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At The Chrysalis Inn and Spa, staff members are like family, celebrating their success and ongoing achievement for high standards in hospitality. Longtime spa concierge Renée Umberger has been with The Chrysalis since college and continues to fall more in love each year with the lovely seaside retreat.

“I started in 2015 when I was still a student at Western and one of my friends had a position here in the spa,” says Umberger. “She knew I was a communications major at Western and I was interested in the hospitality industry. She recommended me for a position.” Umberger started as an attendant in the spa, eventually working her way up to one of the front-of-house spa supervisors.

“I love that I do a lot of different things in my job,” she says. “I help manage the concierge and the attendants in the spa, but I also do some reception work. I talk to a lot of our guests and check them in, too. And I’ve been able to see the spa through all the changes and remodels over the years, which has been really cool to witness.”

Renée Umberger is a strong proponent for self-care and helping yourself feel better on an everyday basis. She enjoys spending time with family and is currently planning her wedding for the coming year. Photo courtesy Renée Umberger

Love for The Chrysalis

Like many of her coworkers, Umberger has a passion for simply improving her clients’ everyday lives. “I always say my favorite thing is that I get to be a part of making someone’s day better,” she says. “Being in the spa industry, it’s a lot of self-care; we have clients who come in every week or every other week, and I get to make that connection with them.” She also sees clients when they celebrate occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, making that bond particularly unique.

Umberger notes the closeness of the Chrysalis staff and their lasting friendships. “It really is a family here,” she says. “We have people who have worked here for over 15 years, and I think that’s really a testament to the positive work and management environment. I feel a lot of support here.”

Why Spa Services

As spa concierge, Umberger has seen a lot of positivity and remarkable results for people who take the time to self-care. “People take the time away from everyday life, especially with our spa, and we focus on trying to have no technology in the spa so you can put down your phones and enjoy a service like the steam room,” she says. “When people can get away from the busyness of the world and take time to focus on themselves, it’s a rejuvenation.”

In this economy, spa services can be tough to achieve, but it’s about more than spending money on luxurious things. “It’s hard to spend the money on yourself, but I do believe self-care is so important,” says Umberger. “Most people end up feeling lighter after treating themselves to a massage or a facial or anything that might be relaxing.”

Spa concierge Renée Umberger enjoys spending time in Nova Scotia, her home province. Photo courtesy Renée Umberger

Adventures in Nova Scotia

Outside of work, Umberger enjoys burrowing in for the winter and getting cozy. In the summer, she spends a lot of time in Nova Scotia, her home province. “I moved to Bellingham when I was about four years old,” she says. “But I have a lot of family in Nova Scotia, and I love to kayak and be outdoors when I’m there. That part of the world is one of the most beautiful places you can visit.”

What’s Next

At work, Umberger is excited to implement new updates in the spa that have developed since the pandemic. “Post-COVID was a good opportunity for us to make some positive changes in the spa and redesign a few things,” she says. “The thing we’re all probably the most excited about right now is that we have a new couples’ space, which is open for people to book couples’ packages. We’ve created and redesigned a whole new package for couples, and it seems to have been a positive improvement for us.”

At home, Umberger has started preparing for a very exciting milestone. “I recently got engaged, so we’re currently wedding planning right now,” she says. “My fiancé and I have been looking at venues and that’s kind of what we’ve been doing in our downtime a lot at home, researching.”

Umberger hopes to take some of her own advice and find the time to self-care with the same relaxation and spa services she helps provide guests at The Chrysalis every day.

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