Frequent Travelers on Holiday or Business Demand Health and Wellness Options
Article by: Leigh Pulford
Written: 12th Janurary 2015
The introduction of health and wellness into holiday and business accommodation traces back many years, with spas being the first health focused addition offered by 5 star hotels. Then over the past few years, luxury private villas have also embedded spas into their facilities which enable guests to have treatments in the comfort of their own property. That being said, spas are no longer the only health and wellness feature of many 5 star hotel and private villas. Hoteliers and developers have realised that in order to grow their market share and keep occupancy rates high that they need to be catering to a wide variety of client needs as people look to stay healthy, keep fit and remain positive and focussed whilst on holidays or travelling for business.
The main purpose of the spa is to enable guests to relax, detox and find their balance, which could involve various treatments such as massage, reflexology and acupuncture, often combined with health teas, soothing music and smiling assistants. Although going to the spa and having a treatment is good for your body and soul, it’s passive, meaning that the majority of the treatments require you to sit in a reclining leather chair or on a massage table. Apart from a Thai massage, which does feel like you have been in the boxing ring for 30 minutes, and I can attest to this, the majority of treatments are good for your skin, circulation and well being. So although the toxins are leaving your body you are missing the most important result, the high from a good work out and the endorphin release that anyone who is a marathon runner, marital artist, cross fit fanatic or gym junkie will understand.
Getting that endorphin release in a hotel is much easier these days, and having travelled extensively around the world, staying in various 5 star properties, I have seen and tested the various options that hotels have embedded into their offering. These often include the option to have a beach side yoga session, a private tennis lesson, personal trainer in the gym and some brands such as the W hotel group and Sofitel SO even incorporate healthy food and drinks options, offering health and protein shakes, egg white omelets and flax seed pancakes.There is no doubt that the hotels are doing a good job with this but the obvious downside is that you are usually competing with the next fitness guru in the gym, struggling to book the tennis court and waiting for your healthy club floor order to make it to your table.
So what I’m trying to get at, is that there is a better way to get the personalised and private service on your next holiday, health retreat or offshore board meeting by staying at a private villa as opposed to a hotel. By private villas I’m not referring to a villa in a 5 star hotel, because as much as these are a great way to get privacy whilst having access to the hotels facilities, you do not have that exclusive beach access or mountain view, nor do you have immediate and private access to facilities and personalised services that you get at a privately run and operated villa.
So it is no surprise the many luxury villas are now dedicating a significant portion of their offering to providing guests with numerous heath, fitness and well being options that cater to the most heath conscious individuals and groups. From Muay Thai kick boxing rings, yoga sessions or a boot camp on a private beach or poolside by the infinity pool, and private chefs who can create your perfect health food kick, the options are endless. Guests now have access to the healthy comforts of home, as well as a gym and sports options, fitness and meal planning by specialised villa staff, all in the comfort of their own villa.
Of course everyone likes to enjoy themselves on a trip so whilst focussing on the mind and body, the ‘work hard play hard’ ethos is also easily catered to. Guests can now spend the day training, working out and improving their tennis of golf swing, and then in the evenings enjoy letting their hair down and taking advantage of all the villa and destination has to offer. Many luxury villas are now offering an extensive wine and single malt scotch selection, cigar humidor and sheeha options as well as professional in-villa music systems (Many have their own DJ stations). But of course everyone also loves to get out and about and enjoy the local beach club, marina or speak easy following a hard day of training.
Twenty years ago, the market for fitness and health holidays were almost non existent, now they are becoming mainstream, so any luxury villa that is looking to make a mark needs to accommodate and welcome these guests with welcome arms, determine in advance their guests preferences and preferably change the welcome drink to an apple, beetroot and celery juice. And as a guest you can create bespoke health, fitness and wellness programmes, so that your next holiday, retreat or meeting, is just an extension of your productive and positive lifestyle.
What really makes a health and fitness retreat for you? Where have you experienced the perfect retreat? Would be great to share ideas and new retreat concepts.
Leigh Pulford is the Director and Co-founder of Opulence in Travel, a luxury villa brokerage in South East Asia focusing on short and long term rentals, corporate and fitness retreats and special events.