Transforming traditional hotel gym into wellness hub
 
Transforming traditional hotel gym into wellness hub
06 JULY 2018 7:41 AM

Say goodbye to the dreary hotel gym of yesteryear and hello to wellness destination floors, equipped with shared wellness amenity spaces that include healthy snacks and juices, dynamic movement and meditation programming, personal wellness concierges and more.

It takes a remarkably determined guest to commit to exercising in a dreary basement hotel gym after a long flight and busy itinerary.

A recent Cornell School of Hotel Administration study found that on average only 22% of hotel guests use the hotel gym during their stay. Avid travelers and hoteliers alike know from first-hand experi-ence that “frequent travelers are prone to headaches, joint pain, muscle soreness and general fa-tigue—not to mention the disrupted and inconsistent sleep patterns that come with changing time zones when jetlagged,” according to one CNN Travel article. As a result, modern hotels are eager to provide the best resources for their guests to help them feel good during their visit, while also capital-izing on the ever-growing wellness economy.

In our latest ‘Wellness Beyond Spa’ installment, we explore how hotels can take wellness beyond the four walls of the spa by revisiting the traditional concept of the fitness center. Visualize this: an entire floor of your hotel devoted wholeheartedly to wellness. For a nominal fee, guests can upgrade their stay to a specialty wellness concept room and wander down the hallway to a boutique wellness lounge that offers a variety of progressive fitness, yoga and meditation programming, and perhaps hydro-therapy experiences and more. Read on for some inspiration of what a wellness floor in a hotel can (and in many progressive hotels, already does) include.

Wellness-optimized guestrooms
Offer your wellness enthusiasts an extra healthy stay at your property in a guest room suite located on your wellness floor. Suites can be offered at a higher average daily rate and can include wellness perks such as air purifiers, magnetic mattress toppers, alkaline water filters, circadian lighting, spa products, a personal wellness concierge, in-room wellness services, holistic turn-down menus and discounts to-ward spa services amongst so much more. Perhaps even a cold press juice or curated workout gear awaits your health-conscious guest upon arrival. These “wellness suites” on your “wellness floor” will also create a unique sense of community and the opportunity for connection for the ultra-fit guests.

Meditation lounge
Studies show that people with a regular meditation practice are less likely to experience insomnia and more likely to get a good night’s sleep. Creating a small, quiet and private meditation space can do wonders for decreasing guest stress and anxiety. Consider offering guided meditation videos, flame-less candles and a meditation cushion to provide a powerful and memorable wellness experience.

Spa
Situating the spa on the same floor as the fitness centre and any other dedicated wellness zones of-fers a sense of continuity and completion of space. Advanced anticipation of noise pollution (internal or external sound aversions) that could come from these dynamic spaces is, however, imperative. Your guests will be grateful for the ease of their journey from their workout to the steam room to their guest room to the cafe. For a real wellness experience, we recommend incorporating hydrother-apy offerings into your spa design and operations. Whether that means a simple steam room or a hammam, sauna, pool, whirlpool and cold plunge is up to you, but remember the value of easy access to these healing spaces for recovery post-workout.

Go above and beyond
Being bold is never a bad thing in today’s competitive hospitality industry. Think outside the box when it comes to your wellness destination floor and consider offerings such as acro-yoga classes, rock climbing, slack-line, personal training, spinning, boxing, or workshops and classes. Presenting guests with customized wellness programs during their stay will increase engagement and commitment. Fi-nally, be complimentary (and not just with kind words). Prevent your guests from feeling stressed about wellness and offer anything from fruit to filtered water to running shoes to gym clothes and yo-ga mats to ensure they have no excuses to avoid the wellness sanctuary you have created.

Yoga/group exercise space
Build a sense of community, engage guests on a regular basis and increase endorphins by offering group fitness and exercise classes. This is a healthy way for families, business partners and friends to connect, laugh, sweat and remember their experience at your hotel. The ”rush-hour” traffic after the group class to the wellness floor restaurant or spa is an added benefit for your bottom line.

Wellness concierge
Imagine your guests arriving at your hotel and being presented with the options to go on a profession-ally led run through the city, to participate in a globally-renowned yoga teacher’s class live from their hotel room or to book a stationary bike or treadmill in their bedroom. These are just some of the new creative solutions to the unhealthy demands of frequent travel that hotels like the Westin and its pio-neering Wellbeing Program are readily offering.

Wellness menu
Picture a guest strolling out of your hotel gym or yoga studio and wandering right into your healthy, gluten-free, vegan, superfood rich menu at the restaurant down the hall. Making it easy to be well on the assigned floor will undoubtedly encourage increased use in all wellness offers, beyond the four walls of the spa and fitness center.

From simple design decisions, to mindful program and product offerings, opportunities for wellness abound in the hotel marketplace today. Imagine the possibilities when wellness is meaningfully inte-grated throughout the entire hotel—beyond the four walls of the spa.

Jennifer Findlay is the founder of Core Essence, a design and consulting firm specializing in spa & wellness. Core Essence works with-in and beyond the traditional spa environment with an approach that examines design, development and ongoing operations con-currently. A member of the Global Wellness Institute’s preferred consultants and the International Society of Hospitality Consult-ants, Jennifer can be contacted at Jennifer@coreessence.ca

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