Justine McLaughlin from Lincolnshire, who has been head of Viva salons for Mark Warner since 2012, talked to us about her work and about her life in the Mediterranean sunshine.
• Hi Justine, how did you make your way to Kos and to the job of Spa Operations Manager for Mark Warner? What’s your career background?
I’d worked in the beauty industry for several years but in 2009 decided it was time to broaden my horizons and gain experience in a different environment. The thought of carrying out my trade in a beach resort sounded very appealing and I’d heard great things about Mark Warner as a company.
My first season as a beauty therapist led me to Lakitira Beach Resort in Kos, where I completed the summer as a beauty therapist. After a great summer, I then completed a number of winter seasons as a head therapist, returning to Lakitira each year as the Salon Manager. In 2012 I was delighted to accept the role of Viva Operations Manager and to be given the chance to expand this great department within the company.
• What originally attracted you to working in health and beauty?
Health and beauty is such a diverse trade to work in as there are many areas to specialise in. I personally love skincare and particularly enjoy making people feel good about themselves, whether it be by introducing them to our fabulous skincare brand Elemis or relaxing with a lovely massage.
• Is there a typical day in your job, and if so, what is it?
No two days are the same in my job, as throughout the summer I also carry out the role of resort operations manager at the Lakitira, which is very fast-paced. Throughout the summer I like to be on hand to support our Salon Managers in their day-to-day running (which sometimes means I may get to enjoy the odd treatment!). I also spend time between the office recruiting our staff and working alongside our suppliers to ensure we’re using the best product.
• How much time do you spend in different resorts?
I like to spend time at the start of each season in each resort where we operate Viva. During the winter seasons I am able to spend more time travelling around the Alps, ensuring our spas are preforming to our high standards. I am very lucky to be in a role that includes travelling around such great destinations.
• What’s your favourite Mark Warner resort and why?
Without question, it’s the Lakitira Beach Resort. It offers a brilliant all-round package for our guests, from great accommodation to fantastic facilities. On a personal level, having spent so many years at this resort, it has become a true home away from home, while Kos as an island has outstanding beauty and very friendly locals.
• What’s your favourite treatment offered in a Viva salon?
It has to be the Pro Collagen Age Defy facial, as I spend so much time in the sun I like to look after my skin, and this treatment has great results alongside lots of massage. I also love the CND Shellac system as I am able to keep my nails looking great because it lasts for two weeks.
• What’s your top quick health fix or mood lift for those arriving in resort feeling a bit worn down by life?
I’d recommend guests head down to our salon and book in for our post-travel delight – a 45-minute treatment including a deep-tissue back, neck and shoulder massage plus a foot scrub and a foot massage. If this doesn’t take your fancy, our four bars offer a fantastic list of cocktails!
• What are your favourite things to do in Kos when you’re not working?
There are so many amazing beaches in Kos, and I like to spend my time off relaxing on one of these with a good book. There are also many fantastic restaurants in Kardamena and I love eating out when I get chance. For our guests I recommend visiting Zia in the mountains for a spectacular sunset, and Kos Town to see historic sights such as the tree of Hippocrates and various ruins.
• Where do you like to travel outside the summer season?
As I travel frequently throughout Europe during the summer, I tend to travel further afield when I get chance. I’ve just returned from a full-on five-week trip around southeast Asia, through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong, seeing the most amazing sights…
Read more about our Viva health and beauty salons.