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Cathy Ball, the Calcot Collection
Cathy Ball stood out among this year's candidates for the Spa Professional of the Year award as being one of the most highly regarded individuals in the hotel spa industry. In fact, the judges unanimously agreed that she is someone that they personally all look up to as an inspirational leader in spa operations.
Ball's background is in hotel operations. She moved into the spa sector in 2001 when Calcot Manor in Tetbury, Gloucestershire opened a spa and she was taken on to oversee the project. Calcot Spa has gone on to be regarded as one of the most outstanding in the UK, winning countless awards.
As Calcot Hotels has expanded, so has Ball's role, which has involved taking on responsibility for the spa at Barnsley House, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and developing two treatment rooms at the Painswick, in the village of Painswick, Gloucestershire. She is now working on creating a spa at the Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland, Northumberland, which is due to open next year.
Revenue growth at the Calcot Manor and Barnsley House spas has reached an impressive £2m per year, which converts to an EBITDA that equates to 31% of revenue, with personal fitness training and treatment revenue increasing by 7% and 6% respectively. But, for Ball, it is not the financial figures that drive her on. Instead, she is most proud of the loyal team she has built around her. Ball always leads by example and is personally involved in the induction programme of every member of the team, which comprises 60 members of staff, including 28 full-time therapists. She has played an integral role in creating the Calcot Academy, which enables all staff to undergo development at whatever stage they are in their career. And training is not just limited to spa skills; Ball also encourage staff to join in training in wine and food pairing, fire safety, first aid and pool life-saving.
Ball is also a leader in industry trends. The Calcot spa, for instance, was the first in the UK to have an outside hotel tub in front of a fire. She has also worked with a software developer to create a spa property management system, which has since been rolled out and adopted by other spas around the country.
And most impressively, Ball has been heavily involved this year in pushing forward the way the spa industry deals with the previously taboo subject of treating clients with cancer. As a result, all therapists within Calcot Hotels have now had specific training to offer sympathetic treatments to cancer sufferers.
All in all, Ball is regarded as an inspiring innovator who is at the top of her game and a very worthy winner of this award.
What the judges said
"Cathy is an extremely well-rounded professional who is a shining star in the industry. Not only has she developed a successful spa, she has also grown a brand."
Anna Thomas, spa operations manager, Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel
"The spa at Calcot Manor is the most respected in the industry and has been visited by many owners and operators who can only dream of having such a successful and profitable spa operation. That is all down to Cathy."
Catherine Whittle, spa consultant, Spa Partners
"Cathy is a true ambassador for our industry. She has established a role that takes in so much more than just the day-to-day operation at Calcot Hotels.
Nikki Kurran, spa consultant
Cathy Ball Calcot Hotels
Lyudmyla Nagirnyak K West Hotel & Spa, London
Lucy Witney Champneys, Tring, Hertfordshire
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