Please give a #warmerwelcome to our new ambassador

Like most others, as 2018 came rolling in, we were thinking about all things wellbeing. But this is the year we’re going beyond our own New Year’s resolutions to focus on our wonderful guests.

And to help us master the #warmerwelcome, we’ve partnered up with a fantastic new brand ambassador, Celynn Morin.

The registered dietician, wellbeing expert, corporate wellness consultant and avid traveller is originally from South Africa. This year, we’re working with Celynn to help you make the most of your stay with us.

Here, she tells us a bit more about herself – so please, give Celynn a #warmerwelcome and get to know her…

So Celynn, you’ve spent years building a successful career – how did you start out?

I always wanted to work in the medical field, but in a proactive way – before people become sick or go to a doctor or to hospital with a condition.

When I looked at the University of Pretoria [in South Africa], I noticed they offered a degree in dietetics. It was the perfect way to get into the medical field working with people to improve their health.

And how did you go from dietetics to wellbeing consultant and best-selling author in South Africa?

I have always been entrepreneurial, so I started a dietetic clinic working alongside a cardiac specialist and medical doctor. Quite obviously, I was mostly seeing people who were already sick – with diabetes, high cholesterol and such like.

I was feeling frustrated, but then got the chance to work with a large multi-national company, doing consulting work for their wellness strategy and delivering lunchtime workshops with their staff, and it just clicked. I realised I should engage with people in their 20s, 30s and 40s while at work, to prevent them getting sick later in life. That was in 2006, and by 2008 I was a full-time professional speaker and corporate wellness consultant.

You started your career in South Africa – have you worked in the UK much?

I first worked in the UK in 2006, and for around three years, was spending around a month in the UK once or twice a year. After 2010, my client base grew, and gradually I began splitting my time between the UK and South Africa. For the last year it’s been a complete role-reversal as I’m now based in the UK and travelling to South Africa a few times a year. There are so many opportunities here, and I feel like I can make a real positive impact.

Have you always been interested in working within the travel and tourism industry in some capacity?

Yes, and I was really excited to be approached about this partnership. I did one of my most interesting talks – about two years ago in a tented desert camp just outside Abu Dhabi – for a travel and tourism company, so I researched wellbeing in hospitality quite a bit. It’s a huge topic of conversation, and something that needs to be understood and addressed.

I travel a lot, for business and pleasure, and I know how welcomed – and at home – I personally feel when a brand tries to make the hotel look more like a home.

So I suppose you could say that working with hotels is something that has been brewing inside me for quite some time!

Surprise snow ❄️ on our road trip home. #seasons #winter

A post shared by Celynn Morin [Erasmus] (@celynnmorin) on

You’ve experienced some of our hotels first-hand – what do you think?

When I stayed at City of Bath, I got a wonderful first impression. My room was very welcoming, and I noticed so much thought had been put into the design – and that goes for the whole hotel.

The lighting wasn’t too stark, or too dark, like some hotels. There’s that famous expression from Denmark – ‘hygge’ – and my first thought when I stepped into my room was, ‘this feels like a hygge room’. It was well thought-out, right down to the soft furnishings, lighting and little details.

I was also very impressed to find some lovely touches in my room like fresh fruit and good quality flapjacks – perfect for snacking on – as well as the usual tea and biscuits.

The dining area was lovely – the staff were so professional yet the whole experience felt quite homely. And the dining options were perfect – the scrambled egg with salmon on toasted ciabatta was the perfect, delicious and filling start to my day!

I also have to say that the leisure facilities were outstanding – spacious and immaculate. I alternated between the steam room and sauna and then cooled off in the pool, and definitely felt my stress levels decrease by the time I left.

Finally, the team were lovely – I left a note for the manager as that really makes a hotel stay stand out.

Do you think Apex Hotels has the foundations down in terms of putting a serious focus on guests’ wellbeing?

I think there’s a very solid foundation – and not just in Bath. I’ve been to other Apex Hotels and also had a lovely, relaxing experience. So the foundation across the hotels is very strong in terms of really giving guests a warmer welcome.

You mentioned you travel lots for work and for pleasure – what are your own top tips for making sure you stay well on the road?

I could talk a lot about this, but I won’t go into too much detail. The tips I would give anyone individually would really depend on whether they want to relax, rejuvenate or focus during their trip, but these are my main general tips:

  • Plan your snacks – have a few healthy snacks and water in your bag, or make sure you eat a good meal before you hit the road. It’s so easy to get ‘hangry’, and go for crisps, chocolate and too much coffee rather than healthy snacks that will keep you energised and water for adequate hydration while travelling.
  • Keep moving – I always try to exercise in my hotel room, with a 15-minute stretch routine in the morning, incorporating some yoga. Or, if the hotel has a gym, I’ll take advantage of that. This is perfect if you want to rejuvenate or focus. Alternatively, an evening stretch could help you wind down and relax before bed.
  • Make yourself at home – I always unpack my things, even if I’m staying in a hotel for one night, so I’m not constantly going back to my suitcase. It’s a small thing, but even putting out your toiletries in the bathroom can make you feel more relaxed and at home.
  • Work in the right space – it’s so tempting to jump straight onto your hotel bed on arrival to get through the backlog of emails, but it’s so bad for posture, especially after sitting for ages while travelling. Find a space in the room to stand, or head to the hotel lounge and find a bar-height table. You don’t compromise your posture and I often find I get my work done more quickly and with more focus by standing while I work.
  • Sleep – I have a sleep routine that I try not to break when at a hotel. An hour before bed, I set my phone to flight mode, try to stay off digital media, and don’t even turn on the TV. I just try to wind down, focus on meditation and mindfulness, or listen to an audio book – I’ve always got a few options downloaded.

 

What do you hope hotel guests will take away from the work you’re doing with us?

We’re working together to help guests look after their wellbeing, and to show them that Apex cares. I know that Apex has always taken pride in offering guests a warm welcome, so we’re building on this to help guests really look after themselves and take care of their wellbeing. If guests recognise that we’re doing this for them, that’s very powerful.

It’s also about creating awareness around wellbeing in general, so even if one guest every so often gets a better night’s sleep, for example, or takes something away from their stay that they can put into practice in their home life, that would be fantastic.

Keep an eye on www.apexhotels.co.uk/warmerwelcome for more on our partnership with Celynn, and for more information on Celynn, visit http://www.resilientenergycenter.com