Wellness, tranquility and pampering have been bolstered in the Blue Mountains spa scene with the successful luxury partnership between Kerstin Florian and The Escarpment Group. Ashleigh Sharman reports on the journey.
The Kerstin Florian philosophy centres on the belief that outer beauty and inner health form a balanced life and now, set amidst the natural beauty of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, this philosophy is brought to life with The Escarpment Group’s collection of impeccable properties. A coup for local distributors BLC Cosmetics, this partnership allows the Kerstin Florian brand to truly flex its muscles — offering a complete spa and wellness experience to the most discerning of guests.
Overseeing this relationship is The Escarpment Group, Spa Manager, Roxanne Campbell who upon joining the group in October 2013, used her unique skill-set of therapist, trainer and manager, alongside extensive international experience, to reinvigorate the Blue Mountains spa scene.
“I was looking for a great brand but also a great supplier who would be there for us from a sales and training point of view. For us, BLC Cosmetics was a no-brainer. Kerstin Florian ties in well in regards to the philosophy of wellness and the partnership could easily extend to our other properties. Yoga, nutrition, spa treatments, going back to the elements of wellness and nurture, would work well for our client base,” Roxanne explains.
The majority of hotel guests come from the city, looking to get away from the stresses of daily life — even the lack of phone reception (not at the hands of the property) assists in this process. It was therefore important to be able to provide a varied offering from luxurious pampering to meditative wellness all wrapped up in a comprehensive skincare line. Kerstin Florian has so far been very successful with clients and as the brand is treatment-orientated, also keeps the team of beauty therapists happy.
“It was quite easy to transition existing clients over to the new brand, they were very receptive and could see the positive changes we were making and trusted us. The treatment menu didn’t change much to allow for easy transition with comparable offerings and pricing. We’ll leave this for the next 12 months before making further changes,” explains Roxanne who has also experienced a database increase of 70 per cent, much improved retail sales and full bookings every Saturday a month in advance with Friday and Sunday looking to follow suit. Spa trends have also revealed a resident-orientated client mix with roughly 70 per cent external and 30 per cent internal, and a mostly female clientele at a strong 90 per cent.
Lilianfels, as the oldest of the properties, remains the hub for all spa activity however there are continual workings toward an overall identity as part of The Escarpment Group spas. Lilianfels is supported by Echoes, a private haven; Parklands, an organic wellness retreat soon to develop into a Mecca for all things Kerstin Florian in Australia; and The Hydro Majestic, an exciting work in progress. With each property proud of its unique identity, it is vital for guests to prepare for their arrival so that a true experience can be created.
The most challenging aspect of bringing on a new brand however is the pressure to get it right, for therapists to feel confidant working with new protocols, skincare lines and brand philosophy. And with 22 contractors across all properties it is a testament to the BLC Cosmetics training department that sign-off was completed in just two weeks.
“It doesn’t matter how qualified you are as a therapist, you need to feel comfortable with what you are using. Getting all of my contractors on the same level was a hard task; it makes everything else look easy! You ask yourself, how will they react? Will they like the brand as much as we like the brand? Will they follow suit with good habits and how often will we need follow-up training?” Roxanne says.
The exclusive stockist of Kerstin Florian in the Blue Mountains, as contractors however, Roxanne’s therapists work at many of the other spas in the area. There is therefore a level of internal competition to ensure sure they maintain The Escarpment Group identity but she acknowledges it is a close-knit community, everyone knows everyone but this can allow for its fair share of problems.
“At the end of the day we put the tourist and the Blue Mountains area first, if we are full, we recommend elsewhere — we don’t want anyone to lose out. After the 2013 bushfires, we all want to instil confidence in tourism to this area. That’s the most important thing.”
Working in the leisure business, Roxanne admits that anything can go wrong, but the rewards are worth it — especially when you are catering to clients who come with the expectation of pampering and an intention to relax. Upgrades and add-ons are easier with a client who has no time restrictions and trusts in the work that you do. This then is the perfect match for the Kerstin Florian brand who now has the beauty and health platform on which to shine as it was truly created.
SIGNATURE TREATMENT — Ginger Renewal
Ginger’s healing and warming properties invigorate and nourish in this head to toe signature treatment. Earthly minerals are combined with ginger’s healing properties in an invigorating full body exfoliation. With a pampering back, neck shoulder massage with ginger oil and warm healing stones while relaxing in a warm cocoon as your mind rebalances in tranquillity. This ritual is set to warm and smooth your skin, leaving you soft and hydrated.
SIGNATURE TREATMENT — The Caviar Facial
A signature Kerstin Florian treatment, this decadent treatment combines protein rich Caviar and powerful antioxidants to firm, tone, refine and deeply hydrate the skin immediately. Skin is left looking supple, healthy and iridescent.
The Escarpment Group www.escarpmentgroup.com.au