Wellness retreats across the globe have been implementing stringent health and safety measures as a result of COVID-19. Keeping wellness travellers safe is the top priority and California’s Cal-a-Vie is no exception. The luxury retreat has been supporting wellness by focusing on immunity, nutrition and physical activity in its programmes. We speak to Kyra Oliver, Cal-a-Vie’s Assistant Fitness Director, fitness instructor, motivational speaker and lifestyle coach, on the adapted wellness retreats and how Cal-a-Vie has been coping with these unprecedented times.
These unprecedented times have caused a big impact on the wellness and travel industry. How have you been coping at Cal-A-Vie to support the wellness of your staff and guests? The health and safety of our guests and staff are of paramount importance. We have been supporting their wellness through a focus on immunity, nutrition, supplement education, physical activity and reminders about best hygiene practices. We recognise that we have to think differently in this current environment with the constant influx of new or changing information. Therefore, we are constantly reinventing our best practices. We are always listening to our guests and staff and encourage their feedback.
Describe an ideal retreat experience here in five words. Relaxing, Nurturing, Invigorating, Inspiring, Lifestyle Reset.
Can you tell us about your adapted wellness retreats? Our all-inclusive 3, 4, and 7-night spa packages plans remain available. The adaptations that have been implemented are following safety and sanitation protocols, as instructed by OSHA, CDC, and WHO.
We are offering outdoor dining and more “fresh air” fitness classes so that our guests can choose what best suits their comfort level. Our team has gone above and beyond to establish a very rigid disinfecting process, and we maintain a high sense of awareness at all times. For the fitness department, we never put equipment away until we are certain it has been disinfected with the EPA certified disinfectant. We are using proper spacing protocols for every class, at every hour, and our instructors offer “no contact” support. What does that mean? Our guests get the same expert coaching that we have always delivered while maintaining their safety with physical distance.
What protocols have you implemented as a result of the ongoing pandemic? We have manufactured our own custom design face masks and a specialised blend of lavender hand sanitiser (to the correct specifications for proper disinfection). We supply our guests with a personalised amenity that includes these items for their use while on property. The lavender is a special Cal-a-Vie touch!
All staff is required to wear appropriate PPE. We have implemented daily briefings and pre-shift meetings and emails in each department to review the most up to date protocols and operational producers. Many larger departments have staggered employee arrival times to minimise traffic volume in employee corridors. We have implemented ongoing COVID 19 safety and sanitation training in accordance with the CDC, WHO and local government recommendations. Our fitness facilities are fogged with an environmentally safe COVID disinfectant product twice daily.
We take this very seriously down to the details. As an example, our morning snack is no longer served as a platter indoors. Instead, we now individually wrap each snack plate per guest and offer it outdoors.
Additionally, we pre-screen all future guests prior to booking. All staff and guests are temperature-checked before arriving at Cal-a-Vie. We are practicing social/physical distancing in all areas of the resort from the guest arrival experience to all programme activities. We have also enhanced cleaning protocols in guest rooms and common areas with frequent cleanings each day and the use of EPA-approved disinfectants.
What was the incentive behind opening this resort? We wanted to bring our talented and passionate employees back to work and provide a safe place for our guests to retreat since we feel that it is healthy to create a sense of normalcy where possible! We know that these times are stressful for many, and we feel that now more than ever people are seeking an intimate sanctuary, such as Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, to focus on self-care, health, and wellness. We feel that fresh air, regular educational programmes, and being social, while maintaining physical distancing, of course, is very important to everyone’s healthy lifestyle. It helps provide a positive mindset—something we all need every day.
Who would this healthy holiday destination suit? Cal-a-Vie is perfect for anyone who is looking to begin or continue their wellness journey; those looking to shift a mindset of fear and anxiety to one of optimism and positivity. We are the perfect place for the spa enthusiast who enjoys a one-of-a-kind wellness programme with curated experiences, guidance through professional fitness and wellness experts, pampering spa services, and a way to learn how to incorporate mindful eating and positive thinking. Ultimately, Cal-a-Vie is perfect for anyone who is seeking to live a healthy lifestyle through a variety of modalities.
How do you remain aware and mindful of your thoughts and catch yourself when you’re in a negative thought pattern? Working with your negative thoughts is much like a yoga practice; the more you practice the better you get. One tip I’ve learned is when you have a negative thought—you can simply embrace and acknowledge the thought and then choose to shift it into something more positive. I like to put the thought into an imaginary bubble, push it away, then replace it with a new positive thought. Over time, this becomes the way you think on a daily basis. It may seem impossible, but it truly works—you just have to stick with it to get good at it.
The most powerful transformations can come through difficult times or a crisis because people are forced to have a breakthrough. How have you changed a crisis into an opportunity? One of the best pieces of advice that I can give anyone is this: when you get out of your own head—all about you—and think more about what you can do for others—all about them—you are finally taking great care of yourself. That is true self-care. While we want our guests to feel that when they are here, it is all about them, one of the amazing ways that we are able to do that is by helping them work with their mindset. We can truly impact their lives in the most beautiful way which, in turn, will positively impact the lives of those around them. If they want to make changes, we can help them do that here at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa through all the things that we offer, and that includes creating a beautiful lifestyle that will provide lasting joy. We love that!