Why did Kane Sarhan decide to stake his claim in a crowded wellness arena? Simple: To do what had never been done before. Redefining the wellness sector, the Well‘s holistic approach—and singular design—stands out thanks to Sarhan’s elite hospitality background and his insatiable creative itch.
Did you always want to work in hospitality?
I grew up in Lapeer, Michigan, a small farm town in the Midwest. When I say small, I mean ‘take-your-tractor-to-school-day’ small. I have always had an affinity for creating, making, and designing. From posters and T-shirts in high school to DIY furniture, creating is in my blood. Hospitality is the same. My first job was in a restaurant when I was 14. I have always gravitated toward organizing events, planning trips, and hosting friends and family. I couldn’t do anything else even if I wanted to.
What are your early design memories?
I started a magazine in college and used my high school newspaper skills to design and create it myself in InDesign. That soon led to web design, where I taught myself how to code and design web pages using old WordPress templates. Graphic design was a tool for me to create businesses, but it taught me how to think about scale, layouts, hierarchy, and mood.
What do you consider your big break?
The first job where I was focused on design was at Starwood Capital Group as head of brand for 1 Hotels. Barry [Sternlicht] had been a mentor of mine, but the opportunity to work so closely with him and launch 1 Hotels as head of brand was life-changing.
First work-related reality check?
Everyone is replaceable. I remember leaving a job when I was young and thinking they would miss me so much. I realized they were fine without me. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t great at what I did, but it was a lesson in humility.
What led you to launch wellness club the Well?
I wanted to create something from start to finish that hadn’t been done before and have the ability to build a company the way I wanted to. Starting a company is a rollercoaster. Add a pandemic and a potential recession and it has been such a learning experience to build something from nothing. Every day I feel like I am failing (in a good way).
What project are you most proud of?
I am so proud of the Well at Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection [in Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica]. It was such a labor of love from a small team with a little budget, and we created something truly magical and of the time and community. It is a one-of-a-kind execution that is truly unforgettable.
Most rewarding part of the job?
I get to work with really smart people. Whenever I see someone enjoy one of our spaces or experiences, my heart melts. I have so much pride for our team.
What keeps you passionate about the industry?
Every day is an opportunity to put on a show.
How do you define success?
Time-to-Joy ratio: where I spend my time and how much joy I extract from it.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
There’s a political life brewing inside me.