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SPOTLIGHT ON Cecilia Hercik, Director of Spa and Wellness, Sea Island

By Sharon Hirschowitz, Global Head of Media & Communications for The International Luxury Hotel Association
13 August 2021
6 min read
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Sea Island

The Spa at Sea Island is a Forbes Five-Star destination resort in Georgia, US that has an award-winning 65,000 square-foot spa and fitness center and is the only resort in the world to have received four Forbes Five-Star awards for 13 consecutive years.

Wellness is a top trend coming out of the pandemic. How have you reshaped your spa operations to better serve your guests?
Cecilia HercikWhile The Spa at Sea Island has always had a customer focus, our leadership team has increased its focus on compassion and understanding of both our employees and our guests, how they feel during what has been an uncertain time, putting ourselves in their situations, understanding their needs and aiming for better connection. We also increased our already stringent health & hygiene guidelines.

What are your guests asking for when they want to take some time for themselves?
When a guest comes into the spa who covets some elusive “me time”, looking forward to having time to themselves, they can wind up a little lost or confused when faced with the independent hours before and after a treatment. Not everyone has a lot of spa experience, so being left to their own devices in a huge facility can feel a little overwhelming; not to mention they worry about going the wrong way or missing out on some experience here or there, which can lead to anxiety instead of relaxation. To help guests experience freedom and independence with no anxiety or overwhelm, The Spa at Sea Island has created our new Self-Guided Water Journeys. This way the guests have the luxury of an expertly crafted route based on years of experience and knowledge of water therapies, which will help them make the most of their time and ensure that they can travel worry free around our breathtaking spa.

Have you incorporated any new programs to assist with mental health, immune support, and general wellbeing?
In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, another reason we launched our three (3) complimentary Self-Guided Water Journeys was to reinforce and teach independent practices of mental health and wellbeing.

  1. Thermal Waterfall Soother uses the warmth and pressure of cascading water to relax your body
  2. Steam Herbal Inhalations use aromatherapy for immune support and breathwork exercises for mindfulness and stress relief
  3. Water Meditation uses the soothing sounds of water along with a labyrinth to help steer an uneasy mind away from distractions and into a state of calm
Sea Island

What would you recommend a guest at your spa enjoy for the day?
I would say to arrive early so you can take advantage of the incredible spa facility. The Spa at Sea Island is equipped with eucalyptus steam rooms, rainfall showers, cascading waterfalls, redwood saunas and the new collection of self-guided water journeys. Nothing gets your mind and body spa ready like dipping in a hot tub, enjoying aromatherapy and being surrounded by the soothing natural sound of water before a spa treatment. We have an incredible array of spa and salon services and my favorite by far is our Sea Island Massage. This 90-minute customized signature massage offers a luxurious fusion of relaxation with a full body massage, a nurturing scalp and hair oil treatment, an invigorating body brushing and a soothing foot exfoliation.

The new Self-Guided Water Journeys focus on the idea of using water to heal the body and ease the mind and spirit to relieve anxiety and discomfort. Once on a self-guided water journey, you’ll know the luxury of an expertly crafted route based on years of experience and knowledge of the power of water therapies, which will help you make the most of your time and ensure you can travel worry free throughout our breathtaking spa facility.

These complimentary hydrotherapy rituals take advantage of the water’s physical properties such as temperature, pressure, even sound, to get blood flowing, silky skin, and sound sleep-in addition to washing away feelings of worry, anxiety or stress.

The Thermal Waterfall Soother will allow you to experience invigoration and relaxation while bathing beneath a cascading waterfall. This self-guided journey uses the water’s warm, powerful touch for a soothing full-body massage which revives and renews both the body and mind.

  1. Enter the Water Glasshouse and follow the trail leading down to the bottom of the waterfall.
    2. Walk the water-jets pathway back and forth for an invigorating hydro massage on your feet.
    3. Sit beneath the thermal waterfall for a vigorous yet relaxing water massage for your neck, upper back, and scalp area.
    4. Alternate between the waterfalls and enjoy the water massage jets on your lower back.
    5. Enjoy the soothing, comforting sounds of the waterfalls while your body relaxes beneath the touch of the cascading stream

The Steam Herbal Inhalations self-guided water journey, we have combined the healing powers of aromatherapy with breathing exercises. We infuse a different herb each month to help increase the beneficial effects of steam herbal therapy and breath work techniques. Our most popular choices: Mint for stress relief; Rosemary for enhancing brainpower; Orange for decreasing anxiety; Lavender for ultimate relaxation; Sage for mood boosting; Cinnamon for improving focus.

  1. Enter the Water Glasshouse, grab a neck pillow, dip yourself in the hot tub, place the pillow behind your neck, and float in the warm water, relaxing your neck and shoulders.
  2. Keeping your mouth closed, inhale slowly through your nose for 2 counts.
  3. Pucker or purse your lips as though you were going to whistle.
  4. Exhale slowly by blowing air through your pursed lips for a count of 4. Repeat as necessary.

Water Meditations at The Labyrinth is above all a quest. For this self-guided journey we utilize water’s unique sound abilities and invite our guests to embark on a walking meditation through our Labyrinth. The concentrated route of the Labyrinth helps free you from any inevitable distractions, while the peaceful sounds of trickling water help calm and center your mind. This self-guided water journey is perfect for the guest that is seeking a place of quiet and stillness.

  1. Name your intention
    If you have any intentions (a plan, goal or aim) in your heart, name them to yourself at this time and carry these intentions with you during the walk.
  2. Walk the path
    Enter and follow the path of the labyrinth. Go at a pace that feels natural. As you move along the path, notice what is happening in your mind and heart. If your mind wanders to thoughts that seem like distractions, use the sounds of falling water to help guide your mind and heart back to your intention.
  3. Give thanks
    When you reach the center of the labyrinth, give thanks. It does not matter to whom or what, just thank that person or energy or thought for having walked with you along the way.
  4. Reflect
    Afterwards, take time to reflect on your walking meditation. If you’d like, write down your thoughts, feelings, or anything else that you experienced.