A spotlight on Safyie Reid, Spa Director
It is pure splendor, sitting on a verandah overlooking the Caribbean Sea. An oasis within an oasis is how it is described. A little bit of paradise.
This is the Spa at Peter Island Resort and I am interviewing none other than the Director, Safyie Reid. She came to Peter Island three years ago, from the Hyatt RegencyTrinidad and Tobago, where she also worked as Spa Director.
“I feel so much more at home in the BVI, I just love it here,” says Safyie, with abrilliant smile. She is responsible for the overall management of the Spa at Peter Island Resort; management of finances, marketing, product selection, and staff management.
Safyie hails from Jamaica, spending nine years at the Ritz- Carlton Resort & Spa, also working in the spa environment. “I sort of fell into this by accident. While I have a degree in hospitality management, I did not plan specifically to work in this area,” Safyie says. “I started out really selling spa packages to groups at the Ritz- Carlton in Jamaica. I had to convince persons coming in to purchase spa packages prior to arrival and I just fell in love with this aspect of the industry.”
"Spa wellness is big business, generating billions of dollars globally with huge growth projected into the future and Safyie acknowledges that management in such an environment is not an easy task."
Spa wellness is big business, generating billions of dollars globally with huge growth projected into the future and Safyie acknowledges that management in such an environment is not an easy task. There is tremendous competition and keeping up with the constantly changing demands of clients is always an issue. Locally, the other challenge is identifying trained staff, particularly in the area of therapists.
“We are looking at possibly increasing our staff for the next season, but finding talent locally has always proved to be a bit challenging,” she notes. “These are well paying jobs, but I guess because there is no training facility here for this sector of the industry, it makes it more difficult to source staff locally.” Safyie also notes that there is special demand for female therapists.
Because the resort has to recruit staff from abroad, Safyie finds herself with a very diverse team and has found this to be her greatest challenge to date. She has had to make a few adjustments, dealing with persons who are not necessarily accustomed to accepting management instructions from a female. This is a first for her and quite the learning curve. “I must say that it gets much easier with time. With sensitization, the staff is becoming more accepting of our cultural values and becoming more appreciative of my management abilities,” she says.
Safyie is clearly not allowing the challenges to overwhelm her though. She looks forward to finding new products, identifying local treatment options for her clients and more than anything else, ensuring that the Spa at Peter Island Resort remains competitive. They incorporate as many ingredients from the property garden as possible, like lemongrass, fresh ginger, and aloe to satisfy clients demand for fresh, local and organic.
“We also spend quite a bit of time cultivating a local clientele,” says Safyie. “We recognize that BVIslanders think of us as a tourist destination and we are consciously working to change that perception."
“We also spend quite a bit of time cultivating a local clientele,” says Safyie. “We recognize that BVIslanders think of us as a tourist destination and we are consciously working to change that perception. The spa and hotel are open to everyone.”
The ferry back to Tortola has arrived and I have to quickly wrap up this interview. I challenge Safyie with a few trick questions about her competition (name not mentioned). She is quick to inform me that the Spa at Peter Island Resort has received multiple awards for best spa in the region. I promise her that I would be back soon, possibly for one of the island boot camp sessions.