March 28, 2023

A Connected Approach to Wellness

An interview with Molly Craig, Wellness Supervisor at Auberge Resort’s The Lodge at Blue Sky on creating a brand-aligned and impactful wellness program.

The wellness offerings of hotels and resorts are an important part of the guest experience and can influence their decision of where to stay. Wellness tourism is predicted to grow an average of 21% each year through 2025 and at least 40% of business travelers stick to their wellness routines while traveling. Gone are the days when a small, poorly lit, subterranean room with a few outdated treadmills and set of dumbbells would suffice. At the same time though, you don’t have to have a fully-equipped Crossfit gym or full service spa to meet the wellness needs of guests. The key to creating a wellness experience that resonates is twofold:

  1. Understand your guest and what their wellness needs will be while they’re staying with you 
  2. Lean into your brand identity to determine how you can satisfy the needs of your guests through your unique brand lens 

One brand that does this exceptionally well is Auberge Resorts. Their brand is centered around creating experiences for their guests, and they approach wellness through that experiential lens. The identity of each destination is deeply rooted in the land, history, and unique way of life afforded by that place. Thus, the wellness offering at Wildflower Farms is very different from the one at The Lodge at Blue Sky, because the Hudson Valley offers a very different grounding than the Wasatch Mountain Range. 

I had the opportunity to sit down with Molly Craig, the Wellness Supervisor at The Lodge at Blue Sky, to talk with her about the unique wellness offerings at The Lodge and her distinct journey of wellness that influenced how she approaches curating the guest experience. 

Q: First of all, thanks for talking with me today! When we visited The Lodge last year we were so inspired by the way you talked about the unique approach to wellness, so much so we hope it can inspire other hotels and resorts to build an authentic wellness program. 

So, let’s start with your background – How did you find yourself as the Wellness Supervisor at Auberge Resort’s The Lodge at Blue Sky?

A: For the first quarter of my life I was a professional ballet dancer. So I had a lot of training physically and athletically outside of ballet. Pilates, physical therapy, chiropathy... we always had people working on us. I was very aware of my body being a tool. I wasn't attached to it, or in it, but it gave me a deep understanding of my body related to movement. When I stopped dancing, I moved into retail management and sales for fashion brands like Ralph Lauren and Mondi and learned a lot about selling and consumer desire being a buyer. When my husband at the time and I settled down outside Park City with our kids, I was planning events and retreats for his company and then I opened a yoga and dance studio and brought dance back into my life, in a way that helped women and kids connect movement with having a good time. The Lodge at Blue Sky first hired me in May 2019 as a Sunday yoga instructor. What started as one class a week became four, and then as I was around more frequently and getting more involved they asked, "What are some other things we could offer?" My recent studies at the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania had taken me into Cacao Ceremonies and Tantric Lineage, and so I started our Mountain Cacao Ceremony to integrate the two and it was a big hit. From there, my background and role at The Lodge came together effortlessly. 

Thank you! What are the ways the wellness approach at The Lodge at Blue Sky is authentically rooted in the destination? 

A: The land was considered at the earliest stages of the resort's development. This area of the Wasatch Mountain Range was an area of peace when the Utes and Shoshoni tribes lived here. If there was fighting between the tribes and you encountered a member of an opposing tribe while on this land, you weren't allowed to fight here. So there is a natural calming, peaceful energy in this valley. It's also a protected piece of land and so when we were building on it, we were very intentional to remain a part of the land. You won't see any cables or wires above the ground, our light pollution is very low, the architecture is low to the ground and inspired by the materials and shape language of the terrain. We're developing a whole other space right now, but it takes time to design so as to not take away more land from the animals, to consider the views, and to understand the impact on the land. But we're committed to being patient and doing it right to honor the land. 

Q: I imagine that intentionality and purposeful connection to the land sets the tone not only for the atmosphere and experience, but specifically the approach to wellness? 

A: Absolutely. We have a Shonshoni Chief that comes in and facilitates indigenous experiences. He will do a sage smudging ceremony and talk about the indigenous use of sage with sage grown on property. He talks about his ancestors, the land, it's a more educational session about the tribes and their relationship to the land. 

We also place that same level of intentionality in how we plan a guest's itinerary. Our itinerary design team works with all hotel guests. Anyone that comes in and mentions wanting wellness goes through me. I have an often vulnerable conversation about where they are at, what they are bringing to the experience, and what they are wanting to get out of it. We tailor their treatments, experiences, and healers to align with their goals. We are very mindful about integrating their wellness treatments with the additional on-property offerings. For instance, if they want to incorporate adventures we make sure we aren't sending them clay shooting after doing a 90-minute massage.

Q: That’s incredible. And have you seen real impact from this intentional, intuitive approach to planning? 

A: Yes. I think because Auberge is such a well-regarded place, the guests are more open to experiencing something they've never had access to, they're open to trying something new, they trust us. We have an entry level Intuitive Energy Journey that's a great first session for someone who has never had any energy work done but feels curious about it. They don't require a lot of conversation but they often can really feel something change. The healer can learn so much about that person and then recommend follow-up treatments. 

Our energetic treatments have also attracted a lot of guests who are going through grief. Being able to teach tools for them to handle and walk through their grief with a little more grace has been such a gift. 

Q: I know there is an equine component to the property. What role do the horses play in the energetic approach to wellness? 

A: The Blue Sky Ranch! It started long before the resort. It started as a rescue horse sanctuary and is still that today. We have about 60 rescue horses. Gracie's Foundation is our nonprofit that helps rescue horses that are being abused, ignored, or aging and so are no longer of use to their previous owners. We also have horses that we 'work.' We herd cattle, teach horseback riding and trail riding. We also have a lot of beautiful wellness connections to the wisdom of the horse like working with a breath work specialist or energy connections to a horse for healing. Heart and breath connection with a horse that helps you recognize you're connected, you exist together and tools to help you navigate your own life.

Q: That sounds lovely. I’ve seen and heard about healing work with horses, but I’ve never had the chance to try it. What about guests who aren’t ready to dive into the deep end with horses, indigenous rituals or energy healing? In what ways does the resort integrate wellness in small ways that impact a guest’s experience without them even being aware of it? 

A: We call them thoughtful touches. Even the greeting experience, when we welcome them on the drive in, is done in a way to make them feel welcome, cared for, and like a part of the family. They are greeted by the GM or the Director of Operations with a seasonal welcome drink they can enjoy while they handle the housekeeping items (signatures, credit cards, etc.). The attention to detail throughout the property is all geared towards curating a specific atmosphere. From the thread count of the linens to the fireplaces being on upon arrival, it's all designed to help you be here. For us, it's more than just having beautiful furniture and nice beds. It's about how it feels to the body, to the mind, and to the heart while you're here. 

In each room, there is a welcome amenity that is based on whether or not they've been here before. At turn down each night, housekeeping provides different gifts and gestures that we all work on as a team. So wellness has a say in that. It could be promoting the class the next morning, or offering a specific oil or beverage to complement their next day's treatment. 

There are also many different amenities that can be purchased or sent as a gift, which are more personal wellness experiences. bath rituals, self-guided breath work or meditations with essential oils, etc. And our complimentary offerings throughout The Lodge have a heavy wellness focus. A Summer favorite is the afternoon Creek Feet ritual, where you dip your feet in the creek to cool off while meditating. We want people to play and connect to the land. To really be here. 

Q: Ah, the illusive ‘be here’ notion that we hear so much about in wellness today. Being present, connected, mindful. Are there elements of your past that have helped you embody and teach that practice to guests? 

A: Through ballet, I learned how incredible a tool visualization can be. I had an amazing director who, if we were having an off day, would have us stop moving and imagine it correctly: your foot placements, your body motions, really imagine the feeling of doing it right. The movement would be so much more improved when I began physically moving again. It was the first time I had used that tool. 

From yoga I came back around to a more spiritual approach to decision making. Learning to listen to and trust my intuition. In the Tantric Lineage I studied, there are four mantras that are for public practice, but the other mantras are given to you by a master teacher when you are studying under them. They will give a specific mantra as a gift, with the expectation that you will use the mantra with your daily practice until they give you a new one. They are given to you to help you continue to grow and help you elevate your practice and thinking. Sometimes you have them for years, and that doesn't mean you're not advancing or making progress, it just means that mantra is the one that is serving you the best in that moment and helping you become your highest self. 

Q: What are some of the daily practices or tools that you’d recommend to someone if they’re just starting their journey of presence and well being? 

A: It starts with really simple rituals, I would say. Exploring through different teachers and practices you can see what feels the most authentic to you. After experiencing so many different ways and things, it really is about the simple practices. For me, the most important two are sleep and being true to yourself. Sleep is number one. It's the most healing time for our bodies, so we really need it. Rituals that help with sleep like not being on your phone or laptop before bed, breathwork or meditation to wind down, can really help you get the most out of your sleep. And living honestly and authentically is scientifically proven to help prevent disease. If you're hiding parts of yourself or constantly lying to cover things up, you'll get sick. So sleep and living authentically are where I’d start. 


The Lodge at Blue Sky is a best-in-class example of how to ground your wellness approach in the land and unique story of your property. Even hotels in an urban setting or those tailored to a business traveler can find authentic ways to integrate wellness into their guest experience. If sleep and living authentically are Molly’s tips for where to start, hotels can start there, too. 

A big thanks to Molly Craig for her time and transparency. When my partner and I visit later this year, I’ll be sure to publish a follow-up story on our experience and what their connected approach to wellness is like, first-hand. 

Interested in creating a wellness approach that is rooted in your unique brand identity? Reach out!