Style | Diary of a Somebody

Susan Harmsworth

A harried start and a streamlined finish to a long day for the Espa CEO

Susan Harmsworth

July 22 2011
Susan Harmsworth

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

I had to be in the office for meetings at 8am so it was a quick wake-up routine with my usual hot water and lemon and a handful of cherries before getting in the car. By 8am I was at my desk on a conference call with Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa where we have a spa opening in September – this will be an oasis in the heart of the densely populated city, providing views over the botanical gardens, the ponds and, further out, the sea. We discussed operations for this very large site along with finalising candidates for the spa director role.

At 8.30 my team gathered in the office to discuss last quarter marketing initiatives for the Espa product business and planned launches in 2012 – what’s on schedule, what needs to be brought forward or pushed back, etc.

Then I had a catch-up with one of the most well-respected travel writers, Jo Foley, because we’re going to Ireland in August to look at The Europe. We talked about the latest trends in the spa world and how the concept of EspaLife was born.

Meanwhile, on a personal level, I’ve been trying to lock in an appointment at the Mayr and More clinic; at around 11am I find out that I’ve finally been successful. I’ve been going for years and there’s a waiting list (which I’m sure I’ve helped to create, as I’ve recommended it to so many people!). I managed to speak to Ilana Stein about my detox retreat plan and what I need to do in advance (other than drinking lemon and water).

And then around noon I have another bit of really wonderful news: my favourite interiors designer, Inge – who designed several of our hotel spas including The Edition in Istanbul and the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong – has just had a baby girl called Zinzi. Then I rushed out of the door to drive to London for a string of meetings. En route, I managed to speak to all “the boys” (my grandsons) who were heading to France, meaning that I won’t see them again until September. I couldn’t believe that they had all got such good end of term reports (usually one of them doesn’t).

My first meeting in town was with John Stauss, VP of the newly re-opened Four Seasons on Park Lane in London. This was a general catch-up on the industry – how the Espa spa is performing following the hotel’s refurbishment after two years. The hotel is extremely busy, and the five-star reputation for such a luxury brand in a world-class city such as ours makes this good news indeed. Then around 4pm I headed over to The Corinthia to meet with Mark Harmon, who is the CEO of Auberge Resort in the US, where Espa has just been given the spa contract for one on his hotels. My last couple of hours in London were made up of general admin and observations meetings with the EspaLife spa team.

I finally left town around 7.30, and didn’t get home until 9pm. I immediately put on BBC News in the background and checked my e-mails. Then I started to strategise what business materials I need to take to Dubai at the weekend. And how: I’m a minimal packer so the challenge at the end of this day is to keep things streamlined.

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