March 2012

The Sanctuary Difference

Author: Peter Zink | Photographer: Photography by Anne

When you step into the quiet and soothing atmosphere of the Sanctuary, you’ll find your mind immediately at ease. While the fact that you’ve entered a European day spa is certainly a reason for that, the peaceful cooperation and warmth amongst the staff and clients is an undeniable aspect as well. “The spa business, when you put a bunch of girls together, is not always harmonious. Here, we all like each other,” said Sanctuary owner Lisa Murphy.

In an industry that sees turnover on a consistent basis, the Sanctuary stands out from the rest. Among her staff, nobody has worked at the spa for less than seven years. Murphy attributes that to the fact that they all understand each other. “We might have 10 very different personalities in here, but the common thread is that we all really love what we do, and we all respect one another and have a great time at work,” she said.

Originally from England, Murphy learned the craft of aesthetician after becoming certified in an intense two-year program there. “The education is a lot longer than in the States,” she said. Everyone in England becomes licensed in skin, nails, and massage therapy—not just one aspect.”

But there was one thing Murphy hoped to escape. “It was cold, wet and gray over there,” she said. Searching for warmer climes, she moved to Palm Beach, Florida for a time before deciding to become a full-time aesthetician with Royal Caribbean cruise lines, where she gained some unique insights into popular treatments.

Thanks to what she witnessed on Royal Caribbean, her business offers services you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in the area, such as ionithermie cellulite treatments, which stimulate the muscles to reduce cellulite. The preparation tends to be intense and time-consuming, so many spas have opted not to do it, Murphy explained. But she says many of her clients have had fantastic results with the procedure on cruise lines and come to her spa to continue treatment after their vacation.

Intimate spa, big results
The Sanctuary also incorporates products that are widespread and common in Europe, but much more exclusive in the U.S., like the full line of Guinot products and services, which, according to Murphy, is an awesome skin line. “They’re the top line in England,” she said. Typically only found in big spas due to the wide range of products, the Sanctuary has carried Guinot from day one.

The personal satisfaction she gets from seeing her clients get results from her treatments and products is what has kept Murphy and her loyal staff going for so long. “I love seeing people come in all stressed out and frazzled after work, and then watch them leave calm and relaxed later. That’s been the nicest thing for me,” she said.

Murphy can see the difference in the way her clients age versus those who haven’t taken care of their skin as well. “Clients in their 60s look better than some 40 year olds who haven’t taken our advice,” she said.

Results have never been about product sales at the Sanctuary. You won’t find endless shelves stuffed with every concoction available on the market, just certain lines that Murphy personally recommends. “I’m an aesthetician first and an owner second. My goal when I opened was to do treatments that I would like to get. I didn’t want to become a fake spa that was just all about selling products.”

Products are the last thing customers need to concern themselves with at the Sanctuary. With the explosion of the Internet and overwhelming information that comes with it, Murphy and her staff offer a chance for people to get a professional opinion about their specific needs and get results at the same time.

Murphy is amazed by the time that’s passed. “Fifteen years…I’m so proud of it,” she said. “When I started, I didn’t have anybody telling me how to do this. I had no financial backers, partners, or credit history in America.” The two constants have been her loyal clients and staff. Several clients have been with her since the day she opened, and she’s thankful for their support. “The reason we’re still here is because of that. We’re very lucky,” she said.

Murphy doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. She recently remarried and has five new stepchildren—seven kids total. “My half-hour cup of coffee is kind of my break for me,” she said with a laugh. She will remain the busy one while her clients take it easy at the spa!

The Sanctuary Euro Spa is located at 33 Office Park Road. For appointments, call (843) 842-5999 or visit for more information.

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