We're very excited to have The Harper hotel as the latest addition to the Irene Forte Skincare spa family! Having launched this Summer, The Harper is a charming hotel located in the quaint village of Langham, Norfolk. Its industrial and historical exterior, mixed with refined modern elements, provides a beautiful setting for rest and recuperation. This experience can include a visit to their Spa, which features treatments created by us to help you relax even more! We spoke with the owner Sam Cutmore-Scott about his journey with The Harper, as well as the new partnership with Irene Forte Skincare.
WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND THE HARPER SPA?
The Harper isn't really a 'spa hotel'. We're about wellness in its widest sense - a hideaway for people who need the time out to avoid burnout, or just to have some fun. This could mean fresh and clean air, a long walk along a quiet beach, and then a little laid-back luxury to come back to. But we also understand the importance of pampering in all of this - provided it makes a discernible difference to how you feel. So The Spa is here if you need it rather than the main draw, but if and when you do, we want to make that time really count.
WHAT HAVE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES BEEN?
Opening (or attempting to open!) our first hotel during a global pandemic. There are no steeper learning curves, but there are also positives in that these experiences make you more resilient and more resourceful - both important attributes in hospitality. We don't believe in half measures, so we made the difficult decision not to open when we could have (last summer). It's important to us that The Harper experience is enjoyed as it was always intended.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE IRENE FORTE SKINCARE?
Irene comes from a family business, with hospitality in her blood, so she really gets what we're doing with The Harper. We also wanted a spa partner that was high-end, but not mainstream - there are some great brands out there but they tend to be everywhere, which makes them feel less 'prized'. Needless to say, it's also important to us that the products are as sustainable as possible.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CHOOSING YOUR SKINCARE BRANDS AT THE SPA?
Besides being sought-after, we look for evidence that the products work - that their benefits are seen and felt, rather than purported, and that they are ethically made. Beautiful design is a bonus!
WHAT TREATMENTS DO YOU OFFER?
As a small spa, we focus on quality rather than quantity. There are three facials, three nourishing body treatments and a massage menu, including the option of a bespoke massage based on a personal consultation. It's very boutique, much like the hotel itself.
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT IN STORE FOR 2021?
Beyond our opening in May, and what's set to be a very busy summer, we're hoping to make a small number of memberships available for guests who love The Harper as much as we do. To them, it'll be like a second home - somewhere they can decamp to for a while, to get some work done in peace, or just be themselves with a change of scene.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF THE SPA WORLD LOOK LIKE?
I think we'll see greater levels of personalisation and more of a focus on the 'whole self', rather than treatments that tend to be more superficial - the quick pick-me-ups. There'll also be more interest in rural spas as people look to spend more time away from urban areas, but with their tastes and needs still catered for. 'Countryside cosmopolitan', if you will - which is really the essence of The Harper.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Expect the unexpected – and hold off on getting the dog.