Massage is not enough for the discerning tourist
If a five minute one-on-one meditation session led by a yogi is not enough to relieve your everyday stresses, then the ring of a singing bowl struck right beside your ear will definitely take your mind off your next deadline.
Moving far beyond the traditional massage, the latest addition to the treatment menu at the Talise Spa at the Madinat Jumeirah hotel in Dubai, is Dimensions of Wellness, a 90-minute journey that incorporates a range of different wellness elements, including yoga, Thai massage, signing bowl, meditation, stretching and breathing techniques, to give a fully immersive experience.
It is also a treatment that reflects the growing trend in the UAE towards a more holistic approach to wellbeing in spas, which are adding a broader range of mind and body enhancing experiences to the traditional menu of massages and facials.
For Madinat Jumeirah, the holistic wellbeing approach is not a fad, however. It is the basis of the Talise Spa brand, which was launched 10 years ago here at the hotel’s flagship spa.
“The Talise experience incorporates nutrition, exercise and fitness, alternative therapies, traditional spa treatments, relaxation and rejuvenation,” says the Paul Hawco, the director of Talise Spa operations at Jumeirah Group, which operates the hotel, of the treatments designed to embrace all elements of a client’s lifestyle. “Each Talise Spa provides a venue for positive lifestyle change through a selection of treatments and spa experiences tailored to individual guest needs.”
Thus, this vast complex with 26 treatment rooms and opulent relaxation areas inside and out, offers a broad range of experiences including weight-loss treatments and therapeutic and remedial massages, as well as stress relief and detoxification. It also has the AlphaSphere Deluxe pod, which uses colour, sound and aromatherapy, offers yoga sessions on the beach, has its own wellness chef, and is home to the DNA Center for Integrative Medicine, Wellness and Bio-Aesthetics, which promises a programme of preventative care, wellness and healthy ageing. This ethos has also allowed it to adapt and accommodate the new expectations of wellness tourists, who are looking for a more holistic experience during their stay in the UAE.
“Our guests are increasingly health conscious and looking to take more responsibility for their well being,” says Mr Hawco. “They are significantly more likely than older generations to use alternative healthcare and wellness options, and take advantage of brands that are authentically offering wellness solutions that provide impactful results and benefits.
“This direction, although considered a ‘trend’, is much more than a trend, it is a shift within our industry and one that is fully in line with our brand philosophy and approach.
“Destinations that offer truly authentic and innovative wellbeing experiences will be the success stories and we are already positively impacting tourism and inbound visits and becoming a leading player in promoting these sectors.”
The Dubai-based spa consultant Daniella Russell, the managing director of DR Spa and Wellness Solutions, and Wellness Inc Middle East, agrees that wellness is a growing component in the spa industry.
At this year’s beauty trade show Beauty World Middle East in Dubai, Ms Russell hosted the Economics of Wellness summit, a conference designed to look at the spa consumer’s growing interest in holistic wellness.
“The Baby Boomers are keen to live a healthy and active life for a long and enjoyable time, while the millennials are very health and fitness conscious, while the future generations of the centennials are already entering the food and beverage world as vegans and health-considerate youths of today, alongside the boom in fitness and lifestyle activities,” she says.
An expert in spa development and operations in the Middle East and the founder of one of the region’s first day spas, Dubai’s Cleopatra Day Spa, in 1998, Ms Russell says many clients are currently enlisting her services in “wellness facilitating” to either broaden their offer from spa to more comprehensive wellness or to build wellness facilities rather than purely spa facilities.
“My work has taken a more direct approach as to how to integrate more natural, holistic, specialist treatments … to service the consumer who is so advanced in what they are looking for to keep them healthy, fit, young, energetic and longer healthy life,” she says.
“Today’s trends are leaning much more towards wellness and the first Wellness – The Retreat will open this summer on the Palm under the MGallery Sofitel group.
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