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Hints of India

By: Mary Bemis
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the April 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Williams, whose former spa gigs include stints at New York’s spa at The Plaza Hotel and corporate sales for Bliss, says, “This has been a beautiful process to watch how the therapists train and learn. I’ve worked at quite a few spas where therapists are tested by completing a practical.” It’s this kind of training and camaraderie that ultimately benefit the client in the end. “Simon told me that the most important thing he wanted from this space was that every client feel loved when she comes to the Chopra Center. Choosing team members relied more on if they could convey the message of warmth and love, rather than their craft and experience,” says Ufland.

According to Simon, the qualities that he and his team look for include, “a sense of genuine compassion for the human condition, an inner self-awareness and an inner sense of comfort from not taking oneself too seriously, but being really responsible. We’ve done a really good job of selecting employees and of creating a sense of culture and community.” Simon hopes that the Chopra Center & Spa at Dream offers clients a seamless experience. “We started with a handful of the most basic treatments, and we’ll train on a monthly basis,” he says. “We’re learning what works, and we’re prepared to invest our time in assessing that when our clients have the same ‘wow’ feeling as they do when they come to the original location.”

Attracting a crowd

Since opening, the spa’s business is split fifty-fifty between hotel guests and local clients who frequent the facility primarily for its yoga classes. “We’re seeing the local community really respond to yoga,” says Williams, especially with the recent success of the first workshop, Primordial Sound.

So what’s next for the Chopra Center? Its intention is to spread words of wisdom and a healthy lifestyle to people across the globe. To date, there are two new properties opening within the next two years in Punta Mita, Mexico, and Westminster, Colorado.

Imitation is flattering

Spa-goers’ demand for and interest in ayurveda show no sign of diminishing. “We’ve seen a steady rise since 1995,” say Simon. “In the beginning, we were the only game in town. One of the secrets to our success is that there are so many people calling themselves ayurvedic that it’s becoming increasingly mainstream. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”