Florida Spa Association The Scoop
December 2015
A Note From Ilana

December is such an exhilarating and wondrous time of the year! The spirit of the holidays is the spirit of love, generosity, and goodness. It resonates what is within our soul and evokes a feeling of shared emotion as we look at our busy lives and become more interested in people than in possessions. It's not just about opening presents, but more about opening our hearts.

Holiday time in our Sunshine Spa State is when we get moving...and quickly! Not just with our families, but with guests. Although Florida doesn't get snow, we most definitely get a lot of snowbirds. Our friends from the North, the West and just about everywhere, return to Florida to enjoy the luxurious weather that we get this time of year, and our spas start rocking! It's the start of the busy season and we are ready to share the warmth.


Believe in the magic of the season!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!!

"So with a friendly smile and bit of cheer;
Send your love to someone dear;
Sending our best wishes for the coming New Year!"

-Ilana Moses
-Founder and CEO of FSA



It's Here!!

Download the NEW FSA app, for iPhones or
Androids to keep you connected on the go.

Life can change at any moment...

In light of the tragedy that occurred in Paris last month, it is with great sadness and heartbreak to hear of these events. It is hard to understand how and why things like this happen, not only in our country, but also all over this great big world. Our hearts ache for every person affected by this unspeakable act, but also for every person who has ever been touched by this beautiful country. We send our heartfelt love and prayers to the families and friends of the victims from these bombings and shootings and pray for peace, harmony, and wellness in the world. Prayers for Paris!

"Pure Love"...because Charity starts at home!

Pure Spa at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale
December 14th 6-8pm - Spa Social

In the spirit of the holiday season, FSA and Pure Spa invite you to a special celebration dedicated to some personal and dear spa friends in need. Life brings difficult times for all of us, and the beauty of our Florida Spa community is that we are here to support friends during those times, and especially during the holidays. Partake in some holiday cheer from the beautiful, newly opened Pure Spa in Fort Lauderdale, hosted by George Powell Lopez, Spa Director for Pure Spa and Charlotte Prescott, Board Chair for FSA.

Door fee is $25. Silent Auction opportunities for some fabulous spa experiences in our very own spas!

Help us give to some dear friends in need. Proceeds will go to two families:

Breaking Breaker News: A New Spa is Born!


A brand new renovated and remodeled Spa has just been born! Welcome the arrival of the new Spa at the Breakers!

We are thrilled for FSA Advisory Board Member, Amy Retay, Spa Director for the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, and the opening of her new spa.

Now Open - This 20,000-square-foot redesigned oceanfront wellness retreat reopens its doors after a dramatic $8 million makeover of its 17 treatment rooms and public spaces. The Spa at The Breakers has completely transformed as the resort's coveted destination for relaxation and personal renewal. Featuring a relaxed modern style, inspired by the calming virtues of the seaside location and Italian influence, the new indoor/outdoor Spa embraces guests with a fresh, soothing atmosphere that engages all senses. The new spa features a new salon for hair, nail, and even children's services.

"We believe there is much to hold with care and respect on the path to well-being, and when you are at The Spa, you are held in our hands - with the utmost compassion, reverence and gratitude. We are committed to the healing and nurturing of our guests, each other and the world in which we live" says Amy.

Congratulations Amy and good luck to you and your team!

Is Quartz the New Diamond?

Is Linda saying yes to a new bed or wellness? We know she says YES to Global Wellness Day! So what's this about the bed??? Linda Higgs, Spa Director, Spa Shula's and FSA Board Vice-Chair, was spotted having lunch with Sammy Gharieni, CEO & Founder, Gharieni Group at Shula's Steakhouse in Miami. At lunch Sammy didn't offer Linda a diamond, but he did present a Quartz, that's a bed...for her spa! A new state-of-the-art Quartz massage bed by the Gharieni Group is the buzz in the industry! This ingenious bed uses quartz sand with built-in air chambers to massage and warm the body, providing the ultimate luxury experience.

Disney Pride

FSA Board Member, Ginger McLean , Spa Director of Senses, Disney Spas, leads with pride in her heart as two of her fantastic Walt Disney World Massage Therapists are featured in the most recent edition of Massage Magazine. In Ginger's words, "I am so proud!"

Massage Therapists Play Starring Role in Disney Spa Magic

Happy massage clients may have told you that you have magic hands-but if you're a massage therapist at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, making magic happen is an official part of every session.

For massage therapist Jessica Benoit, 29, that magic began when, as a high-school graduation gift, she received a facial at Senses, the spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Benoit was so impressed with the treatment she received that she decided she wanted to work there.

"After receiving that magical level of customer service and being treated like a princess, I looked into it-and I became a cast member," she said.


And the Award goes to...

Congratulations to Jamie Bowden, Assistant Director of Spa and Wellness at the Viceroy Hotel, Miami, for not only being nominated, but winning the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association Award in the Recreation and Spa Leadership category!!! The GMBHA Hospitality Leadership Awards Reception was held at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel on 11.16.2015. Jamie, a devoted spa leader, received many accolades from his spa friends and affiliates for having won this well-deserved award. In the words of Alena Stavnjak, Director of Spa and Wellness for the Viceroy Hotel, Miami, "We are so proud to have Jamie on our team!"

Do you have exciting news to share with us? We want to know!! Keep us informed at


Marriott Becomes World's Largest Hotelier, Acquiring Starwood

Our very own FSA President, Suzanne Holbrook , Corporate Director, Spa Operations, The Americas for Marriott International Hotel, has her work cut out for her...Now being part of the world's largest hotel group, she shares her excitement.

"We are excited and looking forward to the Marriott International/Starwood partnership. We recognize how great their spas and spa division is and look forward to incredible opportunities to work with an exceptional brand," says Suzanne.

Marriott International to Acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Creating the World's Largest Hotel Company

  • Combined Company Will Have 1.1 Million Rooms in More than 5,500 Hotels.
  • Spanning the Globe in Over 100 Countries
  • 30 Leading Brands Will Provide Guests Unmatched Choices
  • Transaction Offers Substantial Economies of Scale
  • Combined Company Should Deliver Significant Capital Returns to Shareholders

Bethesda, MD, and Stamford, CT, November 16, 2015 - Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will create the world's largest hotel company. The transaction combines Starwood's leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott's strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment, creating a more comprehensive portfolio. The merged company will offer broader choice for guests, greater opportunities for associates and should unlock additional value for Marriott and Starwood shareholders. Combined, the companies operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide. The combined company's pro forma fee revenue for the 12 months ended September 30, 2015 totals over $2.7 billion.


Surviving the Holidays Checklist...



  • Social media plan of specials, events, retail gift sets, gift certificate promotions, and any changes in hours.
  • Schedule a holiday event.
  • Give back to a charity.
  • Order holiday gift sets and gift with purchase for your gift cards.
  • Decorate your retail space.
  • Confirm staff schedules in advance.
  • Reserve your holiday party.
  • Offer holiday bonuses or have a thank you ready.

Global Wellness Summit

Mexico City, Mexico - November 12th - 15th, 2015

The 9th Annual Global Wellness Summit in Mexico was an inspirational experience and a combination and collaboration of each attendee's energy, wisdom and love. Co-Chairing this summit was our friend, Alfredo Carvajal, President, Delos along with Gina Diez Barroso, President and CEO, Grupo Diarq, Mexico, who did an outstanding job organizing the Summit.

Much of what we heard and experienced will surely turn into valuable actions and results to help build a better life and better world. The general sessions were filled with motivating speakers, ranging from the visionary presentation by Louis Schwartzberg, founder of Moving Art who presented several magical videos on the beauty of nature to the highly Spiritual leader, Deepak Copra, M.D., who gave insight to the human brain and how to unlock the astonishing power of our DNA for optimum health and well-being. We were moved by Agapi Stassinopoulos, speaker and author of "Unbinding the Heart," who spoke about the importance of loving ourselves. Speaking to us from such a pure heart, she had us laughing and crying at the same time. Giselle Fernandez, a Latin-American spokeswoman, Emmy Award winner, Journalist, Philanthropist, Film Maker, and an advocate of Women and Children's Rights, was the moderator for the Summit. Giselle's presence and connection with each speaker she presented and those she interviewed were met with genuine consideration and heart, making each presentation special.

Many awards were won and we were proud to see Green Spa Network win "Leaders in Sustainability" - Congratulations to our good friends at GSN and Paul Schmidt, Executive Director at GSN!

Breakout sessions filled our days with education, information, and major networking.

A moving presentation by Belgin Aksoy brought her ambassadors onto the stage and attendees to their feet as she spoke about her mission to bring health awareness throughout the world.

Global Wellness Day is an entirely not-for-profit day, a social platform created by volunteers dedicated to living well. Wellness Day which brings together exercise, healthy eating and spiritual teachings, is a social movement that raises awareness of living well throughout the world. It is a step that can ignite the flame of happiness burning throughout the world. It is a special opportunity to bring together the wellness world in a sacred mission. In the words of Belgin Aksoy, founder of Global wellness Day, "I wish the country leaders out there get inspired by the spirit of Global Wellness Day and bring PEACE to the world! More than 70 countries are celebrating Global Wellness Day, staying together and changing the world!

YES, to Global Wellness Day...YES, TO PEACE

Watch this video and experience the spirit of wellness...

Ending with an evening celebratory gala, we enjoyed the magic of a magnificently creative and cultural ballet at "The Art and Culture of Mexico" in the "Bellas Artes." The costumes were sensational; unique and very colorful and the dancing was exceptional and spectacular. This highly distinct ballet captured everyone's attention and we were in awe!!

The Summit was filled with so many fascinating and highly respected presenters as well as the attendees that everyone left feeling euphoric and looking forward to next year's Summit which will be held in Austria, GWS 2016.

And of course, we took a little time out for a taste of Mexico City, indulging in a bit of Mexican food, friends and fun, and relaxation!!


Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL
November 15 & 16, 2015

The FSA was proud to be in attendance at the IECSC Spa Show in Fort Lauderdale on November 15th and 16th, in collaboration with Kathleen Gruttadauria and the IECSC group. The conference proved to be exciting and filled with many sponsoring vendors displaying their brands and eager spa guests that strolled through the aisles, visiting companies to check out their products. The FSA team enjoyed interacting with new and existing FSA friends and supporters including vendors, spa directors and leaders as well as students and service providers. The enthusiasm as we rolled out our 2016 Calendar of Events was a hit. We also enjoyed interacting with estheticians who are so passionate about what they do in this great industry of ours.

Guided by Allan Share, President of the Day Spa Association, a unique spa tour was offered to visit our very own FSA spas. First stop was PURE Spa at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, where George Powell-Lopez, Spa Director, shared the Swedish lifestyle concept of their luxury spa. Next they stopped at Bliss Spa at the W in Fort Lauderdale to visit with Spa Director, Johanna Dimartino. Johanna guided guests through her spa discussing the trademark Bliss® treatments and amenities. We are happy that our FSA spa members were able to contribute to this tour.

We thank IECSC for providing this excellent opportunity for the Florida Spa Association.


Michelle Kelthy
Spa Director, The Ritz Carlton, Naples

Michelle has worked in the Luxury Hospitality Spa and Wellness industry since 1985 and is a spa visionary; she specializes in Wellness Programs, Menu Development, Education, and Retail Programs. Michelle is Results-driven, Innovative, and Passionate about Spa Marketing, Sustainability, and Guest & Employee Engagement.

In 1990 she started her Career onboard Luxury Cruise ships with Coiffure Transocean as a Hairstylist /Massage Therapist; within one year she was directing Spas, Fitness Centers & Salons at Sea for World Cruise liners including Cunard & Chrystal.

Michelle moved to Hong Kong in 2000 as Spa Director for The Elemis Day Spa, Awarded #1Day Spa in Hong Kong and Spa Academy.

She joined the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company in San Juan, Puerto Rico as Executive Spa Director in 2003 and joined The Ritz Carlton Naples, Florida in 2005 as Spa Director.

Michelle is currently a member of the Ritz Carlton/ Marriott Spa Advisory Board and has recently been nominated for the Global EDGE Award for Spa Director (Excellence in Delivering the Guest Experience) 2014.

Design Parliament

Design Parliament believes there is one word in business that is talked about extensively but rarely performed to the level necessary - service! Design Parliament was started with the simple realization that retailers & spas and the designers themselves are not realizing the level of service they require from the distributors they work with.

They are partners with their brands, providing strong sales growth, strategic business guidance based on their experience with customers, and needed operational support. They know retailers and spas who have a great experience with a brand will tell others about it and enjoy a long relationship with that brand.

The goal with luxury retailers and spas is simple, ensure sales exceed expectations through the ease of doing business. This is accomplished by offering leading designer labels from Europe, Canada and Asia, well thought out merchandising recommendations, initial kits for easy ordering, display options, staff training, and ongoing merchandising and marketing support.

This vendor spotlight is for vendors that support the FSA.

Have a Question?

What do you want to learn about spa operations, the spa industry, leadership, vendor relations, wellness...? Each month, we will select one question and experts within the FSA team will share their insights in the upcoming newsletter. Send your questions to

This month's question is:

"How do I get my spa involved with a charity?"

For those who attended ISPA, you were probably inspired to give back, especially during the holiday season. You can use a charity partnership to build your brand and your soul. Picking a charity is not as easy as it seems. Set aside time to research an organization that fits your company culture and values. Then, think about what charities your customers and employees support and review additional factors such as percentage of donations. Also, keep in mind how your donation will be showcased at the event and the website.

How can I help?
Some tried and tested ideas of how to help a charity include:

  • Offering pre-prom makeover services to low-income schools.
  • Caring for the caregivers - special treatments for nurses, teachers, and firefighters.
  • Donate sports massages to high-profile golf or tennis charity tournaments.
  • Offer pre and post reflexology or stretching at event races.
  • Many businesses have groups participating in charitable events. A treatment at your spa could be an extra incentive to those who participate.
  • Use your spa space as a Girls Night Out/Diva Night ticket-only event.
  • Or, simply donate a treatment or gift basket from your spa for raffle or auction.

Ask a Question

10 Tips to Increase Spa Revenue during the Holidays

The holidays are closing in fast and many of us are starting to feel the holiday pressure. Have we planned enough promotions? Are we on track with our budget, or do we have a $20,000 gap that we need to make up during the next six weeks? Hopefully, you have planned some holiday retail and service promotions and have your gift certificate program set. If not, we wanted to provide some last minute tips and tricks to finish out strong in your 4th quarter.

Read on...

Thank you


  • December 1: World Aids Day
  • December 6-14: Hanukkah
  • December 10: Human Rights Day
  • December 25: Christmas
  • December 31: New Year's Eve

Detroit Dancehall
Healthy holiday season cocktail recipe with cool, healthy ingredients
  • 1 oz Rhum Barbancourt White
  • 1/2 oz Rhum Barbancourt 3 Star
  • 1 oz fresh-pressed beet juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz orgeat syrup
  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker, shake, and serve neat in a chilled juice glass (8 oz or so) with a sloppy half rim of vinegar salt

Drink up and enjoy!!

Chanukah Leek Latkes
  • 4 large leeks, washed and sliced into 1/4 inch circles
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. basil (optional)
  • Oil, for frying (try healthy coconut oil, or grape seed oil)
  1. In a large soup pot, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Add leeks. Cover. Turn heat down to low.
  2. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the leeks are bright green and just tender.
  3. Drain the leeks in a colander, and let them cool a bit.
  4. Place leeks in a mixing bowl. Add beaten eggs. Add flour or matzah meal. Season with salt, pepper and basil. Mix well.
  5. On medium-high heat, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan.
  6. When the oil is hot, drop batter by tablespoonfuls into pan. Flatten the pancakes a bit so they are not too thick to cook well in the middle. Fry approximately 3 minutes on each side, until browned on both sides and firm in the middle. Remove from frying pan onto paper towels to drain excess oil and cool.
  7. Repeat, starting with hot oil and then dropping spoonfuls of batter, until all the batter is used.

Yield: 14 - 16 Latkes

  1. Adjust the heat when frying so it is just right. If you fry on too high heat, the pancakes might burn. But if you fry on too low heat, the pancakes will be mushy rather than crisp.
  2. Use enough oil when frying so that the pancakes won't burn, but don't use so much oil that the pancakes are oily.
  3. Don't make the pancakes too large that they fall apart when flipped over.

Delicious! Happy Chanukah