It is still not late. This day is not just for spas and wellness organisations, it is a reminder that we can all do something to contribute towards our own wellness – both physical and mental.
For me, I recently took up a new sport – Pickleball – at my local spa/gym. A bit like Nordic walking, none of my friends have ever heard of it which is forgivable in that it is very new to this country. Apparently very popular in America and Spain, Pickleball can be played indoors and outdoors and is a combination of tennis and badminton, played over a mid-height net (usually as doubles) with a bat which is called a paddle. The ball is plastic and about the size of a tennis ball but with holes like a plastic golf ball.
BUT the BEST BIT is that since I started playing 6 weeks ago – for 1.5 hours a week, once a week, I have lost a couple of pounds!
For my part, as well as planning to keep it up and improve my serve, I have decided following a recent health check to cut back on my vices over the summer – cheese, butter and bread and go for quality rather than quantity wines…..
Certainly the spa and wellness industries will be doing all they can in terms of promotions and events on and around this day to celebrate Global Wellness Day 2016 – oh and the date, Saturday 11th June 2016.
Organisers have adopted the slogan ‘One Day Can Change Your Life’ and suggest that we might like to consider one of the following:
1- Walk for an hour. 2- Drink more water. 3- Don’t use plastic bottles. 4- Eat organic foods. 5- Do a good deed. 6- Have a family dinner. 7- Sleep at 10:00 PM.
I am sure we (spas themselves and wellness fans) can think of other more exciting things to do on this potentially sunny Saturday so I am going to work on it over the coming months…..
There are not as many new spas opening as there were a few years ago although certain UK destinations have become more popular due to the number of quality spas (eg County Durham, The Cotswolds and Cornwall). These days, I maintain that most spa afficionados are familiar with the more established spas and tend to engage and book their favourite spas directly; they have come to realise that some of the cheaper spa deals offered by the spa booking websites at spas which are perhaps at the lower end of the quality scale, just do not deliver in terms of a satisfactory spa experience.
The on line spa booking landscape has also seen some changes recently. In 2015, the original on line spa break operator Spa Break.co.uk (known as Spa Breaks Direct or SB1 by some of us who have been around for a long time) was taken over by market leaders Spa Breaks.com (SB2). Spa Breaks.com claim that customers can book ‘instantly’ on line spa days at some 400 + day spas and over 330 spa break destinations in the UK.
In December 2015, sadly for me, BookaSpa.com (which I helped launch in 2010 and which turned over £1 million in its first year of trading) closed down after 5 years. Owners Golf Breaks.com decided to concentrate only on their core business – golf breaks – and having sold off Tee Off Times earlier in the year decided to invest their cash in their new golf sales offices in the US and Scandanavia.
Wahanda have re-branded as Treatwell.co.uk and continue to focus more on the salons (some 11,000) although they do feature 400 + day spas and 200 + spa break destinations and they do offer a book on line function.
Travelzoo’s local spa deals still continue to fill many spas midweek and during off peak times however, if you go to their website, you will not see the word ‘spa’ mentioned. Lots of my friends book with them. Many a day, I have shared the steam room in my local spa with ladies who have booked one of Travelzoo’s deals and contrary to what some hotel General Managers think, in my experience they are not a bad bunch of people!
The Good Spa Guide has come on in the last few years and they now feature 7 luxury hotel spas with their ‘5 Bubble’ accolade (Pennyhill Park, The Vineyard, Galgorm, Rockliffe Hall, Dormy House, Seaham Hall and Chewton Glen) and a further 44 spas with ‘5 Bubbles’.Customers can ‘enquire’ about any of their 150 odd deals featured on their website. The Good Spa Guide.
And lastly, the US based Spafinder Wellness 365 who again have come on in the last few years regaining their market share in the UK through sales of spa gift vouchers and who under new leadership, have launched several new initiatives on the spa and wellness scene including ‘Wellness for Cancer’. Last year, they voted the spa at The Corinthia Hotel in London as their Wellness Travel Awards ‘Best in UK’ category and also, one of my favourites – The Mondrian in London too.
So which spas will you be visiting in 2016? And how will you be booking your spa?
Let me know if you need any tips or advice.
For spas themselves needing advice on partnering with any of these spa booking websites, please contact me via my website spapartners.co.uk
I started Nordic Walking 5 years ago at the same time as I started my own business and started WFH (working from home and sitting on a chair alot). Most weeks, I manage to walk for an hour with a group of like-minded people in the forest I am lucky enough to have on my doorstep.
We generally walk 4 miles at a good pace and for me, it is not just about getting a dose of fresh air and exercise, I enjoy the social aspect.
There is a technique to Nordic walking and before you start out and invest in some poles (proper Nordic walking poles cost around £65.00!), you need to have some lessons.
Once mastered, it is fairly easy and before long, you won’t have to think about your stride all of the time.
As yet, I have not managed to convince a single one of my friends to take up this form of activity – “Catherine, don’t you need snow to go Nordic walking?” and “Why can’t you just go for a normal walk like the rest of us?” however, I have decided to share with you just some of the benefits in my experience:
Explore beautiful countryside and experience nature confused by our mixed seasons
You can even go Nordic walking on the beach!
Strengthens the arm and core muscles as well as the legs
Burns calories – anywhere from 300-400 in an hour (20-40% more than normal walking)
De-stress – a break from work and/or the highs and lows of working for yourself
Great cardiovascular exercise – good for our hearts
Relief from stiffness and pain in the legs, hips and back
Injury or post operative recovery (one member of our group had her hip replaced after a fall and used Nordic walking as part of her rehabilitation – she was back with us walking normally after only 5 months and the Surgeon put her speedy recovery down to the fact that she was a regular Nordic walker)
A healthy glow – believe it or not, in 5 years, I have only got soaked 3 times and I always end up with rosy cheeks
A chance to meet new people and socialise – great for anyone who enjoys chatting to people and like me, occasionally needs cheering up
But best of all, NO MORE BINGO WINGS! Yes – Nordic walking takes care of those (for those of you who are not familiar with ‘bingo wings’, they are your triceps muscles underneath your arms which as we get older, tend to become a bit hanging/flabby shall we say!)
For more information or to find a Nordic walking Group or Instructor near you, visit nordicwalking.co.uk
To win an industry award, you obviously need to enter (in some cases be nominated). To enter, you need to believe that your spa is a good one. To be good, you need to be confident in your team’s abilities, not only to deliver a 5 star customer service but to effectively promote your spa in a way that you are convincingly maximising your revenue and also the departmental contribution to the hotel.
There are lots of good spas. But which ones are winning the hotel and spa industry awards in 2016?
Nominated and shortlisted in this year’s Professional Beauty Industry Awards (the winners being announced this Sunday 28th February) include:
Two of my favourite spas, Bedford Lodge Hotel Spa in Newmarket (who I have worked with recently) and Fawsley Hall Spa in Daventry (which I haven’t visited since Hand Picked Hotels took over).
Then, some good ‘destination’ spa hotels – Armathwaite Hall in the Lake District, the Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall, both Rockliffe Hall and the Headlam Spa in County Durham. Also featured Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire, Life House in Essex and Ribby Hall in the far North West.
I have been a judge for the past 5 years in Caterer and Hotelkeeper Magazine’s Annual Catey Award for ‘Spa Professional of the Year’. This gives me a fascinating insight into what goes into making a successful spa. Lucy Mingo who heads up the upcoming Headland Spa in Cornwall was the 2015 winner with the Spa Managers at Dormy House and Blythswood Square coming a close second. Previous winners include the respected Spa Managers, Kerry Hudson at Chewton Glen and Anna Williams at Stoke Park.
Caterer and Hotelkeeper Magazine are seeking nominations NOW for the 2016 award.
Do you think you are good enough? Do you need advice on how to win an award?
What is your favourite UK spa? Who would you like to see win an award?
According to the annual Spafinder Wellness US Trends Report recently out – what is trending in spa and wellness in 2016? Roughly speaking…..
1. Surfing – super-fitness with more young girls and women turning to the waves and to boards in their gyms.
2. From ‘sex therapy’ to ‘sensual fitness’ – retreats for couples offering breathing, acupuncture and Emotional Freedom Therapy and the increasing popularity of sports such as pole dancing.
3. The Temazcal – from Mexico, meaning ‘A House of Steam’. A somewhat primitive, brick hut which acts as a sauna where you can enjoy rituals which cleanse the body, mind and spirit.
4. Spa and wellness for kids – healthy eating, exercise and digital detoxing to help children stave off stress and anxiety, to combat obesity and the effects of screen addiction. Spas are now offering holidays for families (‘spa-milies’) including meditation, yoga, beach dancing, nature walks and snorkelling for youngsters.
5. The adrenaline and zen cocktail – For those who get a kick out of participating in extreme sports such as cliff climbing, freefalling, zip-lining or swinging on a circus trapeze providing that huge adrenalin rush and subsequent release of the stress hormone cortisol. Let the body and mind recover with a massage and steam.
6. Well-Fests – a beauty therapist friend of mine has been selling massages at Weyfest Music Festival for the past 5 years – this somewhat hippie trend is definitely catching on. Rave Yoga and Laughter Yoga – Juice Bars and Salad Bars – bring it on! Instead of coming home after a 3-day festival exhausted, why not come back rejuvenated?
7. On Demand – using your Smartphone App to order a treatment at your home or office at a time to suit you. Personal trainers, home gyms, 24 hour gyms – there really is no excuse look after yourself at your own convenience!
8. Seoul-ful Skin Care – Apparently, there has been a beauty explosion in Korea with the arrival of a mass of skin care products and cosmetics, made for both men and women at very affordable prices. Using natural ingredients – some a little bizarre such as snails and bee venom – and special fermentation methods which claim to convert fruit sugars into more skin friendly enzymes and amino acids.
9. Healthy Cruising – 2016 sees the launch of a new breed of cruise ships which have everything a spa aficionado could wish for – imagine an infinity pool, treatments on your own private deck, hot, wet and cold water experiences and nail bars cum juice bars. Still big buffets but no booze or kit-kats in the mini-bars!
10. Workplace Wellness – this has taken off more in the US than in the UK, however, it is reported that the current approach to attracting and retaining employees is still not working. Different generations want different things – younger workers have higher expectations as to what a company should offer them by way of working hours, the availability of exercise facilities and meals at work (x 3 a day). Some US companies are even offering private cars to take employees to work so that they can avoid a stressful commute – maybe catch up on some sleep too….
A wellness retreat is definitely on my radar for 2016 – perhaps a bit of ‘wine and wellness’ at the brand new Six Senses Spa in the Douro Valley in Portugal or I might head off to Mexico for a bit of sunshine, some surf lessons and laughter yoga on the beach……