Our new Spa Director in Egypt

somaOur globetrotter Michael Simonato is back with us at Raison d’Etre. He returns to us from his previous role as Corporate Spa Director for Orient Express hotels in Peru.

Welcome back Michael! Where in the world are you right now?

MS: I have recently moved to Soma Bay, by the Red Sea, in Egypt. I have been here for nearly a month now.

What are you doing there?

MN: I’m working as the Spa Director for Cascades Spa & Thalasso, Soma Bay. We are operating a huge Thalasso therapy spa. It is one of the largest Thalasso spas in the world. The facility is around 7500 sqm and has 65 treatment rooms and a Thalasso tonic pool, the pool itself is 750 sqm. We also have some smaller “satellite spas” in the area.

In all our Thalasso treatments we use natural salt water from the Red Sea.

Can you describe an ordinary working day for you?

MS: The day always starts with a management team meeting, followed by a morning brief with the spa team. Right now I focus a lot on recruitment and improving the service level in all the spas.

The next step will be to develop the wellness concept and really establish Soma Bay as a wellness destination. But, we will take one step at a time; there are so many possibilities for the spa here!

What is the Egyptian market like?

MN: There is still a lot to develop here, but the spa market has great potential here. The biggest challenge is recruitment and staffing, as we need to recruit from abroad. Another challenge is that only a few spa / cosmetic brands are registered in Egypt, so the choice of products is very limited. It is quite a challenging and time consuming process to get products registered for this market. The political situation has also been unstable, but I would say it is mostly in the bigger cities, here in Soma Bay we don’t see any of this.

What is important to consider when you work in a spa in Egypt?

MS: Just like anywhere in the world, you need to have an open mind and adapt to the local culture. You don’t necessary have to understand why things are in a certain way; however you need to accept the cultural differences. If you can’t adapt to new cultures you will just end up being frustrated.

To find out more about the spa where Michael is working, please visit; http://www.somabayspa.com

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