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The Wellness Questionnaire with Eric Smith, Director of Spa and Wellness at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

Discover this spa director's go-to for de-stressing.


Originally from Washington, D.C., Eric Smith, director of spa and wellness at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, followed his love of fashion to New York City, where he graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. After a short stint in fashion, he found himself in the hospitality industry, beginning his hotel career with Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C., as an attendant shortly after graduation. He moved up the ladder quickly and was eventually appointed as a trainer for Mandarin Oriental, traveling extensively throughout America and Asia Pacific. In his role as trainer, he was responsible for training all the operations teams throughout the U.S. and assisted with opening more than seven properties globally in addition to offering operational support to hotels as needed.

Smith went on to open the Mandarin Oriental Shanghai as spa operations manager and subsequently became the director of spa in 2015. He also spent time living in Taipei, Taiwan, and opened the Mandarin Oriental Taipei. He later moved back to the U.S. to work for a new and emerging brand, The Spa by Ivanka Trump at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., before moving to Philadelphia to oversee The Rittenhouse Spa & Club. After some consulting and two years as director of spa at Equinox Hotel, Smith joined Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, where he recently launched The Collective, a new wellness initiative with leading industry experts focused on mind, body, and advanced skincare. Here, he shares how he defines wellness and his go-to for de-stressing.

What does wellness mean to you?

To me, wellness is doing whatever it is to make you feel the happiest and healthiest you. It’s taking a blank canvas of your life and painting the brightest picture. Think about the vibrancy of the colors and the sustainability of the medium used. What do you want to achieve to be fulfilled in life? Then, make it happen.

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

I take a break from my normal routine or thoughts and have a moment alone to do some of the things I enjoy, even for just a few minutes. Whether it is playing with my dog, going for a walk, doing something creative, or a five-minute meditation.

Is there a specific fitness activity you love and why?

My favorite is swimming, because although demanding and a great way to be active and fit, it’s very enjoyable.

What is your favorite self-care routine?

I enjoy walking my dog. It’s a great way to relax, disconnect, clear my mind, not think, and just walk. It’s the hour a day I take to fully mentally recharge.

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

I love avocados with a little sprinkle of salt and pepper, or I like to spice it up with olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Easy and delicious.

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

One of the few healthier decisions I make a couple of days a week is to have a green juice or smoothie, preferably with more greens than fruit. My go-to alcoholic beverage is a vodka martini, straight up, with blue cheese olives. I like to keep it simple; we don’t need the extra calories.

What do you think is the most exciting wellness innovation?

Sleep syncing. I suffer from a lack of sleep and am constantly impressed by the advanced technology to help aid in better sleep. It’s such a necessity for a healthy life.

What is your go-to for de-stressing?

Check-ins on my loved ones. Staying connected with the people I care for most brings me comfort and helps put my mind at ease. To feel their love and support is good for the soul and the care that it requires.

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

I am working on strengthening my spiritual wellness. I’m trying to reconnect with my purpose and improve in ways to be fully present to enjoy life.

About The Author

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,,,, and, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.