Spa and Wellness Travel Keep on Growing

Wellness tourism continues to grow faster than global tourism as more consumers aspire to higher levels of wellness and incorporate this intention into their travels. So says the Global Wellness Institute’s newly published Global Wellness Economy Monitor, which also notes that these travelers tend to spend much more per trip than non-wellness travelers. Wellness trips account for 6.5 percent of all tourism trips, but represent 15.6 percent of total tourism expenditure.

A good illustration of this might be Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, which enhanced its health and wellness experience last year with the addition of the Zen Oasis, after having launched Club Med Creactive by Cirque du Soleil — 30 acrobatic and artistic activities taught by expert coaches and artists — in 2015. These enhancements resulted in a 25 percent increase in revenue for the resort with only 11 percent additional capacity.

All totaled, wellness tourism in 2015 (the latest year available for the Global Wellness Economy Monitor) generated more than $563 billion, up from $494 billion — a 12 percent increase. It’s no wonder then that wellness-oriented companies such as Canyon Ranch, and other resorts that want to tap into this market more aggressively, are continually upping their game.

Canyon Ranch Flexes Muscle

Within the last year, under the direction of CEO Susan Docherty, Canyon Ranch has celebrated several milestones including the opening of the brand’s inaugural international resort in Turkey, Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort at Kaplankaya; the launch of Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea onboard Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer; and the groundbreaking of the luxury Residences at Bellefontaine at the brand’s Lenox, MA, site.

Now, less than two months into 2017, the company is continuing to flex its muscles with new offerings and an expanded management team.

Canyon Ranch began the year by launching Bod Pod at its Tucson and Kaplankaya resorts. Canyon Ranch uses the Bod Pod as a holistic and integrative means of screening to help determine optimal healthy body weight and to celebrate lean mass and encourage guests to maintain or increase lean body mass, not just body fat loss. This approach includes the ability to design customized exercise programs with a masters-level exercise physiologist and follow up with metabolic exercise testing or a cardio metabolic stress test (if medical condition exists) for assistance in calorie and fat burning, targeting heart rate and optimal exercise enjoyment, and achieving results.

This month will see the launch of the Sansego Experience at Canyon Ranch Tucson, following a recent announcement of a partnership with triathlon trainers Sansego, offering guests the opportunity to train with three-time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander. The innovative program provides direct, one-on-one training experiences by Sansego’s expert coaches paired with exercise physiology testing, health screening, nutrition planning, mental skills training and more from the Canyon Ranch staff. Additionally, in September 2017, Craig “Crowie” Alexander will host The Crowie Experience, a five-day camp providing athletes of all levels with access to personalized service plans and group training exercises guaranteed to help triathletes accomplish their goals.

On January 31, Canyon Ranch announced the appointment of four new hires across the company. They are: Parool Shah, global director of communications, who brings to her new post nearly 25 years of experience with luxury / lifestyle brands; Lionel Valla, managing director at Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort at Kaplankaya, whose 20-plus years of management experience includes serving as the general manager of Soho House & Co in both Berlin and Istanbul; Mindi Morin, a 16-year veteran of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, who joins Canyon Ranch in Lenox as general manager, and Max Scherff, who will work with Morin as director of food and beverage, bringing more than 20 years of hospitality experience to the table.

In Other Spa News…

Hyatt Hotels Corporation acquired wellness travel provider Miraval Group last month, including the flagship Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson and Travaasa Resort in Austin, TX. The transaction also includes the acquisition of the Miraval Life in Balance Spa brand, which opened its first location in Dana Point, CA, last year. Miraval will form a distinct new wellness category within the Hyatt portfolio of brands. Steven Rudnitsky, president and CEO of Miraval Group, will continue to drive the brand’s growth strategy, reporting to Mark Hoplamazian and working with the existing Miraval leadership team and associates.

Created in consultation with spa-going guests, architectural experts, design professionals, and respected health and wellness experts, Couples Resorts introduced the Oasis Spa Villa Experience in December at its flagship resort, Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Wellness is incorporated into the all-inclusive concept as guests staying in an ultra-luxury Oasis Spa Villa have complete, private and unfettered access to all services and treatments at no additional charge.

Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa in western Colorado has been courting serious health and fitness travelers this winter with a series of Wellness Week- ends. These comprise classes, guest speakers, spa treatment specials, outdoor activities and yoga, as well as discounts on the resort’s rooms, activities and spa. An upcoming retreat, “Get Your Hormones and Your Health in Check with Dr. Tami” (March 9-12), will focus on how to choose a customized food plan for weight loss, glowing skin and hormone balance, while “Spring Detox Retreat with Larissa Hall Carlson” (March 23-26) emphasizes on activities that encourage muscle toning and balance, as well as healthy meals.

Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa has been courting serious health and fitness travelers this winter with a series of Wellness Weekends. 

A specialty “nanea” spa ritual and fitness program rooted in Polynesian physical culture is a highlight of Hawaii’s newest resort hotel. The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas is slated to open on Maui’s North Ka’anapali Beach on April 15. The Hawaiian word “nanea” alludes to relaxation of the mind, body and spirit.

Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, a four-diamond resort near Palm Springs, CA, is the newest addition to Curio – A Collection by Hilton. The Southern Californian desert resort is an 11-acre oasis at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains. After a multimillion-dollar renovation, the 12,000-square-foot Well Spa will offer services in an intimate environment, with 13 treatment rooms, seasonal offerings, and a courtyard with two private saltwater pools. Other experiences include staff-led yoga classes, wellness walks on the grounds, the Miramonte Pool with lounges, umbrellas, cabanas available for rent, food and beverages, and the Piedmont Pool, which includes access to a heated whirlpool, sun decks, and food and beverage service. There is also a 24-hour fitness center.

In downtown San Diego, the brand new AquaVie Spa & Wellness Center is open now to guests of the Westgate Hotel. The four-story facility includes five treatment rooms, strength training by Irongrip and Technogym, sauna, and rooftop lap pool, hot tub and lounge.

Looking ahead, Six Senses has two openings planned later this year. Six Senses Fiji will have 26 pool villas and 60 luxury villas, and a spa menu that includes the multidimensional Six Senses Integrated Wellness program. The spa menu at the 40-pool-villa Six Senses Krabey Island, Cambodia, will incorporate ancient Cambodian healing traditions, and the Alchemy Bar will administer a range of treatments. Guest can also request “sleep ambassadors” to guide them in achieving the best possible rest.