Meet the Staff


Marla Gentile, M.Ed NSCA CPT, CSCS
Wellness Director

Degrees & Certifications
Licensed Professional Counselor
Master’s Degree, Counseling, University of Miami, Fl
Bachelor’s Degree, Psychology/Sociology, City University of New York
NSCA & ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Fitness, Pilates and Yoga Instructor

Marla comes to Westglow with over 25 years of experience in counseling, specializing in substance abuse issues, codependency issues, women’s issues, grief therapy, as well as teaching fitness classes. Marla has always had an interest in physical fitness as well as mental health.  She has incorporated her philosophy that true health and wellness is the result of a strong body, mind, and spiritual connection in creating the weight management program and is excited to help guests along on a healthier journey in life.

Sandee Altman
Personal Trainer

Born and raised in Lorton, Virginia, Sandee's awareness for health and fitness came while fighting alongside her mother during her fatal battle with breast cancer. She witnessed first hand, that no priority is higher than one's health. Always overweight as a child, and with genetics working against her, Sandee was considered obese by the age of 17. At that point, refusing to be angry or disappointed in herself, she decided to set off on the journey that was to define her life...the journey to self-discovery.

Fast-forward to 2010 and Sandee has flourished, finding her calling in the helping and supporting of others as they embark on personal journeys of their own. With a degree in excercise science and a wealth of knowledge in nutrition, Sandee's training arsenal is full and there is nothing she loves more than using it to educate others. Proving that anything can happen with enough determination, Sandee herself, has competed and won in one of the fitness industry's toughest sports, Women's Figure and Fitness Competitions.

Westglow Resort & Spa proudly offers its clientelle the ability to find out for themselves what it's like to train with a true champion.

Laura Benezra, MA, RD, LDN
Registered Dietician and Nutrition Counselor

Degrees & Certifications
Master’s Degree, Nutrition, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
Bachelor’s Degree, Health Promotion, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

Laura  is a Registered Dietician and Nutritional Counselor that helps individuals make lifestyle changes using an integrative health care system that combines both conventional and alternative health approaches.  Laura has been with Westglow since 1999.  In 1998 she graduated Cum Laude from Appalachain State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion.  She then completed her Master's degree in Nutrition from ASU in 2002.  During that time she was published in the American Dietetic Journal and the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.  Along with Westglow, she is also the nutritionist for the faculty and staff at ASU.

Since she received her Master's degree in 2002 she has continued to study many different types of healthcare techniques and modalities.  In 2008 she spent time in India studying alternative healthcare therapies, which can help individuals enhance their own body's wisdom to restore health and vitality.  Through her knowledge and experience Laura continues to help her clients live happier, healthier lives.

Kumar Dave´
Hiking Guide & Personal Trainer

Degrees and Certifications
Current Master's student in Clinical Exercise Physiology, Appalachian State University
Bachelor's Degree, Exercise Science, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine

Kumar provides hiking services which entail morning guided hikes, half day hiking, full day hiking, biking tours and luxury camping excursions.  He is an Eagle Scout and has been camping and hiking since the age of 12 and rock climbing, skiing and mountain biking now for 8 years.  Kumar also offers personal training sessions and body assessments. 

Nathan (Nate) Curtis

Executive Chef

Nate grew up in a small town in western North Carolina and graduated from Appalachian State University where he developed a strong passion for cooking. Nate began his cooking career in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, under the direction of a James Beard award-nominated chef, working his way to the Sous Chef position. He then joined Rowland’s Restaurant at Westglow Resort & Spa as Executive Day Chef in 2007, was promoted to Executive Sous Chef in 2009, and named Executive Chef in 2011.

Ramsey Higgins, L.Ac.

Acupuncturist, Ramsey, is dedicated to helping individuals achieve health and wellness in the mind, body and spirit. Ramsey also incorporates moxibustion, cupping, acu-massage, gua sha and acupressure techniques during her sessions. Common ailments that acupuncture helps to alleviate include stress, anxiety, chronic pain, headaches, depression, carpal tunnel, sports injuries and surgical recovery, to name a few. Call to schedule your appointment with Ramsey and experience a natural form of healing.

Professional Accreditations
• Licensed in Acupuncture by the North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board (NCALB)
• Certified in Acupuncture Detoxification Therapy by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA)
• Certified in Acupuncture by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)


**The independent contractor, Ramsey Higgins L.Ac., is not an employee or agent of Westglow Resort and Spa.

Gary E. Brown,
CS Sommelier

Rowland’s would like to welcome our newest team member, Certified Sommelier, Gary Brown.  With over 20 years of Food & Beverage experience, Gary found that his true passion was wine. Having brought that passion to Rowland’s, he has expanded our wines by the glass to include a Super Tuscan by Il Borro, a sister Relais & Châteaux property, and the coveted Dom Perignon.

Through his travels to various wine producing regions Gary has developed partnerships with many unique wineries. Most of which produce high quality, and extremely hard to find wine. Now that he has joined the Rowland’s team you will see names like Saxum, Dusky Goose, Ovid, and Casanova di Neri on the pages of our wine list. Gary will also bring his expertise to the bar with the addition of craft beers and seasonal signature cocktails, like the “Ginger Not So Sour”, hand crafted for sunsets on the portico. 

Shannon Pennell 
Professional Hair Designer and Nail Technician

Shannon, is originally from Lenoir, nestled in the beautiful foothills of NC. She is very excited to be providing her services to the wonderful members and guests of Westglow Resort and Spa. 

Brandon Hudgins
Personal Trainer

Brandon graduated from Appalachian State University in 2011, where he earned his Master's Degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning. He finished Graduate School while competing in Track and Field and Cross-Country for the Mountaineers where he helped win 6-Southern Conference Team Championships during his career as a distance runner. Before Appalachian State University, he attended Winthrop University where he earned his Bachelor's in Physical Education with a concentration in Fitness and Wellness. Since graduation, Brandon has pursued his dreams of making the Olympic Trials in Track and Field in 2012 and 2016. While chasing his dream he has put his degrees to use by being a personal trainer, running coach, and mentor to athletes of all ages. His areas of expertise are running, cardiovascular improvement, weight lifting, weight management and weight loss, sport nutrition and psychology motivation.


Regina Page
Certified Group Fitness Instructor
Certified Yoga Teacher

Amy Berry
Certified Group Fitness Instructor
Certified Mat Pilates Instructor

Hilary Pruett
Yoga Alliance, Certified Yoga Teacher

Bliss Warren
Certified Spinning Instructor