Five minutes with: Christelle Besnier, Four Seasons Hotels UAE's senior spa director
Hotelier Middle East catches up with the senior spa director at Four Seasons Hotels UAE
Were you always interested in beauty and wellness?
In my early years I was indeed attracted to beauty, I remember as a child I would role play with my cousins setting up a pretend perfume shop where I would sell perfumes and creams during summer holidays. Wellness came later, with life experience and professional opportunities to discover this industry. I have always been curious throughout my career and jumped from guest relations roles, before I was offered a project manager role for a spa opening back in 2003.
Do you adopt a different approach for each spa?
The three spas each have their own individual personality and the positioning is clearly different but complement each other nicely for a wider Four Seasons UAE experience. In Dubai, the resort spa in Jumeirah is laid-back with a twist of exclusivity. The Spa at FS DIFC is an intimate spa jewel nested amidst a fashionable boutique hotel and In Abu Dhabi, you enjoy a full comprehensive wellness experience.
What are three key things that spa managers should have in mind?
I believe that the three skills that are the key to success are the following: Active listening, team work and organisation. And I if I am allowed to add an additional three I would add multi-tasking, determination, and self-care.
Would you say personalisation is still a growing trend?
Absolutely! We are all unique and we believe that each treatment should be adapted to each guest and their experience. Our spa team is trained to constantly fine-tune a guest’s preference, from the pressure being adjusted, tweaking the rhythm and flow, the scent of the oil, the music and more.
Are customers in this region more demanding in terms of service standards?
I would say the level of guest expectations when coming to a Four Seasons spa is naturally high, whatever region you are visiting. For the industry in general and specifically for the Middle East, people are very educated when it comes to wellness and beauty and we must ensure we are always offering the very best and latest treatments that are out there.
Which skin care brands do you use in your treatments and why?
We are proudly partnering with Sodashi for the three UAE spas in order to provide our guests with a chemical-free and holistic approach. We have also developed a bespoke spa menu with the Sodashi Arabian Oud oil in order to offer a sense of place. Biologique Recherche facials are offered in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai Jumeirah for a clinical approach and results-driven treatments.
Swiss Perfection can be found only in Abu Dhabi (GCC exclusive) and offers our guests a niche, high-end cellular therapy and transformative face and body treatments.
Do you have any new treatments or product launches on the horizon?
Our retail offering is evolving in each of our three spas in order to enhance our guests experience and lifestyle. Our latest additions are Knesko masks, Tola perfume, Vitamin Well and Sahara Tea.