Exclusive: Jeremy McCarthy outlines wellness principles ahead of Mandarin Oriental expansion
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Exclusive: Jeremy McCarthy outlines wellness principles ahead of Mandarin Oriental expansion

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Jeremy McCarthy, the new group director of spa for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, has spoken exclusively to Spa Opportunities about his new role based in Hong Kong and the ethos he'll embrace as he bids to drive the business forward.

McCarthy revealed that Mandarin Oriental's reputation for having the best spa in any city where the chain operates was a major factor in his decision to leave his role at Starwood Hotel and Resorts as global spa development and operations director – replacing Andrew Gibson who has moved to FRHI.

“The company (MO) is growing,” McCarthy said. “We have less than 30 hotels today, but another 12 in development. This growth provides a unique opportunity to innovate around our spa and wellness offering.”

For McCarthy, spa and wellness go hand in hand. “I’ve been seeing a shift in the way we view wellness. For the last 100 years, wellness has mostly been about diet and exercise. We are now realising that there are two other pieces to the puzzle: one is the importance of rest and recovery; the other is the importance of positive emotions.”

These two additional factors are important for what McCarthy calls “energy management.”

“Exercise is only good for you if it’s balanced with the adequate amount of rest,” he added. “The same is true of productivity. We perform better if we alternate periods of activity with periods of rest. In our modern culture we don’t have many places we can go for rest and recovery. We tend to always be driving ourselves with this productivity mindset that leaves out the opportunity for recuperation.”

Spas are also unique because of the positive emotions that clients experience while they are there. As McCarthy says, “Spas are one of the only healing institutions in modern society that people look forward to going to and enjoy while they are there.”

McCarthy’s belief that spas provide psychological experiences will shape his vision for Mandarin Oriental spas.

“You come out of a spa feeling stronger mentally, because you’ve had that downtime,” he continued. “I usually have good ideas while I’m on the massage table – when my mind has been still enough to generate an idea.”

While McCarthy is still developing the spa strategy for Mandarin Oriental going forward, he is clear that some things won’t change. “We won’t steer away from our core philosophy of spa which is based on holistic wellness,” he said, “and we'll continue striving for the highest quality and authenticity in everything we do.”

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Jeremy McCarthy, the new group director of spa for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, has spoken exclusively to Spa Opportunities about his new role based in Hong Kong and the ethos he'll embrace as he bids to drive the business forward.
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