Alejandro Bataller is the son of SHA Wellness Clinic founder , Alfredo Bataller, and today its Vice President. He tells us how SHA has established itself as one of the world’s top 5 luxury establishments for improving health and well-being. Find below the transcript of the interview conducted by Pascal Languillon (CEO of Luxe Wellness CLub) in August 2020. For those who prefer to listen to the podcast in English, the link is at the bottom of the page.
What is SHA Wellness Clinic’s vision and mission?
We opened in 2008, aiming to create a global benchmark in health and wellness. The inspiration behind SHA Wellness Clinic came when my father, SHA founder Alfredo Bataller Parietti, was confronted with his own health problems after a diagnosis of colon cancer. He was lucky enough to see a doctor who had a great understanding of nutrition and natural therapies, who prescribed a macrobiotic diet that enabled him to heal.
Alfredo Battaler then felt the need to share this method through the creation of an establishment that combines the most effective natural therapies with highly therapeutic nutrition, without neglecting the latest advances in Western medicine, particularly with regard to preventive medicine, genetics and anti-aging. To be clear, we don’t treat cancer at SHA Wellness, it’s all about prevention, but prevention is the most important thing in medicine, and something that has been neglected for too long.
When we opened, our real difference was that we didn’t just want to be a place for relaxation with good massages, we wanted to go much further than other luxury spas, our aim from the outset was to transform people’s lives.
Wellness has been on a roll for some time now, especially with Covid-19, and these are issues we’ve been working on at SHA for years, and which have become popular today.
How did you achieve such a worldwide reputation? Do you have exceptional press attachés, or is it something else?
The only way to earn such a reputation is to generate real results.
We have the most educated, demanding clientele in the world. The majority of our customers are between 35 and 55 years old, and are extremely connected. Most of them have already been everywhere, they’ve tried many places…
Yes, with a good press agency you can have good articles, but the best way to stay on top for 12 years is to be excellent, and to stay excellent. In this way, our customers become our best ambassadors. They tell their friends that SHA Wellness has changed their lives, and that brings us new customers.
It’s true that all the press coverage and hundreds of awards from international tourism and luxury institutions have helped us get to where we are, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t deliver excellent service to your customers. Our best asset is word of mouth.
When you have the opportunity to host celebrities, royalty and heads of state, it also helps to get that worldwide reputation…
There is growing competition in the medical spa and wellness segment of luxury tourism, with many hotels and resorts opening. How can we ensure that SHA Wellness remains a leader?
It’s true that demand and supply for wellness are on the rise. Every new hotel that opens wants to be a wellness resort, and tries to add “wellness resort” to the end of its name. There are over 100,000 spas in the world right now, but to be honest, you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of properties that can create real change in your life. There are 3 or 4 per continent. Those in Europe have a more medical orientation, those in Asia have a more holistic connotation, and those in the USA are more focused on fitness…
What makes us unique at SHA are three factors that are not easy to copy: healthy eating as the cornerstone, a 360º holistic approach that combines holistic therapies and preventive medicine, and education on lifestyle habits to improve health.
We have a long-term vision. Most clients who want to detox want to lose a few kilos to prepare for a wedding, for example, but our vision is to give them the tools to become the CEOs of their own health. We want to create the first day of our customers’ new life, where they don’t just maintain their health, they improve it for the long term.
Our other difference from other spas is that we are very sophisticated, combining a luxurious setting and 5-star service with a world-class medical team.
Evolution is part of our DNA, and we are constantly investing in new technologies and training. Even during the months we were closed for Covid, we continued to think about improvements, renovating and changing the decor here and there. We’re constantly evolving, because we’re in competition with ourselves. We want tomorrow’s SHA to be better than today’s SHA.
How do you think Covid-19 will transform luxury and wellness tourism in the long term?
We were closed for three months. Since our reopening at the end of July, we’ve been impressed by the number of bookings despite the complicated situation. Travel is a human need, and we’ve seen a growing interest in wellness and health. Today, people are more aware than ever of the importance of their health.
Luxury consumers will be even more demanding about the reason for their trip and the expectations they have of it. If they choose to leave the comfort and security of home, there must be a good reason. Travelers will be looking not just for an experience, but for a trip that will mark a turning point in some aspect of their lives.
Luxury travelers now give priority to places that offer them seclusion, space and privacy. As a result, demand for villas and residences will increase.
At SHA, although all our rooms are already characterized by their size (70 m² minimum), we’re going to have more bookings for our private residences. We have also seen an increased interest in private jet flights, which is certainly not possible for everyone…
In any case, people are doing more and more research before booking, to make sure they have a good reason to leave home.
I’ve seen that you have new programs on immunity, with lymphocyte profiling. Is it popular?
We’ve been working on this immunity theme from the outset, but of course we’ve put more emphasis on it since Covid. All stays this year (2020) include an immunotherapy consultation and lymphocyte profiling to assess the current state of clients’ immune systems. Our customers really appreciate it.
We have also developed and augmented treatments to stimulate the immune system, including stem cell therapy, infrared heat, optimal electromagnetic balancing, ozone treatments, vitamin C megadosing, stress management sessions, cell regeneration, etc.
We’ve developed a specially designed immune boosting package combining the most effective therapies.
As we have seen, some people are asymptomatic at Covid19. The reason? The state of each individual’s immune system, depending on his or her history, age, nutrition, etc., is also taken into account. So we take this seriously, and we now allow our customers to measure the state of their immune system before and after their stay at SHA Wellness.
How do you ensure that the well-being generated during a stay continues once customers have returned home?
This is one of the most important challenges facing the wellness industry. We want to be as innovative as possible in this respect.
We use technology as much as possible, with our mobile app even before you arrive at the hotel. On their return home, we continue to support customers through this application. We have also created e-health, which enables our customers to continue consulting our doctors and taking yoga classes, for example.
What can you tell us about the next SHA Wellness Clinic openings in Mexico and the United Arab Emirates in 2022 and 2023 respectively?
At SHA Wellness in Spain, 60% of our customers are European. I think the Mexican resort’s clientele will come from either North or South America, and that’s why its location near Cancun is strategic. SHA Emirates is also ideally located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 80% of our offer will remain the same as the one we have in Spain, which we have perfected over the decade. The remaining 20% will be adapted to the Arab and Mexican markets.
The offer will be the same in terms of SHA method and type of health program. Our aim is to offer the most outstanding therapies in nutrition, preventive medicine, anti-aging, genetics, holistic medicine, regenerative medicine and revitalizing medicine, as we have always done, but tailored to the market and its needs.
SHA Mexico, due to open in 2022, will be located in the state of Quintana Roo, in a quiet, heavenly setting opposite Isla Mujeres. It will have 7 hectares of indigenous nature, where it will be integrated with the exuberant flora and fauna of the region, and with around half a kilometer of white sand beach. The resort will feature 100 suites and private residences, all with sea views.
SHA Emirates will be located in a unique coastal ecosystem known as Al Jurf. SHA Emirates is scheduled to open in early 2023. SHA Emirates will occupy 125,000 square metres along the coast and will include 120 suites.
To conclude, what are you most proud of about SHA Wellness Clinic?
Our greatest pride is to have transformed the lives of 60,000 customers since the opening of SHA Wellness Clinic. We receive many messages of thanks, and this shows us that SHA is much more than a business, it’s our reason for living.
Another source of pride is that we have succeeded in combining traditional Asian and Western medicine, which wasn’t easy at first, as each doctor is used to his own discipline, without building bridges with the others. We were pioneers in this field.
Below is the full interview with Alejandro Battaler, in English, conducted by Pascal Languillon :
You can also read our full account of a stay at SHA wellness: We tested it for you.
If you’d like to find out more, read our full article on SHA Wellness Clinic here.
Exclusive benefits for Luxe Wellness Club guests staying a minimum of 7 nights: free room upgrade subject to availability, free 50-minute massage per person, possibility of arriving earlier and leaving later than the official check-in/check-out time.
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You can also read our full account of a stay at SHA wellness: We tested it for you.