Your clients are looking to stay or get healthy? In this edition’s “In the Field”, luxury travel guru, Mary Gostelow explains that the new approach is less pampering and more detox.

Going back nearly 200 years, the word “spa” implied a mineral spring considered to have health-giving properties for the rich, the royals and some who were physically afflicted. There are still such destinations but generally the word “spa” in smart travel has been debased. In Auckland, for instance, Langham’s Cordis Hotel finds the word “health” is top of everyone’s list: harmony massages combining flow relaxation with therapeutic acupressure are hot, according to hotel GM Franz Mascarenas.


“In Paris, no chic influencer would come here for a basic facial or massage as they all have their own favourites who sometimes come to their homes. We noticed this about three years ago and every year it becomes more obvious. These opinion leaders do, however, come to our MyBlend by Clarins facility to discuss personal programmes covering nutrition, weight-loss and exercise”, says Aaron Kaupp, GM of Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris. The hotel’s subterranean wellness facility, which has 225 outside members for its 28-metre pool and Technogym, is a dreamy white cocoon, with MyBlend by Clarins counter staff who really seem to know their stuff.

Wellness trends change fast (Peloton bikes are killing last year’s massed cycling workouts in gyms). “Today is bespoke holistic. Customers want concrete results rather than pampering. They come for Cinq Mondes treatments combined with nutrition, for which read detox, and fitness”, explains Oleg Kafarov, VP Marketing for Emerald Palace Group, owner of Emerald Palace Kempinski, Dubai. Wherever, it does seem that recommended brands rather than home-grown concoctions are the winners. Hotel Martinez, Cannes, part of Hyatt’s Unbound portfolio, works with Israeli specialist L. Raphael: regulars return for her OxyPeel and OxyCure C treatments – high-pressure oxygen jets infused with vitamins. The Corinthia Hotel London finds great following for its Dr Barbara Sturm range of molecular cosmetics, from Dusseldorf. Colombian Tata Harper is another name to watch: her products are found at Oetker’s Hötel Bristol, in Paris, and at Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, ten minutes’ drive north of Miami Beach.

Coincidentally, in this what goes around comes around world of the spa movement, it is in the USA that we are seeing a return, albeit limited, to hot springs. Both Castle Hot Springs in Arizona and Dunton Hot Springs, in Colorado, offer ranges of hot- to-hotter natural springs, plus magnificent hiking, in resorts that stress authentic hospitality of settlers past. And health enthusiasts understandably drive up to four hours to the adult-only no-reservation Glen Ivy Wellness Retreat in the middle of California. Every day 800 enthusiasts spend hours, sometimes covered in wellness mud, in 19 hot-spring pools, and occasionally pumping iron and having facials. It’s owned and managed by Bangkok-based GOCO Hospitality, whose German boss, Ingo Schweder, is arguably global trendsetter when it comes to the spa world.