Life Lessons: Surinder Bains, Miraj Hammam Spa

The owner of a unique Vancouver spa decides to keep things simple


Surinder Bains, owner, Miraj Hammam Spa

After experiencing Turkish-style hammam spas in Paris, Surinder Bains opened her Miraj Hammam Spa in 2000 at Granville Street and 6th Avenue. She’s built a loyal following of repeat customers who come for the spa’s set offering of a steam, exfoliation treatment and massage.


While many business owners are intent on growing, Bains said she’s found success by staying in the same location and sticking with her idea of bringing a hammam to Vancouver.


“I didn’t do it as a public hammam because I knew North Americans wouldn’t take too kindly to that idea,” she said. 


“It was already challenging enough to bring the concept to North America. So I made it for singles, for mothers-daughters, for bridal parties, for couples on Sundays.”


While some customers have requested extra services, like facials or manicures, others have pleaded with her to keep things the same. After realizing that offering more options would require her to hire more staff and take on more space, Bains has gone with the latter option.


“Every time something challenging comes up where I lose my mojo, I lose my energy and I get really frustrated, I go back to: ‘I created the original vision, I stuck with the original vision,’” she said.


“People want to know they can come to a place where they’re well taken care of and don’t give them too many options,” she said. “By sticking to that and not listening to other people and being focused with my vision, that’s what’s gotten me through everything.”


The philosophy extends to her staff, many of whom have worked at the business for eight to 10 years.


“It’s a home for the clients and a home for the staff.”

On retaining staff | “We all have our good days, and we all have our bad days, but I think it’s important to treat all persons the way you want to be treated yourself. To me it’s as simple as that. You have to listen to other people. That seems to work, and that’s been a huge part of my success in retaining staff.”

Has a work or life challenge taught you a key career lesson? Contact Jen St. Denis at jstdenis@biv.com