In the world of hotels, the idea of wellness once meant heading off to a retreat where you might purify yourself by following a restrictive diet or spend your days meditating. Those sanctuaries are still available, but now, getting or staying healthy doesn’t require removing yourself from your day-to-day life. It can be as easy as checking into a mainstream hotel.
“We want to have on the road what we can access at home: our yoga routine, healthy food, eating vegan or vegetarian,” says Anne Dimon, president of the Wellness Tourism Association, a new industry group advocating healthy travel. “You want to return from a trip feeling better, not worse.”
A growing number of brands offer guests a range of ways to restore themselves during their stays. Six Senses, which operates 16 hotels around the world from Portugal to the Maldives, offers spa treatments and wellness coaching along with cultural and culinary experiences. The new Six Senses in Bhutan, which will open fully in early 2019, comprises five lodges scattered across the world’s happiest country. As guests complete the circuit of lodges, they can visit meditation pavilions, hike to Buddhist temples, and fortify themselves with hot-stone baths. If you’d rather relax with a riverside glass of wine, you can do that, too. Closer to home, the newly renovated Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, a former Canyon Ranch spa, offers a massive gym and 300 weekly classes but also allows guests to splurge on foie gras and beet-infused Moscow mules in its restaurants.
Larger hotel groups have also buffed up their wellness programs. Hyatt Hotels Corporation recently acquired Miraval Group, which began as an acclaimed mindfulness-focused spa resort in Tucson, Arizona. Hyatt plans to expand the brand. The new 220-acre Miraval Austin has its own farm, which will provide the resort with vegetables and fresh eggs. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which appeals to sybarites with its top-notch dining and lounges, has launched a new holistic wellness program called Asaya. The concept, which debuted at the company’s resort in Phuket, Thailand, allows guests to practice fitness and nutrition lifestyle changes that they can incorporate into their daily lives back home. Even Las Vegas, synonymous with excess, offers renewal by the night. MGM Resorts International has developed “Stay Well” guest rooms with circadian lighting and purified water and air, offering a welcome respite from smoke-filled casino floors. The 5,000-room MGM Grand provides close to 600 of these rooms, sister property The Mirage added 121 last year, and there’s an entire 102-room “Stay Well” floor at the neighboring Park MGM.
As hotels focus more on keeping you healthy, fitness brands are also getting into the hotel business. The Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago has 55 rooms that offer guests access to the club’s 575,000 square feet of fitness and wellness facilities. And the national fitness chain Equinox will open its first hotel in New York City in 2019. Meanwhile, the first sports and wellness-themed cruise line, Blue World Voyages, plans to launch in summer 2019. Formerly a 900-passenger floating hotel, the converted ship will serve 350 passengers. The buffets and shuffleboard courts have given way to yoga and spinning studios, golf and soccer simulators, and an entire spa deck. And when the ship calls at Mediterranean ports, it’s time to hop on a bike for a cycling tour.