Rocco Bova, CEO of My Humble House, hospitality consulting firm

Is wellness a mass confusion trend? Let’s make some clarity.

Although accelerated by the beginning of the pandemic, Wellness was already a growing trend of the hospitality industry with many ramifications, not in vain the Global Wellness Institute has been bringing together the brightest minds in their annual conference to discuss that topic for the last 20 years.

While the trend is evident and growth is a fact, wellness has become an overly used term and, I feel, it is starting to become pretty confusing for the consumer and in some cases for the industry.

In fact, it seems that all hotels have some kind of wellness services or facilities. SPAs are now called Wellness Centers, while thai massage shops are calling themselfs Urban SPAs, so that way the majority of the clients already don’t know what to expect. Even for hospitaliy proffessionals It’s so confusing that it’s a challenge to discern what a true wellness (and wellness) is.

Recently I was asked to share my views on which one was the best wellness resort in the world, and, after some meditation, I decided to post on Linkedin and share my views on this topic. How can one person decide which resort is the best if the purpose is not clear?

So, I decided to split into different categories what I think it could be the classification of the different concepts:

  • The traditional wellness (fitness, massage, hair & beauty salon)

This is what Wellness BC (Before Covid) was in a nutshell. Most hotel chains were focused on having a gym, a couple of massage rooms, hydrotherapy area, hair salon and a small retail space. That was a SPA, from the Latin ‘’Salus per aquam’’ which means health through water.

  • The ancestral wellness (psychedelic, CBD, shamanism, traditional healing practices, Ayurveda, Yoga, Sound Healing, breathing techniques).

These new sets of therapies were rare if not inexistent few years ago and perhaps a handful of hotels were able to provide such services. Now, with the legalization of CBD (Cannabidiol is an active ingredient in cannabis that is derived from the hemp plant, but it does not cause a high and is not addictive) , ancestral healing becoming popular through Netflix documentaries, and a rebirth of Yoga, meditation and breathing techniques as anti-stress methods, it seems that now the new problem is to find enough locations where to find such programs.

  • Nouvelle wellness (antiaging, hyperbaric, cryo, IV, naturopathy, mental wellness).

Together with the above novelties, it’s a comeback of anti-aging but now with less invasive practices. Breathing pure oxygen (just like Michael Jackson did), going into rooms up to a minus 100C. Also popping up the so called IV bars, where people can inject by IV a boost of vitamins, minerals and other natural compounds to balance the body’s needs.

Getting more into natural treatments is not new but is becoming a ‘’new age’’ of wellness again with a stronger purpose of prevention.

  • Medical Wellness (weight loss, plastic surgery, depression and anxiety management, pain management,)

Medical wellness has not and will not disappear. Unfortunately, there are several medical conditions including depression, addictions and other mental diseases which can only be treated with medical intervention and under the strict supervision of medical specialists.

  • Wellness in design & construction (room, public spaces, living spaces)

Wellness is spreading into construction and real estate. There are several examples of wellness communities that go as big as towns (check out the Blue Zones by Dan Buettner ) or as small as a room (Motti Essakov devised a design which involves some small modifications in the room including lighting, air, sleep, temperature, etc.  )

  • Immersive wellness (resorts only focusing on wellness from nutrition to digital detox, to daily practices, to personal coaching)

These resorts, not many around the world, offers up to several monthly programs for people that wish to change lifestyle, get into new healthy routines and practices, and actually learn from scratch all the “How To’s”.

  • Urban wellness (city hotels focusing on wellness & wellbeing)

Some new brands like Equinox , Siro  and Janu have entered the urban space with wellness and sports focused resorts for ‘’those that want it all’’.

  • The holistic wellness (those that do a bit of everything)

Finally, there are hotels which are confused and in order not to lose the multibillion industry train, decided to go All In. These, in my opinion, are not probably the best and most authentic, but will provide the services and amenities the general, less informed public wants or wish to try.

And you, what is your classification of wellness resorts like?


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