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The Wellness Questionnaire with Catherine Warren, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Arch Amenities Group

Discover what aspect of wellbeing this executive has to work at improving.

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Catherine Warren (second from right) with her former team at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa.

Beloved in the wellness industry, Catherine Warren, vice president of strategic partnerships for Arch Amenities Group, has more than 20 years of experience in the spa and hospitality industry. An accomplished and highly respected wellness expert, she oversees the company’s Preferred Vendor Program with more than 70 vendors, as well as its Forbes Five-Star training for more than 80 properties, and she plays an integral role in pre-openings, transitions, events, programming, and business development, as well as spa and wellness consulting. Warren’s innovative marketing solutions, strategic mindset, and attention to detail have earned her recognition throughout her career as has her ability to analyze market trends and consumer behavior to develop effective campaigns that resonate with target audiences. Here, she shares how she maintains her own wellbeing.

What does wellness mean to you?

I believe wellness is the state of good physical and mental health, specifically when a person’s physical fitness, emotional wellbeing, social connections, stress management, and self-care are balanced. We cannot achieve this aspirational state as often as we would like, so it is essential to cultivate healthy habits to improve overall wellbeing and increase the number of good days. 

What are your favorite things to do to maintain your personal wellbeing?

I have found that combining my love for learning, the arts, and travel is my shortcut to wellness. It’s amazing how much more relaxed and focused I feel when I’m exploring new cultures and immersing myself in the beauty of different art forms. And when I’m not traveling, I try to keep up with my academic pursuits by reading and attending lectures. It keeps my mind sharp and engaged and helps me feel fulfilled. I studied Renaissance art and architecture in Italy during my undergraduate years at Clemson, Asian art history in India during my graduate studies at Alabama, and Thai massage and yoga during one of my ship contract vacations in Thailand. I have explored the cultural practices of these regions by finding fitness studios to take classes in and small wellness centers to experience local healing arts. For example, I had a massage in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at a wellness center where blind citizens were trained and able to perform services solely through touch, and it was one of the most healing experiences of my life. 

What is your favorite healthy food, and do you have a favorite way of preparing it?

In the charming surf town of Paia, located in Maui, lies a quaint grocery store known as Mana Foods. This establishment is renowned for its Avocado Chocolate Mousse, and it is absolutely divine.

What is your favorite healthy beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), and do you have any insider tips for preparing it?

I only drank Coca-Cola and sweet iced tea growing up. I do not think I drank a full glass of water until I was in my mid-20s, and I was in sports and fitness my entire life. I am afraid to say that growing up near the coast, the water always tasted terrible, and I still do not like it. However, in the early 2000s, I decided to wean myself off Coke and sweet tea by switching to Gingerberry Synergy Kombucha, and I have been a devoted fan ever since. I also love Health-Aid Kombucha when I need to switch it up. I learned to make myself drink water by using Starbucks dome cups with straws and keeping them filled with water in the fridge. I buy them with the Starbucks points I earn from the occasional breakfast and buying protein boxes while traveling. For some reason, the straw makes the water more tolerable.

What is your greatest wellness achievement?

I started teaching group exercise classes when I was 19. In the ‘90s, there was no, “I am a yoga instructor,” or “I teach Pilates.” Boutique fitness studios did not really exist yet, and so, if you worked for the YMCA, Gold’s Gym, or World Gym, your only options at the time were to learn to teach whatever the biggest fitness trend was. Because I started early, I went through certifications in high-impact aerobics, step, kickboxing, Pilates, yoga, HIIT, strength training, general aerobics, and the Fitness Association of America (AFAA) group exercise, as well as four cycle classes: Reebok Cycle (that is how old I am), Johnny G Spin, Real Ryder, and Les Mills Sprint. I also became a personal trainer so that I could keep my group exercise classes in the 90s. Now, I am so grateful that I feel comfortable in any class and any gym.

What do you think is the most overused word or words in wellness?

Wellbeing. It is akin to the word moist in my book—a necessary evil.

What is your favorite place for a healthy vacation or escape?

I am aware of what a cringe answer this is, but the truth is, that it is LA. You have no option but to eat kale and itty-bitty portions. The weather is gorgeous every day, so you have to go outside and hike, bike, or run on the beach, and it has a trending wellness center on every block. When it comes to wellness, the city is simply ahead of the curve. Hate on haters.

What wellness-related books or authors do you recommend, and why?

I love wellness books, and my all-time favorite is Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine by Deepak Chopra. It was the first book that taught me from the perspective of an oncologist that if you decide that you do not want to die, whether the motivation is good or bad, you are far more likely to survive. Will is the most underestimated factor in health and wellness. You do or die. Literally.

What aspect of your wellbeing do you struggle with the most, or would most like to improve?

Morning people are so self-righteous. It is as if God compels them to hop out of bed and head to the gym at 5:30 A.M. I love to run races, and they always schedule the start time at some unreasonable time like 6:00 A.M. I do not even want to speak to anyone until about 10:00 A.M., and I am an extrovert. I would take group cycling instructor jobs that forced me to teach spin before 6:00 A.M.

What brings you joy?

My people. I love doing for people I love. I truly love my employees who have gone on to do amazing things in the industry. I was mentored by the best. I keep a small group of friends, but they are true friends. I really love my family: the Stranges, Jacksons, Warrens, and Bakers—all of them. Even the ones I do not like. The kids are my proudest achievement, and my husband is my one good decision. My tribe brings me immense joy.

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.