“Discipline, happiness and love” – The Wordrobe talks key approaches to wellness and the life of a spa expert with Maria d’Orey, Regional Director of the Serenity brand in Portugal
Recently recognised as one of the top 100 leaders in Portugal by Merco, when it comes to the spa industry there’s not much that Maria d’Orey doesn’t know. Based in the picturesque Algarve and Regional Director of the Serenity brand (plus, did we mention she’s a marathon runner in her spare time?), The Wordrobe caught up with Maria to find out more about her career journey, as well as innovative new treatments and what it means to juggle a portfolio of three Serenity locations.
Tell us, how did you get into the spa industry?
Taking care of ourselves was something that ran in my family and I always grew up with this notion of the importance of taking care of ourselves because it is when we are well that we best take care of others. And it all starts there, because of the importance I always gave to taking care of myself. I started working at UIP in the sports area. I joined UIP at a time when the spa and wellness area was no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have”.
My first experience was as the person in charge of monitoring an outsourcing company that operated spa services at the hotel. Later, I was challenged to keep that space and create the first Wellness Center. 3 years later, UIP challenged me to create our own spa brand and Serenity – The Art of Well Being was born in 2016. Today we have 3 Serenity locations in Portugal, one in the Algarve, one in Cascais and another one in Lisbon. In the future we’ll open in Porto and later this year the Serenity brand goes international with the opening of Serenity in Dubai.
When did you join Pine Cliffs Resort and what is your favourite aspect of the role?
I started working at Pine Cliffs 17 years ago and it has been an impressive, challenging but, above all, very rewarding journey. Regarding the second part of the question, my favorite part of my job is the relationship with the teams, with the clients, with the parent company UIP and influencing things in such a way that culminates in a client’s smile, in their well-being.
What makes Serenity Spa so unique compared to others?
In fact, we are well aware of what others offer, but we distinguish ourselves not only because of constant innovation, but because we are already a seal of quality assurance and, in a way, all experiences at Serenity are transformative.
What is your favourite thing about working in the Algarve?
The sun, without a doubt. But it’s a sun that lights up, a fantastic sea, a nature that is also very characteristic and, in the Algarve, time seems to pass more slowly and, in Serenity, time even stops.
What can guests expect when they come to Pine Cliffs Resort for a treatment or spa day?
Undoubtedly a unique experience that will accompany them beyond their stay at Pine Cliffs. But we are also a guarantee of quality, accuracy and innovation.
Describe your approach to wellness in three words.
Discipline, happiness and love.
How do you incorporate the surrounding environment into the spa?
One of the experiences we offer our guests is the Senses of the Algarve, the Senses of Lisbon or the Senses of Cascais, where we associate the treatments with the use of local products ranging from Ria Formosa salt, carob which has unique anti-oxidant characteristics, to Pastel de Nata flavoured tea or Colares wine from Cascais and, in this way, we integrate the surroundings into our customer’s experience.
Serenity SPA is the first spa in Portugal to offer CBD treatments – can you tell us more about the launch and the benefits of CBD?
Ila, one of our trusted partners, had been working on these products for some time. We know it is a sensitive area and they are extremely demanding with the quality of the organic products they work with and this case was no different. It was already something we were looking for and as soon as we realized that they were working in that direction we were very satisfied and expectant.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the main non-psychoactive ingredient of the cannabis plant. This is the component present in the CBD products and treatments of Serenity – The Art of Well Being. These products were chosen essentially for their ability to strengthen the immune system.
Cannabidiol has a highly analgesic and anti-inflammatory component. The techniques applied during the treatments, together with the characteristics of the products, are highly soothing. But cannabidiol is known to have many more therapeutic benefits, because it can act physiologically and biologically, helping to reduce insomnia, anxiety, pain, inflammation, nausea and many others.
Lastly, what’s your favourite treatment available at Serenity Spa?
I like every treatment in the menu, as each one was introduced with a specific goal in mind. But if I had to choose, I’d go with the Senses of the Algarve. In each property, we offer a signature treatment which is made using only indigenous ingredients.
The Senses of the Algarve includes a body scrub with hand-picked Falésia beach sand and fleur-du-sel from the Ria Formosa, a body wrap with carob and a massage with orange essential oil. The treatment is finalized with a cup of lemongrass tea, from our garden.