BEING born into a what could be described as a poor family has been no barrier to Praveena Dewan. Her unique people skills acquired while growing up in Sigatoka have been put to good use and she seems to have a fair idea of what to expect in her chosen profession.
Dewan is the manager of the Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji Bebe Spa Sanctuary — regarded in the industry as one of the country's best, exemplified by its recent catch of two major awards this year in the span of one week.
One was when the spa took out the Best Destination Spa Resort 2013 at the annual Australasian Spa Association Spas of Excellence Awards. The Bebe Spa also scooped the Pevonia International Spa Award.
So what is the secret to her success and the outstanding achievements of the Bebe Spa over the years?
The humble 36-year-old Sigatoka native believes attention to detail is the key to perfection.
"What sets the Bebe Spa Sanctuary apart is not only its enviable location and ability to instil a sense of total peace and tranquillity, but our entire team who all share the same passion and dedication to ensure that a world-class spa experience is offered to each and every guest," she says.
"The main thing we focus on is hospitality and being a member of the Australasian Spa Association means we follow their spa ethics. We also have international training for our staff, something we consistently do so that they can deliver their best to visitors and guests."
Dewan adds one of the key objectives to managing a spa is ensuring all guests leave feeling relaxed and happy.
"We have to understand, international guests visit our spa and many of them expect the best treatment. Then there are those who may be visiting a spa for the first time, so we have to make a good first impression.
"Tending to the smallest detail is crucial in our line of work."
Dewan used to work at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa, a property where she learned the basics of spa therapy, before moving to the Outrigger Fiji eight years ago.
"Working here has truly made me feel like part of a family.
"I work with 30 dedicated staff members at the spa and we do our utmost to ensure each guest leaves our resort with a lasting impression. There are challenges associated with my profession and I think that every day presents a different challenge in itself."
One of the defining moments of her career was when she was nominated for the Spa Manager of the Year award, where she claimed the runner-up prize.
"It was a great opportunity for me because despite not having any qualifications, I still was nominated and being a runner-up is a great feat for me."
The mother-of-one says her job does not interfere with her family duties.
"I live with my small, happy family that consists of myself, my husband and son and I ensure that my role as a spa manager does not infringe on my equally important role as a mother and wife," the successful manager said.