Winning wellness strategies in hotel design
The first thing I do when I walk into a hotel room is open the curtains. I want to know what?s outside my room and where I am in relation to the city. The ritual is like oxygen to me; I need that deep breath and that visual information to be at peace with my surroundings. I also need to know where the fitness center is, what kind of equipment it offers and where the closest running path is outside. These actions reflect an underlying desire to shake off the discomforts of travel and be restored to my normal self.
I?m not alone in my quest for well-being when I?m traveling. Within the last 18 months, there?s been a spike in news about travel products targeted to the health- and wellness-conscious traveler ? and not just vacationers, but business travelers too.
IHG launched a new wellness brand called Even Hotels ?to meet a new and growing customer demand in the U.S. for healthier travel,? as IHG puts it. Two flagship properties (jointly owned by Frank Chan and Lance Steinberg and managed by IHG) are expected to open in New York City mid-year 2015. And in the meantime, the first Even Hotels will open in Rockville, Maryland, and Norwalk, Connecticut (both owned by IHG) in early 2014 with a four-pronged wellness approach that covers the bases of healthier food, better rest, better workouts and faster services so guests can accomplish more and feel better about their day.
Then there?s Whole Foods Market. The natural and organic foods grocer is exploring the idea of opening a health resort ? a place where people could come to learn about healthy eating, nutrition and wellness. The model and location for the concept have not been finalized.
Already up and running ? and being expanded ? is the new Stay Well room concept at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The luxe hotel initially redesigned 42 rooms and suites in one wing of the 14th floor (with the help of Delos Living in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra) around this very concept of healthfulness to give guests a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall wellness experience within the guestroom. The concept has been well received. The occupancy rate in those rooms, which cost an extra US$30 a night on top of the regular room rate, is around 92%, according to a spokeswoman for the company. The entire 14th floor ? some 171 room ? is now being converted to Stay Well rooms. Completion is expected by the end of this year.
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