A Stellar Partner In Our Five-Star Universe

November 8, 2021

At the gentle suggestion of one of our favorite people and the leading man of this conversation, let's breathe in some positive energy with Valmont partner and spa industry leader Patrick Huey. 

Patrick is the Vice President of Spa and Retail at Montage International. He personifies five-star quality and curates an innovative universe of immersive beauty and well-being for some of the most exclusive hotel properties and resort destinations in the world. 

Described as "dream-worthy" and "over-the-top," the Montage spa experience is next level.  Our exclusive partnership integrates signature Valmont treatments and top-of-the-line products that ensure customized facials and unique therapies to enhance the luxury essence of their high-end locations. The ultimate combination of high-tech skincare and anti-aging innovation seems to capture something beautifully elusive.

We were all ears as Patrick spoke about the business of head-to-toe indulgence, the journey that led him to Montage International, and his other interests, including an executive role as the Chairman of the International SPA Association (ISPA).

 

Connected By Community that is Beyond Skin Deep

Q: "How does it feel to be a part of the Valmont community?"

"I feel very honored to be here today and a part of the Valmont community since 2008 – that's thirteen years.  They are a fantastic and vibrant group of people dedicated to creating fabulous products and experiences for others. I've met so many who work within the Valmont team – from Cedric Roget (CEO of Valmont North America) and dear Celine to Sophie Guillon (CEO of Valmont Group) and her family, who I've seen a few times in Paris.  There is a lot of depth to what is happening at Valmont – the company is not just about pretty products for people; they are a real community with values that contribute in many ways.  For example, I love the give-back centered around the art foundation and initiatives that protect the planet by promoting bees and their ecosystems, harvesting the honey for use in highly formulated serums, creams, and treatments, including L'Elixir des Glaciers Essence of Bees."

 

 

 

Q: "You've mentioned the natural connection between the Valmont and Montage brands.  Can you share more about this old friendship between the industry leaders?"

"They are both family-owned, and I think this is interesting because, with a generational business, there is a real focus on the future and a commitment to quality that is important.  Like the Montage group, Valmont is very selective.  They do not have properties in every city.  And it's that discerning approach to who you partner with and the caliber of accounts you open that mirrors the level of hospitality we offer to our clients and guests.  People recognize that Valmont is an exceptional brand in the same way they appreciate Montage for its elevated and specialized experience. 

 

Sophie Vann-Guillon, Patrick Huey and Valerie Garot

Q: "You are a spa treatment connoisseur. What are some of your favorite treatments?"

"I love the Masterpiece facial that was created exclusively by La Maison Valmont for the Montage properties.  There are many treatments on the menu, including our Elements of Wellness, that I enjoy but don't get to do often.  People may think that all we do is "spa," but that is not true (lol).  A good spa treatment can blow me away with an I can't believe what is happening to my body right now type of experience.  I've never said this in an interview - a great spa treatment and a good facial are almost like "magic."  When your eyes are closed, and you can't see anything, your other senses heighten, and you hear these sounds and smell these different aromas, and it's like – How do they do that?! It's the way these treatments make me feel afterward that make them my favorite."

 

 

The Magic of Montage 

Q: "Montage Hotels & Resorts and luxury lifestyle go seamlessly together.  But it's the uniquely curated experiences that guests can expect at each property that makes the Montage so special.  Can you elaborate on these distinctive properties and how they embody the Montage lifestyle?"

"Yes.  Our properties are all so different. You can ski in Deer Valley or surf in Hawaii, or find yourself on a river with alligators in South Carolina - within our same collection.  But what I think is unique about the Montage ethos is the corporate culture that comes through to the guests.  We are about providing transformative experiences for people and helping them realize a well-lived and thought-provoking life, but we operate with humility and grace.  There is no ego involved; our company offers high-end services with an approachable level of grace and sophistication."

 

Montage Deer Valley

 

 

There is Beauty in the Process 

Q: "You've had quite the life and career journey, from studying drama at Yale University to becoming the VP of Spa & Retail at Montage International.  How did you get your start in hospitality?"

"My first hospitality job was in 1993 when I lived in NYC and studied to become an actor at Yale. I worked as a doorman and a bellman at the Royalton Hotel on 44th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.  Ian Schrager owned the hotel, and I was there before they formed the Morgans Hotel Group. My first encounter with the spa industry came almost ten years later when I moved to California and got a job working at the Century Plaza Westin Hotel and their "Spa Mystique" – where I was the receptionist. That's how I got my start."

  Q: "If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting in this industry, what would it be?"

"This is a hard question because everyone's journey is so different, but I have thought about it.  I think you mustn't be afraid of humble beginnings. We'd all like to walk in and be 'first on the call sheet' as they say out here in Hollywood, but you don't start there.  You must be able to start where you are. I had a Yale MFA, and I was a receptionist at a spa – and I was cool with it. It's not about starting at the bottom but more about moving through the process. Things don't magically happen. It's important to follow the process. So, if you want to be a spa director, a corporate person, an elite esthetician, or create your skincare line – whatever your goal may be, there is a process.  No one is going to hand you a check instantly – it just doesn't happen like that. You've got to feed that process, whatever that means for you." 

 

Montage Laguna Beach

 

 

Team. Player.  

Q: "As the ISPA Chairman, you recently hosted the Stronger Together Summit, where you celebrated the resilience of the spa and wellness community.  What inspired this theme?"

"We were planning an event at the height of the COVID pandemic, and we were unsure of the future for our industry.  We lived a day-to-day existence and realized that we needed to band together if our industry were to survive. That was the impetus behind the title, and it felt right.  We thought if we could be united and keep one vision for the industry moving forward, then we could all get through it."

Q: "You seem to be an incredibly busy person.  How does self-care factor into your work-life balance?"

"I don't know if work-life balance exists, but self-care is essential." I play my saxophone a lot – if you follow me on social media, you'll see me play.  That helps to lower my blood pressure and soothes me.  It makes me happy, and it's not related to what I do. I've been playing saxophone since I was eleven.  I started with the guitar, then the piano, and then the saxophone.  I also play tennis. It helps if you can find those things that take you out of the headspace that you're in when you're working.  And now many of us are working harder with longer hours.  I turn my phone off at night (lol). It's okay – the calls are going to be there in the morning.  I wasn't always good at that, but I've gotten better with age.  When you think about it in a meta sort of way, self-care is about you creating boundaries for yourself.  If you're not good about setting boundaries for yourself, you're not going to be great at self-care.  As I've gotten older, I've become better at realizing this is my time. 

 

 

"Let's finish with a few rapid-fire questions.  Are you ready?  Go!”

Q:  “Early-bird or night owl?"

"I'm an early-bird."

Q: "Breakfast or Dinner?"

"Dinner."

Q: "Facial or Body Treatment?"

"Oooh… actually, I prefer a facial."

Q: "Guilty pleasure?"

"I watch The Golden Girls (lol)."

Q: "Last book you read?"

"The last book I read was called "Competitive Grieving" by Nora Zelevansky."

Q: "Favorite destination?"

"Bangkok."

Q: "Favorite Valmont product?"

"Hmm… I love so many.  I love the Cure Majestueuse."

Q: "Favorite menu item at the Montage?"

"Pure Bliss."

 

We hope you enjoyed some time spent with us.  We appreciate esteemed partners like Patrick and the intimate conversations that bring our global community closer together.  In this time of ultra-connectedness, there is always something new to explore in the world of integrative beauty.

We look forward to seeing you soon. 

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