IY: How did you achieve the position of FLYING FOX’s Spa Manager?
KW: I originally began in the beauty and massage industry on cruise ships, before moving into five-star land-based spas. I then headed into the luxury yachting sector, where I’ve been working for eight years now. But during that time, I’ve stepped out every now and then. I’ve worked for an Olympic-level athlete, as well as operating at various spa retreats in central America, and that’s given me some radically different perspectives on the spa world – and a very versatile repertoire.
IY: What makes the spa special on board FLYING FOX?
KW: When I joined FLYING FOX in the summer of 2017, I did so in the yard. The spa was literally just an empty 400-square-metre space over two floors and it felt like a massive challenge. Nothing had been put in yet, but it meant I was able to give my input from an operational side. I gave advice on the kinds of product we would use, the equipment we’d need and where it would fit into the structure, making sure everything flowed with the designers’ ideas. What we essentially did was create the spa from a shell and the result is something special. Certain areas of the spa open out literally onto the ocean, so you can hear it while you’re being treated and that adds a lovely sensory element to the experience.
IY: What facilities does Flying Fox offer?
KW: One of our highlights is our cryo-sauna, which has the capacity to go down to minus 110 degrees. It forms quite an integral part of our service - for wellbeing, for weight loss, for metabolism, for anti-ageing and especially for muscle recovery. Traditionally, they were only used for athletes and medical professionals, so it’s only entered the wellness arena very recently. But people have quickly realised how extraordinary the health benefits can be. We also have an exceptional hammam, plus a wet massage room with hydro-bath, and a couple’s dry massage room, where we offer all of our facials and various different types of massage. Our underpinning philosophy is simply to provide a seven-star spa and seven-star treatments to every guest that walks through the door.
IY: Do guests select FLYING FOX on account of the spa?
KW: I would hope so, because we have so much to offer them – more in fact than almost any other charter superyacht in the world. We want them to walk into the spa and feel that it adds an extraordinary element of luxury and indulgence to their charter experience. We want them to wander down after breakfast or lunch and feel like they’re in the most serene and tranquil environment imaginable. I certainly couldn’t think of anywhere better to spend my time.
IY: Why do you think the on board spa become so important?
KW: When I first started on boats, the facials and the massages were fairly basic because the spaces were relatively small. But as superyachts have become larger and more advanced, it has become a natural progression. We can now incorporate various different product ranges and the machines that go along with them – like hypobaric oxygen treatments, which are very much a results-driven practice. I think people have also become much more aware of the stresses of daily life and the importance of making time for yourself. So in addition to enjoying the indulgences of a beautiful chef or of nights out or of wakeboarding or kite surfing in exotic waters, they can take the time to come to us; to slow the pace; to relax and recuperate.
IY: What’s your most popular treatment?
KW: Our signature treatment is a combination of Thai and Hawaiian lomi lomi massage. It envelopes the whole body, so it’s a great introduction to the spa. Not only does it bring the client complete relaxation but it also enables us to get to know the client’s body and the client’s needs.
IY: Does your globetrotting give you a fresh perspective on treatments?
KW: Oh, a hundred per cent. When we visited Turkey, I made a point of experiencing a traditional Turkish Hammam ritual, so we could make sure we are as true to the treatment as possible. And wherever we go, even if for a short time, we try to make sure we sample the best of the local treatments with a view to adding them to our repertoire. It means we are always in a position to do something that’s better tailored to a place, a time or a person.
IY: Does the spa world move that fast that you need to keep your skills updated?
KW: Absolutely. There’s no doubt that, as you become more experienced and more comfortable in the spa environment, the quality of your treatment gets better - but to remain at the very top of the game, we need to ensure that the entire spa department takes every opportunity to add to its expertise with training. We need to offer the most flawless treatments available. Our guests expect the best and that’s exactly what they get.