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Global Spa Snapshot: Thalaspa Henri Chenot, Malindi, Kenya
By: Denis Gathanju
Posted: June 29, 2012, from the July 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
“We are a brand that is synonymous with excellence and high quality; and when we came up with the spa, we wanted to be unmatched in every respect,” says Vivaldi.
Malindi, the resort town that sits by the shores of the Indian Ocean in Kenya, Africa, is a tropical beach paradise that is laid back in nature, yet humming with day- and night-long activities. Its tropical climate continues to draw in visitors from far and wide keen on escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life and embracing a whole new world of total relaxation to help rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.
Today, the resort town boasts a strong Italian connection, thanks to the huge Italian community residing in the city and the annual avalanche of Italian tourists who visit the area yearly. It is Malindi’s beauty that captured the heart of former Renault Formula One auto racing boss Flavio Briatore, so much so that the flamboyant Italian billionaire and businessman decided to build a private holiday home on the shores of the Indian Ocean. This proved to be a very popular getaway destination for Briatore and some of his high-flying friends and colleagues, such as British supermodel Naomi Campbell and former Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.
In 2007, Briatore converted this exclusive beach property into a world-class boutique resort called Lion in the Sun Retreat, with only 16 tastefully furnished and well-decorated rooms contained within four large villas. The overall theme adopted in the construction and decoration of the resort is that of the strong Swahili and Arabian influence that characterizes most of the coastal region.
“The world’s best spa”
The elegance of the resort notwithstanding, this beach property has become quite popular, and its popularity resonated the world over, thanks to its state-of-the-art spa. Voted as the world’s best spa by Tatler, a British high-fashion magazine, the resort’s spa—Thalaspa Henri Chenot—is, according to Sabina Vivaldi, the general manager at Lion in the Sun, the only one of its kind in Africa. “We are a brand that is synonymous with excellence and high quality; and when we came up with the spa, we wanted to be unmatched in every respect,” says Vivaldi.
The guiding spirit of the modern spa, explains Vivaldi, is Margarita Mayrata, a pupil for many years of Henri Chenot who, together with a team of expert collaborators from Kenya, Italy, the Philippines and Spain, looks after the guests in a totally personalized environment.