Healthy hotels, rise in ancient therapies expected in 2013

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:08pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Healthy hotels, wellness tourism and the holistic medicine system Ayurveda are expected to be the among the top spa trends in 2013, according to a report that tracks the $73 billion global industry.

Gyms, pools and spas are standard at many hotels, but international chains and boutique inns will be enhancing offerings by adding customized services like jogging routes, in-room workouts, sleep programs, and gluten-free and vegan menus.

"Hotels are realizing that as people travel they want to stay healthy," Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder Wellness Inc, which compiles the annual forecast report, told journalists.

The InterContinental Hotels Group plans to open a wellness-focused brand hotel called EVEN in New York next year, with 100 more to follow within five years.

"It will be all about health and wellness," Ellis said of the brand, which will revolve around fitness and include innovative touches such as coat racks that morph into pull-up bars.

Other U.S. hotel chains such as Westin are featuring guided jogs with running concierges and menus stocked with superfoods, according to the report, while Las Vegas' MGM Grand has designed "Stay Well" rooms with vitamin C-infused showers, wake-up light therapy and air purification and aromatherapy.

Jeremy McCarthy, the director of spa operations for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said all of his hotels provide jogging routes and are starting to lend running gear to guests.

The SpaFinder Wellness report, which was compiled by about 100 researchers who tracked trends, shows how the industry, which includes as many as 87,000 spas around the world, has shifted from beauty and pampering to health and wellness.   Continued...