Hoteliers of the world take note; fitness is out and wellness is in.

Small workout rooms offered to the select few who wish to get fit to look good are no longer sufficient. Nor is it enough to simply provide a banquet and a bed for your visitors.

"The Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek Hotel has designed a wellness weekend."

The latest generation of guests want to feel good, and that means each mind, body and soul must be catered for.

Some chains and independent hotels are now realising there are huge income opportunities to be gained from investing in wellness and therefore incorporating programmes that promote healthy eating, regular exercise and a positive mental approach to meet the needs of their guests.

Healthy environment

Hotels offer something health clubs can’t; an overall experience which includes nutrition, entertainment and privacy. It is the ideal setting where travellers can devote their time to improving their well-being.

Take the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea in Jordan for example – guests at this hotel can benefit from a 6,500m2 spa and treatments incorporating natural minerals and salts from the surrounding environment.

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Bruno Huber is the general manager for this resort, recently voted one of the 12 healthiest hotels worldwide by

He explains how his team of staff achieved such recognition: "The environment plays a big role. It’s a village-type hotel with plenty of gardens and loads of open space. It’s very relaxing and green. In addition, the Dead Sea area has 6% more oxygen than anywhere on the planet and there is no pollen down here."

The hotel sector is one of the fastest growing business segments within the fitness and wellness industry. That’s according to Gianluca Laganà, global key account manager for Technogym, a major supplier of exercise equipment for well-known hotel groups like Starwood, Ritz and Four Seasons.

Over the years, Laganà has seen hotels set new standards in the health arena. "Any new hotel construction, as well as renovations, includes a fitness area with an average space from 100 up to 1,000 square meters. Consequently there is a strong growth in demand for state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

"Having said that, it’s important to bear in mind that incorporating fitness equipment is not enough. Interior design, overall atmosphere and staff education represent fundamental aspects to focus on in order to offer a fulfilling wellness experience," Laganà says.

Huber seconds that argument and adds: "We have a fitness centre with all the top equipment you would find in a good city hotel, but you have to be able incorporate fitness with wellness and not just provide a room with a few bicycles."

Going the extra mile

Nowadays, wellness is becoming a regular lifestyle for people around the world and, according to Laganà, a hotel wellness area and training facility is becoming a key decision driver when it comes to booking the next holiday or business trip. As result, many hotels are taking giant steps to make their health-wise guests happy.

"Hoteliers of the world take note; fitness is out and wellness is in."

The Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek Hotel has designed a wellness weekend aimed at helping guests eat healthy and relax in an ‘oasis of calm’, the hotel said in a recent statement.

In October 2011, the Revive and Thrive Wellness Retreat will offer a blend of yoga, pilates, nutritional guidance and stress management seminars during the getaway.

Sheraton, a group of hotels owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, is also competing to attract health-conscious guests by investing $6bn to revamp its fitness centres and has partnered with Core Performance, a specialist in performance training, nutrition and physical therapy.

Starwood spokesperson Melissa Pogue says: "Sheraton understands that a healthier lifestyle doesn’t just take place in the fitness center, which is why Sheraton integrates the Core Performance philosophy of mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery throughout the entire hotel experience.

"Sheraton offers all-day healthier menu items, suggestions to recover from physical stress and/or jetlag, and provides one of the best beds in the industry – the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper – as a proper night’s sleep is key to staying fit and healthy," she added.

The chain has also created a fitness programme geared towards travellers. Fit Meetings is designed to enhance business performance in the board room with concepts including healthy breaks, techniques to keep the mind sharp and customisable group workout options.

Health is wealth

With hotels adding wellness areas and dedicated health programmes to their facilities, they are not only attracting more guests, they are also turning over huge profits.

"Over the years, Laganà has seen hotels set new standards in the health arena."

"Hotels make money from food, recreation and accommodation but there is a huge income opportunity to be gained from investing in wellness," says Huber.

"If you look at residential areas as well, there were some figures out from the US that stated that Canyon Ranch implemented a complete wellness centre with restaurants into a Chicago apartment block. The company was able to leverage the retail price of the block by some 30%. So that should say it all, I guess," Huber adds.