Travel Trends 2012: Spa and Wellness
Keys to wellness? Our contributors say contrast therapy, transformative multi-day programmes and authentic healing traditions are in.
• Going to extremes: Contrast therapy—moving from hot to cold and back again—is gaining in popularity. It does wonders for sore muscles, and it’s a good alternative to the more traditional spa offerings like massages and facials for those who aren’t fans of those hands-on treatments. —Haley Shapley
• The invigorating is what’s relaxing: Eucalyptus steam baths, frigid waterfalls, solariums, cold plunge pools. Austrian spa designer Thermarium will be taking cold showers up a notch this year with their Snow Shower, which offers everything from a light dusting of snowflakes to a full-on blizzard. Look for these trends to start falling into spas early this year. —Haley Shapley
• Less transformation anticipation: Spas are increasingly forgoing the fluff for the serious, and that’s manifesting itself in several ways. You’ll see more spas trying to engineer transformative experiences that take shorter amounts of time. For example, you might find more resort spas putting together one- to four-day weight-loss programmes—something previously and exclusively the business of the destination spa. Or you might be able to enjoy a multi-day couples workshop while having fun in the sun on the beach. You can even attend workshops and consult with professionals on ways you can improve your sleep while on vacation. One of the greatest luxuries for people now is time, and hotels are realizing that they have to offer some sort of extra incentive to lure guests. —Elizabeth Woodson
• Authentic healing: Spas are looking to tap their visitors into the healing traditions of the destination in which they are located in a very authentic way. More spas look to bring actual healing modalities, such as traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda and Polynesian healing, into their treatment rooms in as pure a form as possible by employing traditional healers or consulting with them as they work to offer these services in an authentic way. And you’ll see more and more spas backing up the effectiveness of their treatments with scientific research. Spas are very interested in ways that they can improve the overall wellness and well-being of their clients—not just make them feel good for 60 minutes. —Elizabeth Woodson