As the Director of Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, Christine clearly knows how to offer the best relaxation experiences to guests, having been awarded as Best Spa in Europe at the Prix Villégiature in Paris in 2016. Christine shares with us how this leading wellness facility maintains at the peak of practice, as well as the secret formula to staying glamorous always.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO MONACO AND HEAD THE THERMES MARINS MONTE-CARLO?
The concept of well-being has always fascinated me. After 10 years working as a nutritionist, I had the opportunity to join Thalassotherapy Centre Thalgo La Baule soon after its creation in 1988. Dr. Yves Treguer, manager of this establishment, quickly entrusted me with the various tasks as an assistant which led me to participate in the project of Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo. My rich and varied experience in the field of thalassotherapy and well-being would allow me to become Deputy Director of this flagship since its opening in July 1995 and later as the Director in 2015.
WITH INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION BECOMING STRONGER AND MORE DIVERSIFIED, HOW DOES THERMES MARINS MONTE-CARLO OVERCOME ITS CHALLENGES AND REMAIN AS A GLOBAL REFERENCE?
The Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo is anestablishment of the Société des Bains de Mer Group, which set the benchmark in terms of luxury hospitality in Southern Europe since 1863 as required by Prince Charles III of Monaco and by all his heirs since then. Kings, Queens, business leaders, famous entertainers… have been staying with us and their modern counterparts continue to do so. The Société des Bains de Mer Group has won an incalculable number of awards. Recently again it won the “Europe’s Best Hotel Group” award in October 2017, rewarding the quality of its services and its permanent innovations. We preceded them in October 2016 by winning the ‘Prix Villégiature” award for the “Best Hotel Spa in Europe”.
To remain a main player and an international reference for so long, it is absolutely essential to be a mover and shaker, to understand the world’s trends and changes, to monitor new technologies and to integrate them into your products and services. More simply, it is also about never becoming complacent. The constant search for the best performance is key to stay at the top. For this, we must cultivate and encourage our differences, innovate, create new experiences for our customers while remaining very professional and guest-oriented. After all we only take pride in delivering the result that they expect.
THE ASIAN CLIENTELE IS PARTICULARLY KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT BODY CARE AND SPA, HOW DOES THERMES MARINS POSITION ITSELF IN THIS REGARD?
This clientele is demanding because it is culturally accustomed. I have great admiration for the cultures of this part of the world. We still have a lot to learn about the approach to care and to health that prioritises holistic prevention in an attempt to catch the disease upstream, before it has become one.
In our protocols of cares, we carefully saw that our Asian clientele is not forgotten: our lightening facial treatments or the range of rituals that we propose are a proof of that. We take pride in our offering because we developed all our treatments and cares ourselves and because there are decades of experience involved. But we strictly avoid copying or transforming outstanding household Asian treatments provided in Asia as there is always a risk that they become a lesser version of themselves.
Be that as it may, we are committed to offering our Asian clientele an unforgettable experience in the Principality and we have plenty of options for them to enjoy a unique and new experience.
WHAT ROLE DOES THERMES MARINS PLAY IN THE MEDICAL TOURISM SCENE IN MONACO?
Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo presents itself as a centre of well-being and preventive health. In this, we support our customers in their sports performance goals, weight loss, preservation of their youth or simply for them to maintain their state of well-being for as long as possible. High level professionals and business leaders come to us to recover from stress through individualised programs of 4, 6 days or more, to take a break from life, basically.
Indeed, Monaco has now become an established international destination for Medical Tourism. So we are the gateway to preventive health in Monaco but we leave the medical side to the health institutions of the Principality such as the Princess Grace Hospital, the world-renowned Cardio-Thoracic Centre or the athlete-focused IM2S to carry out all the assessments required for a detailed analysis. Our doctor compiles the results, builds the individualised care plan, and associates this with a nutritional plan. A year-round follow-up is proposed for long-term results.
This prevention component differentiates us from relaxation spas and adds to each treatment, cosmetics or well-being, a more precise and always result-oriented dimension.
SINCE THE 19TH CENTURY, MONTE-CARLO IS KNOWN FOR ITS EXTRAVAGANT HAPPENINGS: CAN YOU TELL US A UNIQUE AND HISTORIC MOMENT OF THERMES MARINS?
There are so many things going on every day that I cannot name just one! We welcome athletes and celebrities from all over the world and we know how to do so in total discretion. Sometimes we have magic happenings like this celebration which saw a grand piano and a concert pianist installed as if floating on the surface of the swimming pool. But I can share with you a historical fact: the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo was totally destroyed by a bomb dropped from an aircraft in 1944 during the second world war. On the walls of our corridors today you can see archives photos of the old establishment as it was before that. But the Monte-Carlo SBM group was undeterred and held on to its belief in well-being. It soon rebuilt the facility and continued to build its legacy thereafter.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITES ABOUT MONACO THAT YOU WILL LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
The Japanese Garden is a great place to relax and enjoy peaceful moments. It is an authentic work of art that respects the strictest principles of Zen Buddhism. One cannot miss the Casino de Monte-Carlo as well as the Opera de Monte-Carlo, which to me are the most beautiful in the world. For museums, one can visit the New National Museum of Monaco (NMNM) and the Oceanographic Museum, where I am always amazed at the architecture and its collection of more than 6000 specimens!