Luxury Wellness: What’s New For 2017

by Anne Dimon

Photo: Vahagn

The wellness travel sector will exceed $600 billion in 2017, according to a forecast by the Global Wellness Institute. Here’s a roundup of some of the best new products that travel professionals can offer their high-end clients in this growing niche.

Six Senses set to roll out new spas
Buoyed by the surge in wellness tourism, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is enjoying a healthy growth spurt. 

Three new Six Senses Spas—the Six Senses Spa Courchevel in France; Six Senses Spa Doha Centre at The Avenue, A Murwab Hotel in Qatar; and Six Senses Spa Zil Pasyon Seychelles on the shores of Félicité Island—will open later this year, followed by another four partner spas slated to open in spring 2017: Evason Spa & Club Pune in India, Six Senses Spa Simaisma in Qatar, Six Senses Spa Dubai, UAE, and Six Senses Spa & Club Mumbai in India, plus four resort spas: Six Senses Bhutan, Six Senses Krabey Island in Cambodia, Six Senses Fiji, and Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia, in late 2017.

“We are seeing a huge increase in the wellness travel sector, where the fastest growing segment is made up of guests who simply want to combine elements of wellness with their vacations,” said Six Senses Spas vice president Anna Bjurstam.

A hospitality pioneer of sustainable practices (which support the concept of wellness travel), the Bangkok-based hotel and management company currently operates 10 resorts and 27 spas under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas around the world, including spas at premier class lounges at London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi International Airport.  

The Ranch announces new destination
California-based The Ranch is set to open The Ranch Sonoma in the fall of 2017. The company’s newest retreat will sit on 2,700 acres, surrounded by nature and including a 2.5 mile creek. The retreat’s weekly program (also available on a multi-week basis) will be limited to 24 guests. 

“The picturesque setting is remote and secluded, so guests will feel as sequestered as they do at The Ranch at Live Oaks, and the onsite hiking is substantial enough to support our fitness-focused programs,” said The Ranch Founder and CEO Alex Glasscock. 

The Ranch Sonoma joins the original Ranch at Live Oaks Malibu and The Ranch 4.0 at Four Seasons Westlake, both in California.   

New trend: naturalizing the gym
In keeping with the hotel/resort trend to “upscale the gym,” and utilizing nature as a playground for wellness, Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, TX, recently introduced a new series of year-round water and land-based activities in a program called The Ripple Effect.

The program capitalizes on the healing effects of water, as documented in The New York Times bestseller “Blue Mind,” where author Dr. Wallace J. Nichols explains how being close to water can positively impact happiness and well-being. Thirty- plus new activities, including kayaking, scavenger hunts, and paddle and hike combos are now available to overnight guests of the waterfront property. 

The “lake is one of our gyms,” said Jana Thompson, the resort’s director of sales. 

New wellness on water options 
Seabourn and The Onboard Spa by Steiner have partnered with Dr. Andrew Weil to develop a guided, mindful-living program set to launch onboard the Seabourn Encore's inaugural cruise in January 2017.

“At Seabourn, we always strive to enhance the level of offerings available to our guests,” said president Richard Meadows. “Many of today’s luxury travelers choose properties that offer a comprehensive health and wellness program, so it was natural for us to consider it as an option at sea.”

The cornerstones of the program will be daily complimentary meditation and yoga sessions, plus various yoga classes designed to address a range of physical issues, such as back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment. Other yoga sessions will focus on enhancing creativity, mental focus and happiness.

On-board seminars will cover subjects such as anti-inflammatory food, healthy aging, mindful meditation and what happens to the body and mind during meditation. The program will launch in January and roll out fleetwide in late 2017.

Uniworld, a leader on the river cruise wellness scene, has added a new itinerary with walking and cycling partner Butterfield & Robinson. Earlier this year, Uniworld partnered with the word’s leading active tour operator to offer wellness-minded guests the opportunity to participate in walking and cycling tours. This newest joint offering is a seven-night itinerary along the Rhone River, aboard the S.S. Catherine.

“Wellness travel has increased tremendously, mostly as a result of people adopting active lifestyles and wishing to maintain them while traveling,” said Uniworld’s new CEO Ellen Bettridge. "This groundbreaking partnership curates an active itinerary that seamlessly melds wellness and luxury travel.”  

Anne Dimon is Travel Market Report’s wellness travel columnist and the founder/editor www.traveltowellness.com. Follow her at @AnneDimon.

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