The Caterer

Hotel Cateys 2019: Spa Professional of the Year

29 November 2019
Hotel Cateys 2019: Spa Professional of the Year

2019 winner: Sally Pedder, the Dorchester

Sponsored by Christie & Co

Sally Pedder stood out among the judges for demonstrating great commercial ability and product knowledge, while inspiring her team and showing genuine care to customers at the spa at the Dorchester, London.

During her nine years at the five-red-AA-star, 250-bedroom hotel, Pedder has successfully built the spa into one of the best in the capital. She leads a team of 24 therapists, receptionists and attendants, who are given defined goals each month, which has helped grow overall spa revenue by 14% year-on-year.

Pedder's commitment to growing spa revenue has shone through in her introduction of spa commercial meetings. She joins the sales and marketing and communication teams to review and set monthly targets, which are then put in place through creative promotional plans – such as the Spa Spotlight on seasonal treatments – under her supervision.

Additionally, Pedder has designed an incentive scheme for therapists and receptionists, based on retail sales, to help drive revenue.

The business has benefited from being the only luxury spa in London to offer dynamic pricing. Premium rates were introduced in January 2019 for all treatment bookings, yielding more revenue during the spa's busiest times.

In her pursuit of consistently excellent customer service, Pedder created a Forbes Testing Schedule, which has massively improved the guest experience as highlighted by effusive feedback, with one customer saying: "I have yet to experience a spa so opulent, warm and relaxing and as luxurious as this in London."

Central to all that her high-performing team does, Pedder is focused on inspiring every member to achieve their own career goals. She shows great care for their wellbeing and meets with each of them on a regular basis to create an action plan for their development.

In recognition of the emotional and physical demands placed on therapists, Pedder has restricted the number of massages they do in a day. The move has contributed to an improved retention rate and a team engagement score of 8.8 out of 10 – 0.8 higher than that of other spas in the Dorchester Collection hotels.

Pedder's attention to detail when it comes to staff care has resulted in a highly engaged, passionate and driven team. In recent months, her number two has been promoted from a supervisory level to spa manager, and two team members have joined an apprentice scheme to grow their careers.


"Sally is a spa industry powerhouse. She delivers just the right balance of commerciality and care for her team."

Liz Holmes, director, Commercial Spa Strategies

"To have held the Dorchester Spa at the top of its game in an ever-more competitive London market marks Sally out as a true spa professional. She is still innovating after nine years, with an impressive commercial approach alongside nurturing her team."

Cathy Ball, spa director, Calcot Hotels

"Sally is a leader in innovation, taking brave moves to stand out in the industry."

Anna Thomas (née Williams), spa operations manager, Stoke Park country club, spa and hotel


  • Gemma Grove Hotel Café Royal, London
  • Amanda Hardy Seaham Hall, Durham
  • Sally Pedder The Dorchester, London
  • Sara Young South Lodge, West Sussex


  • 2018 Lesley Bacon, Hand Picked Hotels
  • 2017 Leon Trayling, Principal Hotels
  • 2016 Cathy Ball, Calcot Hotels
  • 2015 Lucy Mingo, Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall
  • 2014 Kerry Hudson, Chewton Glen, Hampshire
  • 2013 Anna Williams, Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire
  • 2012 Gemma Hulme, Cottons Hotel & Spa, Cheshire
  • 2011 Liz Holmes, Rockliffe Hall, County Durham
  • 2010 Hannah Henley, Donnington Valley, Berkshire
  • 2009 Kerry Hole, Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire
  • 2008 Nicola Williams, Birmingham Malmaison/Hotel du Vin
  • 2007 Nicki Kurran, Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire

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