Todd Hewitt


I knew how to handle a complaint about food, but didn’t really understand cooking itself. So I qualified as a chef and opened my own catering business.
So far it has been an incredible experience – Hong Kong is still an intoxicating mixture of passion and chaos.

Corporate Director of Spa, Health Clubs and Recreation, Shangri-La Hotels

For some people – even ISPA Directors – the spa bug doesn’t bite until relatively late in life. Todd Hewitt was well into his forties before he even went to a spa for the first time, thus proving that it’s not when it bites but how hard it bites that counts.

Todd’s spa journey is remarkable too, and not just because it began at a point when most people are slowing down and putting their feet up. It has taken him from a childhood on a rural dairy farm in Ontario, Canada, all the way to the Corporate Offices of Shangri-La Hotels in Hong Kong, where he currently serves as Director of Spa, Health Clubs and Recreation.

A farming childhood sounds idyllic to anyone who didn’t grow up on a farm. “Dairy farming is very hard work but the upside was that I grew up with unlimited and unrestricted access to as much ice-cream as I wanted. So it certainly had its compensations!”

Todd’s took a business degree, after which he ended up in restaurant management. Another hard way to make a living, but one forced him to learn about nutrition: “I knew how to handle a complaint about food, but didn’t really understand cooking itself. So I qualified as a chef and opened my own catering business. Only it turned out that making hundreds of hors d’ouvres wasn’t as satisfying as I had imagined it would be, even if I was working for myself.”

The next seven years were spent working back at the family business before Todd’s career took its next turn. He qualified as a fitness instructor – “I was always at the front of the class, so I got picked out so often I decided I should lead the class instead” – and where television executives from Canada’s top-rated breakfast show spotted him.

“I was unusual by television fitness standards. I was six four, blonde, and most importantly had enough personality to stop people from changing channels.” Becoming a well-known “face” of television fitness opened lots of new doors – doors that would eventually lead to Hong Kong.

Todd’s first spa experience came in Jamaica, where a friend was managing a new Sandals Resort, one with a fitness and wellness focus. His background in business, food service, and nutrition made him a perfect fit. This eventually led to helping in their spas and learning everything about the business. Getting tired of living out of a suitcase, Four Seasons called and before he knew it, he was working in Costa Rica. “I then ended up spending ten great years with Four Seasons, opening and running spas all over the world. My favorite one was whichever one I was in at any given time.”

So when Shangri-La came calling six months ago offering Todd a brand new experience in Hong Kong, he was ready to take it, even if the company itself was concerned about the culture shock. “Growing up in Canada is an incredibly tolerant, multi-cultural experience, so I didn’t share those concerns. So far it has been an incredible experience – Hong Kong is still an intoxicating mixture of passion and chaos. The city is very tolerant, a true melting pot of culture and language.”

Todd’s journey proves that spa doesn’t have to be a career that needs to start early to be a great success. Along the way Todd has become a qualified massage therapist and esthetician and remains devoted to personal fitness and wellness, expanding his options and his career at every turn. All without losing his love of ice cream. 


I knew how to handle a complaint about food, but didn’t really understand cooking itself. So I qualified as a chef and opened my own catering business.