How Is Your Mind, Body and Soul?
Hotels are taking on a whole new role in their concept of being somewhere to lay your head whilst on holidays, normally in a luxurious environment that one does not have at home. No more is the lush bed considered enough for the guest on vacation, the guest wants the hotel to supply a rejuvenating remedy for his or her own decadent body abuse or on the other hand, to maintain their strict regime of self-imposed body management.
X&Y Gen Want Fitness, Babyboomers Want A Drink
The World Health Organization has stated that the 21st Century is experiencing a stress epidemic. Obesity has doubled since 1980 and numbers in the billions of people with approximately 9% of adults being diabetic. So are you suffering from panic attacks, high blood pressure, anxiety or ulcers? Then take a holiday, as many of the hotels have been quick to pick up on this desire of guests to live a healthier life. The traveling millennials and 38% of generation Xers look for a hotel with a spa and fitness center when booking a hotel, whilst the baby boomers are still looking for the next drink in comfort or a younger partner to play with.
It isn't just about spa treatments to pamper your plump flesh any more, or about having a well-equipped gym for you to play in whilst you escape the bedlam of the munchkins you brought with you on your family holiday, this is serious stuff now.
Your mini-bar will be stocked with local farmers organic produce - forget the cute little alcohol bottles that we all love to swill. You don't need to actually get to the gym to exercise as you can even have your own exercise bike sitting in your guest room, just in case you didn't go for your ten mile jog that morning. If yoga is more your thing, complimentary yoga mats complete with yoga videos can be supplied, that is if there is no in-house yoga instructor. Dining is no longer an artery-clogging affair washed down with copious amounts of delicious wine. It is all about healthy eating of the lettuce variety dotted with tofu and plenty of mineral water available.
The Health Nanny
Boutique and luxury hotels are now the guardians of our well being, as it seems we are unable to do it for ourselves. Apparently the market place is demanding this "health nanny" attitude with 84% of hotels offering fitness facilities. One unnamed travel "expert" said, “People are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle in their daily life so when they go on the road they want to keep doing those things.” I always thought a holiday was to stop doing everything you normally do, to take time out and to relax; obviously I am outdated in this way of thinking.
The Wyndham hotel will even supply workout gear you for your exercise regime to save you carrying it in your luggage. The W Hotel chain have yoga tip cards strategically placed around your room as a little reminder to do that impossible stand on your head and meditate routine.
Rooftops are no longer throbbing decadent nighttime venues of debauchery, but the place to do some yoga with thick green liquids full of all the necessary vitamins for you to skull instead of a shot of vodka. Fairmont hotels have running programs including a "run concierge" to make sure you finish your grueling round. Trump Hotels even give guests a free "Fitbit Charge" so that guests can keep track of their daily steps. Westin apparently is in the throes of colluding with Fitbit for video based exercises that guests will be able to download on their own mobiles.
Wellness, Stress Relief And A Gin & Tonic
The term "Wellness Tourism" is definitely big business. In the United States alone it is estimated to be worth about $494 billion and internationally it is expected to grow 50% faster than the overall growth in tourism per se over the next 5 years. The guests looking for "wellness" hotels are normally in the high-yield bracket where spending is concerned, so no wonder the hotels are jumping on board this latest trend of guests chasing the ultimate in services such as beauty treatments, yoga, relaxation and stress relief, healthy diet and sports focused amenities. Wellness tourism is a niche market in at least 30 countries worldwide with the top 5 being the United States, Germany, Japan, France and Austria.
Me, I am still quite happy to exfoliate my skin rolling around in the wet sand on the foreshore of some exotic beach, rubbing a squishy banana on my face for a daily facial, oily feel good massages are with someone you know and always have a happy ending and meditating is sitting anywhere by myself and contemplating the lint in my navel or the fact that my toe nails need cutting. For the ultimate in stress relief, I have a gin and tonic and a good old cry when the need arises. Obviously I am in the minority on the international travel circuit and do not require the services of a "nanny" hotel.
Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography
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