Amanda Schmiege is the Director of Spa & Recreation for the three hotels at Al Habtoor City, namely The St. Regis Dubai, W Dubai – Al Habtoor City and The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City. Creative, results-driven and with over 20 years of experience in spa operations, Amanda is a proven leader known to be totally committed to guest satisfaction and employee morale.
Amanda began working in the salon and spa industry when she was 15 years old and has remained an enthusiastic spa professional ever since. After graduating from University College London and University of Michigan, Amanda embarked upon a successful career within salons and spas.
Most recently, Amanda held the position of General Manager of The Red Door Union Square in New York – a 12,000 square foot salon and spa owned by Elizabeth Arden. There she oversaw the operations and leadership teams of the newest Red Door location, which also represented the global flagship Elizabeth Arden retail boutique. Prior to The Red Door, Schmiege worked for various Salons and Spas throughout New York, Orlando, and Chicago including distinctive brands as Wyndham Resorts, Mario Tricoci Hair Salons and Day Spas, and Trump Hotels.
Amanda’s new position of Director of Spa & Recreation for the three hotels in Al Habtoor City combines what she loves to do most: spa, recreation, and openings. Having been part of the opening for three previous properties, Amanda thrives on bringing a team together for the first time and creating something new. Amanda will oversee the launch of Dubai’s first Iridium Spa at The St. Regis Dubai, and the Heavenly Spa by Westin at The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City.
As is her specialty, Amanda looks forward to launching world-renowned services and facilities that will garner the utmost indulgence and attention in the industry. All this while building exceptional teams that will feel proud to bring wellness to guests, leaving them with lasting and memorable experiences. Amanda strongly believes the two spas together will push the boundaries of luxury in all things spa.
Dr. Nasrine Abushakra had a chance to catch up with Amanda, who shared the secrets of her success down to the items on her desk.
What does your average day look like?
I start every day drinking a cup of hot water with Apple Cider Vinegar. I get ready and go straight to work where I feel as though I never stop. People often think that working in a spa environment should be calm and smooth. Spa Directors are like swans – calm above the surface but paddling like crazy underneath. I end each by walking home from work. It is a 45 minute journey from The St. Regis Dubai, and this is my time of the day that I have all to myself. Walking home from work has always been my release no matter what city I have lived in.
What top five items comprise your desktop arsenal? Why?
#1. Excel spreadsheets! I am obsessed with lists, facts, reports, numbers, and all things in excel.
#2. A minimum of 20 items open at once at any time on my computer. I feel the need to multitask and I like to open up everything I need to work on all at once. I only close things when they are done. I feel a great sense of satisfaction at the end of the day when everything is closed.
#3. A good pen. Sometimes the smallest things in life can bring the most joy. I love writing with a really good pen and it really makes a difference. This is also a result of working in hospitality for so long and paying so much attention to details.
#4. Black notebook. As much as I cannot live without my phone and computer schedules, I always carry a black notebook to keep proper old fashioned dates and lists on paper. Send me some old fashioned letters in the mail and I will be happy too, I love to receive real mail.
#5 Beauty products. As a Spa Director, I always have loads of spa product samples, and I like to share! I also like visitors at my desk to try items out so I can ask their opinion.
What is one desktop item you just cannot live without?
Water. I drink loads of water throughout the day and I get nervous if my water bottle is missing.
What are some must SPA treatments for this year?
This year is all about full body treatments that treat all of your skin. I am in love with our Seductive Silhouette Treatment at Iridium Spa, it firms and smooths the entire body so you leave feeling confident. For the face, I would definitely try more serious skincare to combat the increasingly intensified environmental effects. We are proud that Iridium Spa is the only spa in the Middle East to be using products from sought-after luxury beauty brand Swiss Perfection Cellular Skincare. The anti-aging qualities of Swiss Perfection ingredients visibly rejuvenate by lifting and improving skin on the face and body.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is Elizabeth Arden. She was truly a pioneer in the spa industry, ahead of her time. I always imagine what she must have encountered as a businesswoman in the early 1900’s blazing trails and opening a business that sparked a significant movement in the industry. Her quote, “To be beautiful is the birthright of every woman” reminds me of what spas can do to go give more to the guest than simply their service by providing the feeling of being refreshed, recharged, relaxed and beautiful.
What is your favorite spot in Dubai?
My favorite spot is the Dubai Fountains. It never ceases to amaze me how large the crowds get each night, with everyone there to view the impressive water show. I feel inspired by the how fast and far Dubai has been built and how much future there is here.