Nomad Spa still best in Africa
Klein Windhoek based Nomad Spa has for the second year running emerged as the Best Spa in Africa at the World Spa Awards held in the UK.
Nomad Spa Group Chief Executive Officer, Mariane Akwenye, said the business had to overcome stiff competition from eight other well-established spas on the continent to scoop the coveted award.
“We were awarded by the World Spa Awards, in the category Best Day Spa – Africa and there were eight spas from the continent in our category,” she said.
On what made Nomad Spa stand out for the judges, for a second year in a row, Akwenye said, “Honestly it’s been our frequent guests who nominated us and voted!”
“We offer African-inspired treatments, unique to this continent, and this makes us stand miles apart from the competition.
“Entrepreneurship is growing in Namibia, but I think we should change our mindsets and set up businesses for generations to come and not the SME mindset that’s currently dominating entrepreneurship.
“We need to set up businesses, no matter your chosen field, that are exportable! The world is our oyster.”
Akwenye said one of the benefits of winning the award, is the exposure that the business gets worldwide.
Akwenye said business had seen a marked increase after winning the same award last year, and she expects to see an even higher demand for their services, from both local and international tourists with the second win.
“Our clients come from all over the world! As an offering for destination wellness, we are on a quest for all tourists to our continent to experience wellness - the Namibian way!”
Plans are well-advanced to relocate the spa to a more convenient location within the same area, as Akwenye seeks to improve her service delivery, in line with her earned status.
“We are currently awaiting the necessary permits and permissions to embark on an extensive renovation project.
“We are striving daily to offer world-class services; we have also extended our reach to our clientele, by bringing Nomad closer to them, such as in selected lodges around the country.”
Nomad Spa has grown from the time it was launched, having started off with four full-time and two part-time employees, and now boasted 38 Namibians as employees, some of whom are blind. The staff have undergone extensive training for the various treatments they offer.
Akwenye noted that her travelling experience, as a trained pilot, gave her the exposure required to run a successful spa business, as she has used various facilities while flying all over the world.
One of the factors that make Nomad Spa stand out, the entrepreneur said, is the remedies used in their daily treatments.
“I can attribute them to my aunt, who used to take us as kids to the bushes of Katutura. She would collect natural herbs, such as aloe leaves, and apply these on our wounds when we hurt ourselves, among other things.
“So I said to myself I will not start a normal spa. When someone comes to Nomad, they will not expect us to take out their pimples or do some of the conventional ways of therapy, but they will experience the traditional kind of therapy.
“We are a local spa and offer local treatments, which you will find in a world-class setting.
“We do this in such a way that our clients don’t feel low about what they experience, as there is a stereotype that local is substandard; so we try by all means to meet the international standards of a day spa,” she explained.
Akwenye played a pivotal role in starting the Hilton Hotel Spa in Windhoek, when she was consulted to help set up the facility in a way that would meet international standards.
She said tourists always asked her the difference between that spa and those found in Western countries, which led her to include her traditional treatments, which were not allowed by the hotel group, and hence her decision to start her own venture.