Incredible Wellness Destinations: Lenny Vays of WORLD SPA On The Secrets To Creating The Perfect Wellness Destination

Incredible Wellness Destinations: Lenny Vays of WORLD SPA On The Secrets To Creating The Perfect Wellness Destination

Embrace Your Surroundings: Practice mindfulness by being fully present in each moment, allowing yourself to deeply connect with your surroundings and appreciate the richness of the present experience.

The pandemic has shaped the way we travel and live, with a growing trend leaning towards health, wellness, and a holistic lifestyle. More than ever, individuals are seeking not just getaways, but immersive wellness retreats that help rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul. Destinations that provide a serene environment, unique wellness offerings, and an unparalleled experience are in great demand. In this interview series, we are talking to property owners and hospitality companies who are at the helm of these wellness havens. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lenny Vays.

Lenny Vays is the Managing Director of World Spa, a 50,000-square-foot recreational haven in Brooklyn known for its state-of-the-art equipment and curated spa culture journey. In this role, he conducted extensive research, conception and planning, and led multidisciplinary teams through the complex construction of the spa’s grand opening. In addition to his role at World Spa, Lenny works for BK Developers as a real estate developer, with experience at Citigroup as a mortgage banker.

Lenny is a proud alumnus of Pace University, where he earned a degree in finance, laying the foundation for his career. With a passion for excellence and a commitment to innovation, Lenny Vays continues to shape the industry for success.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Igrew up in Belarus and moved to the U.S. — New York, specifically — in 1989, when I was just seven years old. The move began with my family immigrating from Austria and then Italy. Ultimately, we made our way to the U.S. and laid down roots in Brooklyn. It was living here and continuing to live here that has really shaped me. It’s a powerful thing to still be able to spend time with the friends you made as a child and further cultivate that love you have for a single location.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

Following in the footsteps of my father, I initially pursued a career in real estate. Over time, however, I realized my deep interest in wellness and in creating an environment that could promote that wellness for individuals in my area. Creating a spa, especially one that allows visitors to come and stay without having to bounce from place to place in order to achieve the full experience they need, became my focus.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

That person is my father, hands down. Even though he is focused on real estate, a far cry from the wellness world, his tenacity has been a huge driver in getting me into the headspace I need to be successful and to get WORLD SPA to where it needs to be so we can offer the most unique spa experience possible.

It has been said that sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or takeaway did you learn from that?

Originally, I followed in the footsteps of my father, working in real estate as a developer, and being in the wellness world was completely off my radar. However, through my own passion, my career pivoted to WORLD SPA. I never thought I would be the person who would ultimately run the facility — there were quite a few who came and went, so when it became me, it came as quite a surprise.

In terms of takeaways, I would consider the following more of a lesson learned vs. a mistake. I found that the wellness world operates quite differently from that in real estate. With wellness you bleed for an organization, recognize it as a living organism and almost an extension of your own family, in order to be successful. That realization and approach ultimately trickles down to employees and all others responsible for success. It’s also essential that in wellness you constantly stay aware of industry trends and the latest in products and innovations. Otherwise, your relevancy disintegrates.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

To be honest, there is no specific quote I can point to. Life in general is so rich with experience, which makes it challenging to pick a favorite.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I think some of the most interesting projects we are working on now are IVs, breathing classes, yoga classes and cryo. While these procedures are not medicinal in effect, they are very powerful in that they are important for a person mentally. Through our multitude of offerings, especially in thinking about these projects, we hope that we are able to package up a full experience that caters to the whole self, which is priceless.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview about wellness destinations. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or personal experience, why do you think travel can lead to better wellness? Can you share a story?

Regardless of the destination, or whether it be for just a single day or an extended period of time, travel gives a person the opportunity to break away from the hustle and bustle that has become an everyday way of life. With that breaking away relaxation begins to set in, and this relaxation plays a significant role in overall wellness. I have experienced this time and time again in my own travel experiences, and imagine others have as well.

What are a few things which distinguish your property from thousands of wellness properties around the world?

In a word, authenticity. Each experience at WORLD SPA — from the mixes of humidity, the various hammans, the music and scents from room to room, the diverse decor and food, even the beautiful snow room — grants our visitors an experience that is more authentic than that which can be found at traditional spas. That really sets our spa apart.

What type of experience do you want your visitors to have when they visit?

Ideally, we want to provide a feeling of complete relaxation and eliminate the discomfort of feeling they are trapped in one location. We make this possible by offering such a wide variety of treatments to ensure visitors have everything they need to achieve that true state of relaxation and avoid the inconvenience of having to visit multiple spas.

What makes your property a beautiful escape for a body and mind recharge?

We view WORLD SPA as an entirely new type of wellness oasis with a design intentionally created to provide the ultimate escape. Featuring three floors of impeccably designed traditional and cultural experiences from every corner of the globe including banyas, Finnish saunas, Turkish and Moroccan hammams, cleansing Himalayan salt therapy, Japanese onsens, a not-to-be-missed infrared room, and more, WORLD SPA instantly transports guests a wellness sanctuary second to none. What’s more, WORLD SPA is the social wellness lounge we all want (and need) where you can chill out, relax, indulge, be pampered, or even gather and celebrate with friends. The spa is the perfect place for a recharge.

Can you share any transformative stories or testimonials from guests that visited your property?

We have so many it would be hard to gather them up!

Why do you think the experience you offer is so needed nowadays?

Post COVID, the world has changed dramatically, and with this people are focusing a lot more on themselves, on achieving a sense of balance and wellness that perhaps they didn’t put as much priority on before. The spa experience is the perfect way to achieve that goal, and at WORLD SPA, we aim to take that experience to the next level with offerings that far exceed those of the traditional spa. We aim to be a partner in that much-desired wellness.

Do you think travel enhances our mindfulness, optimism, or sense of gratitude? How? Can you please explain with an example or story?

I think travel is an integral part in uplifting all three — travel’s presence in our lives, especially when thoughtfully sought out, opens up doors to wellness that are truly unique. By experiencing other cultures, other ways of life, our limited understanding of reality widens, and we learn that there is more to existence than what we are accustomed to. I cannot stress enough the importance of travel in our overall well being!

What are your “5 Habits You Should Develop In Order Make Travel Into An Opportunity For Wellness & Personal Growth?”

The following habits I feel are absolutely essential for achieving that goal:

  1. Mindful Exploration: Engage your senses by fully immersing yourself in the present moment and noticing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of your surroundings.
  2. Healthy Routine: Practice self-care by setting aside time for relaxation, stress management, and activities that bring you joy and rejuvenation, such as meditation, reading, or spending time in nature.
  3. Embrace Your Surroundings: Practice mindfulness by being fully present in each moment, allowing yourself to deeply connect with your surroundings and appreciate the richness of the present experience.
  4. Mindful Movement: Practice mindfulness during movement by paying attention to your body’s sensations and breath as you engage in physical activity, tuning in to the present moment.
  5. Digital Detox: Rediscover the joy of analog pursuits such as reading physical books, writing with pen and paper, engaging in hobbies, or spending time in nature without electronic distractions.

Based on your experience, where do you see the future of wellness travel heading in the next 5–10 years?

The wellness world continues to grow exponentially each year (in fact, over time, actual wellness communities have been established where people can live to embrace the lifestyle). A recent study revealed that in the U.S. industry revenues grew from $18.1 billion in 2021 to $20.1 billion, setting a new all-time record. Revenue generated per visit increased by $7 for the second time, now at $111, which is another all-time high. With this persistent growth, I anticipate we will see the wellness world continue to grow year over year.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Check out WORLD SPA’s Instagram as it’s where we post the majority of our content.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success.

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