Former Stew Launches Coral Spa Consultants

28 June 2023 By Risa Merl

A yacht’s spa is meant to be one of the most relaxing spaces on board, but an ill-designed spa area can cause crew a lot of stress. This is what Kayleigh Westgarth discovered after years of working on superyachts as a spa manager, and what inspired her to create Coral Spa Consultants.

“I kept noticing the same problems in the spa area on board,” says Westgarth. “They were always gorgeous spaces, but sometimes the operational aspects hadn’t fully been taken into consideration, which detracted from the level of luxury and calming ambience we wanted to offer during treatments. I found myself wishing that I could get involved earlier in a project, to address these considerations.”

Westgarth started crewing on yachts in 2011 as a stew/massage therapist, working on a variety of private and charter yachts from 60 to 90 meters. Her last permanent position was on board M/Y Flying Fox; however, she still does the occasional temp gig as a therapist. Westgarth moved shoreside to Bristol, UK, in 2022 with the goal of setting up a consultancy business. She spent much of the year brainstorming, reaching out to people, and assessing how she could best be of use to designers and shipyards. After laying the groundwork, she reached out to Edward Thomas, founder and managing director of Gym Marine. It was an easy decision for them to join forces, and thus Coral Spa Consultants was officially born.

Kayleigh Westgarth

Coral Spa Consultants bridges the gap between the interior design team’s vision and the end usage of the spa. The consultancy aims to create a better working environment for the crew and a far superior treatment experience for the owner. Coral Spa Consultants can provide valuable insight into the flow of a treatment room, allowing the design team to take into consideration where they might need to place plumbing and plug sockets, as well as the storage required for all the equipment, linens, and products.

“Currently, when a spa therapist steps on board, they often have to figure out the best way to provide a pedicure or manicure on a massage bed, and often that massage bed doesn’t even have enough room for them to move around it freely,” says Westgarth. “These are all elements that can be avoided if designers and shipyards speak to people with the relevant training and experience from the beginning.”

Blending Gym Marine’s resources in CAD planning, logistics, and international structure with Westgarth’s spa background and knowledge, Coral Spa Consultants works to save clients time and money by creating a wonderful spa from design stage. “The fact that I have actually been in all of these situations myself is crucial,” she says. “Not only do I think about the general spa operations and requirements, I can also see it as a crewmember. My brain automatically goes to ‘Where will that be stowed?’ and ‘Does that wheeled item have brakes?’ I have experienced chasing a spa trolley across a room when at sea, and having to massage from awkward angles because I can’t sit at the end of the bed for a reflexology treatment. By preempting these problems in the early stages, my goal is to save as many spa therapists from bad backs as possible!”

Westgarth feels privileged to have had such a long career in yachting, during which she’s seen yacht spas grow from being an afterthought to fully dedicated wellness areas. Coral Spa Consultants seem primed to enter the market when an interest in wellness and self-care is on the rise. In the first few months, Coral Spa Consultants has already facilitated a last-minute set-up for a 55-meter Amels yacht, as well as equipping full spa and beauty areas aboard a 70-meter and 100-meter yacht in the Netherlands.

“I am so excited for the rest of this year,” says Westgarth. “I look forward to using my experience and knowledge to work with yacht designers to help bring their visions to life and allow these spaces to operate to their highest potential.” 


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