Interview Persons

Petra Lelovska, Ensana

Hi, Petra! Welcome to Bulgaria! Is it your first time visiting our country and what are your impressions?

Hi, it is not my first time in Bulgaria, however this time it is a different destination that I am visiting. The country is under a massive development which is always great to see. I very much enjoy the cuisine and sea breeze here in Bulgaria

– I learned about your professional development in tourism. Your story is proof that nothing is impossible when one wants to improve and succeed. Introduce yourself briefly and please share what motivated you to be part of Ensana, Europe’s leading med spa hotel operator?

When I was 20, I packed myself and left for Ireland. My first job was actually in hospitality. I stayed in Ireland for over 12 years and worked my way to top management positions at some world renowned companies such as Amazon or Pfizer. It was a great experience to work for these global companies and I am very grateful for that. However, after some years I felt the need to change to a business where I can make more impact, where I will not be so tied by the huge corporations and their processes. I moved to Prague, Czech Republic, after I settled and completed some projects, I became part of the company in 2018. It was a good decision because I love my job. We started with introducing the new Ensana brand on the market and I like to make things happen. We are in the medical field which is something that will be increasingly important to keep people healthy and to maintain the active lives of the aging population which we have in Europe.

Aquahouse Hotel & Spa in Saints Constantine and Helena resort – one of the newest and nicest hotels in Bulgaria offering innovative and quality product, has joined Ensana’s portfolio. How did this partnership come about, and what unique services and concepts will the hotel offer its guests?

Ensana is the largest operator of health spa hotels in Europe. Our focus is on combining our expertise and medical know how with the use of natural healing resources which are available at our destinations. Our hotels are located in some of Europe’s most famous historical spa town such as Marienbad in the Czech Republic or Heviz in Hungaria and now of course the Saints Constantine and Helena resort here in Bulgaria. The amazing natural resources have been used in all these places for hundreds sometimes even thousands of years. And our goal is to make the best of them and offer them to our clients combined with the top medical knowledge of our professionals. This combination really works and has amazing results with our clients and we want to bring it to as many places as possible. So yes, we are looking to expand our brand to new destinations and Bulgaria was one of our targets. We have taken over the management of the hotel and spa as of October and that means that it has become an integral part of our collection. We make the most of all the synergies that this partnership offers – from management and human resources to medical expertise. We will offer new treatments and new packages, all focusing on improving general health of our clients, prevention and of course on targeted help with specific health issues.

– As you mentioned, Ensana now operates nearly 30 hotels in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, the United Kingdom, and Bulgaria, situated in some of Europe’s most historic spa towns and resorts – all renowned for their natural healing resources and restorative properties. How far do your brand ambitions reach – especially in the post-Covid-19 years when health is an important factor when choosing a holiday?

Our ambitions have no limits. J As I said, we believe in our product, it really works, it makes people healthier and feeling better. I think with Covid-19 people realized how important health is and they also had time to slow down and think more about how the hectic lifestyle many of us are living is affecting us. Having said that, we want to expand our brand in two ways. First is in the number of destinations. Bulgaria and Greece have recently joined our portfolio, in Greece we will open a hotel in Santorini in 2025. We are looking also at other destinations in Europe and beyond. The second way we want to expand is in the range of our products. Until recently we have mostly focused on targeting specific health issues depending on the natural resources at each destination. But we have seen that we can go further and offer medical packages that target overall health and healthy lifestyle approach, that help improve general health condition of our clients and battle the effects of our fast-spinning lives. I can tell you that we have recently launched four completely new packages focused on anti-aging, stress, obesity and general health. These have been rolled out in the Czech Republic with other destinations to follow. Also, these new enhanced health programmes brought us  the Innovations Award from the European Spas Association (ESPA) which we just received last week at the ESPA annual congress in Karlovy Vary. We were actually really successful there picking up a few awards apart from this one. One went to our Slovak team in Piešťany for the programme for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and our Czech team celebrated an award together with the city of Marienbad for their innovative approach within the spa industry. And I was excited to see our new destination, Bulgaria, to also receive a price in the Innovative Spa Destination category which went toSts. Constantine and Helena.

– What is Bulgaria’s role on the world map of Medical/Spa and Spa tourism given its natural resources, hotels, and experts?

The spa history in Bulgaria is very rich and it goes all the way back to the Romans and about 4th century B.C. You actually have the highest number of hot mineral springs in Europe right after Iceland. As Ensana is all about the unique combination of medical expertise and natural healing resources, Bulgaria was a clear target destination for us and we are looking forward to introducing your country and its riches to more markets and clients from within our network. We see a great potential here for the future, using the local healing resources combined with the expertise of the local staff and our international team.  The Aquahouse Hotel & Spa is really a unique hotel with all the design, comfort and services you expect from a 5* hotel but it has more to offer. It has the amazing hot mineral water that is used across its wellness and spa. It is used for the prevention and successful treatment of cardiovascular diseases, problems with the endocrine system, musculoskeletal system and functional nervous system. Its healing properties also help the guests with their overall health, improving the current physical condition and immune system.

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