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Spa Director Profile: Damien Craft ~ The Spa at Four Seasons Westlake Village

Interview by Marina Chetner

 

Damien Craft has an impressive resume. He’s carved a niche for himself, having worked at some of the largest resort spas including Bacara Resort and Spa, Grand Wailea in Hawaii, and now Four Seasons Westlake Village, where he serves as Spa Director.  Passionate about the industry, there’s no stopping him… except, of course, when summoned for a massage.

 DamienCraft2web

FIND BLISS How did you get started or decide you wanted to become a resort Spa Director?

 

I started as a professional massage therapist at 18. My dad had a huge influence on me – he was the official masseur for the jockeys at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields Racetracks in the Bay area. He had a day spa back in the ‘80s, so I was always around that environment as a kid. In 2000, when Bacara Resort and Spa opened, I applied to be a massage therapist and quickly grew up the ranks there to become departmental trainer, spa supervisor, and manager-on-hand. My Spa Director at the time — who became one of my greatest mentors — asked if I’d like to get into management. I took the leap and was promoted to manager-on-duty and started learning the business side of a large resort spa.

 

What’s the biggest contribution you’ve made at this spa?

 

We’ve always had a great facility and great operation but no one knew we were here. We used to be LA’s best kept secret, but by putting a concerted marketing effort into the community, we received a lot more recognition locally, and nationally through the awards we’ve won.

I started a grassroots campaign called ‘Wow Me Wednesday’ which was about “turning your weakest day into your strongest day.” We started with 50 appointments, and now we’re doing approximately 200 appointments on those days. About 90% of our business is local business.

 

What do you think is the most outstanding aspect of The Spa at FS Westlake?

 

Our luxury spa suites — they give the guest the opportunity to spend a whole day in their private suite. We rent them out for $600 a day, and you have a big screen TV, a daybed, a huge indoor Jacuzzi tub, your own shower, and indoor treatments by the fireplace. All the suites open up to a beautiful outdoor patio with a private hot tub.

 

What’s in store for the future?

 

We have brought in a new product line called Natura Bisse, and we’re going to implement what will be called the Diamond Club – an exclusive club for Natura Bisse and Four Seasons fans. It’s a great partnership for us because we have the same vision: high end, luxury, and results-driven.

 

The wellness aspect of what we already offer at our spa – combining wellness, nutrition, medical services – shows that we’re ahead of the curve (for more information, see www.chli.com). For example, we have a radiology facility, so ladies come in for mammograms, mocktinis, and massages. By coming in together, they get their tests done, support one another when they receive the results, and get treatments in the end. It’s a win-win.

 

Where do you go to relax, work out, and get pampered?

I do receive a lot of treatments at our Spa. Not only do I get regular Sports Massages — we have some of the best trained therapists in the technique — but it allows me to experience other therapists and stay in the loop of what we’re doing.

I’m an avid martial artist and recently started a new style, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I do that for the fitness aspect – it’s a great workout and exercises every part of the body.  I love the beach, and on our days off, my wife and our two girls (3 and 5), are usually in Malibu at Leo Carillo Beach where we spent a lot of time relaxing and hanging out. I do like to play golf at the Malibu Country Club as well.

 

What is your must-have skin care item?

I love our DNA EGF Growth Factor Serum (www.dnaegfrenewal.com). This product line is pretty much exclusive to our spa, except for one other property that carries it in Hawaii. It was developed by Ronald Moy, MD, FAAD and Former President of the American Academy of Dermatology. The serum repairs DNA that has been damaged by the sun, and is preventative against cancer.

 

Describe your at-home skin care regime.

As well as the serum, I am using OM4 Organic Male (om4men.com) for my daily routine. It’s easy as they put it in steps — I use their cleanser, the Phytonutrient Repair Serum, and moisturizer. My wife is an aesthetician, and with me being a Spa Director – a lot of us are product junkies – I’m all over the chart. But I love this particular line. I also use Dr Moy’s DNA EGF Sun Protection SPF 30.

What is the most can’t-put-it-down book you’ve read recently?

 

I love motivational books, especially ones that discuss how to better yourself in business. I just finished You’re the Greatest by Frances McGuire. He was the former CEO of FedEx and Kentucky Fried Chicken. It is a self-help book on how to validate your employees to improve the bottom line.

 

What is your favorite film?

 

I go back and forth all the time as I love movies of all genres. I like Quentin Tarantino movies, but I think my favorite is the Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. It’s a great story and the film has everything in it – it’s three hours long.

Do you have a favorite dining spot in LA?

 

I love Japanese food and enjoy eating at the hotel’s restaurant, ONYX – it’s where I dine more than anywhere else, and is one of the best Japanese sushi restaurants I have ever eaten at. Outside the property, I do go to Nobu in Malibu quite often – they have great sushi.

 

What quote inspires you?

“If you love what you do you, will never work a day in your life.” – Confucius

 

If you had a free day in LA, what would you do?

It would definitely be in Malibu because I just love the area. After a few hours of golf, my wife and I would head to the Malibu Family Winery – we love to go there with a picnic and hang out with friends and drink wine. Afterwards, probably dinner at Nobu… We have a three- and a five-year-old that would kind of interfere with that, but we like to spend time with them too!

 Photograph of Damien Craft by Tanya Craft.

Photographs of Four Seasons Westlake Village supplied by hotel; Nobu images photographed by Rob Shanahan.

 

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