Looking ahead, we lean on industry experts to share details on consumer demands of Spa and Wellness in hotels, and what we expect to see for the remainder of 2024.

In the ever-evolving landscape of hospitality, the year 2024 has witnessed a seismic shift in the priorities of hotel guests. With an increased emphasis on holistic wellbeing and rejuvenation, the hospitality industry has embraced a transformative approach to cater to the wellness needs of its discerning clientele. This paradigm shift has elevated the significance of spas, wellness facilities and amenities within hotels, redefining the guest experience.

In this era of heightened consciousness towards health and self-care, we have noticed how hotels have become more than just a place to stay. They have evolved into sanctuaries that offer a harmonious blend of opulence and wellness, providing guests with an immersive experience focused on revitalisation and relaxation.

This piece delves into the dynamic landscape of spas, wellness programs, and amenities in hotels in 2024. It explores the innovative trends, cutting-edge technologies and experiential offerings that have revolutionised the way guests perceive, and indulge in, wellness during their stays. From state-of-the-art spa facilities incorporating advanced therapeutic treatments to curated wellness programs tailored to individual needs, hotels are setting new benchmarks in promoting holistic wellbeing.

Linden Beattie, General Manager at Down Hall Hotel, Spa and Estate, sees how the post-pandemic trend in increased demand for wellness entering the hotel industry is continuing to gain momentum, as he said: “What began as a trend for the leisure traveller is now as important to the business traveller, and also to corporate groups. Guests across all sectors are looking for ways they can look after their body and mind: there is more demand for experiential wellness.”

Technology can go hand-in-hand with a hotel’s spa and wellness services, and Linden explained how there are dozens of options, from technology offering cold water therapy through to fitness apps where you can upload your own classes. He believes: “The key is defining your offering and finding a technology that works for your business: or, for some, realising they don’t need any technology at all.”

As the landscape surrounding health and fitness is changing, it’s essential that hotels are looking at how they can expand their wellness offerings beyond traditional spa treatments. Linden thinks that it is about working with your venue to find opportunities where wellness can be incorporated into your offering: “This can be a redundant or underutilised space that can be converted into a wellness room, or it can be as simple as offering a well thought out menu for a corporate group. If you’re unsure where to begin, partnering with an expert is a great place to start.

“The benefit of any wellness offering is that it can be applied to all your business sectors, whether leisure, corporate or MICE bookings. Once you have a blueprint that works for you, it can roiled out across all sectors of your clientele.”

Down Hall partner with ESPA and offer an array of products that are FSC certified and approved by the vegetarian and vegan society. The hotel’s spa amenities have moved away from single-use products throughout, and they are rolling this out in bedrooms. Linden said: “Our spa and wellness menus focus on locally sourced products and, where possible, ingredients from our one-acre kitchen garden are used. 

“Guests are offered our very own Down Hall tea, which is picked exclusively for us from the Radella Estate, and, for those looking to be more indulgent, we have crafted our very own Down Hall Garden Gin, distilled from botanicals across our estate.”

Further partnerships with specific wellness brands, experts, or influencers, can work to enhance a hotel’s offerings and credibility in the wellness space, and Down Hall has experienced this through their work with Glow Well, with Linden labelling the partnership as “a key to our success.” Camilla Sheeley heads up Glow Well and is a YMCA accredited Hatha yoga teacher, qualified for teaching breath work skills. She is also a holistic therapist who specialises in crystals and reflexology – something which has been popular amongst guests.

In terms of emerging trends in wellness travel within the hotel industry for 2024, Ross Grieve, Managing Director at Seaham Hall, explained how he has seen an increase in desire and requests for multi-sensory wellness experiences: “Guests want to experience the full 360 degrees of wellness during their visit, and they want all five senses to be engaged, creating a full immersive and holistic experience.”

Wellness hotels, and leading hotel spas, are becoming more desirable than ever as destination retreats.

Incorporating technology into spa and wellness services is another tendency being carried through to 2024, with a plethora of advancements in apps, wearable devices and other tech-driven solutions working to enhance guest experiences.

Ross sees that the balance between using technology for good and overusing technology, leading to negative effects, is a fine one to reach and said: “We find there is a real need for technology that helps us put our health first, and we must use it in a positive way, rather than just adding it to our many hours of screen time each day.

“Examples of positive technology include in-suite applications and fitness and wellbeing apps that can provide direct connections between spa and wellness. We are exploring how we can use these to match up our guests’ hotel stay with their wellness experience in a seamless and productive way.”

Despite there being trends present throughout wellbeing in hotels, it is important to ensure you’re catering to individual guest needs in their wellness programmes. 

Ross told us how at Seaham Hall’s Serenity Spa, the wellness experiences are all about personalisation, but there are certain wellness elements that come up time and time again for their guests: “For that reason, our wellness experts deliver authentic practices that focus on holistic healing, preventative care, self-healing and social awareness, resulting in an optimal state of wellbeing – these are the elements that we find our guests are requesting the most.”

   

Seaham Hall has partnered with a number of wellness brands that match the venue’s coastal location and ethos. One of these is Doctor Seaweed, whose supplements allow the team to take their wellness experiences one step further, focusing on guest internals to match the offering of touch therapies: “It’s a great enhancement to our already established ishga partnership, which perfectly suits our beach location.” 

On a different track, Sarah Walters, Director of Marketing at Sales at The Vineyard, sees that a big trend this year is ‘Sleep Wellness’. Sarah explained how travellers in 2024 will prioritise hotels that can give them a good night’s sleep. She added: “There is also an increased interest in products and brands aligning with the ‘better-for-you imperative’ in personal wellness. Both of these trends tie in well with The Vineyard, as our hotel is made for relaxing in and for guest comfort.”

Sarah agrees that wellness goes beyond just the spa experience and, more and more, it is about a holistic approach: “It is about enjoying the outdoors, eating well, but having healthy, nutritious and delicious food, testing oneself with a new physical or mental challenge, sleeping better or even reconnecting with loved ones or friends.” All of this is integral to the team at The Vineyard and, in line with this, they offer an all-encompassing wellness experience; from giving guests a restful night sleep, through providing great F&B experiences, to art tours, to ensure guests really benefit from their stay.

With sustainability being high up on many consumer’s lists when looking for wellness treatments, the team at The Vineyard pride themselves on their partnership with well renowned natural skincare brand, Irene Forte Skincare products. As a Certified B Corp, Irene Forte Skincare believes beauty is more than just skin deep. The business model is intentionally designed to benefit the local community and environment. With a zero-waste mission, all ingredients are sustainably sourced from Irene Forte’s own organic farm in Sicily. Sarah told us how products are stored in glass refillable bottles and are also vegan friendly: “Which aligns well with our sustainability ethos.”

Head of Wellbeing at The Mandrake London, Maria Lodetoft is an Intuitive Reader, Sound and Energy Healer, and is pleased about the direction of the trends within the hotel industry for 2024, as they include a focus on holistic wellbeing beyond the physical body. 

The Mandrake, as the first hotel globally to introduce an in-house Spiritual Concierge, exemplifies this trend. Continuously evolving, and expanding its offerings, the hotel has seen significant growth in its in-room spiritual concierge menu, incorporating new and deeply healing sessions and psychic readings, experiences that cater to the wellness of the body, mind and soul. 

In line with the importance of catering to the individual needs of guests within hotel wellness programs, prioritising flexibility is key. Maria revealed how the approach at The Mandrake involves providing a range of pre-designed sessions, allowing guests to choose activities that align with their preferences and requirements.

“We also offer fully tailored experiences, collaborating closely with clients to understand their specific needs and desires. This way, we ensure that our wellness programs are not only diverse, but also customisable, ensuring each guest receives a personalised and fulfilling experience, aligned with their unique wellness goals.”

 

Gemma Barrett, Group Spa Director at Daniel Thwaites, thinks we’ll see an increase in the integration of wellness amenities and activities designed for individual wellbeing this year, things like private meditation spaces, personalised fitness programs and curated solo adventures.

“There is also a bigger emphasis on the importance of social connections and community experiences in enhancing overall wellness. Hotels are adapting by creating inviting and dynamic social spaces where guests can come together, fostering a sense of connection and shared experiences.” In line with this, Gemma revealed how her team are looking into the idea of more wellness workshops for their guests, to create meaningful connections. 

Hotels can offer personalised wellness plans, or consultations, by strategically placing knowledgeable staff throughout their spa facilities. This enables natural consultations to occur as guests move through the spa. The benefits include tailored recommendations, addressing specific wellness needs, and enhancing the overall guest experience,” said Gemma. “This approach fosters a seamless integration of personalised wellness into a guest’s journey, promoting individualised care and maximising the positive impact on their wellbeing.”

When asked how the team are adapting their wellness services to cater to the needs of business travellers, Gemma said: “We are prioritising an inviting gym space for quick and effective workouts, transforming it into a dedicated wellness area. 

“Additionally, we offer seasonal offers such as the “Taste of Wellness” packages which include 25-minute pick-me-up treatments, catering to those with time constraints. To enhance the spa experience, we provide the “Bath Butler” package, allowing guests to order spa-inspired products to be delivered to their rooms, bringing the wellness experience directly to them.” These initiatives ensure business travellers have accessible and tailored wellness options that seamlessly integrate into their busy schedules.

Speaking on a certain type of customer, Aline Peters, Marketing Manager at Clermont Hotel Group, confirmed how she believes we will be seeing the rise of business travel, known as ‘bleisure’ travel, with the lines blurring between work and leisure trips: “This trend is reshaping everything from hotel amenities to destination choices, and hoteliers should expect to cater to the needs of this modern traveller.”

In harmony with this, The Clermont hotels in Victoria and Charing Cross partner with FLY LDN to offer guests a range of virtual, on-demand ‘Wellness Workout’ classes, available via their in-room TVs, meaning they can access them whenever suitable. The content includes a Release Trilogy and Release for Sleep sessions, which help guests to decompress and unwind after a busy day, as well as an Upper and Lower Body Workout, a low-impact strength and conditioning class. 

“By incorporating alternative health and wellbeing options into a guest’s stay, hoteliers can demonstrate to guests that their wellness is a priority and encourage repeat visits,” Aline finished.

The modern hotel is no longer just a place to rest one’s head; it has transformed into a sanctuary that caters to the mind, body and soul. Cutting-edge spas now integrate advanced technologies with ancient healing practices, offering tailored treatments that address individual needs. From the introduction of in-room classes to personalised fitness routines guided by virtual instructors, guests can embark on transformative journeys designed to rejuvenate and revitalise.

Moreover, the concept of wellness has expanded beyond the spa walls. Hotels are curating immersive experiences that encompass healthy dining options, mindfulness activities and nature-inspired settings. Wellness-centric architecture and design elements prioritise natural light, green spaces and ergonomic layouts, creating environments that promote tranquillity and relaxation.

As hotels continue to adapt to evolving guest preferences, the fusion of wellness, technology and exceptional service will remain pivotal. The future of hospitality lies in the seamless integration of personalised wellness journeys, eco-conscious initiatives and unparalleled luxury, ensuring that guests leave not just rejuvenated, but transformed, by their stay. In 2024, hotels will become catalysts for holistic wellbeing, offering not just a temporary escape, but a pathway to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle: by keeping up with this demand, your venue will flourish.