In the relaxation room with… Susan Harmsworth

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In the relaxation room with…


The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA in Hong Kong

Susan Harmsworth MBE, founder of the ESPA range of skincare products, has built up a global spa consultancy which manages spas from Beijing to Bali and Dubai to Delhi

What books or magazines do you read after a treatment?

For me, spa time is about relaxing, so I don’t like to read anything too challenging – magazines and a little ‘chick lit’ perhaps.  Quite often I simply spend time calming my mind by meditating and reflecting.


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What soothing music do you listen to when visiting a spa?

It has to be very slow and calming, though I generally prefer no music at all as it can be too distracting.

What is your favourite drink after a massage?

I only drink water at room temperature water with no ice.



Which spa has the best view and why?

“The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA in Hong Kong on the 118th floor is quite simply breath taking – you’re right in the clouds, with a complete vista of the city and beyond.”  Susan Harmsworth.

Also, the One&Only Spa by ESPA at Reethi Rah in the Maldives where the treatment rooms overlook the sea, is divine as I love to convene with nature.


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One&Only Spa by ESPA at Reethi Rah in the Maldives

ESPA at The Europe in Killarney is also perfectly positioned in nature as it’s orientated towards the stunning loch.

Nizuc Spa by ESPA in Mexico is another of my favourites – the treatment rooms overlook a Laguna on the Maya Riviera.


What is your perfect jet-lag treatment?

One of the joys of ESPA personalised ‘Time’ is that the treatment is tailor -made by the therapist depending on how you feel on that day or time. When I have jet lag I need to work with the Circadian rhythm of my body.

If I’m at home, I skin brush, exfoliate, take a bath with Epsom Salts, Detoxifying Seaweed Bath, and the appropriate ESPA bath oil according to the time of day – usually Restorative or Detoxifying – all prior to the therapist coming. I usually have around two hours of treatments, then sleep for two to three hours, set my alarm, and wake up feeling revitalised and ready to go again.


How has the spa experienced changed in recent years?

Personalisation is one of the key changes I have observed in recent years. The expectation and experience of consumers globally has shifted, hence we have designed personalised treatments bespoke to each client, which can be booked for thirty minutes or three hours.

Spa guests expect efficacious treatments that deliver instant and long-lasting results; so many people are choosing to have facials, which are often incorporated into other treatments – for example our back, face and scalp massage.


Which ESPA Spa are you the most proud of?

We have launched so many incredible spas, but I am especially proud of our flagship, ESPA Life at Corinthia in London. This was such an exciting venture for us – not only is it an exquisitely designed luxury spa, but it also offers a fully integrated wellness approach alongside the traditional treatment experience, pioneering the way for the next generation of spas.

The Spa at Gleneagles by ESPA also epitomises this new concept, and is another five star spa and wellness destination that I am particularly proud of.


Which beauty product would you have to take on a desert island with you and why?

I use our Lifestage range daily, and simply cannot be without my Net 8 Serum. I’m a huge fan of serums in general, layering them under moisturiser to help feed and nourish my skin.


What are your wellness must-haves and must-dos?

I take 10 days annually to undergo a proper clinical detox programme in Austria. Whilst there, I determine my vitamin and mineral profile so that I can supplement my body in the best way possible. I also see a personal trainer regularly – at my age it’s really important to exercise often and build strength.

In terms of eating, I follow a general rule to eat light at night, and never eat too late when the digestive system is at its most sluggish. I swim, steam and have massages as much as possible following long-haul flights.


What top three ESPA products should we have in our spa bag this summer?

We have some truly fantastic skin and body care products for summer! Our new Naturally Radiant Tinted Moisturiser SPF15 is the perfect finishing touch to skincare regimes.

Optimal Body TriSerum is also perfect for prepping your summer body, combining the active power of a super serum with the skin strengthening properties of a body oil. This treatment has a light, refined texture that absorbs easily for nourished and more beautiful skin.

Our new Cooling Body Moisturiser is also ideal for the hot summer months as it contains a lightweight blend of Aloe Vera and Ayrurbedic Boerhavia to instantly soothe and hydrate.


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