Interview with Kent Richards, Corporate Operations Director (Spa & Wellness) of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Born into a family of gym fitness
fanatics, Kent Richards grew up in Durban, South Africa, following all the fitness trends of the 1980’s and 1990’s before finding himself in the middle of the global spa and wellness industry. After a career of 20 years in fitness and 10 years in spa, today Kent is Corporate Operations Director (Spa & Wellness) of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, based in Bangkok, Thailand, and is responsible for over thirty spas across the globe. Six Senses actively participates in the Global Mentorship Program, Global Wellness Day, Wellness for Cancer and Wellness Weekend initiatives. SpaChina interviewed Kent.
How does Six Senses Integrated Wellness stand out?
Being wellness pioneers means that we have to venture out into the unknown to discover new approaches that promote mental, physical and spiritual health. Over the last four years we have worked with some of the most respected doctors and wellness professionals on developing an approach to wellness that addresses some of the most common issues people face as a result of their stressed daily lives. The result is our overarching wellness philosophy Six Senses Integrated Wellness. It is founded on numerous pillars including nutrition, sleep, movement, holistic and alternative therapies; and advanced technology that allows our experts to tailor programs specific to.
How does Six Senses ensure each of the brand’s spas are unique?
Six Senses has always believed each property needs to match our vision and values. We strive to help our guests reconnect with who they are, the people around them and their worlds too, and we do this by bringing our values into the design. The values include “local sensitivity and global sensibility”, making each design different as we include local features and activities. Designs are not duplicated in a cookie-cutter manner and we make each property unique. Key to our brand are wellness and sustainability which also play important roles in where our properties are situated and what materials are used. Locally inspired architecture and materials are always important to ensure we contribute to the landscape and do not interfere with it.
What is special about the spa at Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain?
The spa at Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain is in the middle of the resort, which is located at the picturesque gateway to the majestic Qing Cheng Mountains. The design complements the UNESCO World Heritage & Natural Cultural site nearby, Dujiangyan. The spa design has Taoist elements to harmonize with nature and reconnection and it appears to rise from under the ground incorporating responsible luxury, regional architecture and landscaping, resulting in an extraordinary cultural offering with a strong sense of place, wedded to contemporary attitude. Six Senses Spa Qing Cheng Mountain received the Grand Jury Award at the SpaChina’s 9th Annual Award Ceremony in Chengdu. The award is an acknowledgement of its superb performance and exceptional facilities and was presented to only three hotels in the country.
The one signature treatment I would recommend is the Shen Ritual. It provides three hours of Taoism purity including a Herbal Bath Experience, Tui Na followed by a Six Senses Soothing Facial using jade stone. My favorite by far.
Your view on China’s hotels and spas’ performance in terms of sustainable development and operation?
Here, I would like to share with you a comment from our Vice President Sustainability, Jeff Smith.
China is now the global leader in renewable energy investment. Hotel energy sustainability will increase tremendously once these new solar and wind projects go live. Yet, public awareness seems to be low when compared with other markets, and it appears that hotel and spa operators are therefore hesitant to roll out their sustainability initiatives. For example, our glass water bottling at Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountian in Chengdu is quite rare in China, whereas this practice is becoming quite mainstream in places like the Maldives and Thailand.
What is Six Senses’ future development plan in China?
China is a very exciting market for Six Senses as there are so many beautiful locations, and traditions for wellness lifestyles. The domestic market has shown us great support for our brand values, which has encouraged us to expand further in China. Our second resort in China will be Six Senses Yangshuo. The property is surrounded by the karst mountains with its beautiful natural landscape, allowing us to create another special resort.
Also, Six Senses has been active in growing and developing our team through cross-training between our properties around the world. By doing so, Six Senses guests in Thailand, the Maldives and further afield have had the pleasure to enjoy the services and warm hospitality of Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain.