If you’ve been to Asaya Wellness then you know it’s no ordinary wellness retreat. We talk to Wellness Director Corinna Yap on her visions for Asaya Wellness and more.
Now more than ever, people are incorporating a focus on wellness in their daily routine. Many of us are shuffling our schedules to squeeze in yoga classes, a mental health day, and even trying wearable wellness tech. And while travelling for a wellness retreat may not be in the cards right now, we took a tour of Asaya Wellness with director Corinna Yap and it was simply stunning!
We chat with Corinna Yap
How did your career in wellness start? What led you to Asaya Wellness?
I did Hotel Management at Cardiff University and then decided to stay in the UK (I grew up in Singapore) to work with hotels like the Four Seasons, Park Plaza Hotels, and Hyatt Regency London. I always had an interest in health, but I officially started working on wellness in 2008, when I joined COMO Hotels and Resorts. In 2013, I was promoted to Wellness Director so I went from my sales and marketing background into running the operations of the wellness centre.
It was a very busy job but I loved every bit of it and interacting with all the guests. But in the midst of it all, I lost my balance. In my early 40s, I was diagnosed with breast cancer – thankfully we caught it early on and treated it. But that was a big wake up call for me. People would come to me and say, “Corinna, you’re the wellness director, how can you get cancer?” But when we’re taking care of other people, we forget to take care of ourselves. The struggle of it all threw me in an existential crisis, the result of which was that I moved back to Singapore to visit my family and that was part of my healing process.
Some time later, I was approached by Rosewood Hong Kong to manage the development of Asaya Hong Kong and the brand itself. Hong Kong wasn’t on my radar but at the time, I was contemplating a switch into well-being centres at cancer units. And Asaya was a whole package, and it’s a huge team and huge space, which was very different from my experience at COMO but it helped me come out of my comfort zone.
As the Wellness Director of Asaya, you were the frontwoman in curating the A-team (that’s 17 homegrown instructors). What were the challenges in the process and what did you find most rewarding?
When we were putting the team together we had to decide on a name, and I said, “The A team because A stands for Asaya, awesome, affectionate, alpha and you know, all the positive words”. Positivity and wellness are both so important to me and I tell my team to take an hour or half an hour off each day at work to either go to the gym or even just sit and relax and have time for themselves. And that’s what I’m thankful for, a fun and loving team.
Tell us more about the new wellness programmes coming to Asaya.
In the new year, we’ll be launching our Immersive series and those are four nights and five days. Everyone goes into January with a “new year, new me” mindset and we want to help people nourish themselves and take the time to find alternate ways to take care of their body. We don’t want people to go from one extreme to another – say dry January – as that could just push you into withdrawals. Rather our programs will focus on detoxifying the body both mentally and physically, through nurturing, nourishing, as well as hibernating because another major focus of ours is sleep transformation.
And a little secret for our Valentine’s Day program, I won’t give away too much, it’s going to revolve around loving yourself because it’s only when you learn to love yourself, you can love others.
One of the programmes at Asaya is designed to help give women the confidence and comfort to enjoy exercise after giving birth. Can you tell me more about the programme
Dr Tal is nurturing and knowledgeable, which puts women at ease when discussing female hormones and periods. Dr Tal also brings scientific reasoning to why women may be feeling the way they do either during their pregnancy or after (Asaya offers pre, post, and during pregnancy programmes). He can also suggest natural supplements and small adjustments to your lifestyle.
And Sara Tang is always there to answer questions and get women and men talking about body confidence and sexual well-being. So our team is well-integrated and the programmes sometimes go hand in hand.
Going forward, what are your plans for Asaya as a wellness hub in Hong Kong?
I want to bring in TCM and I’m carefully looking into the practitioners that would suit Asaya. And as mentioned earlier, I want to bring in supplements of high quality that doctors tend to prescribe often to their patients.
And my short and long term goal is to build trust with our clients and make them feel safe and comfortable enough to be vulnerable. I especially want the local community to keep coming back and say this is our space, and this is our home. And we’re also slowly working on incorporating more of Asaya into Rosewood itself and make it a whole wellness journey from the moment you walk through the front door of the hotel.