For­get us­ing work trips as an ex­cuse for lazy rou­tines; the new ho­tel room is geared to­wards en­abling pos­i­tive life­styles

As busi­ness trav­ellers as­pire to a health­ier travel life­style, ho­tels have been quick to in­no­vate

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS - WORDS KATE FARR & RACHEL READ

There was a time when busi­ness travel was syn­ony­mous with un­healthy habits – heavy room ser­vice meals, un­invit­ing fit­ness cen­tres and all-too-easy ac­cess to the ho­tel bar – leav­ing de­part­ing guests in con­sid­er­ably worse shape than at check-in. But with a marked in­crease in the con­cept of “well­ness travel”, ho­tels across the world are step­ping up to of­fer a wide range of tai­lor-made, health-con­scious ser­vices, in­no­va­tive ini­tia­tives and ameni­ties de­signed to boost nutri­tion, im­prove fit­ness and en­sure a bet­ter qual­ity of sleep – all within the com­fort of your own room.

WHY WELL­NESS?

Is this new-found pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with health and well­ness just an­other pass­ing fad? Ac­cord­ing to Gaynor Reid, vice-pres­i­dent of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and CSR Asia Pa­cific for Ac­corho­tels, “Well­ness tourism grew by around 9 per cent in 2017 – 50 per cent faster than over­all global tourism – so we know there is a grow­ing de­mand from our guests for well­ness of­fer­ings.” But what is be­hind this marked up­swing in health­con­scious­ness? “We be­lieve peo­ple are more aware of the im­pact of diet and ex­er­cise on longevity and men­tal health, and also that there is a greater search for bal­ance in life,” Reid says. “The bot­tom line is that health and well­ness is no longer a trend; it has be­come a re­al­ity.”

Sean Hunt, area vice-pres­i­dent of Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional for Aus­tralia, New Zealand and the Pa­cific, agrees. “I think we’re seeing ho­tel guests – both busi­ness and leisure trav­ellers – pri­ori­tis­ing well­ness be­cause they’re re­al­is­ing that main­tain­ing their rou­tine and healthy life­style on the road helps them feel bet­ter both dur­ing and af­ter their stay,” he ex­plains. “In to­day’s world, look­ing and feel­ing good is seen as a lux­ury.”

WORK­ING IT OUT

A key part of this ex­pe­ri­ence is, of course, fit­ness. How­ever, with many busi­ness trav­ellers short on time, it can be im­pos­si­ble to squeeze in a full gym ses­sion – which is why many ho­tel brands are now bring­ing the work­out di­rect to guests.

“Pull­man Ho­tels and Re­sorts re­cently col­lab­o­rated with renowned fit­ness guru Sarah Hoey to de­velop a pro­gramme de­signed to help trav­ellers adopt a health­ier life­style,” Reid says. This tai­lor-made pro­gramme in­cludes a se­ries of short yoga and fit­ness videos that are avail­able in-room, cre­ated to sup­port and en­cour­age guests to in­cor­po­rate work­outs into the busiest of sched­ules.

Fair­mont, an­other Ac­corho­tels pre­mium brand, of­fers its Pres­i­dent Club loy­alty mem­bers free use of sneak­ers and gym clothes from Ree­bok – a par­tic­u­larly help­ful perk for busi­ness trav­ellers who of­ten travel only with carry-on lug­gage.

Mean­while, Westin Ho­tels’ “Let’s Rise” cam­paign in­cludes a se­ries of in-room HIIT (high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing) work­outs cre­ated by health coach Rachael Finch, that are suitable for all fit­ness lev­els. The work­outs are es­pe­cially de­signed for ho­tel guests and can be com­fort­ably achieved in any gue­stroom with­out the need for spe­cial equip­ment. Westin also of­fers the op­tion of pre-book­ing rooms that in­clude a tread­mill or a sta­tion­ary bike, mean­ing ded­i­cated run­ners and rid­ers needn’t give up their goal of a PB while on the road. (Westin has also joined forces with New Bal­ance to pro­vide work­out gear for guests to use through­out their stay.)

For those who pre­fer their work­outs with a touch of el­e­gance, JW Mar­riott Ho­tels and Re­sorts’ new­est ven­ture is to­tally on point. “Be­hind the Barre” is a se­ries of in-room fit­ness videos cre­ated in part­ner­ship with the Jof­frey Bal­let; aim­ing to fuse the el­e­gance of a bal­let class with a good work­out, it can be in­cor­po­rated into any ex­ist­ing ex­er­cise rou­tine. The part­ner­ship is also rolling out “Barre to Bar” pop-ups through­out Asia, merg­ing bal­let-in­fused classes with boozy Sun­day brunches for the ul­ti­mate in #work­out­goals.

HOLIS­TIC HELP

Of course there’s more to feel­ing good than ex­er­cise – which is why many ho­tel groups are fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing a well-rounded ap­proach to their guests’ well­be­ing.

For a 360-de­gree ap­proach to well­ness, look out for Swis­sô­tel’s Vi­tal­ity Room con­cept, which launches in Asia in 2018. Launched in col­lab­o­ra­tion with style tome Wall­pa­per magazine, the room is de­signed to be a com­plete sanc­tu­ary for weary trav­ellers, fea­tur­ing air pu­ri­fiers, mod­i­fi­able cir­ca­dian light­ing that eases jet lag and pro­motes a rest­ful en­vi­ron­ment, and bath­room op­tions that in­clude in­di­vid­ual scents, coloured light­ing and even ad­justable wa­ter pres­sure for the ul­ti­mate in be­spoke bathing.

The brand also has a strong fo­cus on im­prov­ing men­tal as well as phys­i­cal well­be­ing, of­fer­ing guests at their Sin­ga­pore and Sydney prop­er­ties a set of spe­cially de­signed post­cards that come com­plete with Caran d’Ache coloured pen­cils for a mind­ful adult colour­ing ses­sion.

Westin have also fo­cused on the pos­i­tive men­tal health ben­e­fits of art, part­ner­ing with renowned artist Jo­hanna Bas­ford to cre­ate three de­tailed adult colour­ing sheets. Avail­able across the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, the sheets sub­tly high­light the ho­tel’s “Pil­lars of Well­ness” con­cept, which en­cour­age guests to sleep, eat and move well through­out their stay. The de­signs fea­ture el­e­ments of Westin’s well­ness of­fer­ings –cups of chamomile tea, run­ning shoes, healthy fruits, etc – wo­ven into in­tri­cate pat­terns that aim to boost guests’ cre­ativ­ity and cre­ate a ded­i­cated space for med­i­ta­tion.

And to deepen your med­i­ta­tion prac­tice on your next busi­ness trip, look no fur­ther than Mor­gans Ho­tel Group. The chain, which has prop­er­ties across the US and in Lon­don, Is­tan­bul and Doha, has col­lab­o­rated with Mind­ful­ness Every­where, creators of the pop­u­lar Bud­dhify app, to pro­duce ten guided med­i­ta­tion ses­sions for ho­tel guests to down­load. Of­fer­ing the op­por­tu­nity for re­flec­tion, re­lax­ation and recharg­ing, these short and easy-to-use ses­sions aim to make med­i­ta­tion ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one.

Ac­ces­si­bil­ity is at the heart of The Penin­sula Ho­tels’ new “Yoga in the Morn­ings” ini­tia­tive. Rolling out this sum­mer, with the group’s Hong Kong and Shang­hai prop­er­ties among the ear­li­est adopters, all gue­strooms will con­tain a ded­i­cated ph­ablet that de­tails a sim­ple yoga rou­tine for guests to try at their leisure – with yoga mats avail­able on re­quest from house­keep­ing.

The “Sea­son of Well­ness” at 137 Pil­lars Suites and Res­i­dences Bangkok – which runs un­til June 24 – takes a dif­fer­ent ap­proach, fly­ing in four “Masters of Well­ness” to of­fer their ex­pert skills, with well­ness ther­apy, mas­sage treat­ments and peak per­for­mance coach­ing var­i­ously on of­fer. “With to­day’s ul­tra-hec­tic life­styles, we wanted to bring in some of the world’s best well­ness prac­ti­tion­ers, so guests can dis­cover how best to find bal­ance within them­selves for a health­ier and hap­pier life,” says Bjorn Richard­son, 137 Pil­lars’ gen­eral man­ager.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

For­get old-school room ser­vice menus of unin­spir­ing sand­wiches and quick-fix snacks; these days, in-room meals are de­signed to be both nu­tri­tious and de­li­cious.

Lead­ing the way is In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Hong Kong, which col­lab­o­rated with the Hong Kong Ad­ven­tist Hospi­tal to cre­ate its “ihealth” ini­tia­tive. Based on aca­demic nu­tri­tional guid­ance from the hospi­tal, In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal’s culi­nary team cre­ated an all-day menu de­signed to ad­dress the preven­tion of four of the most com­mon health con­cerns world­wide: di­a­betes, car­diac disease, hyper­ten­sion and the need for an­tiox­i­dants. These dishes have been thor­oughly an­a­lysed by the hospi­tal’s trained di­eti­cians and for­mu­lated with key in­gre­di­ents cho­sen to help tackle these is­sues; icons on the menu de­note which of the spe­cific health con­cerns each dish has been de­signed to tar­get – with break­fast, lunch and din­ner op­tions all avail­able 24 hours in-room.

Health is also on the menu for Hy­att Ho­tels and Re­sorts, whose “Food. Thought­fully Sourced. Care­fully Served” phi­los­o­phy has seen the group com­mit to healthy, sus­tain­able and re­spon­si­ble din­ing across its prop­er­ties glob­ally. Ini­tia­tives in­clude veg­e­tar­ian and gluten-free op­tions, a fo­cus on por­tion con­trol and bal­anced meals, dishes made with re­duced sodium, sugar and calo­ries, and cook­ing with or­ganic pro­duce, nat­u­rally raised meat and sus­tain­ably sourced seafood – qual­i­ties all re­flected in the group’s “Healthy Bal­ance” in-room menus world­wide.

Whilst ex­act dishes vary be­tween prop­er­ties – al­low­ing in­di­vid­ual chefs to ex­er­cise their culi­nary cre­ativ­ity – they are all tai­lor-made to of­fer “flavour­ful, health­ful and per­fectly por­tioned op­tions”. This is show­cased in the “Cre­ate Your Own” sec­tion, where guests cus­tomise their dishes with a choice of pro­teins (typ­i­cally avail­able pan-fried, grilled or steamed), veg­etable-cen­tric sides and sauces.

Well­ness lies at the fore­front of the lat­est ad­di­tions to The Man­darin Ori­en­tal Hong Kong’s room ser­vice of­fer­ings – a se­lec­tion of fresh juices and an acai bowl de­signed by lead­ing iri­dol­o­gist and detox ex­pert Jen­nifer Thomp­son. These cre­ations are packed with su­per­food in­gre­di­ents that de­liver a wide range of an­tiox­i­dants, vi­ta­mins, min­er­als, fi­bre and omega-3, all care­fully cho­sen to achieve dif­fer­ent goals. For in­stance, the “Recharge” juice is ideal for re­viv­ing those suf­fer­ing from jet lag or too many late nights, whilst the “En­ergy” acai bowl is the per­fect break­fast for those look­ing to power up for a busy day ahead.

Have a health-con­scious com­pany event planned? The Ritz-Carl­ton Bali’s in­no­va­tive Healthy Meet­ing op­tions have got you cov­ered. Split into three cat­e­gories (Detox, En­ergy Boost and Re­vi­tal­is­ing Se­cret), these four- to six-hour ex­pe­ri­ences in­clude team-build­ing ex­er­cises like t’ai chi or beach vol­ley­ball, along­side sev­eral nu­tri­tious group meals. Del­e­gates can en­joy a healthy or­ganic break­fast and three-course lunch, plus well­ness breaks for pu­ri­fy­ing juices, in­fused wa­ters, health-en­hanc­ing teas and nour­ish­ing snacks. All meals have been de­vised to fo­cus on food with a low gly­caemic in­dex to aid di­ges­tion – a def­i­nite im­prove­ment on un­ap­petis­ing spreads of sand­wiches and bis­cuits in anony­mous con­fer­ence rooms.

SWEET DREAMS

Af­ter a hard day’s work, noth­ing beats crawl­ing into a comfy bed – and ho­tels are tak­ing the art of get­ting a good night’s sleep to a whole new level.

This can be seen in Land­mark Man­darin Ori­en­tal Hong Kong’s En­ter­tain­ment Suite, which fea­tures the FreshBed Sleep Sys­tem. This sys­tem utilises patented cli­mate-con­trol tech­nol­ogy that al­lows guests to ad­just the bed to their pre­ferred tem­per­a­ture, with silent ven­ti­la­tion to en­sure al­ler­gen-free air, com­bined with an er­gonomic mat­tress for the ut­most com­fort. “Guests

travel to dif­fer­ent time zones and weather con­di­tions, and their daily sched­ules can be tight – well­ness is es­sen­tial for them to main­tain a pos­i­tive en­ergy and healthy body,” ex­plains Gladis Young, the ho­tel’s direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions. “FreshBed treats our guests to a longer, deeper sleep, mak­ing them feel fit­ter, im­prove their men­tal agility and help­ing them per­form at their very best.” Those who have dif­fi­culty nod­ding off can also try tun­ing in to some sooth­ing spa mu­sic on the in-room tele­vi­sion to help lead them into the land of nod.

Four Sea­sons’ sig­na­ture bed is equally im­pres­sive; cre­ated in part­ner­ship with the ex­perts at Sim­mons Bed­ding Com­pany, its mat­tress uses ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy to keep you cool through­out the night and pro­vide op­ti­mal sup­port for your frame. You can also pick be­tween three mat­tress top­pers for your pre­ferred level of firm­ness, and pe­ruse a pil­low menu filled with choices suitable for dif­fer­ent types of sleeper – in­clud­ing a buck­wheat op­tion for re­liev­ing al­ler­gies and neck pain, or a stone type that pro­vides a cool­ing sen­sa­tion and head sup­port.

The rooms them­selves have been fully kit­ted out to pro­mote an ex­cel­lent night’s sleep, with thor­ough sound­proof­ing, in-room tem­per­a­ture con­trols, light­ing cho­sen to com­ple­ment the body’s cir­ca­dian clock, and even in­te­rior de­sign el­e­ments sci­en­tif­i­cally proven to have sooth­ing ef­fects on the brain.

Westin takes a sim­i­larly mul­ti­fac­eted ap­proach. In ad­di­tion to the brand’s “Heav­enly Bed” that fea­tures “ten lay­ers” of com­fort, there’s a “Sleep Well” bed­side amenity – a laven­der balm in­fused with es­sen­tial oils that ease ten­sion and help guests wind down nat­u­rally – and in-room din­ing menu, cu­rated by nu­tri­tion­ists at Su­perFood­sRX, to fea­ture in­gre­di­ents that pro­mote rest and re­cov­ery. Guests can also opt for a sched­uled “Bed­time Call”, a re­minder of when you should turn in for the night de­pend­ing on what time you need to be up in the morn­ing, based on guide­lines from the World Sleep So­ci­ety.

Six Senses is also get­ting se­ri­ous about sleep, col­lab­o­rat­ing with ac­claimed sleep doc­tor Michael J Breus to en­sure guests get the op­ti­mum qual­ity shut­eye. Af­ter fill­ing out a sleep­ing habits ques­tion­naire, guests re­ceive per­son­alised tips on how to im­prove their qual­ity of sleep. Those who opt for the “Sleep with Six Senses Up­grade” – avail­able at the group’s Viet­nam, Thai­land, Oman, Sey­chelles and Por­tu­gal prop­er­ties – bag them­selves a ded­i­cated “Sleep Am­bas­sador” to help prep their room and pro­vide sup­port through­out their stay.

This in­cludes a Sleep Bag filled with spe­cially de­vel­oped sleep aids, in­clud­ing bam­boo fi­bre py­ja­mas, ear plugs, a jas­mine sleep spritzer, a worry jour­nal for jot­ting down anx­i­eties that keep you up at a night, and a thumb drive con­tain­ing videos fea­tur­ing sug­ges­tions and pro­fes­sional ad­vice from Dr Breus him­self.

Ad­di­tional sleep-boost­ing items like de­hu­mid­i­fiers for cli­mate con­trol, a Sound + Sleep Eco­tones Ma­chine loaded with 30 dif­fer­ent sound pro­files (in­clud­ing a white noise set­ting), and spe­cial­ity pil­lows are also avail­able on re­quest.

A lucky few in Bali in May 2018 were able to at­tend COMO Shamb­hala Es­tate’s first ever Sleep Awak­en­ing Work­shop, where renowned sleep con­sul­tant Tr­ish Kelly helped guests take con­trol of their sleep pat­terns and learn how to deal with in­som­nia – mean­ing bet­ter sleep in the long run, re­gard­less of where in the world they find them­selves bed­ding down for the night.

OP­PO­SITE PAGE: Westin of­fers in-room equip­ment and gear as well as HIIT work­out pro­grammes cre­ated by Rachael Finch (pic­tured) ABOVE:JW Mar­riott com­bines bal­let with a work­out

CLOCK­WISE FROM THIS PAGE TOP: In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Hong Kong ihealth in-room break­fast; Swis­so­tel’s Vi­tal­ity Room; a “Master of Well­ness” at 137 Pil­lars Suites and Res­i­dences Bangkok; Mor­gans Ho­tel Group’s Bud­dhify app; and Man­darin Ori­en­tal Hong Kong’s healthy juices

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