An interview with Mr. Yngvar Stray, General Manager of Capella Sanya
Nestled by the tranquil southern tip of Hainan Island by the azure seaside, Capella Sanya is a secluded wonderland where luxury, art, and well-being meet. Wellness gets an innovative and comprehensive interpretation here: spa treatments based on moon phases, the city’s first authentic Hammam and snow cabin, and a diversity of programs for holistic health…
How can luxury hotels meet the ever increasing health needs from the guests today? Sanya Capella may be able to give an answer. For this reason, SpaChina has interviewed Mr. Yngvar Stray, the General Manager of Capella Sanya. Mr. Stray is an accomplished international hotelier with over 30 years’ experience in senior management and at the helm of award-winning international 5-star luxury and lifestyle brands and Asian hospitality consortiums. He launched his hospitality career in 1987 with SAS International Hotels in Oslo. Later, he worked for many other famous hotels including St. Regis Beijing, W Seoul Walkerhill, St. Regis Singapore, Banyan Tree Shanghai On The Bund, Harbour Grand Kowloon, Hong Kong and Sino Hotels. His posts begin as Front Office Manager, all the way to Director of Rooms, Director of Sales & Marketing and General Manager. He has developed a comprehensive understanding of every operational and management aspects of the hotel.
Please introduce Capella Sanya to us. What kind of experience do you want to deliver to the guests?
Capella Sanya is a seclude secret, rising from the tropical southern coast of Hainan Island. The prestigious beachfront retreat promises to “set a new benchmark for China’s luxury beach resorts” – and is inspired by the fabled history of China’s ancient Maritime Silk Road.
Designed as a collaborative art piece by two of the world’s most celebrated, visionary hotel & resort architects, Jean-Michel Gathy and Bill Bensley, Capella Sanya is one of the Asian hospitality industry’s most exciting new openings of the year.
Spread out over 13.8 hectares, Capella Sanya is nestled amongst lush tropical bloom in a magnificent secluded Blessed Bay providing peace and tranquility. The resort incorporates 4 innovative restaurants and bars, a host of recreational activities and its blissful Auriga Spa offers cutting edge therapies, the very first Snow Cabin and Hamman in a private and utterly tranquil sanctuary of its own. Experience the epitome of relaxation and sophistication and let yourself be pampered in the lavish surrounds of Capella Sanya.
More and more hotel groups are now shifting to a wellness focus. What do you think are the reasons for this? What wellness trends have you seen?
With the increasing interest in holistic healthcare in the West, we have seen a corresponding increase in the number of guests who actively choose Sanya as a travel destination. Now, guests travelling to Sanya are changing from simply accommodation to lifestyle, a holistic wellness approach and stress burnout retreat that will transform them to a different dimension where whole body and mind will be soothed and relaxed. As an award winning destination Spa in Sanya, we believe that the wellness travel trend will continue to evolve, particularly in the field of non-invasive and weight management, mindfulness retreat and traditional Chinese Wellbeing.
As you said, Sanya has risen as a hot wellness travel destination. Then what kind of hotel does a wellness traveler expect? How does Capella Sanya meet the requirements of modern wellness travelers?
We believe those guests travelling to Sanya for health and wellness reasons are looking for a complete experience and therefore in addition to our comprehensive Traditional Chinese Wellbeing and spa treatments, we offer a range of activities to complement their treatments and assist them in achieving their wellness objectives.
The spa & wellness team is infused the resort’s natural healing elements and idyllic surroundings into different theme of wellness programmes and options, Detox Retreat, Mindfulness Journey and Art of Balance that specifically designed to restore and rejuvenate the body and mind through a series of traditional Chinese medicinal philosophies tailor made to suit each guest personally. This exclusive Key to Wellness programme is available for 3,5 and 7 days retreats putting wellness and healthcare alongside leisure and relaxation, and a 14 and 25 days journey are specially designed for those looking for a holistic treatment that help to enrich emotional balance, life fulfillment and improve overall wellbeing. It revolves around the idea of drawing guests away from their daily routine to a relaxed surrounding in an exotic location.
To complement this, plans are underway to create a special herb garden at Auriga Spa in order to enhance guest experiences and ensure they receive the best organic produce.
Please tell us more about Auriga Spa, including its concept, signature programs, main facilities, etc.
Capella Sanya’s opulent spa is a destination in itself. Fusing ancient eastern traditions with modern therapies and beauty treatments, it offers a retreat for the soul and promotes all-round wellbeing and vitality for the body. At the heart of our spa experience are the authentic Hammam and Snow Cabin, offering treatments and therapies adapted and refined from wellbeing traditions that stretch back centuries.
The Hammam experience is a traditional cleansing ritual performed in the impressive domed cavern of our Hammam, with individual washing stations and a central pedestal all cut from exquisite marble and gently heated by the temperate atmosphere. Whilst Snow Cabin is a fascinating wintry experience amid Hainan’s year-round tropical warmth. Cooling the body after heat treatments encourages more efficient result and immediate relaxation. The snow and ice stimulates the circulation, strengthens the lymphatic and immune systems and relieves stress.
The spa features ten treatment rooms including two double suites and two VIP suites with private plunge pools and steam rooms.
What’s the theory basis behind the phases of moon treatments? Do guests love such idea and treatments?
Auriga, whose namesake is a constellation in the northern hemisphere, has a distinctive approach to wellness and beauty based on the cycles of the moon.
Since time immemorial, it is believed that the different moon phases impact the body in very specific ways. The New Moon is the time for renewal and introspection; the Waxing Moon is a period to refocus your body and embody your visions; the Full Moon is when one’s full potential is achieved; and the Waning Moon is the perfect time for detox. Auriga Spa has designed four signature treatments, in accordance to the lunar phases and its varying energies. And moon phases healthy drinks also available for all guests at our Silk Road restaurant during daily breakfast.
What’s your vision for Capella Sanya’s development, especially in terms of wellness offerings, in the next five years?
It is a fact that health and wellness is an important part of our lifestyle now, especially with the increasing stresses of modern life. We all know and believe that Spa will continue to grow in popularity as more and more people become aware of the health benefits associated with it, and that is why people choose resorts for their vacation. As the industry grows, we believe the focus will be on wellness and incorporating wellness into lifestyle.
While keeping up with the latest in wellness trends, comfort luxury and style, we will continue to make use of our extensive wellness offerings, take advantage of the natural environment, as well as work closely with visiting wellness practitioners, to pamper all of our guests, making them feel completely healthy and relaxed. And also, to further position Capella Sanya as one of the prime wellness destination in China and worldwide.