An Oasis of Warmth
The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. is a tranquil escape for the mind, body and spirit. Located in the heart of historic Washington D.C., the spa’s Forbes Four Star status attracts D.C. locals looking to enhance their well-being and escape from metropolitan life. With warm and neutral colors draping the spa, a sense of warmth and relaxation greet each guest. The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental’s profoundly Zen atmosphere is a welcomed oasis of holistic therapy. With eight treatment rooms, a dedicated beauty suite, relaxation rooms and vitality pools, guests leave feeling rejuvenated, both inside and out.
The most popular treatment at The Mandarin Oriental Spa in D.C. is the Oriental Essence Massage (50 minutes, $165). Spa Director Sherrie Tennessee describes the treatment as, “a customizable service where the guest is able to select the scent and pressure for the session.” Tailored treatments are the new standard of service when it comes to the spa industry. Clients expect and deserve treatments that are targeted to their specific needs to help induce relaxation and overall wellness.
To further promote well-being, the Oriental Essence Massage also includes the spa’s signature Oriental Heritage, “a pillar of Mandarin Oriental,” says Tennessee, beginning with a shoe ritual when the client checks into the spa. The massage then starts and ends with the sounds of bells, and tea is served at the end of the experience. Sherrie goes on to explain that, “In this busy world, the goal of the experience is to give the guest reprieve from the world and allow for reconnection to the mind and body.”
While you would expect the majority of hotel spa guests to be tourists and travelers, the opposite is true for the Mandarin Oriental D.C. Sherrie says, “The majority of the guest to Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC are local. The location was the only Forbes Four Star location until earlier this year. That fact along with the amenities and brand recognition attract new clients. We do our best to provide a fantastic experience which will have clients return again and again.”
Marketing strategies vary greatly from solo practitioners to luxury hotel spas. Sherrie recognizes that she is fortunate to have the full support of the Mandarin Oriental’s Marketing and Communications department. To help promote the spa’s services, she says, “We utilize packages and marketing tools to attract new clients.” Social media is also a big part of the spa’s marketing program. The Spa at the Mandarin has a strong social media presence. Instagram is used to “assist in the promotion of events including the Hydrate and Meditate (monthly Wellness event), Empress Facial, offered in conjunction with the Empress exhibit at the Smithsonian.”
The Spa at the Mandarin is fortunate to have Sherrie as Director of Spa, with over 18 years of experience as a trainer and educator. Sherrie says, “I take training very seriously as does Mandarin. Morning line-up, a quick review, is required every day, in additional monthly meetings are scheduled to review the month and plan for upcoming events. I also utilize the vendor partnerships to have the products/protocol experts share their insight with Spa Colleagues.” Consistency and quality of customer service is essential to meeting the standards of a Forbes Four Star Spa.
Spa colleague performance is reviewed annually. Sherrie sits down with each team member and reviews his or her goals for the year. Spa management also reviews these goals and adds business goals, which are monitored and discussed every quarter. The spa’s management also undergoes training to help support their leadership growth, as provided by the Mandarin’s Managing Performance Development program.
Keeping the team motivated is also an essential part of continuing success. Sherrie incentivizes her staff with hotel stays and free product to encourage them to increase their retail sales and upsell services. Recently, they added gift cards for the Spa Concierge at the front desk to help increase scores on quality calls.
The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental D.C. hosts several special events throughout the year. To make each event unique and special, several months of planning with vendors take place to ensure the items needed arrive in a timely fashion. The spa team’s schedules are also adjusted to accommodate for events. Sherrie notes that they are “lucky to have a strong Events and Catering department” which she has worked with to develop “a strong relationship to assist in the process of special events.”
The spa has also formed relationships with local institutions, such as the Smithsonian, which as helped increase exposure for both the hotel and the spa. In the future, Sherrie hopes to find local product vendors to carry in the spa’s retail area.
The selection process for retail lines at The Spa at the Mandarin is intense. Spa Director Sherrie explains that, “We go beyond just smelling good, the packaging and the message. The products have to meet the four-star standard, which can be a major challenge.” Currently, the spa partners with Aromatherapy Associates and ESPA. Unique to the D.C. location is the addition of Biologique Recherche. The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental D.C. is also the only spa in the city which carries this exclusive line.
Spa Director Spotlight
Sherrie is a licensed massage therapist with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Sherrie has been in the Spa industry for over 18 years and author of How to Open a Day Spa: 31-Day Guide. Sherrie joined Mandarin Oriental in December 2018 as the Director of Spa and Wellness in Washington, D.C.