M A R I A D’ O R E Y
When Maria says you can have it all. She means it.
It’s not every day that you get to sit down with someone who is as impactful, spirited and visionary as Maria d’Orey, the Director of Serenity – The Art of Well Being. This spa brand currently graces both Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort and Sheraton Cascais Resort in Portugal.
Maria’s vision for wellbeing is a pure breath of fresh air. Creating this vision takes laser focus and a great deal of dedication.
As we sipped our lemongrass tea, in the outdoor lounge of Serenity – The Art of Well Being, at Pine Cliffs Resort in Albufeira, we sought to better understand the spa brand, what Maria’s accomplished so far and what’s next for her and the spa.
WSR: How did you get into wellness and become the director of a world class spa?
Maria: My passion has always been for sports and a healthy lifestyle. I have a masters in fitness, I run marathons and train every day. For me, fitness, spa and diet are the perfect combination for a balanced lifestyle. That’s why Serenity makes a difference: we offer a holistic approach to wellbeing. We have a highly qualified team of specialists to help give everyone a uniquely packaged experience that will completely benefit them.
WSR: The Serenity spa brand launched in 2016, what was your biggest muse for the design, style, flow and ambience?
Maria: Before launching in 2016, I oversaw a boutique wellness center at Pine Cliffs Resort. Seeking unique elements that would create an unparalleled experience for our guests, I traveled the world for inspiration, a standout of which was B Attitude Spa in Dubai. This, along with careful consideration of guest feedback over the years has helped to shape Serenity into the leading spa it is today.
We can attest that there are many subtleties at the Serenity spa that make it a noticeably different experience than that of other luxury spas.
WSR: Our mantra at World Spa Reviews is that everyone deserves ‘me time’. It’s how you can be your best self. We have a feeling you agree.
Maria: Completely. I love my job and lead by example. I start my day at 6am and go for a run by the sea before my morning meeting. I have a daughter and a husband, but still I make time for me. In fact, I make time for it all. That’s why I created a package at Serenity, called ‘Time for Me’ for those who are specifically looking to invest in themselves.
You have to prioritize yourself. People think I’m crazy because I start every day with a run and a swim in the sea, even when it’s 4 degrees outside, but the power in my body and mind after even a few minutes in the cold water is so clear. And most of all, it’s free. I have this invigorating experience for myself every day, and it’s free. You have to find the things that give you pleasure and make time for them. I am a happy person. Everyone has problems but we are here. Make the most of it.
WSR: What do you think makes this destination spa (at Pine Cliffs Resort) so appealing?
Maria: The location of Serenity at Pine Cliffs Resort makes it a great destination spa. The team of experts, the five-star service…for me it’s the best place in the world. I have worked here for 14 years and I love it. I work hard and from the heart. As a key aspect of our philosophy, we have a signature treatment where all the ingredients used are locally-sourced, from the sand for the body scrubs, to the orange oil for massages, to the lemongrass for the after-treatment tea.
The Aurum Suite is a unique concept within the spa, designed to give couples and friends quality time together. We wanted to give guests something very different. It always comes back to connection. Feel connected to the experience and you’ll leave feeling happy.
Pine Cliffs Resort is a Marriott Luxury Collection hotel set on 72 acres, in the Algarve. With stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean, located on the top of the Algarvian red cliffs, above Portugal’s famous beach, Praia da Falésia, it’s easy to understand the appeal.
WSR: Do you have a favorite treatment that you’d recommend to guests new to experiencing Serenity?
Maria: There is no ‘best’ treatment at Serenity, as they are designed to suit individual needs. If you aren’t sure what you want or need, our specialists will help you find the perfect treatment. You can also try ‘Discover Serenity’ which encompasses fitness, wellness and nutrition: the complete Serenity package. The experience is available on a three, five or seven-night basis, and is ideal for those wishing to recover balance, relax, renew their energy and replenish their spirit.
We offer yoga sessions as part of the wellbeing experience at Serenity as well as dedicated three, five or seven-nights yoga retreats. We have a unique cliff top position that offers incredibly dramatic views, to increase the intensity of your yoga experience. Our yoga teacher has more than 15 years of experience.
Some people already feel well, in general. Even if you don’t necessarily need to feel better, our mantra is that every single guest leaves happy. We know then that we’ve succeeded in helping that guest achieve what they wanted from their experience. We have extensive training to be constantly improving and responding to our guests.
WSR: What advice do you have to those who need to make time for themselves?
Maria: First, you need to identify that you need ‘me time’, a feeling that has to come from within. When you come to Serenity, we’re here to personalize your time with us. We want you to discover things you don’t know about your body, your muscles, your mind. It’s a deep connection that you’ll find through the Serenity experience.
WSR: What keeps you motivated?
Maria: I love what I do. I’m happy and live well. I am hard working, I have a clear vision.
We have been acclaimed for our spa which is a result of continually achieving the best for our guests, but I always want to push myself more. More for myself, more for my team, more for our guests.
To put this in to perspective, Maria signed up for a half marathon last year running from Cascais to Lisbon. She didn’t stop at 21KM, she went on to complete a full marathon of 42KM – a testament to her ability to push herself to the limit. Exactly what she’s doing for the Serenity – The Art of Well Being brand.
WSR: We’ve seen what you’ve been able to do here at Pine Cliffs Resort, with such a unique and incredibly designed spa. What’s next for you and the Serenity spa brand?
Maria: I am so pleased to announce that we’re opening a Serenity spa in my hometown of Oporto in December this year, and then in Lisbon in 2021, but this is just the beginning. The recognition from both our guests and the wider industry in just three short years has been truly humbling, and motivates us to continue doing what we love to do for others. Always more!
-Jackie, WSR Co-Founder
Putting Portugal on the map for world class spas: our experience at Serenity – The Art of Well Being
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