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TOP TEAM


MICHAEL TOMPKINS CEO


Miraval Resort & Spa “W


hen the eco- nomic crisis started,” says


Michael Tompkins, “I sat with Philippe, Steve and spa director, Simon Marxer, and we agreed our strategy would be one of strength, innovation and creativity. We’d hold together as many components of Miraval as possible – including the team, many of whom have been here 15 years or more, so we didn’t disrupt the guest experience and we’d invest, so when the economy turned around, we’d come out of it strong and lead the industry. “That investment has been wide rang- ing, culminating in the launch of our new Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins and we have plans now to continue invest- ing by upgrading the yoga studio. “In designing the spa, we aimed for a ‘life enhancing minimalism’” says Tompkins. “At the opening, the designer – Clodagh – said: ‘We wanted to design a spa that has everything you need, but not one thing more.’ “To create exquisite spaces, Simon and I specifi ed soundproofi ng and touch-con- trols for the treatments rooms, we linked inside and outside spaces and brought in art because it’s so very mindful. “Quiet areas are one of Miraval’s signa-


ture features so we separated operations from the guest areas: guests are now upstairs and staff downstairs, so they don’t mix, which is hugely important and we added a VIP suite – a spa within a spa, which Simon designed.


88 LEISURE HANDBOOK 2014


The approach to Miraval gives guests their fi rst glimpse to the beautiful setting on the edge of the High Sonoran Desert


“We’ve been developing new treat- ments, for the new spa,” says Tompkins, “Miraval was the birthplace of the hot stone massage 17 years ago and we wanted to create some new, higher-value services using existing skills and facilities. I hoped Simon and his team would come up with the next big thing. “They’ve developed more than 40 new


treatments, among them our signature treatment, the Nâga. These unique fusion services are successful because they’re effective and this is the only place you can get them. Our guests are savvy spa-goers – they travel the world, going to the best spas. The fact they keep coming back is testament to what our team has created. I’m so grateful to Simon and the therapists for the amazing treatments they’ve devel- oped. I’m a massage therapist by training and I fi nd they create a much longer period of relaxation that can hold for two to three days. When you’ve had a treatment that effective, you want to repeat it.”


So what kind of return rates does Miraval enjoy? Tompkins says it’s high and increasing “By typical hotel standards – ie, if your guest has returned two or more times in two years – it’s around 20 per cent, but if you look at total repeat visits it’s around 55 per cent.” Typical guests are executive business women, women in groups and, says Tompkins, now Miraval has private villas – families with 18-25-year-old kids, who are coming so they can learn life skills and self-care before heading to college or getting married. “The villas are sold out,” he says,


“we’re at 95 per cent occupancy for those in the rental pool and we have 460 acres and the option to build more property. And people who move here to live full time on the property have gotten extremely healthy and are approaching their lives in the same way – ie, I’m going to be as healthy, strong, active and engaged in life as I can be. It’s great to see.”


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