"Happiness is an Inside Job": Interview with Preidlhof's New Spa Director, Patrizia Bortolin
“Our main goal is to empower guests to awaken their own inner healer, to offer new perspectives and to put them in touch with their inner flow. We are a source of recharge and provide inspiration when required, but the healing energy comes from within… happiness is an inside job.” Says Patrizia Bortolin, the new Spa Director at Preidlhof in South Tyrol.
A leading transformational coach, Patrizia is sharing her exciting plans and vision for Preidlhof. The multi award-winning Italian spa is launching a new spa concept, treatment menu and website, ready for the new season which starts in February 2020.
Preidlhof is a home-coming in many ways for you, Patrizia. You were born and grew up in South Tyrol?
Yes! My family still lives in the area. I can now appreciate everything, having travelled so much and lived in so many places. I feel alive amongst these mountains and rivers, I feel good in this perfectly kept and sustainable environment, inspired by the nature and substance of the people. I love the food and I am so motivated by the extraordinarly talented people that I am meeting.
You are a multi award-winning Spa Director & Concept Designer, Spa Project Management, Certified Transformational Coach & Wellbeing Specialist. Was there a defining moment in your life that took you into the wellness and spa business?
After years in the travel and leisure industry, I felt the need for a more meaningful mission. Because of my HR background, language skills and previous training in Spa Management and Beauty, I had the chance to join a wonderful Medical Spa as their Spa Manager. I let curiosity guide me and I went with the flow!
What attracted you to Preidlhof?
It was meeting the owner and the young Spa Manager at the time that really impressed me. And to think we met almost by chance! Both are incredibly respectful, committed and original. The owner, Klaus Ladurner, is a true visionary of health and he’s spent many years nurturing, researching and experimenting in wellbeing. And from this meeting our fantastic collaboration has begun, it is the flow of life…
How is Preidlhof different to other spas and retreats around the world?
Preidlhof is original, creative and displays the smooth co-existence of pleasure and luxury with real substance and consistency, magic and science. Preidlhof is perfectly in tune with the needs of today and offers a multi-generational, integrated approach to life. It is heaven for both couples and also single wellbeing-seekers. The new spa concept embraces both the hedonic and eudaenomic definitions of wellbeing which celebrates the smooth co-existence of pleasure and luxury with self healing and reflection. I’m grateful for this exceptional opportunity and I think that this Spa will be a revelation for many.
Did anything particularly surprise you about Preidlhof when you first arrived?
The first time I came here, I felt a sparkling energy all around, it was so enjoyable that I didn’t notice anything else! This feeling stayed with me for the rest of the day. I think it is probably related to the rare positive energy evidenced in a geomantic report commissioned by Mr Ladurner. This discovery makes me feel privileged to work in this environment, and as a Concept Designer, is a great asset to start with.
You are launching a new spa concept and programme. Tell us more about your vision for Preidlhof?
We are creating a concept of “integrative contemporary wellness” that perfectly fits this gorgeous property and the excellent team here. The inspiration for the concept came to me once I settled here… I only needed to convert what was already here into a more cohesive experience, to be able to unveil and shine a light on Preidlhof’s “hidden jewels”. The new concept is a perfect blend of enjoyment, relaxation, pleasure and a deeper search for a fulfilling life and general good health.
Is there a new spa treatment or programme that you are particularly excited about?
The integrated healing retreat is a higher expression of service for people during their most difficult times. The team of senior “healers in disguise” that I discovered here, moved me. I was in awe...I am delighted that Stefano Battaglia’s joined us as well. With his experience as ‘Master of Life-Changing’ as I like to refer to him, Stefano is creating amazing synergies with the other talented healers and therapists here.
Tell us more about your signature Glowing Flow retreat…
Glowing Flow is a way of life for me now, it gives meaning and joy to everything I experience. I’ve created a selection of sensorial, transformational experiences that interact with Stefano Battaglia’s precious Trauma healing bodywork and pure meditation, to create a constant flow of progression and discovery for everyone. We offer Glowing Flow as a Retreat for guests, but it is also embedded in our normal way of interacting and working with colleagues and guests.
What other changes or improvements will we see at Preidlhof?
We are refurbishing the Spa Treatment area and we are creating a new look that will extend to the fitness and yoga area as well. The Sauna Tower is amazing of course, so are the pools, and the new hotel suites are fabulous. Preidlhof still places special attention on the quality of sleep and you will see new night lighting, special rooms and sleep supports. The Spa Team has also just completed an ultra advanced training in Sleep coaching.
What is your personal definition of good health /wellbeing?
When I have the energy to care for people around me, when I’m steadily peaceful inside, when I feel love without reason: this is my personal measure of wellbeing, and generally-speaking, this is also when I am in good health. I’m specialised in transformational experiences applied to all areas of life and I’m always my first, largely satisfied, tester!
Are you more hedonic or eudaimonic in your own personal approach to life?
Like many, I have experienced extremely challenging situations but my eudaimonic search for meaning made sense of it and transformed everything, every time. Fortunately, my hedonic nature presented after a detox and is now in great shape! This is also why I designed for Preidlhof a concept based on the balance between both the Hedonic and Eudaimonic approaches to wellbeing. I find that happiness in wellness is often delivered on a very superficial level and not truly embodied by the people advocating it. At the same time, many guests and colleagues do need to be more playful and joyful…finding that balance is the goal!
"A Digital Detox is more urgent than a food detox"
What do you consider to be amongst the biggest trends in the Spa and Wellness Industry
A digital detox is more urgent these days than a food detox, it provides a door to healing our fears and weaknesses. We need to enjoy technology and connections without becoming victims! A digital detox works on a very deep level and builds on our inner richness. It can also address our need for external appreciation and our fear of loneliness…
I also think that a more holistic and balanced approach to nutrition will win out over all the crazy dieting, conflicting advice of food “gurus” and ‘mix and match philosophies’… These all cause tremendous confusion and make people weaker!
Serious meditation is life-changing but integrating this in everyday life and activities, here lies the challenge!”
It is challenges like these that I truly relish and I am enjoying working with Mr Ladurner and the Preidlhof team to bring our visions together in a contemporary healing approach that all our guest can enjoy.
A new website detailing the spa programmes will be launching soon at www.preidlhof.it. Watch this space!