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INTERVIEW


Julien Patty & Ghislain Waeyaert


Spa management company Deep Nature runs over 40 spas globally, including the newly-opened Brando eco-resort. Owner Julien Patty and Ghislain Waeyaert, the managing director of its new development division, explain how they plan to take the company to new heights


T 32


he Brando, a luxury resort on an atoll once owned by actor Marlon Brando, offi cially opened in French Polynesia in July. It’s a breathtaking


setting for the sustainable development and the Varua Polynesian Spa is a key ingredient for this slice of paradise (see p34). The holistic facility – with its tree top treatment rooms and Polynesian therapies – showcases the best of what Deep Nature, a French-based spa consultancy and operations fi rm, has to off er. Since its launch 10 years ago, Deep


Nature has secured management contracts for more than 40 high-end spas around the world for brands such as InterContinental, Sheraton and Clarins. Yet despite its sizeable portfolio (see p38), the company is still relatively unknown in the global hospitality and spa arena.


But this is about to change following


the launch of Deep Nature Development, a new division of the company which will focus on consultancy and drumming up business to drive future growth.


Management potential Frenchman Julien Patty, the president and founder of Deep Nature, married into the spa business in the early 2000s. An engineer by trade, his then wife was the daughter of Laurent Batteur – the chair of pharmaceutical and cosmetics manufacturer Groupe Batteur. As well as being behind the Algotherm spa brand, Batteur owned Thalasso Deauville in Normandy which is one of the biggest thalassotherapy centres in France. “For three years, Laurent told me there


was a business in spa management as he saw that Thalasso Deauville was not reach- ing its potential,” says Patty. “People in the


hotel industry wanted to get rid of their spa because of they had so many staffi ng problems. There were already consultants, but none were operating spas. So I moved to Deauville and began managing the thalassotherapy centre and this was the start of Deep Nature.” It was a steep learning curve, admits


Patty. He had to restructure the business and fi gure out how to successfully operate a spa with 33 treatment rooms without any accommodation. But he had the support of Batteur “a great entrepreneur” who still has a 25 per cent share in the business. Impressed with his work, InterContinental


enlisted Patty’s help in opening and running the I-spa in its Paris hotel. “From there I had many contacts and one of the fi rst spas I created from scratch was [InterContinental] Bora Bora,” says Patty. “I travelled the world looking for business and gradually I had one spa, then two, four and now 40 operations!”


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