Beneath the lobby of the Pullman Auckland lies a haven hidden from the stresses of the modern world, as Ashleigh Sharman discovers.
The Spa at The Pullman truly delivers upon a holistic spa concept for the entire guest journey. A retreat to be discovered within Auckland’s CBD, spa treatments are based around the three practices of organic, scientific and traditional with a decadent relaxation area and courtyard in addition to six treatment rooms and adjacent wellness offerings.
The spa is the gateway to all other health and fitness facilities at the hotel including a 25m indoor heated pool with retractable window and ceilings, spa-pool, fitness centre with outdoor terrace, sauna and steam room, and changing room facilities.
“We have a lot of business guests, who stay during the week, and they don’t often have a lot of time after work but we look to accommodate them as best we can. Our leisure guests however are more relaxed, want to look around and make the most of every experience. We have the opportunity to really show these guests what we can do. Our spa is a sanctuary,” says spa manager, Handre Zaimann.
The Pullman Spa Auckland menu is inspired by the two skincare brands used by therapists; Thalgo and Elemis, both of which Handre explains have a loyal following in the market. With a strong marine ethos, both brands effortlessly combine nature and science — a perfect match that is incorporated into the spa.
“We offer the basics in terms of facials, using Elemis protocols and a more freestyle approach with Thalgo. This allows the therapist’s personality, skill and style to come through. We create all our own massage treatments and our own protocols but it’s key to listen to our clients and what they are looking to get out of their treatment. This is also where education plays a part. Trainers come in frequently and we aim to conduct a training every month. Making the time is important,” Handre says of looking after his 10-strong team who hail from New Zealand, Japan, France, Romania, Israel, South Africa and Thailand.
Focusing on an organic experience the spa’s clientele is split 50/50 between local guests and in-house guests. And while Handre admits therapists may not be able to fulfil a client’s specific skincare concerns, as a medi-spa would, the primary focus is for their client to relax. A gym membership offers discounts at the spa and there are guests who come in for regular massages as part of their fitness regime. The female to male ratio of 70/30 also proves the industry remains a growing one for men. Handre stating there is still a stigma but that the resolve lies primarily in education and highlighting the link between stress and ageing.
“We encourage guests to book in for a minimum of 60 minutes which benefits the guest and enhances the skills of the therapist. Our treatments range from 60 to 90 minutes and day packages extend to two and half hours. There is a juice bar in the lobby for guests to continue their wellness journey and a Spa Cuisine menu is also available through the hotel kitchen. We can facilitate events and special occasions with spa-inspired meals that are healthy, lean and light,” says Handre.
The challenge then, like the many spas in Auckland’s CBD, is to remain competitive. Utilising the resources of the hotel’s sales and marketing team has encouraged public relations activity for the spa and its frequency ensures its name stays top of mind with locals and visitors.
“Other CBD spas may have the same brands but what sets us apart is our level of service and our facilities. We have commission-based incentives to motivate staff and although home-care isn’t a big part of our revenue, it is there when the guest truly needs it and the staff are always tuned into their needs.
“A guest choice can also come down to affordability. We are a five-star location and with that comes five-star prices. I’m not going to hide behind that but have absolute faith in what we do,” says Handre whose biggest difficulty is dealing with a ‘now’ generation.
“We need to be able to deal with this otherwise you lose business. You need to make your turn-away ratio very low and that improves loyalty: we’re there when people need us.”
Not long into the job, Handre has his finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to understanding Spa at the Pullman. His focus remains on affirming the spas identity and refining its passion.
“It is still about being a New Zealand, or Aotearoa, spa with high-level service and a green element injected into the surrounds, as reflected by our landscape. We must heighten these themes, deliver new treatments, set the bar high and stay competitive in the market.”
SIGNATURE TREATMENT – Indigenous New Zealand Greenstone Massage
An authentic New Zealand treatment using the healing and balancing properties of Greenstone (Pounamu) which is only found in the South Island of New Zealand and though to contain its own special life force — mana. The 75 minute treatment, also featuring a signature foot ritual, uses a combination of stones of varying temperatures, alongside flowing, gentle massage strokes, to soothe and uplift.
Spa at The Pullman, Pullman Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand www.pullmanauckland.co.nz