Brad Beaty isn’t one to define wellness. For the co-owner of Lush Experiences, which connects clients with the world’s most luxury hotels and destinations, wellness, and especially wellness travel, means encountering silence and peace in unexpected areas. It means opening yourself up to adventure and the opportunity to discover the unexpected, whether in new or familiar places.
And if you’re going to listen to anyone about travel, it’s Brad. He has an impressive resume in luxury resorts, with past tenures including director positions at Raffles Resort Canouan Island, La Samanna, St. Martin, and Four Seasons Resort Nevis. Brad founded Passage Distinctive Travel Marketing in 2006, and he and Sari Freeman then formed Passages of Distinction shortly thereafter.
After 12 years, he knew it was time for a challenge and joined his life partner, Guiseppe Di Palma, to create Lush Experiences. They wanted to connect clients with the world’s most stunning hotels and destinations. His work is a testament to a broader understanding of wellbeing: more than just nourishing and moving bodies, it’s cultivating a sense of family in all of your spheres, and helping others discover their own definition of wellness.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Brad to learn about his philosophy of running a business during turbulent times, the importance of family in personal wellbeing and why you should never over-plan a trip.
Beth Doane: What was the catalyst for you to co-create such an exceptional brand? Explain how your journey unfolded.
Brad Beaty: Lush Experiences was a kind of second marriage. Both my husband/business partner and I have worked in the hospitality industry since we can remember. To say that we love hotels and travel is an understatement. Lush Experiences was born out of us combining all of our years of work experience — for companies like Four Seasons, Rosewood, Belmond, Raffles, and others — with our personal travel experiences and love of independent or authentic travel. We assembled a collection of hotels and destinations we personally love and want to share. We saw a need in the marketplace to take hotel representation to the next level, and through hard work, we’ve built a reputation that fortunately puts us in a position where many hotels come to us for representation.
Doane: How has practicing wellness helped you balance work, life and wellness?
Beaty: For us, wellness is about family as a priority. Giuseppe and I adopted two foster children at a very busy time in our careers. We have always relied on the support of our families to help us through the hectic and challenging times. That means our work family, too. Three members of our team have been with me for longer than Lush has existed and have stayed with my work family for nearly 13 years now. Recently, we relocated the Lush Experiences HQ to Colorado. My parents now live with us. Every day, wellness is about seeing them in the morning and hugging them at night. Wellness comes in many forms, but for us, while we love a day at any of our hotel’s luxurious spas, we stay grounded here in Colorado with our open space, sunshine, fresh air, and our family walks around the lakes in our neighborhood. This is also what makes traveling to the Lush Experiences collection of luxury hotels so special.
Doane: You’ve worked in an industry that has changed so much the past few years. How have you responded to those challenges?
Beaty: Each day we head to the office wondering what the next challenge will be, but our biggest challenge has certainly been keeping our team employed and together during the pandemic. There were many days we thought we’d have to shut down and wait until a vaccine arrived and things returned to normal. However, our team kept us going. They are family and we felt truly responsible to assure they and their families were taken care of as best we could.
Doane: Wellness travel has become increasingly popular, linking wellbeing and discovery. What is your favorite place in the world right now for wellness travel and why?
Beaty: “Wellness travel” often means something very different from one person to another. In the traditional sense, wellness travel includes aspects that nourish the mind, body, and soul. What immediately comes to mind when we think of “Wellness Travel” is exemplified in a recent trip Lush took to Morocco with our storied DMC, Casablanca Tours. When I think of wellness, I think of peace. Peace was everywhere in Morocco. Due in part to the pandemic, we got to see Marrakech as a peaceful city without it teeming with tourists. Fez was quiet enough to hear the daily calls to prayer, and we witnessed people of all backgrounds, nationalities and religions living in harmony. We took an eight hour drive into the desert and spent a night in a luxury tent at the base of the Sahara Desert dunes. Our world was filled with nothing but fresh air, silence, a sky full of stars and a small pack of camels. I am not one to force wellness upon myself by going to wellness resorts or retreats; I try to find it in unexpected places.
Doane: What are three travel and/or wellness tips you can share with our readers that you swear by?
Beaty: Do not over plan to the point you cannot let a destination inspire and lead you to its secrets.
Never stay anywhere that doesn’t give you at least the same comforts as your own home. In fact, always look for more. That is what often helps define a vacation
Return to places you love. It’s like eating comfort food. You will always find something new and different, which is like adding spice to the recipe
Doane: What is your favorite quote?
Beaty: “Live life with no excuses. Travel with no regret.” Oscar Wilde.