European luxury meets Arabian inspiration with a creative edge at the brand new Rimal Spa in Movenpick Hotel Bahrain. We meet with legendary spa consultant Tricia Collins to find out more.
Tricia Collins is quintessentially British. By the time we’ve gotten the interview underway, we’ve already discussed tea and biscuits, Marks and Spencers and shared a cuppa. She’s bubbly, breezy and enthusiastic – definitely the kind of person you would want to work with. This must have been what motivated the Movenpick Hotel Bahrain to hire her as their spa consultant. That and her 30 years of wide-ranging experience in the global spa industry, of course.
For the past year, Tricia has been working in Bahrain to create a brand new spa concept for the Movenpick. Rimal Spa is set to be a luxurious European spa with ‘results-driven treatments,’ Tricia explains. ‘I’ve looked at the Bahrain market and also used my experience from working in the Middle East for many years, and I’ve realised not only ladies but also gentlemen actually want to feel something. They want results.’
Whether it’s a soothing massage or detoxifying wrap, a slimming treatment or a revitalising facial, Tricia has put a major focus on customers getting what they pay for. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, they want the wow factor,’ she says.
This is the first time Tricia mentions the ‘wow factor’ in our conversation but it certainly isn’t the last, because this is what she’s all about – taking a spa or spa concept with potential and turning it into a successful, profitable and yet reliable experience for guests. She’s done the same for the world’s first seven-star spa at Burj Al Arab, Anantara Dead Sea Spa in Jordan – one of the biggest in the Middle East – and a range of other companies in China and England such as Champneys and Langham, to name a few.
Each time, she not only looks at what’s not already available in the market but also at what natural inspiration she can find from the environment. And then she puts her own quirky, unique twist on it all. At Rimal Spa, she tells us, ‘Everything is going to be tailor made to people’s individual needs so it’s not only going to be results-driven but it’s going to be personalised. That’s something we’re very big on. Everything from the lovely signature aromas to the teas that tantalise the senses.’
This also includes the products she’s chosen. Firstly, there’s Harley Street Skincare, designed by the notable Dr Khan and his wife Leslie Reynolds Khan, hailing from one of the world’s most famous streets for medical clinics. It’s what the celebrities use, Tricia says, and it’s new to the Middle East.
Then there’s Caci, a UK-based manufacturer and supplier of non-invasive aesthetic treatments. The machine that Tricia’s gone for offers a non-surgical face and body lift that shows a difference after just one treatment. ‘People like Cliff Richards and top celebs use it,’ she says. ‘And it’s not painful.’
For the hammam products, as Rimal Spa will also feature a Turkish and a Moroccan hammam, she’s gone for French brand Charme d’Orient and their luxurious oils and black soap. On the more natural side, she’s chosen Voya from Ireland’s Atlantic Coast where they manufacture organic, environmentally-friendly, hand-harvested marine products that have detoxifying and slimming effects.
‘The best thing about these products,’ Tricia explains, ‘is that none of them are very girly. Not overly-perfumed, all natural and they attract both gender markets.’ The selection of treatments also appeals to both business and leisure guests.
Expect to find a treatment for everything but don’t bet on anything ordinary. For instance, the signature massage, which is based on the regular hot stones massage, actually utilises lava shells. ‘The shells are activated with sea water and then they heat up and last an hour so the therapist doesn’t have to keep taking his or her hands off you. The experience is so smooth you don’t even realise it’s a shell – it feels like its heat going through the therapist’s hands.’ They’ve also invented a signature argan and sea shell scrub, as well as a hybrid Thai-Swedish massage.
And as for the spa itself, it’s very au naturel and functional. Every one of the 12 treatment rooms is multi-purpose, complete with in-room showers, either water or steam, and beds that mould to your body. There are also three double rooms that can be used by couples and friends, two hammam suites and it’s all separated into a men’s section and larger female area with a relaxation zone.
‘I’ve got some top therapists too,’ Tricia says. ‘All of them have worked in Bahrain in top spas and I’ve hand-picked them myself. I’ve also got trainers from Harley Street and Caci coming in, among others.’ The spa manager, Christine Brown, is also from a training background in London, England and she’s been sitting in on all the therapists’ training sessions so the standards can continue to be upheld long after Tricia has gone.
As I’m talking to Tricia, I start to feel every knot in my body and all I want to do is lie on one of their mould-able beds and let the therapist do her thing. It’s Tricia’s enthusiasm and obvious passion for the industry that does it. ‘For me, I like to make a difference. It’s that feeling of being cared for and having a personalised treatment with someone taking care of you. Sometimes we need that.
‘You get someone coming in, saying, “I’m tired, my muscles ache.” In just 60 minutes we can make their life change.’ It’s seeing that person’s face post-treatment and realising what she and her team can do for people that inspires Tricia.
‘I’m very proud of what I do and very proud of my new team. They’re like a family and we’ve just gelled. The whole hotel is on a real energy high with the spa opening and I just think that’s fantastic.’
Opening in September at the Movenpick Hotel Bahrain (1746 0000).
A sample of treatments
Signature Jewels of the Sea Massage (60 minutes)
The Signature Lava Shell massage is comforting and relaxing, using naturally smooth polished shells of the South Pacific.
Organic Warm Spiced Mud Wrap (75 minutes)
A purifying, detoxifying and slimming body treatment using fresh seaweed combined with a deep cleansing mud wrap that’s rich in antioxidants and minerals.
Signature Princess Facial for anti-ageing (90 minutes)
A deluxe anti-ageing treatment that uses the unique Harley Street microdermabrasion mask with crushed diamonds and pearls to remove dead cells, followed by a combination of massage and serums, plus a hand and arm treatment.
Caci Non-surgical Face Lift (60 minutes)
A results-driven treatment using micro-current therapy which works alongside the body’s own bio-electrical field. It tightens and tones sagging muscles, facial contours are redefined, and fine lines and wrinkles are smoothed.