Meet Morgan McMullen
There’s a new face in the spa. Not one achieved through a skin boosting and sculpting Guasha massage but a new manager of our spa and leisure facilities. Welcome to Morgan who will be overseeing the day-to-day running of the department and making sure that our spa guests are impeccably cared for. With experience spanning sports and beauty therapies at home and abroad Morgan’s relishing the chance to get to know our many visitors.
What’s your background in spa and leisure management?
It all started with a boxing course I was doing at Gateshead College some years ago. I’ve always been interested in fitness, how the body works and how we can ultimately feel so much better by looking after our physiology. While on the boxing course I was approached and asked whether I’d like to try a sports therapy course. I jumped at the chance and started this part-time initially, before moving to full-time study and the completion of a Level III in sports therapy. I worked with Sunderland Ladies Football Club voluntarily putting my skills into practice before my ‘breakthrough’ role came about working as a massage therapist on a cruise ship. I worked hard and was promoted to assistant manager and then manager of a spa and leisure team of 35 people traveling around the Bahamas, New York, New Orleans delivering a full range of treatments to guests onboard. There were perks, including some incredible wildlife tours in Honduras, but there was also plenty of hard graft. My time on board coincided with the Covid pandemic making the role that much more challenging but I learnt a huge amount. After that role, I spent some time working for Neilson Holidays as an assistant manager at one their active leisure bases in Greece and then latterly I was based at the Isle of Mull Hotel in a spa and leisure management role.
In the last 20 years there have been great strides made in linking massage therapy with tangible physical and mental health benefits and I feel it’s an exciting time to be in this industry.
Why Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa?
Having worked in the restaurant of our sister property, Eshott Hall, some time ago I was already familiar with Doxford Hall and what it has to offer so when the role was advertised, I knew I had to apply. I’ve worked outside of Northumberland for a few years, and I was keen to return to be closer to family and have a chance for a better work-life balance. My route into the sector leans towards sports therapy but I’m really enjoying learning new treatment techniques and the Ytsara range that we offer here certainly crosses the bridge between traditional beauty treatments and the deeper pressure massage that’s more akin to sports therapies – such as the bamboo massage.
Most common misconception about the job and spas
I think the number one myth is that it’s an easy job when the reality is a physically demanding role, often involving between 6 and 7 hours of massages each day. It’s tough on the body!
Another misconception is that spas are intimidating and uninviting spaces, reserved for the wealthy and body perfect. This could not be further from the truth at Doxford Hall. We’re a small, friendly spa, where anyone from any walk of life, any shape or size is made to feel welcome. A visit to a spa should be a treat, where you leave feeling better than you did when you arrived.
How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I’m an active person so my relaxation generally involves fitness training, such as power lifting in the gym, or a walk with our dogs. Anything that gets me moving generally works for me.
What’s your favourite treatment on the current menu and why?
As a new starter I’ve been fortunate enough to be a guinea pig for some great treatments this week while in training for the Ytsara-specific therapies. My favourite must be our Coconut Head Massage. I find it hard to truly relax but this had me completely zoned out! It starts with a massage to the décolleté, followed by a Thai poultice massage on the forehead and around the eyes, a deep conditioning hair and scalp treatment and then finally a scalp massage. It was incredible!
If you could give a famous person (alive or dead) a treatment, who would it be and what treatment would you give?
I’d been intrigued to see what kind of pressure Britain’s strongest man, Eddie Hall, could tolerate during a Mohom deep pressure massage!