Good Bye Sanctuary Spa
Its the end of an era...
The Sanctuary Spa, the Queen Mother of all UK Spas is closing its doors after 37 years. Known as the Spa that was born from love, not a lab, it was built in 1977 and founded by US choreographer Gary Cockerill as a gift of love to his ballerina wife. ..
It is with a very sad heart that I write this post and just like me, a whole nation of spa goers are in mourning for the closure of this iconic spa.
I have spent 5 magnificent years working at the Sanctuary....I remember been called for an interview, the excitement of accepting the position, been shown around the massive 5 floors building, getting lost in its secret passages, the rumors of the ghosts often 'visiting' the Lavender 4 and Lavender 5 therapy rooms, the uniforms we had to wear...who remembers those white dresses?
I can only but speak about my time and the wonderful team I worked with. We have truly seen it all! So many women have walked these doors day in and day out at an estimated figure of up to 60,000 every year! Some came with a smile and some with a less smiley attitude, but you can be rest assured that the professionalism and high standards were always met by the hard working management team, front of house and the wonderful team of 100 therapists.
I am sure my colleagues and I all agree that this may have been one of the hardest jobs ever due to the large scale of the operation, running of the teams and of course the daily numbers of Guest! Long hours, back to back treatments, running up and down its 5 floors, every day last minute issues, guests to attend to, searching for 'missing' people due to their treatment time-frame, the fire that closed the spa down for over a month, and the list could go on and on....yet we all have amazing memories, we made life long friendships, we laughed, we moved on with a smile and will most probably refer to "Her'' as the best job ever.
What you could not see behind those pretty closed doors was the support network between the management teams, the therapists, the genuine love and passion for our industry, for everything spa, holistic, relaxing and therapeutic and the extra care and personal touches that were offered to our guests. Those doors were not only held for you out of a spa book etiquette, but out of sincerity; the treatments that we designed where the fruit of expertise, research and passion and were performed outstandingly. Beauty Editors, journalists, VIPS, actors and various celebrities have all walked through those doors, yet everyone, regardless of their social media status, was always welcomed with a smile and pampered like a true princess.
And to secure its place in history, early this year the Spa won the Good Spa Guide ‘Reader’s Spa of the Year’...
While the beloved spa will be no longer, the brand’s ‘successful’ product line will continue - It will be interesting to see how long it will last without the story of the Spa behind them.
I am nevertheless honored to have worked with, been taught and guided by the likes of the wonderful and inspiring Debi Green, former CEO, Olivia Davies, General Manager, Kerry Davis, Deputy General Manager, Haley Adams, Spa Manager, Tanya Lopes and Camilla Fisher, Retail Managers, Audrey McNeill, Recruitment Manager, and of course our fabulous training team with Joanna Beukes, Karen Bevan-Brown and Melissa House.
A special thank you to some amazing colleagues and therapists I worked along with...Hayley Ramsey, Jessica Tolson, Amie Barber-Murray, Emma Watson, Caroline Madden, Donna & Michelle, Alina, Stephanie, Georgia, Claire, Tulin ... and too many to mention! Some we lost along the way...beautiful Jennifer!
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Caroline Madden - Definitely one magical place and some magical friendships we have made there. X
Chloe - Was an amazing place to work the good old days great people and happy memories
Claire Hathaway-Jennings - The end of an era. X
Claire Allen - Sad day, will miss this place. Def end of an era
Donna O'Toole - Sad day!!! x
Donna O'Toole - Wow Francesca your article is very well put!! Amazing times and very sad day!! Miss working with all you guys and all the crazy things that happened. Will always have a special place in my heart for so many reasons but most of all it will always be the place where I found my fiancé . Thank you all for making it such an amazing place we truly were a family xx
Debi Green - Amazing and so well written Francesca!!! very very sad! so many amazing memories and people who I will never forget! thank you for your lovely words! x
Jessica Tolson - Ah lovely words Fran, it was great fun and inspiring working with you too! The years went by in a flash! xx
Hayley Adams An absolutely stunning article Fran! I have a little frog in my throat!!! Xxx
Amie Barber-Murray - ahh Fran such beautiful words, actually have tears in my eyes and working in that top office with you, Hayley Adams, Caroline Madden, Olivia Davies, Audrey McNeill, Karen Bevan-Brown and Donna was the best and most rewarding job I have ever had I am gonna miss that place xxx
Karen Bevan-Brown - Ahhhh Fran, lovely lovely words..... Made some true lifelong friends from the sanctuary days, and was such a rewarding place to work and meet such talented people xx
Georgia Brown I had no idea it was closing! That's such a shame xx
Joanna Beukes - Beautifully written Fran! It was such an amazing place and was filled by an amazing work force. I will never forget the true passion enthusiasm and drive of the team we had. So many good times and special people. My heart is heavy just thinking about the end of that legendary place. Xx
Photos Courtesy of Google.