Health and fitness do not have to be sacrificed during travel, especially when hotels take on a commitment to wellness, writes Meera Murugesan.
LUSH greenery and splashes of colour from exotic tropical flowers soothe the eye and mind while the sea breeze, known for its healing properties, revitalises the weary traveller.
When one steps into The Westin Shimei Bay Resort in Hainan, China, one immediately senses that wellness is a big part of its commitment to guests.
This hotel, set in a gorgeous tropical island, is where the individual will find not only an oasis of peace and tranquillity but also be able to pay attention to his physical wellbeing.
For the busy traveller today, a hotel is more than just a place for comfort and luxury. Yes, we still want a hotel that’s heavenly and inviting but also one that allows us to focus on the things which matter most – health and wellbeing.
The Westin Shimei Bay Resort caters to this unique need and the same policy is followed at all Westin hotels worldwide.
For the modern traveller, health and wellbeing is not something to be sacrificed when one is on the road and it helps when the hotel you’ve chosen is equally committed to this path.
At the resort, a whole range of health, fitness and wellbeing programmes have been put into place through an initiative called the Six Pillars of Wellbeing which help guests take control of their wellbeing and stay fit, productive, energised and rested throughout their stay.
For example, how many of us would consider waking up for an early morning run while staying at a hotel?
For an increasing number of people, that is the way to start the day, even if they’re on vacation or travelling for work because it keeps them alert and energised throughout the day.
Keeping this in mind, the hotel, under its Move Well pillar, offers guests guided early morning group runs helmed by a running concierge and the route snakes through the beautiful tropical scenery that cradles the resort.
Warm-ups and stretching exercises kick off this run and guests are also provided with towels and water.
For those who prefer to run alone, running maps are made available and they can opt for either a 1.5km or 3.5km route starting and finishing at the hotel.
There’s no excuse not to start the day with a run even if you didn’t pack your sports gear. Given that many guests especially business travellers pack light and are unlikely to carry fitness gear, Westin hotels have a Gear Lending programme. For a small fee, (USD5 or the local currency equivalent) one can rent sports attire such as T-shirts, shorts or shoes.
At The Westin Shimei Bay Resort, bicycles are also available for those who want to cycle around the resort and if one prefers to workout indoors, a 24-hour fitness centre with high-quality equipment is also available.
“It’s about giving our guests the ability to regain control of their health and wellbeing when they are on the go,” says Andy Kong, director of brand and marketing, Asia Pacific for Marriott International. Westin Hotels & Resorts is an exclusive brand of Marriott International.
Kong adds that being in control of one’s wellbeing makes a person better prepared to face tasks and responsibilities and this is especially important for the business guest, who needs to be at his best despite the stresses of travel.
At The Westin, the goal is to make it easy and convenient for guests to exercise and not break their regular fitness routine which helps them be their best.
Kong says for many people, their normal routine gets thrown off-balance when they’re always on the go and the hotel is helping them regain some control over it.
“They don’t have time to work out or eat right and do the things they normally do and this is especially true for the business traveller.”
For many individuals, sleep is also sacrificed when they travel for work. Late night flights, long haul travel and the need to prepare for business meetings in the morning leave them unable to have restful sleep.
To target this problem, the resort has put into place several initiatives under its Sleep Well pillar.
For one, guests have the luxury of turning in for the night in what’s called a “Heavenly Bed”, which provides a high level of comfort for the tired traveller.
The bed is able to “lull guests into a deep restful sleep” and has won accolades as an industry-leading innovation.
“Lots of people don’t get enough sleep while they’re on the road but sleep is one of the most important factors in wellness,” says Kong.
MIND AND BODY
White Tea Aloe bath accessories in every room also ease tension and promote relaxation for a restful sleep. There’s even a Westin Sleep Well menu featuring superfoods handpicked for their sleep promoting properties.
Guests can book these meals via in-room dining and wake up after a night of deep sleep feeling refreshed.
Good nourishment is crucial for wellbeing and this is further addressed under the hotel’s “Eat Well” pillar.
Its SuperFoodsRx menus pair nutritious fruit, vegetables, grains and proteins for maximum benefits while Westin Fresh by The Juicery offers a selection of refreshing juices and smoothies to keep guests revitalised.
This healthy eating approach is even extended to children as the Westin Eat Well Menu for Kids, developed in partnership with the experts at SuperChefs, provides colourful, inviting and nutritious meals for children and is available in selected restaurants and via in room dining.
Understanding the role of peace and tranquillity in promoting wellbeing, the hotel has also included a Feel Well component in its approach.
Whether it’s indulging in a session at the spa, walking around the beautiful tropical garden that surrounds the hotel or simply sitting by the beach and taking in the soothing sea breeze, everything at this resort sets the mood for de-stressing.
Travellers — whether on short vacations or long trips — are encouraged to relax, reconnect and make the most of every moment. They will then feel rejuvenated mentally and physically when they return home.
WESTIN Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc, has unveiled its first global brand campaign which empowers travellers to embrace wellbeing as a way to regain control of their routines and be at their best while on the road.
The campaign, called Let’s Rise, communicates Westin’s commitment to its guests’ well-being before, during and after their stay.
The Let’s Rise campaign is inspired by wellness and travel trends fuelling the future of both industries, as articulated in a new global study conducted in partnership with StudyLogic that surveyed travellers in North America, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and China.
The results show a seismic shift in the way today’s travellers prioritise their wellbeing.
With less time and more disruptions on the road, they are reinventing business and leisure travel to put things like fitness first and have a new vigour to pursue mindfulness and adventure.
Around the world, we are seeing travellers realigning their priorities to put their wellbeing first, says Brian Povinelli, global brand leader for Westin Hotels & Resorts.
In the last three years, rising wealth and digital connectivity have prompted a significant spike in global travel and the unpredictability that accompanies it.
It is no surprise then that nearly three in four travellers report they have trouble maintaining their routine on the road.
More than 60 per cent say they sleep less, 65 per cent exercise less, and 15 per cent report increased stress levels on vacation, a time traditionally thought of as downtime for rest and relaxation.
Also surprising is the growing number of guests around the globe who are turning to wellness to regain control of their routines when traveling for business and leisure.
Thirty percent of those surveyed in Germany and more than 20 per cent in the UAE say wellbeing enables them to feel more in control, while nearly 15 per cent globally say it reduces their stress levels.
Almost one in four of those surveyed in Germany and North America say wellness allows them to be better in business. In Mexico and the UK, one in four say wellness enables them to feel happier.
“Around the world, we have definitely seen a shift in the way today’s travellers are incorporating wellbeing into their work and travel routines: from millennials, who view fitness activities to be more social than competitive, to business travellers who are shifting their preference from country clubs to running clubs and we have even seen honeymooners embrace wellbeing more holistically says,” says Povinelli.
In the United States alone, 80 per cent of couples reported being more active and health-conscious during their honeymoon than at home.
About 40 per cent are running together as a way to decompress, disconnect and be a tourist at the same time.