It’s great that hotels around the world are increasingly focusing on wellness, fitness and catering to the active traveler, even when she (or he) is traveling on business or a less active vacation. It’s a subject I have covered here several times in this column, as major American hotel companies such as Hilton and Westin have rolled out new fitness-oriented products and offerings, and you can read about some of the latest and great upgrades hotels have offered here and here.
But this trend is not limited to American brands, and the most recent news comes out of Bangkok, Thailand, headquarters of Anantara Hotels and Resorts. Anantara is a highly regarded luxury brand on par with Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton that has three dozen properties across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and earlier this year expanded into Europe, with big plans for more locations.
Anantara just launched a series of short “Wellbeing Retreat” packages, a program offering new two-plus day options for healthy, active experiences across several of its luxury resorts in Thailand, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the Middle East. The brand prides itself on offering a sense of place, with cuisine, architecture and décor based on its local setting, and the same is true for these programs. In each case, guests who stay for a minimum of two nights can dive into Anantara’s global wellbeing initiative, which rather than an immersion “boot camp” style program, is designed to offer a flexible approach to feeling good on holidays, with guests splitting vacation time between wellness activities and “regular” leisure activities and sightseeing.
Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas
Muay Thai Boxing, Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort, Thailand
The three-tiered programs are based on a notion the spa-centric brand calls “Balance Wellness,” intended to balance mental and physical health using cuisine, signature spa treatments and dynamic or mindful exercise. Each package showcases the resort’s own indigenous experiences and are designed for two people in order to entice couples, best friends, or families to acquire inspiration, knowledge and practical experience they can incorporate into their daily wellness routine once they return home. For example, the packages offered at Thailand’s famed beach resort of Phuket (at the Anantara Layan Phuket Resort) include a surprisingly arduous private lesson in the country’s national sport, Muay Thai Boxing, as one of the workouts, as well as a focus on Thai cuisine. At this property, the two-night Wellbeing Retreat package also includes luxury accommodations, daily breakfast, raw juice detox drinks, a two-course healthy lunch and similar dinner, and an hour-long massage (from $750 inclusive). Optional add-ons include group or private yoga training and other options. Packages at other Anantara resort locations include pilates, an Ayurvedic lifestyle consultation, guided hikes and more, and in every case add-ons are offered along with discounts on additional spa treatments.
Anantara is also known in the hospitality industry for being the first major hotel brand to launch its own chain of culinary schools at its resorts, called Spice Spoons, with dedicated demonstration kitchens. At most locations, half day classes are offered that include an interactive component such as shopping at the local market with the chef or meeting indigenous purveyors in addition to the hands-on regional cuisine cooking class, an added benefit of a vacation at one of these properties. The overall concept is not to come back buff from your vacation, but rather to come back with new skills and experiences you can use going forward in your day to day life.
A full list of Anantara resorts participating in the Wellbeing Retreat program with packages is available at the company’s new website.