ABOUT CHRISTI CANO
Christi Cano is the President & Founder of Innovative Spa Productions, a Company which provides spa consulting and development services. With 18 years in the hospitality and spa industries, she has extensive experience as a Consultant, Spa Director, Trainer, Product Vendor, and Massage Therapist.
Having worked at five-star resorts both in the U.S. and Internationally, her “hands-on” philosophy provides an operational viewpoint that leads to sound decisions and advice for spa businesses. She has been a member of the International Spa Association’s Education Committee and is a frequent speaker and published writer. Ms. Cano has a B.A. from Texas A&M University.
IN HER OWN WORDS
I love spas – developing spas, working
with the staff, opening spas, training, being a spa consumer, finding
solutions to all those unique issues and all the little details and
funny stories that go with it along the way. Even during the frenzy
and sleep-deprived days before a big opening, I absolutely love my job.
Here’s one of the reasons; A couple years ago a close friend was
re-evaluating a few things in her life including giving up a career and becoming a wife and mother. During an afternoon walk, she asked if I
felt if the work I did made a difference in people’s lives.
In 1990, I joined Hyatt Resorts Hawaii. Through the years, I opened
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spas and Grand Hyatt Wailea and also worked at Hyatt’s
in Waikiki and Waikoloa on the Big Island. Spending the most time as
Concierge Manager proved to be great training ground for a transition
into Spa. It’s all about giving great service. The difference is that
in one department guests are fully clothed and at the other they are,
My first spa job was in 1997 and it was to get Spa Ojai opened. There
was a huge learning curve in a short period of time. Though there were
many big achievements, the most satisfying was when my Dad (the career
military man) enjoyed his first (ever in his life) spa visit. His
words during an attempted escape from the locker room were, “Those men
in there are nekked.” Later, a massage and facial transformed him into
a full fledged convert muttering, “What treatments (plural) am I
The answer went something like this…”Of course what I do makes a
difference. Helping people do their jobs better or working with them
to create a successful business, the way I see it, exponentially there
is the ability to touch thousands of people in a positive way. By
developing spas that employ many talented people that provide services
and creating an environment that supports their work, quite an impact
can happen not just for them but also for every one of their guests.” I
then went on to say that her job and responsibility as a mother is way
more important than any other job I can think of.
I later moved home to care for him during an illness and he was the
first person to receive a massage on my portable table while I attended
Realizing the importance of vendor relationships and the support they
provide to spas, I worked for Jurlique, an International Skin Care
Company to learn that part of the Industry. As a Trainer and Sales
Rep, I helped clients refine their operations, retail and purchasing as
a vendor but from the perspective of a Spa Director.
Re-connecting with Sylvia Sepielli, the brilliant Spa Consultant from
Spa Ojai, led to assisting with post-opening operations consulting and
training at Pangkor Laut Resort in Malaysia. The bonus was being able
to perform massages and facials for guests alongside the staff and
learning that things are done much different internationally.
Back in the U.S., it was time to develop and open another California
spa - The Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point. The laid-back
atmosphere lent itself to a casual beach side concept that perfectly
fit the environment. This would be completely different from the next
project just around the corner.
Wynn Las Vegas proved to be everything $2.7 billion could buy and a
vastly different scale from what most Directors and Consultants were
used to. Over 5000 spa and salon applicants competed for 200+
positions. Interviews alone accounted for several months of work. In
addition to the Spa, a full Salon, Fitness Center, in-villa massage
rooms and poolside cabanas were in development. Creating a luxury
product and brand was paramount. Cost was not an issue. It opened on
time. If this wasn’t enough, simultaneously we worked on the design of
the spa at Wynn Macau in China which included trips to Thailand, Hong
Kong and Macau.
Years of development, opening and operations experience finally led to
consulting. In 2005 I joined Creative Spa Concepts as Vice President
of Spa Development. This provided consulting and development work
throughout the U.S. in a variety of spa categories including hotel,
resort, casino, day, fitness, residential and the up-and-coming
category of senior living. Providing guidance to product vendors as
well as spa management and staff training was a natural addition to the
work. I’m happy to still be working with the CSC team on projects that
I’ve come to love and am excited to see open and succeed.
I spend my time (while not in airports) living in Las Vegas and Kauai.
Yes, those are two of the most opposite places you can imagine. I love
them both for different reasons. Years of talking about balance in
life led to creating Innovative Spa Productions.