Luxury hotels and retreats across the globe are starting to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Although most international travel is temporarily on hold, retreats are adapting and changing their approaches to ensure a healthy holiday for future wellness travellers. Compare Retreats speaks to the world’s best wellness retreats on how they are adapting post-COVID-19.
Niamh O’Connell, Group Vice President of Wellness and Brand Experience at Rosewood Hotels
“We have taken this opportunity to press the reset button for our operations globally. As we all know, the situation is unprecedented and as such we are determined to restrategise and unpack our business to identify what has been successful previously, whilst also acknowledging that when we do reopen, it will not be “business as usual.” My suggestion is to start slowly and ensure our operations teams have the necessary guidance and tools to reopen.
We must recognise that our guests will have changed. It is very evident that over the last five months people have developed a greater sense of their individual wellbeing criteria. People have had the opportunity to reprioritise and to “self-check” what is meaningful and what adds value to their lives. This self-actualisation is the first step for people on their own journey to an improved lifestyle. As operators, we need to ensure that we are prepared to support these evolved needs.”
Preet Singh, General Manager at The Farm at San Benito
“The pandemic was such an unprecedented blow not only to The Farm but to the travel and tourism industry. We are among the most affected sectors because travel restrictions were put in place in all countries around the world. The Farm has remained committed to our mission for 18 years and has put the overall wellbeing of our guests as the top priority. That’s why even during the period of quarantine, our health experts have continued to provide immune-boosting advice, nutrition tips, and self-care practices, which we shared across all our digital and social media platforms.
The Farm’s medical facility was given a permit to operate because we offer medically-supervised holistic programmes and preventive healthcare services. The Farm at San Benito has resumed operations since May 16, offering a medically-supervised, all-inclusive Immune Support Programme to jumpstart optimal health. I’m also pleased to say that a portion of the proceeds will go to the food donation drive and COVID-testing of nearby local communities. We also have a team of licensed and competent doctors, nurses, psychologists, nutritionists, and therapists who can provide guests with medical treatments and programmes for pain management, mental health, weight management, diabetes prevention, immune support, cellular detoxification, and dental hygiene, among others.
We have implemented strict safety and sanitation protocols and carried out preventive measures and training based on the guidance of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local authorities, and other leading organizations and experts.
In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have done tremendous preparation to ensure the safety of our guests as well as our employees. Right now, we are ready to administer COVID-19 antibody testing and prevention programmes. Treatment and public areas at The Farm are sanitized by Sanivir Smoke which is certified by the Spanish Institute of Microbiology as an effective smoke disinfectant to kill germs and COVID-19 virus on surfaces by 99%. We have redesigned our programmes so that treatments are now done with safe physical distancing and touchless therapies.”
Yuki Kiyono, Group Director of Spa of Aman
“As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, people have realised the value of good health as well as the importance of being in nature and enjoying fresh air. We are privileged that our serene hideaways are away from the crowds allowing Aman to create experiences that make the most of each location—for example, the Forest Bathing and Onsen retreat at Amanemu where guests can discover healing natural hot springs and reconnect with nature.
In addition, we have created immune-boosting Wellness Immersions at several of our properties including Amanbagh where an Ayurvedic doctor creates specialised programmes which combine nutrition, fitness and spa therapies to improve immune strength. We also offer integrative medical wellness at our Holistic Wellness Centre at Amanpuri for those who are looking to make lifestyle changes, following the pandemic, through preventative treatments and functional medical services.”
Dr. Jason Culp, Naturopathic Physician & Director of Research & Development at Chiva-Som International Health Resorts Co., Ltd.
“During these unprecedented times, Chiva-Som has responded to the wellness needs of the local and global community by adapting our retreats to be more accessible. Through our offerings of online wellness consultations, we are connecting our expert health advisors, personal trainers, and physiotherapists with the world on a virtual platform.
Additionally, Chiva-Som is promoting wellness for the local community by launching our “Wellness Cuisine Delivery” and wellness services, providing motivating physical activity, mindfulness practices, and nutritious meals to local residents, beyond the boundaries of our resort. At Chiva-Som, we will continue to emphasise the importance of enhancing immune health and resiliency through our various retreats, cuisine, and services, while promoting optimal wellness lifestyle and sustainable well-being for our guests and the global community.”
Mark Sands, Vice President of Wellness at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
“I am really lucky that my wife is a Yoga/ Pilates/Personal trainer, so I have been having some sessions with her and even with our kids sometimes. Perhaps my biggest shift though this has been to listen to her, do what she says (and not make the smart comments I might have before). I have tried virtual meditation using Tripp on a VR headset which gives you space to yourself whilst feeling as though you have gone somewhere.
As a group we have our resort leadership taking on our home office leadership with the #GreenX7Challenge an app-based wellness check with inbuilt challenges and competitions. This has helped to refocus and keep each other motivated. Every Friday we have 120-200 hosts join our Six Senses Community Zoom call, covering meditation, Zumba, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, fitness challenges and just to stay connected.
I struggled with my sleep routine at the beginning of the lockdown, failing to put my laptop away in the late evening and then winding down with Netflix. However, watching (and being on) the #AtHomeWithSixSenses tips and daily wellness bites reminded me of my earlier routines. I helped put together the Sleep With Six Senses programme, where we have amazing experts like Dr. Michael Breus (the Sleep Doctor) to give us sound advice, so I went back to basics, getting that regular sleep routine of 7.5 hours. So, going to bed earlier, putting the power down an hour in advance, and getting the devices out of my bedroom was really helpful.”
Jeremy McCarthy, Group Director of Spa & Wellness at Mandarin Oriental
“The Spas at Mandarin Oriental are launching a new initiative around ‘Inner Strength – Outer Strength’. This programme will be offered first to our colleagues, helping them to come back to work physically healthy, emotionally resilient, and with a deep connection to their own personal strengths and values. We will also be offering packages to our guests along these themes to help our guests focus on developing their health and physical vitality along with mindfulness and resilience to stress—things we all need to help us bounce back from the stress of recent months.”
John Reed, Chief Operating Officer of Sangha Retreat by Octave Institute
“At a time when there is a lot of concern and when there are constant reminders of the ongoing reality of the pandemic, it is vital that, as an authority in wellbeing in China, SANGHA Retreat is able to offer an integrated wellbeing experience, with the opportunity for our guests to educate them in the best ways to protect themselves.
We have created our Sangha Immune Boost programme that specifically blends medical assessments, wellbeing and spa treatments along with a focus on nutrition to identify how guests’ bodies are currently equipped to combat illness. Our inspiration is to show our guests not just how to survive, but also to thrive through optimal health.
We have moved several of our wellbeing programmes online, in order to support our guests whilst they are unable to travel to our beautiful retreat.
My personal journey throughout this time with my wife has been to hunker down and focus on meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, fitness and a balanced nutritious diet; it has been a time for deep reflection and contemplation, emerging with a higher level of awareness of all that is around us and how we as individuals can flourish through higher levels of consciousness.”