We spent 2018 filling our therapeutic colouring books, counting calories with the ketogenic diet and wearing our Fitbits around the world, but what are the key wellness trends for the year ahead and which hospitality brands are on top form?
When the Romans marched through the town of Spa in Belgium they named it Aquae Spadanae and the art of “balneotherapy” – the method of benefiting the body through bathing – was soon exported across the ancient empire. They certainly weren’t the first to enjoy hot springs but did a fine job in monetising a spa concept that still exists centuries later. Yet so much has changed. The global wellness industry is reportedly worth around US$4.2 trillion, according to The Global Wellness Institute, with tourism contributing to approximately $639 billion of that total.
1. Making sense of it
One of the leading innovators in the industry is the aptly named Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which launched its sextuplet of Spa Sensory Suites in Downtown Dubai this summer, providing a lavish range of all-encompassing therapies within a five-star hotel. “In Six Senses, we are not just limited to personalised spa journeys for our guests,” explains Rosalin Lau, Director of Spa and Wellness at Six Senses Spa Dubai. “We provide complete spa sensory experiences after spa treatments and offer high-touch, high-tech spa and wellness therapies with each sense of the six senses, which we reflect in our six treatment suites.”
From the therapeutic healing vibroacoustic lounger in the Sound Suite to the medley of herbs, spices and essential oils in the Smell Suite, each treatment area is designed and decorated differently instead the ‘brick and mortar’ uniform set-up of a spa treatment room throughout the premises. But what is the sixth sense? The Beyond Suite is the place to set your mind at rest with guided yoga, stretching and breathing techniques. Singing bowl therapy is also offered to treat a range of ailments. “Today, affluent travellers are looking for authentic experiences, stories to tell and share their envy inducing picture images to their social circles,” she added.
2. Less is more
We’ve had the minimalism movement, the KonMari method, decluttering, and various other fads, but it all comes down to clear spaces aiding clear minds. There’s a reason that Feng Shui remains in the zeitgeist, despite dating back thousands of years. Though not many of us are likely to understand the interior design philosophy in any great detail, modern environmental psychology explains why we believe that “cleanliness is next to Godliness” and in our cluttered, consumerist culture, minimalism is heralded as a tonic for anxiety. The concept is not only ideal for spatial organization, but can minimise stress, according to Psychology Today.
3. Slumber smartly
Most of us feel inclined to perform a thorough mattress test when we stay in a five-star suite – surely the most crucial item of furniture in any hotel – but some properties go the extra mile when it comes to promoting rest. The consensus is clearer than ever that slumber is just as important to our health as what we eat and Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is at the forefront when it comes to getting a quality 40 winks, thanks to the brand’s In-Villa Slumber Guru Experience, provided at properties across the portfolio.
Taking the importance of a good night’s rest to a whole new level, the evening ritual begins with a soak in an essential oil bath surrounded by candles, easing tension with a “Deep Sleep Massage” using ylang ylang or lavender oils. Guests are then invited to unwind with a choice of tranquil music throughout the evening before plunging into fresh 1,000 thread count sheets. Other sleep therapy packages include 60-minute mindful meditation sessions, complimentary access to fitness classes & wellness facilities and more.
4. Wellness you can wear
Between the aforementioned Fitbit and smartwatch functionality, we’re already well accustomed to technology augmenting our health – and shaming us into taking the stairs. However, wearable tech is still tipped to be the top fitness trend for 2019, according to Science Daily. The return of wearables as the number one fitness trend “may be the result of manufacturers correcting some monitoring inaccuracies of the past,” according to the report’s author, Dr. Walter R. Thompson of Georgia State University, Atlanta.
The prediction is based on an annual survey of health and fitness professionals, and also notes that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will continue to be one of the most favoured workout methods, with people handing over yet more cash to hire certified fitness professionals as personal trainers. When it comes to wearables for ladies, emerging brands like Oura and bellabeat are now producing super-high-tech items of jewellery that allow you to track sleep, body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and more.
5. Organic interiors
We should also expect to see more emphasis on biophilic design in the coming years, patching up the disconnect between our urban lifestyles and our innate desire to connect with nature. Organic elements like large plants, wood and stone are likely to be at the fore, with room sizes decreasing to make way for larger balconies and verandas. According to a recent study, data showed that hotel guests had a 36% higher dwell rate in hotel lobbies that had biophilic elements. Taking the concept to the next level – quite literally – is the soaring Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, which bucks the trend of a sealed skyscraper. The architecture allows guests to acclimate and experience the city’s tropical surroundings with internal breezeways and atria, multiple sheltered terraces, sky gardens and vertical greening – achieving an overall greenery replacement of more than 10 times the site area.
How is health and wellness going to impact your life and business this year? Find out about ILTM’s new journey for 2019.