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Irish Tatler’s award winning spa therapist and her favourite treatment

At this year’s Oscars of the spa world, aka the Irish Tatler Spa awards, Slieve Donard Resort and Spa’s Shona Fitzsimmons won Therapist of the Year. We caught up with her to find out what makes an award-winning therapist…

Therapist of the year

How long have you been at Slieve Donard?

I joined the spa when it first opened its doors in 2006 but took a short career break and came back two and a half years ago.

What do you like about the spa?

The staff and the scenery here at the Slieve Donard Spa, the therapist team have a close bond and the views from the spa are impeccable. I also love and have a strong passion for the ESPA brand.

What made you want to become a therapist?

I really just felt that making others feel good about themselves was the path I wanted to take in my career.

What did judges say made you stand out as a therapist?

I was described as having gone above and beyond to suit the client’s individual needs and to make the guest feel comfortable, enabling the client to trust me and really relax into their treatment.

What do you think is most important when giving a treatment?

I believe that having the client’s trust is most important as it allows them to relax and enjoy the treatment. Key to that is listening to the client’s needs so I can focus on their main areas of concern so they are getting the most out of their treatment.

Do you have a favourite treatment to give and why?

A back, face and scalp treatment; It’s ESPA’s hero treatment. I love it because it combines a range of treatments, including a back exfoliation, back massage with hot stones and a fully ESPA personalised facial including an oriental scalp massage. I feel the treatment is targeted at the main areas of concern for clients, allowing them to get the most out of the treatment. I feel that clients leave the treatment room feeling extremely relaxed afterwards, which it really rewarding.

What would be your recommendation to someone booking a spa break for the first time?

Arrive early for your treatment, preferably a few hours before it begins so you can use all the facilities available. This allows the body and mind to unwind so that it is more receptive to the treatment.

Is there a treatment you would particularly recommend?

Definitely the Celtic Journey. I particularly enjoy this treatment as it a ritual inspired by our unique surroundings. It includes a tea ceremony, foot ritual with sea salt scrub, ocean wrap, sea shell back massage and scalp massage.

VISIT SLIEVE DONARD RESORT AND HOTEL

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