Holistic Well-Being: Trends in Health and Wellness Offerings at Boutique Hotels in 2024 — Photo by Curator Hotel & Resort Collection

The past few years have certainly affected our health and well-being. From somewhat constant concerns about being exposed to and catching COVID ourselves, or having it affect our family members, to long hours working from home offices and worry about childcare, the pandemic left many people feeling depleted and in desperate need of vacations that offer relaxation and recharge.

Wellness tourism aims to reduce stress by focusing on mental, physical and, in some cases, emotional well-being. It's a chance to power down and recharge. In the ever-evolving landscape of hospitality, boutique hotels are redefining luxury by prioritizing the holistic well-being of their guests. As we step into 2024, a new wave of trends is reshaping health and wellness offerings in the boutique hotel space, catering to the growing demand for experiences that nurture the body, mind, and soul.

According to Destination Analysts, more than 60 percent of travelers plan to prioritize relaxation and de-stressing while vacationing. In addition, the Global Wellness Institute expects wellness travel to grow exponentially through 2025, with spas having the largest annual growth. From personalization, enhanced technology, to tailored workshops or experiences, boutique hotels are expanding their wellness offerings beyond traditional treatments, providing a new type of escape for different travelers.

Personalized Wellness Experiences

Boutique hotels are placing a greater emphasis on personalized services, and wellness offerings are becoming a staple. In 2024, expect hotels to go beyond traditional spa bookings, offering customized wellness itineraries that include fitness classes, mindfulness sessions, nutritional guidance and offerings tailored to individual guest preferences. In Islamorada, Florida, at Amara Cay Resort and La Siesta Resort & Villas, travelers can arrange personalized beachside yoga, an oceanfront massage, sound bowl meditation and Reiki all right by the beach. At The Edgewater in Seattle, Washington guests can experience a private sound bath session, "The Silent Hum," an experience that takes place in a sound-proof room with acoustic resonance to create an intentional contrast from guests busy and overstimulated world.

The Oxford Hotel, part of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection— Photo by Curator Hotel & Resort CollectionThe Oxford Hotel, part of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection— Photo by Curator Hotel & Resort Collection
The Oxford Hotel, part of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection— Photo by Curator Hotel & Resort Collection

Tech-Enhanced Well-Being

From streamed workouts on smart devices to fitness applications and wearables that monitor physical activity, connected fitness has redefined what it means to exercise. With advancements in AI/ML technologies and virtual reality, the idea of connected fitness will continue to transform the gym experience by combining our wellness goals with our digital lives. In 2024, connected fitness will be the key for travelers hoping to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle while traveling. Connected fitness within hotels will enable guests to stay connected with their communities, while also propelling them to track their personal wellness goals, no matter where they are in the world.

Boutique hotels are integrating cutting-edge wellness tech, such as virtual fitness classes, in-room meditation apps, and wearable fitness trackers, allowing guests to seamlessly maintain their health routines during their stay.

Culinary Wellness Experiences

Fresh, inventive, and interesting culinary offerings are often a central aspect of the boutique hotel experience. In 2024, boutique hotels will continue to invest in culinary wellness, offering farm-to-table dining, personalized nutrition consultations, and menus that cater to various dietary preferences, including plant-based and allergen-free options. At the Oxford Hotel, and iconic landmark in Denver, Colorado guests can indulge in handcrafted cocktails in the Cruise Room and delicious dining at Urban Farmer, the Oxford's modern farm-to-table steakhouse. The restaurant was founded on the idea of responsibly sourced food and high-quality ingredients to create a one of a kind experience.

At the 1 Hotel in San Francisco, the no waste mixology classes utilize every part of an ingredient, lemons that are zested and juiced in the kitchen are then roasted in the wood-fired oven to extract additional juices that are used to create a syrup for their "Little Sea Monster" cocktail and then the lemons are "incinerated" in the wood-fired oven until they become an ash that is combined with sea salt to decorate the rim of the glass on their Z.W. Cocktail. At the Viceroy DC and the Hotel Zena, both in Washington, DC, guests can enjoy the newly launched wellness tea and coffee offerings in partnership with Good Pharma, a functional coffee and tea brand.

Guests at these properties can enjoy the brand's curated blends including, Brain Gain: a coffee and mushroom blend to maximize productivity, creativity, and focus, Resilience: a green tea and mushroom blend to bolster stamina and the immune system, No Worries: a caffeine-free blend of adaptogens, mushrooms and botanicals that target stress for relief of tension and anxiety to promote a balanced, calm body and mind and Rest Assured: a state-of-the-art herbal mushroom and botanical tea designed to help you achieve a deep restorative sleep.

Fitness Retreats and Workshops

Luxury fitness experiences are no longer confined to exclusive retreats; they have become a mainstream trend. Fitness retreats in exotic locations, fitness cruises, and luxury fitness festivals offer services that cater to guest needs.

Boutique hotels are increasingly positioning themselves as wellness destinations by hosting fitness retreats and workshops. Guests can expect immersive experiences ranging from yoga and meditation retreats to specialized fitness workshops led by renowned instructors, providing a comprehensive approach to health.

For example, the Chaminade Resort & Spa in Santa Cruz offers group workshops like a 45-minute Mindfulness Workshop inclusive of meditation practices and a Holistic Nutrition Workshop covering the mind-body connection through food. For a full day experience, the resort's "Day of Wellness" package features activities throughout the day infused with energy & vision, including a combination of interactive workshops, yoga sessions and a massage. These types of retreats can be enjoyed by families, groups of travelers or utilized by companies looking for wellness centered team-building activities.

Solo travelers and couples can also take advantage of the resort's spa, nearby hikes, pool and pickleball court when creating their own wellness retreat.

Social Wellness

Recognizing the importance of social connections in overall well-being, boutique hotels are fostering a sense of community among guests. Social wellness initiatives, such as group fitness classes, wellness retreats, and communal dining experiences, will be on the rise in 2024, encouraging guests to connect and support each other's health journeys. A stay at the Los Angeles Athletic Club occupying the top three floors of a 12-story historic landmark private club building includes exclusive membership to their Historic Private Club for the duration of your stay, which entails access to member-only dining, an award-winning craft cocktail bar, member-only events, and the world-class athletic and fitness facilities, with classes that include aerobic, circuit training, cycling, bootcamp, Pilates, squash, swimming, tai chi and yoga.

Los Angeles Athletic Club, part of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection— Photo by Curator Hotel & Resort CollectionLos Angeles Athletic Club, part of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection— Photo by Curator Hotel & Resort Collection
Los Angeles Athletic Club, part of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection— Photo by Curator Hotel & Resort Collection

Sustainability Practices and Mindful Design

A significant part of green living is for all of us to take ownership of our impact on the environment, instilling this sense of responsibility to the entire hotel team, starting with a hotel sustainability task force. Appointing individuals from all areas of operations to share ideas on green ideas and initiatives. The task force can consider every aspect of operations from hiring, booking, transportation, and overall hotel operations, as well as work with local conservation efforts.

Eco-conscious travelers are seeking hotels that align with these values. Boutique hotels are responding by adopting sustainable practices, from energy-efficient designs to eco-friendly amenities. Wellness, in 2024, will not only be about personal health but also the health of the planet. One hotel leading the charge is 1 Hotel San Francisco which is LEED certified equipped with state-of-the art energy efficient heating and cooling systems, CO2 offsets with real-time energy monitoring systems, true zero waste food management operations, green transportation options, intentional insulation, and building design and global carbon offset projects, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from every angle.

The physical environment of boutique hotels is becoming a key component of the wellness experience. Expect to see more hotels incorporating biophilic design elements, such as natural light, indoor plants, and sustainable materials, creating spaces that promote relaxation and tranquility. A good example of this is the Catbird Hotel in Denver, Colorado that partners with ReRoot plants, one of the best plant shops in the city, offering fresh plants around the hotel as well as plant classes, plant art nights, and workshops hosted by ReRoot that are both hands-on and educational.

The Forecast

In the post-pandemic world, everyone from celebrities to artists, business professionals to younger travelers, are booking wellness vacations seeking detox, personal growth, and holistic options. Travelers across all generations are more in tune with wellness and will want to maintain their routines while on vacation as we look ahead to 2024. The boutique hotel industry is at the forefront of this wellness revolution, and it will be an all-encompassing experience, infiltrating every aspect of boutique hotels in 2024. These establishments are no longer just places to stay; they are holistic sanctuaries that prioritize the health and well-being of their guests. From personalized services to tech-enhanced experiences and mindful design, boutique hotels are redefining luxury by offering a haven for rejuvenation and self-discovery.

As travelers increasingly seek meaningful and transformative experiences, the trends in health and wellness offerings at boutique hotels are set to shape the future of hospitality.

Reprinted from the Hotel Business Review with permission from http://www.hotelexecutive.com/.

Jennifer Barnwell
Curator Hotel & Resort Collection