Claire (Lihong) is an outstanding massage and beauty therapist who counts Chinese singers, film stars, and entertainers amongst her former clients as well as western politicians and dignitaries visiting Beijing and Chinese politicians and senior officials based there. She has worked in 5 star hotels in Guomao, the commercial district and Xicheng, the financial hub.
Claire is originally from Liaoning Province in China’s north east. She attended ethnic minority Mongolian schools until the age of 14 when a family tragedy forced her to leave to support her mother in raising her two younger sisters. Her sisters have now qualified as a doctor and a teacher respectively.
At the age of 22, Claire was able to continue her own education. She trained and qualified in beauty therapy, massage and acupuncture at the Practical Skills Training College in Zhaodong, near Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province. Her first job as a therapist was at a spa in Dalian, a seaport close to the Korean peninsula.
It was there that Claire’s particular abilities were identified by a Taiwanese entrepreneur who attended a series of massage treatments. She invited Claire to become a therapist at the health club she was opening at the Ramada Hotel in Istanbul. It was an unexpected but exciting opportunity and Claire decided to take it.
She stayed for almost two years in Turkey where she continued to develop her skills, learning much that was new, enjoying the warm weather and adding fluency in Turkish to the Mongolian and Mandarin Chinese she already spoke. She returned to China in 2009 to seek work in Beijing.
Upon her return to China, Claire was employed at the 5 star Ascott Hotel but later that year she joined the Heavenly Spa at the Westin Hotel in Financial Street where she worked for the next five years. In addition to her own duties she trained visiting European therapists in oriental massage treatments. She is also proficient in using both European and US beauty products.
In 2012 Claire met her future husband. They married in 2013 and in the summer of 2014 she travelled to the UK. She and her husband now live in Cambridge.