Spa people

Niamh O’Connell

Group vice president, guest experience and wellness, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts


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At the end of last year, Rosewood Hotels announced two significant spa and wellness developments: a new integrative wellness concept called Asaya, and a new group vice president of guest experience and wellness, Niamh O’Connell.

Formerly director of spa operations and development for Hyatt, O’Connell is a veteran of the spa industry who has also worked in operations for ESPA. It’s under her direction that Rosewood has developed Asaya – a new spa concept for the brand that will make its debut at the upcoming Rosewood Phuket when it opens later this year, and at the Rosewood Hong Kong in 2018.

Asaya is rooted in a belief of self-acceptance and self-discovery, fusing complementary therapies, lifestyle and nutrition coaching with educational wellness programming, fitness activities and specialised healing. Spa treatments will be delivered using authentic ingredients, while “thoughtful” design will include social spaces, as well as areas dedicated to relaxation, reflection and fitness.

“Consciously and unconsciously, wellness is becoming more significant in our day-to-day lives – in the ways we work, eat, sleep and socialise,” says O’Connell. “Asaya is designed to assist guests in recognising areas of their lives they’d like to change and then providing the tools and support they need to make these changes – whether through complementary therapies, fitness activities, or authentic healing treatments. Ultimately this process enables people to adopt an enhanced lifestyle and have a more complete sense of self-acceptance.”

In keeping with Rosewood’s ‘A Sense of Place’ guiding concept, treatments will be strongly rooted in the local culture, featuring recipes from native experts as well as indigenous and natural ingredients. “We want to offer treatments that speak to the location in a very authentic and impactful way,” says O’Connell.

Guests may extend their experience with a stay in an overnight Asaya Suite, with separate sleeping, living and therapy areas.

The Asaya concept will include a wide variety of both indoor and outdoor fitness endeavours, complemented by a partnership with Technogym. It also marks the first time Rosewood has introduced global skincare partnerships, with Maison Caulières and EviDenS de Beautè both on offer.

Rosewood’s existing spa concept, Sense Spa, which focuses on offering reviving indigenous remedies in a luxury setting, will continue to operate. O’Connell says the introduction of Asaya is not the end for Sense and that Rosewood will offer both options going forward. “Sense Spa is a very well-established and valued concept that will remain in operation at many of Rosewood’s properties,” says O’Connell.

Each location will be considered individually to determine whether a Sense Spa or Asaya wellness concept is more suitable, she explains, but any new renovations will incorporate Asaya’s design attributes, as well as the all-important social spaces.

“We’re finding that people are looking to connect and socialise through wellness, a trend that’s becoming known as ‘intelligent socialising,’” says O’Connell. As a result, she says a number of social spaces have been incorporated into Asaya’s design. The reception area will include retail and “lifestyle ateliers” designed for small group wellness seminars, and private Signature Suites and Villas will offer a chance for groups to lounge and explore the concept in a more relaxed way, with dedicated treatment areas and hydrotherapy zones.

“We expect that the residential spaces offered within Asaya will be very popular among brides-to-be and their wedding parties, mother-daughter groups, and friends and families travelling together, but should they not be occupied by a group, the suites and villas will offer individuals an opportunity to experience Asaya in complete privacy,” explains O’Connell.

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