Posts tagged #healthy hotel


Whenever I am researching fitness trends there is one city that just keeps on popping up. New York City! So it made sense to add a 'fitness/wellness holiday' in NYC following the Global Wellness Summit. Here are some of the experiences and brands I had the chance to visit and try on. 

1 HOTEL - I have been dying to visit the 1 Hotel in Brooklyn and was not disappointed. Its such an excellent model of a socially conscious brand with ecological design at the core of its philosophy. Every sustainable detail has been considered making it every bit authentic. The brand is part of the Starwood Capital Group and brainchild of hotelier Barry Sternlicht. There are currently 3 hotels in USA with 4 more opening internationally in 2018/19, which tells me this sustainable model is wanted by our guests and wellness warriors. 

BAMFORD SPA - Thinking I was going to have to visit the UK to visit a Bamford Spa you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the 1 Hotel has partnered with Bamford Spa. The spa offers a complete ecological perspective throughout its operation and it was nothing short of eco luxe exquisite. Next time I will definitely be treating myself with a treatment, but for this visit a retail bag of bamford goodies had to suffice.  

AIRE ANCIENT ROMAN BATHS - I was told if visiting NYC I had to visit AIRE, and so I booked my first 'night out' here and was not disappointed. This exquisite thermal bathing area is set below ground level featuring candles, music, various baths including a magnesium float bath, jacuzzi, thermal baths, cold plunge pools, a salt pillar for self applied body scrubs, steam room and a space for treatments. I added a salt stone massage to compliment my bathing experience. This brand is expanding across Europe and the UK and I can see why its such a popular choice for city dwellers as it offers an 'other worldly' relaxation experience in the heart of the city.

INSCAPE MEDITATION - This space features two meditation pods with specialised lighting. The variety of seating props were excellent, offering something suited to every type of person and their physical comfort. The class is introduced by a facilitator who sits in the centre but the class itself is lead by a recorded voice. The brilliance in this is being able to offer a class that is universally likeable, with good sound and without requiring an expert meditation teacher to be present. The retail store at Inscape offered an excellent range of boutique wellness products and a very nice relaxation area to hang out with a cup of fruit infused water and a book.

WOOM YOGA - I jumped in a cab and went downtown for a midday yoga class in the Woom room. This centre offers yoga classes and sound meditations amidst a light show of patterns and imagery projected onto the wall. The music was quite loud and the lighting reminiscent of a night club in parts and I felt energised and engaged in the journey. Definitely worth a visit when in NYC.

PELOTON CYCLING - This class is a convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, streaming daily live classes from the NYC studio. This could be an excellent offering for the wellness hotel room concept. The advantage of this model is that guests receive a consistent standard of instructor. I see this model being perfect for homes and hotels. 

SOUL CYCLE - This class is a style of cycling that incorporates motivational and dance based instruction. It is a fun, intense workout in a dark room that is similar to a dance studio. Taking the cycle scene by storm its an excellent style of class to consider for any health retreat. 

TRAMPOLEAN CLASS - Ive often thought that rebounding classes need to enter the fitness arena. Well NYC offers trampolean and I really got a workout in this class. In a dark industrial style room we did all sorts of moves on the rebounder with the addition of hand weights and therabands to tone and stretch the entire body. This was an excellent low impact class with high impact results. The health benefits of rebounding are numerous as it cleanses the lymphatic system and exercises every internal organ and cell in the body, whilst delivering excellent aerobic exercise without impacting on joints. 

In addition to soaking and fitness classes I also did what anyone must do when in NYC, which was to go up to the top of the Empire State Building, see a show on Broadway and add in a spot of shopping in Times Square. I loved every minute in this vibrant city and cant wait to visit again. 



When we hear the term ‘wellness’, we generally think of it referring to lifestyle and relaxing spa therapies. But the truth is, that this term includes designing wellness within the four walls of our homes, offices and of course our spas.

We spend 56% of our lives at work, and 90% of our lives indoors. And with indoor air quality being five times more polluted than outdoor air, we can quickly begin to see why ‘sick building syndrome’, was officially recognized by the World Health Organization in 1986. Diseases that could be linked to the home or spa, include allergies, fatigue, asthma, hay fever and recurrent colds and flus.

The current challenge within the spa industry is that so many spas lack proper ventilation or even windows, and coupled with walking in with shoes, shedding layers of skin and emotion within the treatment room, its possible that our spas could be far more physically and energetically toxic than most homes and offices.

So how do we design wellness spaces?

In hunter-gatherer days, indigenous people assessed the life and prosperity of land by observing plants and animals, so as to avoid ‘sickness country’. In modern times, a detailed ‘building biology’ checklist can be used when choosing the best site for your wellness space, even if it’s in an urban environment. 

Setting a clear intention for how your spa will serve as a wellness destination, will then inform the design process, whereby a number of elements can be considered, from geopathic stress to feng shui principles to air purity and ventilation, use of natural light, electrical wiring, green walls and heating and cooling choices. 

The next step in wellness design also considers the health of the planet, by using sustainably sourced and/or recycled materials in the initial construction of a spa. These ethical choices also impact on our wellbeing, as new buildings ‘off gas’ high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) from treated woods, insulation, gyprock, paints, glues and sealants. Building materials may also contain radioactive nuclides, particularly cement, bricks and stone.

Wellness design then extends into the selection of finishes and fixtures, which include floors, carpets, upholstery padding, furniture, fabrics and built in cabinetry, all of which, also ‘off gas’ high levels of VOCs. Therefore being the major cause of poor indoor air quality.

If building a new spa is just not on the financial agenda right now, then there’s still many ways that wellness can be implemented within an existing spa. And the points spoken of below, also apply to the final elements crucial to a new spa design.

Air Purity & Ventilation – Many spas are designed without windows, and hence air ventilation is absent. There are a number of air purifiers on the market. However the humble household plant is the most effective air purifier, because plants balance humidity levels, pull contaminants out of the air, reduce airborne moulds and bacteria, and absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

Dust – The primary source of dust is human skin cells along with walking inside with shoes. Consider a guest journey that has clients and staff leave their shoes at the door. Avoid fabric curtains and too many fabric furnishings. Use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to clean surfaces and floors. Choose cushions and bedding made from natural fibers and wash regularly in hot water and then air dry in the sun. And use a vacuum cleaner with a hepa filter and motorized head.

Mould – Is extremely toxic and must be removed at all costs, as this will be affecting the health of you and your team. You might even have to relocate your business due to the serious health consequences. In the meantime, clean with vinegar. 

Water Filters – These are not a luxury, but rather an absolute necessity. Ensure you are drinking pure water and equally serving pure water to guests.

Electro Magnetic Frequencies - Exist wherever there is electricity and can negatively impact on our health and the ability to relax. There are a number of considerations when choosing a site and then when building, but in terms of an existing spa, its important to remove cordless phones and wifi as well as turn off all power points when appliances are not in use.

Cleaning Chemicals – Affect the health of our space, as well as the planet. In leading the way of wellness, its imperative that spas use natural cleaning products, eucalyptus oil and essential oils as air fresheners. If possible, source an eco-laundry service for the laundering of towels, which come into direct contact with the skin.

Cooling & Heating – Air conditioners need to be maintained so as to not become a health hazard and not all heating is created equal and needs to be considered. 

Candles – While there is nothing nicer than the gentle flicker of a candle, the truth is that most candles (unless they are made from beeswax or soy) are actually filling your space with carcinogenic chemicals, which can cause cancer and affect the central nervous system. Buy good quality candles or use rechargeable candles.

Showers & Chlorine – When showering in warm water, our guests are exposed to high levels of chlorine. Consider a Vitamin C showerhead filter, which reduces chlorine by 99% and offers your spa a USWP (unique wellness selling point).

Incense – There is nothing more spiritually evocative than the smell of incense, however it does cause air pollution and it is recommended to stop using incense.

Smudging Ceremony - Natives believe the spirits of sacred plants such as sage, are called to drive away negative energy and restore the balance to a particular space. And quite surprisingly a study in the Journal Ethnopharmacology found that the process of ‘smudging’ a space for one hour caused a 94 percent reduction in the bacterial count of the room. And the energetic clearing will increase the vibration.

In summary, as the spa industry leads the way in wellness, it’s important that we begin to consider taking a ‘whole’ approach to wellness and truly caring for our clients, our selves and our teams, through the way we design our spaces.