The Global Wellness Summit wouldn’t be complete without a Gala Dinner, and this year was no exception. However, this event was far more sparkling than usual. The delegation boarded buses for the one-hour trip to Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal World), the renowned crystal company’s headquarters just outside Innsbruck. Created in 1995 to commemorate Swarovski’s 100th anniversary in 1995, the museum/exhibition is comprised of a large complex of exhibition chambers, with adjacent outdoor gardens and children’s areas. Given that it was cool and dark on the night we visited, we opted to stay indoors, but there was still plenty to see. The “Chambers of Wonder” contain a wide array of artworks and installations, all of which are created from or adorned with crystals.
After being greeted at the entrance with trays of champagne, wine and juices, delegates made their way through the series of chambers, ending in the restaurant area, where tables were set with white roses and beautiful glasses for the 500 diners. Once seated, we were greeted by Swarovski family and board member Nadia Swarovski, who welcomed us to the impressive space.
Following a multi-course dinner, excitement mounted for the first-ever GWS auction, the proceeds of which would go to benefit additional industry research. Giselle Fernandez presided over the bidding for items such as a Physiotherm Infrared Sauna, a Somadome Meditation Pod, lunch and skiiing with world champion Stephan Eberharter, a one-week stay at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Thailand, and numerous other luxurious experiences. It was all good fun, and the auction raised $108k, all of which will go towards funding future research projects. In addition, a small group of delegates had banded together to donate money, which was awarded to Summit CEO Susie Ellis as a scholarship to fund her prodigious curiosity on behalf of our industry. The fund is intended to help her attend conferences and events and bring back her insights to share with the spa community.
After a fantastic evening, we trooped back to the buses to return to Kitzbühel and get some rest before the final day of the Summit.—Lisa Starr