Wellness-Centered Hotel Offerings

by Susan Barnes

Jun 1, 2017
Features

FOR MANY TRAVELERS, staying true to healthy routines while on the road proves difficult, whether eating, sleeping or working out. On the fitness side of things, hotels have long offered small gyms or fitness centers as a nod to keeping fit, if even just a basic treadmill or stationary bike. In recent years, however, hotels and resorts stepped up their fitness games, and many boast state-of-the-art facilities complete with personal trainers and group classes.

For more than a decade, Westin Hotels & Resorts has been a leader on the wellness side of hospitality and even developed Westin’s Six Pillars of Well-Being to enable its guests and its associates to “be their best selves”: Sleep Well, Eat Well, Move Well, Feel Well, Work Well and Play Well.

In October 2016 Westin commissioned a global survey of travelers, and of the 7,900 polled, 51 percent of North Americans expressed that, in the upcoming year, they will focus more on their wellness while traveling, and an astounding 83 percent indicated access to programs that enable them to maintain their wellness routines while traveling will be a consideration when choosing accommodations.

Biking © WESTIN

Biking © WESTIN

“Around the world we are seeing travelers realigning their priorities to put their well-being first, and Westin is proud to empower our guests to rise to the occasion and be their best selves on the road,” said Brian Povinelli, global brand leader, Westin Hotels & Resorts.

“We have definitely seen a shift in the way today’s travelers are incorporating well-being into their work and travel routines, from millennials who view fitness activities to be more social than competitive to business travelers who are shifting their preference from country clubs to running clubs,” continued Povinelli.

In response to the survey’s findings, in January 2017 Westin debuted its Let’s Rise campaign, “… more of a rally cry than a brand campaign, given today’s over-scheduled and always-on culture,” according to Povinelli.

Westin has certainly taken note of what travelers are looking for. Its Gear Lending program at every property, which debuted in 2012, enables guests to pack lighter and stay fit with loaner New Balance shoes and gear for a nominal fee. Additionally, in support of Let’s Rise, hotels are updating their WestinWORKOUT facilities by improving upon the array of strength-training equipment and cardio machines already available. Want to work out without leaving your room? Reserve a WestinWORKOUT Room and, in addition to all the amenities found in other guestrooms, you will also find yours furnished with exercise equipment so you can work out on your schedule. As far as those aforementioned running clubs? Nearly 200 global runWESTIN concierges are available to join guests for runs.

In addition, select Westin properties around the world feature unique outdoor wellness programs such as a surf concierge at The Westin LAX, a cycling concierge at The Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, or an on-mountain boot camp class at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, Victoria in British Columbia.

Aside from international hotel brands, several destinations focus solely on wellness travel, such as Canyon Ranch, with locations in Tucson, Ariz.; Lenox, Mass.; and Kaplankaya, near Bodrum, Turkey.

In February the Sansego Experience at Canyon Ranch debuted, combining the knowledge of three-time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander and his coaches with Canyon Ranch’s wellness offerings.

“Canyon Ranch is truly a one-stop shop for the endurance athlete,” said Alexander. “The state-of-the-art peak performance testing and mental prep services, combined with world-class training venues and our Sansego coaches, offer the only package I know of that is focused on the whole athlete. As a father, athlete and businessman personally, it’s what I’ve always wanted.”

The Sansego Experience is tailored to each individual participant, from seasoned triathletes looking to better their edge to intermediate triathletes wanting to advance to the next level to newcomers eager to build their skill sets.

For those athletes who want the ultimate challenge, Alexander himself will host The Crowie Experience, a five-day camp offering athletes of all levels access to personalized service plans and group training exercises guaranteed to help triathletes accomplish their goals. The camp, held Sept. 16–21, is limited to 30 athletes.

Mountain Trek hike © MOUNTAIN TREK

Mountain Trek hike © MOUNTAIN TREK

In the rolling hills of British Columbia, the first mountain-based hiking, fitness and weight-loss program in North America can be found through Mountain Trek’s one- and two-week all-inclusive hiking retreats. These intense — up at 6 a.m. and on the go until your head hits the pillow about 15 hours later — yet intimate — limited to 16 guests per week — experiences feature a 4:1 staff-to-guest ratio.

It’s all about you at Mountain Trek, and the incredibly attentive staff make sure of it by personalizing the program for each guest. They’ve got you covered, from doing your laundry and providing clean meals and snacks that cater to any and all dietary concerns to customizing exercise classes and hiking groups for your best workout. Glean the staff’s expertise during daily classes on the five steps of the Mountain Trek Way: nutrition, fitness, detoxification, sleep health and stress management.

With two locations, one in Austin, Texas, and the other in Hana, Maui, Travaasa Experiential Resorts encourage guests to try new, location-specific activities. According to the resorts’ vision, they “embody the best of what happens when you travel: the journey and the discovery of a place, people, yourself and the stories that define your life.”

In Austin guests may sign up for a mechanical bull workout, test their strength with some good old-fashioned hatchet throwing or reach new heights on the Prickly Pear Challenge Course. In Hana paddle an outrigger canoe; glide high above the island; or learn to play the ukulele, the popular Hawai’ian instrument that turned 100 years old last year.

Traditional workout classes are available in Austin and Hana, too, as are cooking classes that will have you ready to make the sumptuous yet healthy meals you enjoyed at Travaasa when you return back home.

On the Caribbean island of Antigua, 5-star Carlisle Bay is the first-ever hotel or resort to offer island bathing, a new meditative wellness experience that puts a Caribbean twist on the traditional shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) trend by connecting guests with nature, in turn improving their moods.

Carlisle Bay’s two-hour excursion whisks guests by private boat, at sunrise or sunset, to a secluded island where a wellness master leads them through guided meditation and breath work, surrounded by the calming sounds of gently breaking waves, rustling palms and Caribbean breezes.

According to studies by Columbia University, pounding surf creates negative ions in the air, which can help enhance mood, stimulate senses and oxygen absorption and even boost resistance to disease.

These are but a handful of ways hotels and resorts enable their guests to incorporate their wellness routines into travel, whether for business or pleasure — or a little bit of both.

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