IT WAS AN EXPERIENCE IN FIRSTS during my recent trip to Bogotá, Colombia: First trip to Colombia, first time in South America, first stay at a Grand Hyatt hotel and first Swedish massage. Not to mention, all at the largest spa facility in Colombia, South America and the Caribbean — the Zaitania Spa in the Grand Hyatt Bogotá.
After already spending a couple of days in the hotel exploring the fitness facility on my own and joining a tour with the general manager, I was familiar with the Zaitania Spa before my appointment. With 11 treatment rooms (three designed for couples) offering a wide variety of therapies, massages and facials; the neighboring near-Olympic-sized pool and several smaller therapy pools inviting guests for a dip before or after a treatment; and high-end makeup and lotions for purchase, it’s no wonder the brand-new spa extends through the entire third floor of the hotel.
The spa is a world of its own — so much so, locals can purchase a membership to the spa and use their own entrance and cubby in the locker room, completely separate from hotel guests.
Most guests enjoying a spa or therapy treatment head to Zaitania early to find a locker, put on a robe and slippers and make their way to the pool area before their appointment. Knowing I would appreciate my spa treatment 100 times more after finishing some work in my hotel room, I skipped the pre-spa pool experience.
Once I made my way to the spa for my massage appointment, I strolled around testing aromatherapy lotions as I waited for my masseur. His name was Oscar, and he greeted me with an impressively firm handshake — what I considered a good sign for my Swedish massage. He escorted me to my room, showed me where everything was, including small shorts and a top to wear during the treatment, before he disappeared so I could change and hop onto the table.
After a few days of walking all over Bogotá, I was looking forward to my 50-minute massage — a nice timeframe for my post-work, pre-dinner schedule. Oscar came back about 10 minutes later and put on some soothing music.
Not knowing what to expect and wondering what made the massage “Swedish,” I knew it was show time as aromatherapy scents of tangerine and vanilla filled the room. I couldn’t tell if it was the oil used for the massage or just a fragrance, but it was incredibly soothing and refreshing at the same time.
As the massage began, I could feel the tension in my shoulders and back beginning to ease. The foot-to-leg massage was a great way to begin. My masseur focused on one side first, then the other, and I thought I was going to fall asleep by the time he worked on my back and arms. Normally, I like a tougher massage with alternating pressure — something along the lines of deep tissue — but this was somewhere in between. The parts that needed deep-tissue attention, like my shoulders, received a tougher touch, but not so much on my legs and arms, where the pressure was lighter.
One unique aspect I’d never experienced before: My masseur pulled my arm behind my back with my elbow at a 90-degree angle and pulled my arm and shoulder side to side, about five times, one arm at a time. I assume it was to further loosen the muscles, but I have to admit I didn’t really feel a difference in tension. I did, however, notice the effect on my neck as he began stretching it back and forth.
Back to my shoulders and behind my neck — I guess I was super-tense — and then a head massage. Signaling the treatment was almost concluded, it was time to roll over and spend the last few minutes with a towel over my face while receiving a light massage on my arms and front of my legs.
Now a bit more alert — I was nearing sleep a few times — I could hear the music winding down and sense the entire experience coming to an end. Oscar grabbed his music, thanked me and left so I could change. I wondered why I said, “You’re welcome!” instead of thanking him, but I’ll blame it on the language barrier and my post-massage brain.
Once ready to change, I noticed one whole wall in the room was a floor-to-ceiling window, covered by blackout curtains. I wondered what the experience would have been like with the curtains open and all the sunlight of Bogotá streaming in.
The bathroom was beautiful in a simple but luxurious way. So beautiful, in fact, the steam shower tempted me before I headed back up to my room to change for dinner. The marble touches and light, subdued colors were equally calming and uplifting. I thought again about the big, beautiful pool and how I would have to find time to get in there the next day.
Grand Hyatt Bogotá
Calle 24A, 57–60
Bogotá, Colombia 111321
tel 57 1 6541300
Set to open in 2026, Rosewood San Francisco will be the last skyscraper developed in the downtown region for the foreseeable future. The projected 800-foot-tall property will host a hotel, residences, office and rental spaces. The brand’s third property in California will join Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, and Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
It’s not even 9a.m. in the sleepy fishing village of Rawai on Thailand’s famous Phuket Island, but already the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea swarm with local fishermen casting their lines and releasing their nets from the bows of rustic long-tail boats. The scents of lemongrass, incense and sweet pandan leaves season the air as the villagers slowly rise from their beachside bungalows to start their day. In just a few more hours, the fishermen will return with their catches, filling the stalls of the iconic Rawai Seafood Market with buckets of shellfish and displays of fresh filets. Visitors line up each afternoon for the catch of the day, selecting their fish with care before hauling their purchases across the well-worn road to the restaurants opposite the market to have the fish cooked for 100 Thai baht per kilo.
MMGY Travel Intelligence released findings from its 2021 fall edition of its Portrait of American Travelers survey. It revealed the vast majority of vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers are planning trips in the months ahead, but the types of trips are different.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
Airbnb.org is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating temporary stays for people in moments of crisis, sheltering those displaced by natural disasters, offering frontline workers a place to stay at the height of the pandemic and, now, helping Afghan refugees.
Italian hospitality brand AG Group announced an international collaboration with Hyatt Hotels. AG Group’s IL Tornabuoni, slated to open in Florence in October 2021, will be part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. The Tribune in Rome will become part of JdV by Hyatt in October 2021.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Hotel diversity isn’t where it could be, but it’s a work in progress. Fueled with new energy that emerged from the racial reckoning of 2020, there’s more of a sense of urgency ... and with good reason. There’s plenty to do when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion in the hotel industry.