A Spa Director’s Journey from the Shores of Miami to the Shores of the Red Sea.
To Christi Armstrong, Spa Director in Miami, FL, making a move to Egypt has been a rewarding yet challenging adventure. We asked her to shed some light on her experiences so far as the Spa Director of a Planet Beach spa expected to open in March of this year in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
1) How did you first get involved with Planet Beach?
I was introduced to the company by my best friend who knew how much I loved the beauty industry. She was a member at Planet Beach & she heard her location was looking for a Spa Director. I ended up interviewing and earning the Spa Director position at the Planet Beach in North Miami.
2) What were you doing prior to Planet Beach?
I had been an esthetician for 10 years & before I came to Planet Beach I was an Asst. Spa Director for a spa on South Beach.
3) What attracted you most to the brand?
The first thing was that I saw the success of the services. THEY WORK! Secondly, was the affordability. I think everyone should have the opportunity to make themselves look & feel their very best. Not just those who can afford a day at a traditional spa. And of course, third was the time. I love the idea that this can fit into everyone’s schedule. Stay at home mom, full-time student, demanding career, it doesn’t matter. Planet Beach can accommodate you!
4) How did the opportunity for the Egypt position come up?
I was contacted by our corporate office & asked if I would be interested in representing Planet Beach over in Egypt as a Spa Director for a new Master Franchisee.
5) Why do you think you were selected?
I have been a Spa Director for Planet Beach for 6 years now in Miami, which is very much a tourist city so I had experience working with people of different cultures and languages. I also think I was selected because I am very passionate about Planet Beach & I show this very well when I speak about the company which in turn makes them interested to inquire more about what we do. In a new market, this is very important.
6) When did you make the move to Egypt?
I moved here to Sharm El Sheikh on October 23, 2012
7) What was the hardest part about moving so far away?
Definitely the hardest part was leaving my family & friends. Not being able to see them or talk to them whenever I want is very difficult. Thank goodness for Skype!!
8) What has your experience been like so far?
So far my experience has been very challenging. When you are working in a country where you do not speak the language, that is hard enough but I try to learn at least one new Arabic word every day. I’m still learning all the traditions & customs to better understand the philosophy of the culture.
9) What has been the most exciting and interesting aspect?
Getting to know the country & the people has definitely been a very interesting aspect. They are beautiful & kind-hearted people. I am excited to be living in such a historical and amazing country. The desert, the pyramids & the breath taking Red Sea are a few of the things I can’t get enough of.
10) What is the complex like where Planet Beach will be opening?
My spa is located at The Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort, which is an amazing hotel located right on the Red Sea in South Sinai. There are 4 main pools & 6 swim-up pools plus a ¼ mile of beach -front. We have 7 different restaurants, an amazing nightclub and amphitheater. In addition to all of that, there are stores for shopping so if you didn’t want to, you would never need to leave to resort. It really is quite a spectacular place.
11) How are you getting the word out there? What type of marketing have you been doing?
Since most of our business will come from guests within the resort, we do our marketing through the travel agencies & through the Guest Relations of the hotel.
12) When will the spa open?
The expected opening is mid March.
13) What do you like most about living in Egypt?
I love learning about the culture. The people are so kind & genuine. Plus the food is delicious & I can say the weather is even better then in Miami…NO HUMIDITY!!