Launching a dynamic sixth season in Washington, DC

Launching a dynamic sixth season in Washington, DC, with an evening at the Embassy of Australia, the Washington Spa Alliance celebrated with wine and roses Oct. 29.
Attended by 120 members of the spa community, the festive event in the rose-filled embassy had a distinctive “down under” style.

Under a ceiling sparkling with the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere’s “upside down” night sky, guests viewed Zen-like origami art by revered Australian-Japanese artist Hiromi Ashlin. Australian sparkling wine was served.

Jurlique, celebrating its 30th anniversary as Australia’s pioneer skincare producer, was honored. According to Rose Fernandez, head of marketing for Jurlique USA, the all-natural skincare line is still produced at its farm near Adelaide, where expansion is planned. Guests took home hand cream infused with blossoms specially grown for the company’s 30th anniversary.

Plans for the sixth annual WSPA Symposium highlight 2016. To be held at the National Press Club on March 22, it is themed “The New Language of Spa – From Corporate to Client to Consumer.” Registration is $125 for members (including full-day symposium and seated lunch) and $200 for non-members (including full-day symposium, seated lunch and WSPA membership). Chaired by Mary Bemis, award-winning journalist, publisher of Insider’s Guide to Spas, the all-day event previews consumer and product trends.

The new WSPA Board of Directors was introduced by chair Mary-Elizabeth Gifford:

Mary-Elizabeth Gifford, Brand Strategist, Washington, DC

Christi Cano, President & Founder, Innovative Spa Productions, McLean, VA.

Mary Gendron, Partner, EMA | ERIC MOWER + ASSOCIATES, NY

Gregory Kasparian, Director of Corporate Accounts, Edge Systems LLC, Signal Hill, CA

Michael Scholes, CEO & Founder, The Laboratory of Flowers, Sterling, VA.

Mary Bemis, Publisher & Editorial Director, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Rogue River, OR.

Denise Vitielo, Business & Development Director – Spa Division, Natura Bisse International, NY

Penny Kriel, Spa Director, Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg, VA.

For information and membership application, please go online at

article by Bernard Burt