A look at the business of guest well-being
A look at the business of guest well-being
20 MAY 2019 7:14 AM

This HNN roundup of content focuses on wellness topics such as fitness center design and the growth of spa offerings at hotels.  

GLOBAL REPORT—Much of the world is becoming more focused on wellness, and hotels have jumped on board with the trend by coming up with innovative offerings at their properties.

In the last six months, Hotel News Now has reported on wellness topics such as well-designed fitness centers, the growing number of hotels with spa offerings and more.  

Here’s a look at what’s top of mind for hoteliers when it comes to wellness.

More and more travelers are dedicated to practicing healthy habits and working out while on the road, which is why hotel gyms need to be as well-designed as any other hotel public space would be.

Lesley Hughes Wyman, co-founder and principal at MatchLine Design Group, said there should be plenty of natural light and access to the outdoors in hotel fitness centers.

“Motivating guests to use the fitness center is about what ambiance is created in and for the space. If the space has a view to a terrace or connects to an outdoor activity hub, such as a pool area, the more appealing the space is,” she said via email. “A definite ‘no-no’ is locating the fitness center in the basement in the building. The connotation in and of itself, of having to go down to a basement is unappealing. It’s dark and isolated, what’s motivating about that?”

The hotel gym should also give guests the motivation to finish their workout through the use of colors and patterns to create the right vibe, Gayle Evasco, project designer at Wilson Associates’ Dallas location, said.

Wellness isn’t confined to a hotel gym or a certain part of the hotel. Offerings are now being seen in meetings and events packages at hotels.

The Sheraton New York Times Square has used its wellness amenities as a major selling point in Manhattan’s competitive lodging market.

“We’re the only hotel in New York City with certified trainers on the floor of the fitness center from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m., and that’s allowed us to curate different opportunities, such as the largest Peloton room in New York City, outside of the actual Peloton Studio here,” said Dan McCarron, director of hotel sales at the Sheraton Times Square.

Other hotels such as the Chatham Bars Inn in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, have drawn in meetings attendees by offering farm tours and fishing excursions where guests can catch and pick the ingredients for their meal at the hotel.

The numbers show that wellness has grown in the global hotel industry over the years, particularly with spa offerings.

STR’s census database tracks hotels that have a spa by region around the world, which shows that hotel spas are most popular in Europe. (STR is HNN’s parent company.)

The total global number of hotels with spas has increased from 13,000 in 2014 to 19,020 in 2018, representing a 46% increase over a span of five years.

While Europe hotels lead the way in spa offerings, the growth rate of hotel with spas has dropped from 195 in 2016 to 5% in 2018. This is not surprising as more select-service brands are popping up, which has led to a slowdown in the construction of hotels with new spas.

Recreational marijuana use is becoming more common around the U.S., and the activity could be considered a wellness trend by some.

The possibility of marijuana legalization countrywide* is increasing the need for pot-friendly hotels, which is why former Vantage Hospitality founder, President and CEO Roger Bloss is partnering with Bernie Moyle’s Alternative Hospitality platform to launch an ownership, development and management company, 420 Stay, in California’s Coachella Valley.

Two brands are in the works for the company, CoachillInn and 420 Stay.

“Everybody knows Coachella, so this gives us instant recognition,” Bloss said. “This tells you exactly where we are and what we do.”

Hyatt Hotels Corporation dove into the wellness world with its buys of the Miraval resort brand and Exhale Spas, which has led to some learning opportunities for the company, Rob Schnitz, SVP and associate general counsel at Hyatt, said during a session at the 2019 Hospitality Law Conference.

“We’re trying not to just think about mindfulness or wellness in the spa or retreat experience but something to address for the everyday traveler,” he said.

Schnitz added that Hyatt’s wellness practices have extended to the company’s culture with a recent shift to alternative work schedules for employees.

“It should just be the norm to adapt to different people’s needs,” he said. “It’s something we don’t even think about as unusual. It’s more about how do you flex and change. You get so much value out of people if you are able to adapt to those things. I think that’s been very appealing to people. We don’t recruit on that basis necessarily, but people see it when they come to us.”

InterContinental Hotels Group extended its wellness and luxury hotel offerings with its acquisition of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas for $300 million in February.

Bernhard Bohnenberger, president of Six Senses, said the company evolved its wellness and sustainability offerings from being in exotic locations to urban destinations.

“It has become increasingly important that our brand evolves and that we bring our commitment to a forward-thinking, environmentally conscious mentality to urban locations,” Bohnenberger said. “We’ve already opened two successful hotels in Singapore, which celebrate the local culture, vibrant community and spirit of the brand. And next year Six Senses New York premieres. … We will stay true to who we are, but adapt to new locations and changes globally.”

*Clarification, 23 May 2019: This story has been updated to clarify the future possibility of recreational marijuana use being allowed by law throughout the U.S.


  • Cindy Kaufman May 20, 2019 2:26 PM Reply

    I think you should clarify your statement that begins, "The federal legalization of marijuana is increasing the need for..." It reads as though you are saying that cannabis has been legalized in the US. That is misleading.

    • dkubacki May 23, 2019 2:11 PM Reply

      Hi Cindy, thank you for bringing this poor wording to our attention. It has been updated above.

      -Dan Kubacki, Production Editor

  • Global Kid Media May 28, 2019 5:31 PM Reply

    Hi Dan. One thing interesting is the appeal for youth and families in hospitality. It's more interesting to partner with a talented young entrepreneur who is a kid to do some features. Check out Instagram Global Kid Media to see my son's work with the NCAA, NFL, NBA, and NHL top stars and execs doing interviews plus fun parodies. He has also worked with tourism sponsors. Love to team up with you and do some innovative work as he would help give a youth voice plus can do creative features as his work shows. Send a direct message on his Instagram if open to discuss [or if you don't use it much one of your colleagues can do this]. Thanks.

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