I wouldn't call myself a spa addict—I can't afford to be. But when traveling, I do enjoy a spa respite at the hotel. Lately, more hotel spas are emphasizing not just relaxation, but nutrition, green living and a more holistic approach to health and wellness that includes more nature and less electronic noise. Whether traveling on a family vacation or on business, massages, facials, and mani-pedis are a great way to grab some unplugged downtime and catch your breath. With cheap tickets to several fantastic destinations, you can quickly find yourself unwinding and rejuvenating at a beautiful hotel spa while reconnecting to what matters.
According to SpaFinder Wellness, Inc. 2013 trend report, "earthing" is becoming a hot spa trend. So what is it exactly? The idea is that people are calmer and more mindful when they are connected to nature, not pounding the pavement in concrete jungles. To encourage health and wellness, spas are bringing clients deeper into nature. Instead of a sound track of ocean waves or singing birds, certain spas are bringing guests right on to the beach or in the trees (weather-permitting), such as beachside or tree top massages at certain tropical locals. Hotel and spa fitness classes are also embracing this trend by holding exercise and yoga sessions outdoors. Some spas emphasize walking barefoot, believing that feeling the ground beneath your feet is calming. The bottom line is to reconnect with Mother Earth and forget about your to-do list.
Already, you're seeing these words on spa menus. Cutting down the electronic noise builds on the reconnecting with nature trend. But what does digital detox mean? It's about breaking gadget addiction. Put away your smart phone, laptop, iPad, and any other devices that requiring a plug. The goal is to recharge you, not your phone. Already, many spas ask guests to put away or silence their smart phones, but some have gone farther, such as asking guests to lock up their digital devices and then presenting them with other activities, such as a tree-planting kit or a yoga mat. Hotels and spas are also creating "quiet zones' or "black out zones" where guests hand forfeit electronic communication at check-in.
Expect to see more emphasis on wellness in various spa treatments, as spas look to include more creative ways to increase energy, not just reduce stress. Some spas now offer one-on-one nutrition counseling as well as juice cleanses, more varieties of raw ingredients to eat, and locally-sourced, customized food and beverage offerings, including gluten-free and vegan options. Hyatt hotels, for example, promotes an organic menu, while Kimpton hotels offers in-room meals under 500 calories. Some hotel spas are taking local food to new heights; some spas including those in North Carolina, Utah and Mexico allow guests to forage for ingredients they can later add to their meals. Other spas invite guests to walk the gardens and pick herbs for various facial treatments. So prepare to get your hands (and possibly feet) dirty.
Exercise is no longer a separate activity that happens solely in a gym. Exercise is being increasingly integrated into spa experiences as spas are becoming more about balancing energy and productivity with rest and relaxation. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has a new "Fairmont Fit" program that includes mp3 players, fitness gear and cruiser bikes for working out or running clubs and hula-hooping classes. More hotels are bringing fitness right to your room; Westin allows guests to book rooms with a treadmill or stationary bike and Hilton Worldwide is exploring "Yoga Rooms" for guests.
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