Gone are the days when luxury meant high-end lotions and beauty treatments. Hotels are embracing “extreme wellness,” which marries sleep, performance, and nutrition.
Today’s guests at luxury hotels resemble Formula 1 drivers, relentlessly pursuing excellence and seeking an edge. Their arsenal includes meditation, nootropics for mental sharpness, rigorous workouts, and bio-hacks. Sleep optimization and NAD+ infusions via IVs are part of their regimen.
This wellness wave extends beyond the ultra-wealthy. A broader spectrum of consumers is embracing longevity, biohacking, recovery, and sleep enhancement. Devices like Apple Watches, Oura Rings, and Whoop bands provide intricate health insights.
Thought leaders such as Stanford’s Andrew Huberman and Dr. Peter Attia are democratizing data-driven wellness knowledge, reaching millions via podcasts. Trends like non-alcoholic lifestyles signal a shift from traditional, alcohol-centric socialization. Today, social posts boasting about great sleep are in vogue, with Silicon valley figures posting Oura scores.
Luxury hotels are adapting to this paradigm shift. Gone are the days when luxury meant sheer indulgence and wellness equated to pampering with high-end lotions and beauty treatments.
Now, hotels and clubs are embracing “extreme wellness,” a megatrend that marries sleep, performance, recovery, nutrition, and forward-thinking wellness practices.
Some techniques are innovative, while others, like saunas and cold plunges, are time-tested. The overarching goal is to optimize human performance and wellbeing.
My discussions with hoteliers and wellness experts globally reveal a trend toward advanced recovery technologies, NAD+ and IV therapies for jet lag, sleep-optimized rooms, anti-inflammatory nutrition, and a blend of behavioral psychology with personal training.
Chris Norton, CEO of Equinox Hotels, recognized this wellness evolution early during his tenure at Four Seasons, where he spent millions of miles a year on the road. He told me he used to pride himself on being able to operate on four hours sleep, and has noticed the sea change today about prioritizing sleep and recovery.
Norton partnered with Related Companies to create a hotel concept around its health, wellness, and recovery needs.
Opened in 2019, Equinox’s New York hotel epitomizes wellness, offering guests an array of tools for health optimization, from lypospheric vitamins to sleep-promoting teas. Instead of a one-off yoga mat, there is a range of mobility tools including foam rollers, and pressure point tools.
Rooms are designed around the perfect night’s sleep. It’s pitch black: no light creeping in, the room controls aren’t blinking at you. The sound of the HVAC is silky smooth.
And they’ve optimized the technology to serve this mission: with a touch of the button, blackout shades close and the temperature goes down to the perfect, scientifically proven level for sleep. There are Swiss-style separate duvets to avoid battling for the covers.
The hotel’s centerpiece is a 60,000 square foot Equinox gym and pools, fostering a dynamic interplay between guests and gym members.
Sensei Porcupine Creek in Palm Springs adopts a holistic approach, backed by evidence-based practices, and supported by technology. Guests undergo pre-arrival consultations and engage with behavioral psychologists and top-tier physical therapists. The operating philosophy for the property is not just relaxation, but creating change that sticks over time: a psychologist specialized in unwinding deep-rooted habits guides guests through the process and delivers comprehensive paths forward.
For example, a demonstration showing data on what the body experiences through a series of breath work creates a connection between the guest and data that shows the reduction of stress. Massage and physical therapy, combined with guidance on how to subtly optimize workout routines, rounds out the offerings.
The property maintains engagement with guests post-stay through technology platforms, ensuring ongoing wellness support, also creating built-in loyalty to inspire the next check-in.
Raffles at OWO London, a notable recent opening, features an advanced wellness offering led by Pillar Wellness’s Harry Jameson. Recognizing the underutilization of gym spaces in luxury hotels, Jameson has embedded a holistic wellness approach at Raffles, focusing on movement, recovery, and nutrition.
This approach treats guests with athlete-level care. Jameson notes the significant spending power of wellness-oriented travelers, making it a lucrative market for the hospitality sector: “I sat with a data analyst, and they know that a wellness traveler spends on average about 40% more than a business or a leisure traveler,” he says.
A recent partnership with two-star Michelin chef Jason Atherton also evolves Pillar’s F&B offerings, which aim to positively impact gut health through a diversity of plants and fibers, and improve overall energy.
Wellness is also reshaping social clubs. Places like Remedy Place in New York and Los Angeles are redefining the social club scene, replacing traditional bars and lounges with meditation spaces and ice baths, signifying a new era in wellness-centric socializing.
Six Senses, the pioneer in all things wellbeing, plans standalone social clubs that leverage the brand’s know-how in wellness in the form of a club-like membership.
As AI will transform healthcare and consumer electronics continually advance our understanding of health metrics, the synergy between wellness and hospitality will only deepen.
In this evolving landscape, hotels and wellness clubs are becoming essential co-pilots in guests’ evolving wellness journeys, moving beyond the opulence of yesteryear towards being catalysts for health and performance. And it is clear that though this trend is seen at the higher end of the hospitality spectrum for now, it will inform the wider hospitality industry and more mass audiences in time.
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