Washington Spa Alliance
Julie Register attended
this meeting in June 2010
I attended the innauguration
of the Washington
Spa Alliance (WSPA) at The Jefferson in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2010.
Burt, author, editor, and founder of www.SpaGoer.com
served as the Master of Ceremonies.
WSPA will be a resource
for the Mid-Atlantic spa community and for those whose interests dovetail with
WSPAs tenets of wellbeing and sustainability. Bernie reminded us that this
area has a rich history of spa. George Washington surveyed Berkeley Springs, WV
when he was 16 years old, and Thomas Jefferson frequented the Jefferson Pools
near The Homestead in Virginia. (Aside: The men's bathhouse at the Jefferson Pools,
built in 1761 and the oldest spa structure in the United States, is in danger
of being torn down because it is in such bad shape after years of neglect.)
Arnold, the Managing Director of The
Jefferson, Washington, D.C. was our host.
us and invited us to explore the hotel which just had just reopened in August
2009 after being closed for renovations for over two years. After the event, I
toured the elegant, small Spa at The Jefferson on the 2nd floor. There were two
treatment rooms with walls lined with luminous mother of pearl. One had a shower
and dressing area. There was an area for make-up, shaves and retail. Down the
hall was the Spa Suite, an 800 square-foot suite with a king bed and separate
parlor that can connect to a couple's treatment room.
Szekely, founder of Rancho
La Puerta and The
Golden Door, is Honorary Chair of WSPA.
Deborah told the
story about how Rancho La Puerta was founded 70 years ago on June 6. She spoke
of growth, possibilities and what-ifs. She has always recommended people change
carreers when they turn 60. She followed her own advise. She had an unsuccessful
run for congress but moved to Washington DC and wrote Setting Course: A Congressional
Management Guide, - the basic training and reference manual for newly elected
Senators, Congress members, and their staffs. From 1984 to 1990, she was President
of the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), an independent agency of the United States
government created by Congress to support self-help efforts of the poor throughout
Latin America and the Caribbean. She returned home when her son became ill from
melanoma. She now lends her amazing knowledge and energy to many organizations,
including WSPA and her new project, The
Living Skills Fifth Grade Semester to prevent childhood obesity through education.
listen to Bernie - Susan Miller, director of Spa Operations for Marriott (hands
only); Sharilyn Abbajay (far left), the newly-appointed Director of Spa for Marriott;
Ada Polla, President & CEO of Alchimie Forever; Charlene Whitcombe (standing
in front of mirror) of the Spa at Mandarin Oriental; Mary Bemis (in white), Founder
and Editor-in-Chief of Organic Spa Magazine; Norie Quintos (standing right front
center) from National Geographic Traveler; Miriam Houston (standing in red at
far right) from Relâche Spa at Gaylord National Harbor. Unfortuantely, I
don't recognize everyone. Also in attendance were: Gayela Bynum, U.S. Department
of Housing & Urban Development; Tasha Rebec, Best of DC; Kelly Collis Fredrick,
Cityshopgirl.com; Martha Honey, Center for Responsible Travel; Anna Mancebo, the
departing Director of Spa for Marriott; Kate Michael, KStreetKate.net and The
District Dish; McLean Robbins, JulieB, Washingtonian, Robb Report, Daily Candy,
Gadling, Luxist; Beth Solomon, Georgetown Dish; and Toni Sullivan of Relâche
Spa at Gaylord National Harbor.
Ellis of SpaFinder (left) gave a summary of the Global Spa Summit and highlighted
wellness travel (in contrast to medical travel). Seated are Mary Bemis, Founder
and Editor-in-Chief of Organic Spa Magazine; Mary-Elizabeth Gifford from The Farm
at Pantrepant; Deborah Szekely, Founder of Rancho La Puerta and The Golden Door
and Honorary Chair of WSPA; and Dr. Pamela Peeke, Chief Medical Correspondent
for Discovery Health TV. Dr. Peeke spoke about her activities (like walking and
hiking) with the new Surgeon General, Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A.
WSPA will hold an annual symposium as well as ongoing news-maker
events, share best practices, and engage in advocacy. WSPAs First Annual
Symposium will be held at the National Press Club on March 24, 2011.
Regional members of the spa and related communities may join
WSPA for the following annual dues: Individual Member $75; Corporate Member
$150 (1-5 employees); or $300 (5 or more employees). For membership or
additional information, contact: Washington National Spa Alliance, 1010 Wisconsin
Avenue, N.W., Suite 201, Washington, D.C. 20007; 202.530.3931; Info@WSPA.com;
the June 17, 2010 Press Release