Lara Davidson, the director of the Spa at Pebble Beach, explains how the award-winning spa helps guests in their pursuit of wellness
The Spa at Pebble Beach has received many accolades from the U.S. media and is a leader on the international stage as well, having earned the Forbes Travel Guide 2018 Five Star Award for the fifth consecutive year. What is the secret to the spa’s success?
We train daily and consistently give feedback to our team, including reviewing reservation calls to ensure the first impression is a positive one. We are also fortunate to have a high employee retention rate; 60 of our 110 employees have worked here for more than 10 years. This gives us ample opportunity to work with our team to perfect their service.
The Spa has adopted new technologies and upgrades under your leadership. Why do you think it’s important for spas to embrace new advances?
While we cannot offer every new technology or service, we do research to ensure everything we bring in is the best possible. Over the past 10 years we have seen light therapy, oxygen therapy, sound therapy, chakra balancing, Botox, forest bathing, and silk peel/HydraFacial enter the treatment arena. Our guests know that if we bring in a new technology it’s because it really works and is not just a passing fad.
My parents always told me to be the best at my job, whether it was folding towels or doing a budget presentation. My team knows that I will do any job or task (as long as it is legal and moral) to make our guests happy. They, in turn, model that behavior.
Given the stunning natural beauty that surrounds The Spa at Pebble Beach, are there any outdoor-oriented spa treatments or activities you’d like to share?
Pebble Beach is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but it is not typically warm enough to offer outdoor treatments, so we bring the wealth of local natural ingredients inside. From the forest, we offer a wonderful body treatment called Lasapa Lelima, which means cleansing or bathing ceremony in Esselen. The treatment uses sage and elderberry harvested locally by one of the Esselen Indian elders. From the sea, we offer Ocean Elements, which uses organic seaweed harvested from the Pacific. We also use locally crafted aromatherapy oils in all of our massage services.
As a spa director, do you think it is important to address the connection between spas and physical health?
Absolutely! The Spa is part of the three cornerstones of wellness at Pebble Beach: The Spa & California Skin Institute, our fitness clubs, and the Juice Bar & Café (among our other dining outlets). How and what you eat, how you keep your body moving, and how you relax are critical to physical health. The services we provide at The Spa help to increase circulation, calm the nervous system, improve the quality of the skin, and improve respiration. The California Skin Institute offers skin cancer screenings as well as cosmetic procedures.
I actually learned how to play golf while working at Pebble Beach. I am still not a very good player but I have a much better understanding of the physiology of golf. And, I’ve worked with some of our senior therapists who are great golfers to create golf-specific services to assist our golfers with recovery.
How does The Spa at Pebble Beach embrace sustainability?
We are able to recycle all of our water at the property, which is used to irrigate our golf courses. At the hotel and The Spa, we compost and offer all biodegradable to-go cups and containers. We work with our suppliers to cut down on packaging and waste. Whenever possible, we use organic products. More than 6.5 million pounds of plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, paper, green waste, and over a dozen additional materials have been diverted annually from landfills through the Pebble Beach Company Reuse and Recycle programs. It is good business to take care of our environment.
How has the Juice Bar & Café, the latest addition to The Spa, impacted your guest experience?
Now guests can come for half the day and never change out of their robe! Salads, sandwiches, soup, smoothies and fresh juices are on the menu every day from 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. We offer patio dining outside under magnificent 100-year-old live oak trees, at the pool, and inside at one of five tables. Our cocktails utilize fresh juices, shrubs, and a healthy take on a margarita.
Learn more about The Spa at Pebble Beach, and all of the resort’s facilities and world-class accommodations, at pebblebeach.com.