Brand Experience Director, Travaasa® Experiential Resorts
As the Brand Experience Director for Travaasa® Experiential Resorts, Kristine Huffman is responsible for delivering robust experiential programming tailored to each property’s local flavor and rich culture to guests, while aligning with the brand’s five pillars: culinary, adventure, culture, fitness and wellness.
The extensive and diverse programming she oversees ranges from culinary demonstrations, equestrian experiences, nature hikes, fitness courses and holistic spa offerings, to a wide assortment of destination-specific cultural pursuits. With each new programming addition, Kristine strives to incorporate an opportunity to educate and inspire guests by adding authentic elements from each destination into all experiences.
Prior to her role with Travaasa® Experiential Resorts, Huffman founded The Peak Performance Practice, which provided consulting, coaching and counseling to hospitality and care organizations such as Miraval Resorts and Maine General Health Systems. She also served as Executive Director of Health and Healing at Canyon Ranch Resort. During her tenure there, Huffman helped develop the wellness program at Canyon Ranch: Lenox. Her extensive expertise in hospitality consulting ranges from wellness-based spa developments to sales training and operational growth of facilities.
Huffman holds a Masters of Social Work from the State University of New York and a B.S. from Western Michigan University. A sampling of her professional accreditations and associations include: License for Independent Social Work, Certified Hypnotherapist and member of the International Spa Association.
Five Questions with Kristine Huffman
What is the most exotic food you’ve ever eaten? Flying Termites. In Swaziland, where I did a Peace Corps stint, they would swarm after several days of hard rain and the air would be thick with them. The swarms would fly towards lights and they’d bang into walls and fall to the ground where the Swazis would collect them for a fry-up. Didn’t taste like chicken.
What is the most challenging travel experience you’ve encountered? In December 2011 we went to visit my stepson, who was working in a remote Indian town. Not wanting to be typical tourists, we let Jamie make all of our travel arrangements, and he booked an overnight bus to get us to one of our destinations. The bus had sleeping platforms arranged like bunk beds, like you’d find in a train’s sleeper car. The bed was just long enough for my husband (who wasn’t feeling particularly well) to stretch out. We stopped about a million times along the way to pick up and drop off passengers, and the driver had a whole range of horn sounds he used to express a variety of emotions. It was a very long, but memorable, 12 hours.
What is your favorite place in Austin? You mean other than Travaasa? Actually my favorite spot is just outside Austin – a little place called Pooties Hilltop Bar – great music, interesting crowd and cheap drinks.
What was your first (or most unusual) job? For a short time in my twenties I worked as an admin assistant for a song writer who wrote a lot of advertising jingles. He was a pretty bizarre character and worked odd hours of the day and night. One night he called me in to work at 2 am to look up words in the dictionary for alliteration and help him find rhymes. (What rhymes with Chiropractor anyway?)
What is your favorite scent? I love the smell of baking bread. My husband bakes his own bread and it smells like home to me.
What are three items on your bucket list? I’d like to go mountaineering in the Andes, tour through Alaska and go on a canoe trip in Southeast Asia.
What is your favorite Travaasa experience? That’s like asking a mom which kid she likes best. I guess I’ll say, truthfully, that it depends on my mood. If I’m hungry, Ben’s food. If I need a good workout, it might be the boot camp class. If I need to limber up and get centered, it’s yoga. For a little zing, the challenge course, when I’m tense, a massage, and when I am feeling philosophic, a little of Keith’s cowboy wisdom. So the best thing is, that I can find something – no matter what mood I’m in.