Traditionally, wellness travel would have included spas, massages and general relaxation but these days there is a much wider range of wellbeing travel options.
Long gone is the notion that when you go on holiday, your wellbeing does too. Instead, more and more travellers are incorporating wellness and lasting benefits into their travel plans by flipping the switch on ditching the gym for the sunlounger and choosing the lap pool over the swim-up bar and morning meditation over naps on the beach.
In fact, a survey by Skyscanner has revealed at least 10 percent of Australian workers plan to take a wellness holiday in 2018. Over 30 percent of those surveyed said the reason for that holiday was exhaustion - it seems that everyone's work-life balance is out of sync.
This is where wellness travel comes in to its own - allowing you to focus on the part (or parts) of your health that you may be neglecting. Here, we look at trends in mindful travel, ageing healthily, the relationship between happiness and vitality, and the emergence of wellness architecture.
With increased awareness of the connection between the mind and body, there is a definite shift toward mindfulness in relation to exercise and activities. Hotels and resorts are offering more classes combining the physical and psychological. Yoga, meditation classes and even mindful walking maps are being used to boost guests' holistic experience. Wellbeing is being catered for in other ways too - at Swissotel Hotels and Resorts globally for example, you can download a selection of mindfulness podcasts and corresponding postcards to colour in - by inviting you to get creative with your own card, you're encouraged to take a moment to slow down and engage in a peaceful activity.
We may be living longer, but we also want to look and feel younger for as long as we can. Catering to this need are a number of holidays focussed on helping you achieve a youthful glow on the outside while establishing clear health goals that will prolong a healthy, and glowing, lifestyle. From the baby boomers to Generation X-ers, infusions, facials and spa treatments promising to slow the ageing process and increase vitality are all the rage - some resorts even offer spa treatments they suggest will slow the progression of health issues like hypertension, diabetes and cardiac issues.
FOOD AS MEDICINE
With a growing trend towards ditching medicinal drugs in favour of treating ailments with the right nutrients, we're now seeing an increase in food-as-medicine holidays. Guests can discover the best diet for their body type, lifestyle and specific health concerns, coached by skilled nutritionists and dieticians. Gone are the days when a healthy-eating holiday meant fasting and tiny portions, foodies will be pleased to know that they'll be able to refuel with a range of delicious meals throughout the day. For example, there's nothing missing from Swissotel's Vitality menu, which offers a range of healthy eating options across their portfolio of hotels. It's a hotel menu you won't find anywhere else. Focussed on eating a generous amount of healthy produce, today's wellness menus are a more satisfying and synergistic experience.
As travel priorities shift towards health and wellbeing, happiness retreats have become more popular with a certain type of traveller - those who want to experience something that will have positive psychological impacts. We're talking morning hikes, beach circuit training and group excursions which all help the production of the 'happy hormone' serotonin and the likes of more "out there" activities such as laughter yoga, smile-asanas and inner-smile meditation.
Destinations famous for outdoor living are great for those who want a dose of activity on their doorstep every day. Surfing breaks in Bali, paddle boarding in the Hawaiian islands - these destinations make it easy to incorporate activity and wellness into a getaway. In Australia, Sydney is a prime example, with its beaches, bushland and spectacular scenery all made easily accessible by Swissotel Sydney who encourage guests to take in the sights and exercise in the city with its clever jogging maps. Guests choose from one of three levels (Emerge, Enjoy and Perform) and re-energise themselves while exploring the neighbourhood at the same time. Thailand is another excellent choice for those with a love of the healing power of the outdoors - here Swissotel Phuket Kamala offer guided active wellbeing trips to wondrous waterfalls, outdoor exercise classes and water sports on top of its more traditional luxury spa and fitness offerings.
For some, however, nothing says health and wellbeing more than a spa treatment or two. In 2018 the spa is taken to another level - with lines blurring between simple beauty and holistic healing treatments that ensure travellers are enveloped in relaxation. From crystal and salt healing, to Reiki and light therapy, spa and wellness retreats now achieve harmony of mind, body and spirit, while offering high-tech anti-ageing medi-spa treatments. Traditional spa menus are also given an upgrade at Swissotel's Purovel spas. Their mission is to provide guests with a solution for a natural and vitality-inspired lifestyle using essential oils from organically grown Swiss Alpine flowers and herbs.
Wellness architecture is a hot topic in new-age travelling. It aims to provide spaces that are not only structurally beautiful but also comfortable, functional and sustainable - encouraging movement, calm wellbeing and mindfulness. Think 'living' buildings with growing greenery, natural light, air and space, promoting activity and/or relaxation for inhabitants. Today's hotels and airports are increasingly designed and constructed with materials addressing the physical and mental health of those utilising them. Overall the trend delivers a bespoke travel experience for those who are lifestyle minded.
See also: Turning your work trip into pleasure
This article has been produced by Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts
Conveniently located where travellers want to be, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts provides guests with the opportunity to stay in the heart of more than 30 locations worldwide where they can confidently explore the very best each destination has to offer. Synonymous with all there is to love about Switzerland, the hotel brand remains true to its roots, successfully combining genuine Swiss hospitality with intelligent design and local flair. With social responsibility at the forefront and a genuine commitment to positively impact the destinations it calls home, every Swissôtel upholds industry-leading sustainability standards and is committed to treating guests, colleagues, and the environment with equal respect. This all comes together to provide guests with peace of mind and a stress-free experience.