Meet Karen Aleksich: from world-class spa director to implementing traditional Māori healing at a luxury level

Karen Aleksich brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for wellness to her role as Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa’s Guest Experience Manager. 

With a journey spanning continents and cultures, Karen’s story is one of dedication, innovation and a commitment to the well-being of others. 

Karen’s wellness journey began in her late teens when she discovered her passion for body therapies, alchemy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Karen saw their potential early on and explained, “Over three decades ago, these practices were not as mainstream as they are today. It took a bit of convincing to assure my parents there were amazing opportunities in this space.” 

Karen founded her own business, initially focusing on sports massage but, “As my wrists started to feel the wear and tear, I honed my expertise in skin biology and cosmeceutical formulations”. 

Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to sell her business and embark on an extended overseas adventure that lasted over 18 years. 

During this time, Karen held prestigious roles within the Spa and Wellness divisions of the Forbes Five-Star hotel group, Mandarin Oriental, across various global locations including London, Tokyo, Boston, Macau and Hong Kong. 

“This role allowed me to create spaces and teams that seamlessly and consistently delivered excellence for the most discerning guests with extreme expectations of service and facility standards I have ever encountered.” 

Despite the success and fulfilment she found abroad, Karen felt the pull to return home to New Zealand after nearly five years of separation from her family due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When she joined Belgravia Leisure, she found herself part of a company entrusted with implementing the vision of Ngāti Whakaue at Wai Ariki, blending traditional Māori healing practices with luxury hospitality, “It has been a truly unique and rewarding experience so far”. 

When asked about her passions, Karen’s said, “Family and friends are at the core of my being. These are our soul feeders and shapers of who we are and how we interact with the world. Food, best enjoyed in the company of loved ones and plenty of laughter”. 

Of course, her passion for wellness and cultural healing modalities is also on her list of passions.  

“Wellness, cultural healing modalities and ensuring everyone, team and guests included, that pass through our doors, not only have a physical experience, but  an emotional, life lasting memorable one. 

Looking ahead, Karen envisions herself embracing a quieter life. “I enjoy pottering around on a piece of land trying my hand at horticulture. And of course, several fur babies to fill the house and paddocks”. 

In Karen, we have found not just an experienced professional, but a compassionate soul dedicated to enhancing the lives of others through holistic well-being and heartfelt connections.

Discover the magic of Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa. Reserve your experience via the website.