brand manager Irene Forte was also involved in developing the spa program and spearheading the company’s new organic beauty line. Here, she shares how the spas are incorporating the new wellness offerings.

What is your company’s overall spa mission statement?

A: With Rocco Forte Spas, we want guests to find wellbeing at every touchpoint in our hotels. We want guests to be able to continue existing healthy routines and to take home great new habits. We want them to leave us looking, feeling, and being better. We want them to #BeForte.

What sort of training do you offer spa management to help them achieve your company’s mission for its spas?

A: Our spa managers have received a full induction on our Rocco Forte Spas concept that launched in January. We worked with a consultant to help train our managers to live and breathe our concept. We also put our spa management team through our Future Leaders program, our internal management program, to give them the skills and behaviors required to support their own personal growth, to help their teams grow, and to achieve the very best spa results.Verdura Spa

What sort of education and training do you offer brand-wide to your
spa team?

A: We have a dedicated departmental trainer in all of our spas. We offer all new team members a full initiation to our Rocco Forte Spas concept. We also provide them with our Spa Standard Operating Procedures, an extensive manual that not only highlights our philosophy but also details every standard that they must know with modules such as Upselling, Being Natural, and Cultural Awareness. Our teams need to be certified on these standards through regular audits carried out by our departmental trainer. We have a training program on Forte Organics, our very own product line, and the rituals that we carry out with these products.

In what ways, if any, do the spas strive to be eco-friendly?

A: We do our utmost to cut down waste by recycling everything we can. We also have our very own natural and organic brand across all of our spas. Forte Organics is made from the olive oils and fruits from Verdura, our resort in Sicily. In addition, we have partnered with Back Label to create a bespoke fitness line called Forward for Rocco Forte Fitness. Back Label uses only 100 percent organic materials in its clothing.

What do you do to keep your spas at the forefront of industry trends and development?

A: At Rocco Forte Spas, we are constantly trying and testing new spas, treatments, therapies, fitness classes, and health-focused restaurants and food trends. At Villa Spa at our hotel Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt, we just launched the innovative service DNA Gencode, a DNA skin test created by the beauty brand Sepai. It tests and prescribes creams tailored to an individual’s DNA. Villa Spa is the only spa in Germany to offer it. 

What do you think your clients want in a spa experience, and how, as a company, do you meet those needs?

A: Increasingly, we find our spa guests interested in experiencing treatments with natural or organic products. For this reason, we have introduced Forte Organics in all of our spas. The base of the products is Verdura’s organic olive oil and water from Sicily’s Madonie Regional Natural Park. At the same time, we find a lot of guests want face and body treatments with a high-end luxury anti-aging brand that they recognize or know well. With this in mind, we offer such a brand in each of our spas.

On the fitness side, we find there are more and more spa-goers interested in having a good and original fitness offering. While we offer the latest Technogym equipment, we also provide guests with running maps and offer sightseeing running and cycling tours, combining the culture of the city with improving fitness. At De Rome Spa at Hotel de Rome, guests can take in views of Berlin, while enjoying Rooftop Yoga sessions on the hotel’s terrace. At Verdura Spa, there’s outdoor Sunset and Sunrise Yoga, as well as boot camps. Jogging, trekking, and cycling trails meander through the resort’s olive, orange, and lemon trees. Trekking routes are also available outside of the resort, allowing guests to uncover Sicily’s rich culture.

Many spa-goers want nourishing and nutritious snacks and drinks. For this reason, we’ve introduced healthy foods created with nutritionists and healthy chefs. We have not just limited this to our spas, as we know guests want to find this at every touchpoint in our hotels. We have also brought nourishing menus to our restaurants and bars, as well as the in-room dining menus. Bespoke healthy in-room bars are available for guests to book in advance in each hotel.

What sort of elements do you maintain brand-wide, and how do your spas honor their varied locales?

A: As part of Rocco Forte Spas, all of our spas have Rocco Forte Rituals, Rocco Forte Fitness, and Rocco Forte Nourish. Rocco Forte Nourish, for example, ensures that guests can eat healthfully throughout our spas and hotels. While all our hotels offer this, we have partnered with local healthy chefs and nutritionists as far as possible to make it individual to each location, such as Just For You at Hotel Astoria in St Petersburg and Madeleine Shaw at Brown’s Hotel in London.

At Verdura Resort, we offer Rocco Forte Health, which offers a balanced and integrated approach to health using state-of-the-art techniques with programs individualized to every guest. The five health-focused programs we cover are Fit, Slim, Detox, Anti-age, and Relax.It is not available in our city hotels.

Lastly, all of our spas have a design and an atmosphere that is authentic to their location. My aunt, Olga Polizzi, director of design for Rocco Forte Hotels, always captures the mood and the spirit of the location of our hotels and spas and showcases the work of local artisans and artists. Every Rocco Forte spa has a different look and feel.

How do you appeal to spa-goers from various cultures?

A: We ensure that we have a range of different offerings that appeal to all needs and cultures, whether it’s different types of products, treatments, rituals, food, sporting activities, or more. We also offer in-room treatments that are particularly popular with Asian and Middle-Eastern guests. Our spa menus include treatments inspired from all over the world, such as lomi lomi, Abhyanga, Balinese massage, and more. In addition, we deliver cultural awareness training to all of our therapists, many of whom are multilingual. For example, massage styles vary by culture, and it’s important that our therapists have a good knowledge and understanding of this.

Do you work with specific spa product, equipment, and retail brands across your portfolio?

A: We use Forte Organics in all of our spas. We decided to create our own products because of all the amazing active organic ingredients that we grow at Verdura Resort, such as almonds, aloe, apricots, lemons, opuntia (prickly pear), and oranges. Every ingredient has been purposefully selected for its efficacy and skin benefits. As they’re our own, we’ve really been able to ensure that only the very best ingredients are used. Each spa also has a high-end luxury brand that they use. For example, we offer Swiss Perfection at the De Russie Spa in Rome; Carita Paris at The Spa at Brown’s in London; Cellcosmet at The Charles Spa in Munich; Sepai at Verdura Spa in Sicily and at Villa Spa in Frankfurt; and ESPA at The Balmoral Spa in Edinburgh.

Do you offer certain treatments and experiences across the brand?

A: Yes, we offer our Rocco Forte Rituals, which inspire the senses. Aromas abound while our expert therapists pamper guests from head to toe, leaving them feeling fully indulged. Rocco Forte Rituals include a Facial Ritual, a Back Ritual, and a Body Ritual, and in some properties, a variety of Couples’ Rituals. They all begin with a footbath and end with a delicious Forte Organics smoothie—made with the same ingredients that are in our products.

What do you think is your company’s most distinctive spa?

A: Verdura Spa in Sicily is our flagship spa. It is our only resort, so we can offer even more than in our city hotels.

What is the most exciting spa in development?

A: Our next hotel opening is in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. It will feature two large spas for men and women. Designed by Polizzi, it really will offer a new level of luxury.

Number of spas in portfolio: 7

Number of spas in development: 2

Number of spa employees brand-wide: 30 full-time; 60 freelance