Raison d’Etre was founded in 1998 in London by Alexander Arnewid and Rosamond Freeman-Attwood. The first Raison d’Etre spa opened on Soneva Fushi in1999 and was an instant success. This spa was later taken over by the owners of Soneva Fushi and rebranded to become the first Six Senses spa. Anna Bjurstam joined the company in 2000. Anna had been involved in the company pro-bono since the beginning and when Raison d’Etre quickly grew to 6 spas in the Maldives, Anna moved to the Maldives to expand Raison d’Etre including their three star brand Etoile.
Alex tragically died during 2000. Rosamond and Anna who decided to grow stronger out of this sad time and managed to acquire the contract to develop and manage all Aman resort spas. The first Aman Spa was opened 2001 at Amanpuri in Thailand. Also this spa won several awards and received a lot of press. It was evident that Raison d’Etre had something special to offer the spa industry, and the company started to expand its consultancy work world-wide. The innovative creativity, together with the soulful and hands on approach organically led Raison d’Etre to start building brands for others. We became “The Brand Behind The Brand(s)”.
Taj Hotels was the first client where Raison d’Etre was asked to create the brand from start, which today is Jiva Spa at Taj Hotels. Through market research, studies and travels around India, together with a fantastic team from both Raison d’Etre and two more individuals, Samir and Bina Patel, who later headed up the Taj Spa Division, a beautiful and authentic Indian and Ayurvedic spa brand emerged, which has continued to grow throughout the world since.
Many more brands were to follow, and it resulted in the joint venture of Resense Spa S.A. with Kempinski hotels in 2008, which is a separate entity which develop and operate the two spa brands Resense and Kempinski The Spa at Kempinski Hotels world-wide. Kasha Shillington joined Raison d’Etre during 2007 as a 3rd partner. Kasha contributed greatly to strategically develop Raison d’Etre and its partnerships and is today the CEO of Resense S.A. Another joint venture was formed for the stand-alone spa project at Grand Hôtel in Stockholm, Grand Hôtel owned by Investor, a Nordic-based industrial holding company founded almost one hundred years ago by the Wallenberg family.
In 2009 the first NORDIC Raison d’Etre branded spa was opened, branded to Nordic Spa & Fitness, by Raison d’Etre at the world renowned Grand Hotel in Stockholm, part of Leading Hotels of the World. Now our brand LivNordic Spa & Fitness is open in new locations starting with LivNordic Viking Cruises (2015 maiden voyage from Venice to Istanbul was in April), Dubai (2015), Doha (2016), Oman (2016), Courchuvel France (2016).
In 2011 Anna became the sole owner and continued to develop the business with another segment in Education in the form on our renowned Spa Manager On-Line Course. Pegasus Capital Advisors who owns Six Senses Resorts & Spas as well as many other wellness focused businesses acquired Raison d’Etre in 2013, in which Anna still is a partner. Anna now heads up Six Senses Spas while also continuing to stay involved with Raison d’Etre. Anna-Cari Gund joined the company in 2015 taking over the Managing Director role from Annika Jackson who is now 100% dedicated to Business Development and Client Communication.