The Spa at Una is a special place, where troubles are left at the door and you leave feeling refreshed, renewed and like you’re floating on air. Managing the Spa is a job that requires experience, positive energy and expert knowledge of everything from the science and technique behind every individual treatment, to people skills and a whole lot more. The Spa at Una is very fortunate to have the wonderful Bethany at the helm, ensuring that every single visitor enjoys a blissful experience. We sat down with Bethany and, over a cup of herbal tea, asked her a few questions about life at the Spa at Una.

Hi Bethany, thanks for taking the time out to answer some of our questions, we won’t keep you long! Firstly, how did you end up as Spa Manager at Una, do you have a background working as a Spa therapist, a manager (or both)?

Hi! I actually started as a therapist, and still do treatments alongside our amazing team. I trained over ten years ago and worked my way up into a management position at another Cornish spa for my first few years in the beauty industry, and have been in the role ever since. To me, it is really important to have a Spa Manager who has worked all aspects of the role, and therefore knows what does and doesn’t work or what impact decisions made will have on your team. I’ve worked for both spa and non-spa related managers, and trust me when I say, the working environment, and therefore the guest’s spa journey, doesn’t compare.

Historically, it would be fair to say that women have been more partial to indulging in a treatment or a spa day than men. Have you noticed a change in demographic over the last few years, are there more men turning up at the spa than previously?

I would say that there has been an increase in all guests in the past few years, and our spa, as well as the industry in general is busier than ever. I personally think it would be fair to say that we don’t indulge in treatments enough, so many guests see spa treatments as a one off ‘treat’ rather than looking at them as maintenance for the body or wellbeing. We are all guilty of putting aside our wellbeing to concentrate on so much else in the world but it is also so important to look after yourself too.

What is your personal favourite spa treatment that you have been on the receiving end of?

That’s hard to say, I think I would have to say it’s between a scrub, a head massage or even foot massage maybe. My favourite treatment would have to be a full body, head to toe exfoliating, massaging and cleansing ritual from many years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible treatments over time and this one stayed with me, so much so, we have recreated it here and often run it as a monthly offer in winter so you feel as though you are floating out of the door. We have lots of exciting new treatments coming soon so watch this space for a more permanent signature offering.

What would you say are the main attributes that a good spa therapist must possess?

There are so many really and once you find them in a therapist, you really know you’ve got the best team. Mostly I’d say a warm, caring and inviting attitude, you need to be able to put a guest at ease in the hands of a stranger from the moment you meet. Good communication skills are a must with spa therapy, it’s not only about explaining treatments but also about knowing when your client just wants to relax. That being said, it’s also about being there for your client and knowing when they just want someone to listen, someone impartial to everything outside. Another huge attribute to working within a spa environment, rather than operating alone, is the ability to work well as part of a team, this is the key to a well-run spa and a smooth client journey.

Rejuvenating and relaxing people must require a lot of energy, and be exhausting work! Outside of managing the Spa, what do you do to relax and have fun?

It definitely is, but it’s so worth the response. I’m very much a family person, and am lucky enough to have an incredibly close family.. so much so that we pretty much all live on the neighbouring streets! I’m actually a Newquay girl and live with my partner, our daughter and dog, so my time outside of work is spent mostly with family and friends, exploring new places with the little one, relaxing at home or going for dog walks, usually on Fistral Beach (we have a Frenchie who will play frisbee until you have to carry her home).

Mental health has really been in the spotlight in recent years, and people are encouraged to talk a lot more, and to reduce stress in their lives wherever possible. Do you see spa treatments and physical therapy as a valuable tool in helping to de-stress people and improve their quality of life?

Absolutely, I think more often than not we aren’t aware of how much we need a treatment until it’s time to get off the couch. It’s amazing the feedback that we have from guests how something as small as a back massage can alter their mood entirely. For those of us who have had a massage before, you don’t realise until you stand up how tight those muscles were or how tired your body feels, yet sometimes even just one massage later you feel so much lighter and somehow two feet taller! I also find that, during treatment times, it’s a chance for our clients to switch off to the outside world, they don’t have to talk if they don’t want to and can leave everything at the door. From the moment they arrive they are greeted by a friendly face and someone who is there to help you relax during your entire stay.

As well as the fresh sea air and beaches, Cornwall is world famous for its produce these days. What is your favourite meal when eating out locally?

I must admit I have more of an Italian style preference when it comes to dining out, pasta and risotto will always be my favourite go to! That being said, I have a one year old, the most luxury dining we get currently is a cheese and onion pasty after soft play.. not that I’d turn away those either!

Thanks again for taking the time out to speak with us. Finally, is there a spa treatment that people may not have tried yet that you would recommend?

I would definitely recommend the Lava Shell Body Massage, although it has been around for a few years now, this treatment is still fairly new to the industry with most guests choosing a Hot Stone Massage when it comes to heated treatments. For me this is a superior treatment to hot stones, the effect is sublime, and the considerably higher temperatures provide a beautiful flow, and it offers the ideal combination of relaxation and tension relief.

To book your Spa treatment, Spa Day or Spa & Stay break at Una St Ives visit the website, call 01736 257000 or email: spa@unastives.co.uk.