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If you haven't been to the new ESPA at the Joule hotel in downtown Dallas, it's a royal treat. Conveniently, the Queen of England herself anointed Sue Harmsworth, ESPA's founder and CEO, an MBE (Member of the British Empire), acknowledging more than 40 years of experience—Harmsworth is the only person in the industry to receive the honor. Intrigued beyond belief as to why Harmsworth would choose downtown Dallas for her spa, we recently caught up with her.
For the uninitiated, can you give us a little background on you and ESPA?
I have over 40 years in the spa industry, long before the word spa existed! I'm known as a global leader in the design and management of luxury spas in over 60 countries. We also manage them and manufacture our wonderful, natural, results-driven products in a green factory in England. We train over 3,000 therapists a year through our post-graduate program, and the "E" in ESPA is for education. I got my MBE (Member of the British Empire) for services to the spa and beauty industry from the Queen, and I'm the only person to have done so. I also sit on the board of the Global Spa and Wellness Summit and other advisory boards.
What makes ESPA so unique and different from other spas in Dallas?
ESPA at The Joule features luxurious design and bespoke treatments and experiences. The spa offers four multifunction treatment rooms, two beauty rooms and a Bijou nail studio as well as groundbreaking European heat experiences that include a crystal steam room, sauna, ice fountain, vitality pool with built-in air massage loungers, experience showers for soothing therapies, and pre- and post-treatment relaxation areas. Simply, it is spa like no other in the area.
Why should a prospective client choose ESPA over other places in the area?
We created a collection of result-oriented treatments that are unique to ESPA at The Joule. ESPA therapists are hand-selected and trained extensively. This rigorous training elevates the treatment experience in Dallas, for even the most discerning guests. Also, ESPA products are as unique as they are effective. They are tested each and every day by a highly trained and extremely professional global network of therapists. ESPA's award-winning, natural, results-driven products are loved by women and men alike, who benefit from their visible results for both face and body.
Tell us a little about the Optimal Skin ProSerum.
Optimal Skin ProSerum is a potent super-serum and nourishing, strengthening face treatment oil in one. As the premier international spa authority, ESPA brings the revitalizing effects of spa treatments home with naturally restorative, replenishing products. This latest innovative addition to our luxe ESPA collection has captured the healthy glow of a facial in a bottle. Optimal Skin ProSerum harnesses the power of key natural ingredients to activate the skin's own revitalizers like collagen, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. The unprecedented formula infuses skin with nourishing essential oils and natural extracts to instantly brighten and even skin tone while enhancing elasticity, firming, and preventing signs of age. It is 99 percent natural and suitable for all ages and skin types. The light, silky serum absorbs quickly, and can be used day and night to promote healthy, youthful, radiant skin.
Any plans for ESPA to open other locations in Texas/the US?
Actually we are just opening ESPA at Vdara in Vegas, later Nizuc in Mexico. Texas you asked? Sure, we're just not ready to disclose more information on that yet.
What makes the Joule and ESPA such a good fit?
ESPA is the perfect fit for the Headington Companies-owned Joule Hotel. Both companies strive for excellence in all they do and place the guest in the center of everything.
What have been the reactions of clients who have discovered the spa?
Let me share one of our guest's comments: "Absolutely incredible! As we all wanted to treat ourselves and indulge a bit, we decided to all book services at the spa and spend the afternoon there. The place is stunning. In design and aesthetic, it mirrors the chic elegance of the newly renovated Joule Hotel above it, but with a quiet zen-like atmosphere. Attention to detail is everywhere, and evident across all amenities. As beautiful as the space is, and as much as everyone enjoyed the range of services each of us selected, the stand-out comment of the visit was the level of service. Before and after everyone's spa services, our group spent a good amount of time lounging in the stunning subterranean pool area. Everyone was raving about how attentive and professional the staff were - without being intrusive or pushy at all as they attended to every need. It was that "quiet omnipresent service" that one expects in more luxury-aware European markets. The champagne was delicious and we could have happily spent the entire weekend in the spa without ever leaving. Having this in Dallas further helps put our city on par with NYC and LA in terms of high-end offerings and true luxury."
What's the best part about your job?
The best part of my job is all the wonderful people I meet, from famous architects and interior designers, to owners and therapists. They are stimulating and very varied cultures, so I am always learning new things and ideas—never a dull moment. I love the design challenge and respecting the countries and rituals we work in. The other favorite is new product development. Now that we have built our very own green factory in England, which is Ecocert, Soil Association, Fairtrade and organic-food accredited, being the control freak that I am, we can produce amazing formulas which are revolutionary, results-led, and we are constantly sourcing new technology and ingredients to formulate ground breaking products.
Do you partake in spa services more or less than the average consumer, would you say?
I don't have the opportunity to take many treatments for pure relaxation or personal reasons and when I do so I tend to have a therapist come to my home so that I can fall asleep afterwards and get the full benefit of the treatment. When I am working, I take treatments in our spas, just to make sure that our very high standards are maintained and delivered.
What's your personal favorite service to book?
Because I travel so much, dehydration is one of my personal issues, so I love to book a treatment such as our chakra balancing/hot stone treatment which includes skin brushing, full body exfoliation, a wonderful oil massage, a facial and a scalp treatment with our famous pink hair, and scalp mud. Because this incorporates every inch of face and body, I am instantly rehydrated, relaxed and ready to go!