The decryption of Josette Sicsic (Futuroscopie)
The “well-being” surge is far from ebbing. On the contrary, in the aftermath of a pandemic that has left many of us knocked down, worried, stressed and sometimes downright sick, the use of one of the countless “wellness” offers on the planet is increasingly common and pressing. Next to home or on vacation. Among the protagonists of this race for happiness, the tourist actors are working hard. In the lead, the Accor group which announces the launch of its “Health to Wealth” program. Nothing revolutionary, but confirmation that the hotel group has understood the interest of this positioning and the production of an original and diverse offer. While mountain resorts are also multiplying the offers capable of “doing good” and while destinations around the world are refining their brochures, it is the whole world that is now affected by what we would be wrong to take it for a fashion.
The establishments of Canyonranch, in the United States, present themselves as “spiritual spas” and display a program that casts little doubt on their objectives of active repair of the being – DR: Canyonranch
Emlyn Brown, International Wellness Director of the Accor Group, said: We are thrilled to launch the Health to Wealth program and bring a new dimension to our mission, bringing together a group of change-making thinkers from a wide variety of backgrounds who we hope will contribute to the wholeness mental and physical well-being for our guests “.
Aware of the interest of integrating mental well-being combined with physical well-being in all aspects of daily life, the group led by Sébastien Bazin had been thinking about the subject for several years.
In 2017, a study was launched and in 2018, the CEO confirmed his desire to act in this niche.
But, for him, it was not only a question of multiplying spas and other fitness equipment.
Supporter of a holistic approach to well-being, Accor very early on implemented a strategy also centered on these essential complements to the “Zen attitude”: design, nutrition, quality of sleep, discovery of the environment local…
An infinite range of activities
If, in France, the big players in tourism are rallying to the banner of “wellness”, they have however been slow to do so.
In addition to thalassotherapy, which successfully developed its costly equipment, and a few balneotherapy spots dealing with the body rather than the mind, the field was free for a whole “New Age” movement to settle in the niche and multiply the offers of stays including yoga, tai-chi, meditationfasting, Tibetan walking, dietetics, naturopathy… gathered under very general and plural titles: fitness, detox, letting go, healing, personal development, reconnection… and spirituality.
Among this movement, to all lord, all honor, “the space of possibilities” created in 1977 in Charente-Maritime by French followers of oriental techniques introduced the idea that the holidays were not only a time of reconstruction for the body, but also a time of reconstruction for the mind.
Frequented by a faithful clientele from the start but also by new generations of young people tempted by a holiday experience open to a hundred different disciplines allowing you to relax, let go, disconnect while giving your life a bit of spirituality and, by reinventing itself, Space has still not aged a bit.
On the contrary, it has diversified its range of activities and its clientele while serving as a scout for many new establishments of the same style, but far from reaching its reception capacity.
Esalen in California: the pioneer
But it was on the other side of the Atlantic that a historic site set the tone for this new generation of establishments.
This is’Esalen in California who, on the edge of the sumptuous cliffs of Big Sur, is in her fifties and does not stop reaffirming her values and her objectives: to regenerate herself in order to regenerate humanity!
But Esalen has also understood the evolution of clienteles and the opportunity to integrate in the same site accommodation in sleeping bags and another in luxury rooms, with, between the two, the whole range of possible accommodation.
Differences in standard which result in a fee schedule ranging from $900 for a week and a person to $4,500, and in the presence of a very mixed population made up of senior executives from Silicon Valley and “blue collars” come from everywhere.
In fact, on the American continent undermined by its existential problems and a quest for happiness enshrined in the constitution, places dedicated to global health are flourishing.
It would certainly be pretentious to want to identify them as they are numerous, in all hotel ranges and in all registers of therapy, nevertheless some other than Esalen illustrate our point.
This is the case, for example, of the 5 establishments of Canyonranch, located between Arizona, Colorado and Massachusetts.
Created towards the end of the 1970s, these sites immediately set the tone. They present themselves as “spiritual spas” and display a program that casts little doubt on their goals of active repair of being!
A little further south, in Central America, Costa Rica has a hundred establishments of spiritual retreats including some luxury.
It has thus made a specialty of these fabulous resorts, ecological, integrated in the tropical forest, offering not only contact with an exceptionally preserved nature but a range of treatments and activities. There is even accommodation from the Four Seasons group.
India: an Ayurveda paradise
Discovered by young Westerners in the sixties, places dedicated to spiritual and therapeutic practices related to Hinduism and its multiple mobilities, however, constitute the true pioneers.
Attracting hundreds of thousands of short or long-term vacationers to all sorts of dedicated places, rightly or wrongly baptized ashrams, India quickly understood the opportunity to exploit its ancestral know-how in a top-of-the-range hotel industry. range, especially in Kerala, cradle of Ayurveda and the state of Goa.
We have thus seen the opening of luxury resorts along the Indian Ocean, near the resort of Kovalam, offering an unequaled site, lodgings in the style of luxury lodges, integrated into a sumptuous flora, and above all activities of high quality led by “local masters” with undeniable and undisputed competence. See for example: manaltheeram.com/.
In the Himalayas, the Ananda resort in fact just as much in another setting. But, be careful, they should not be confused with simple “spa”, as luxurious as they are, simply offering massages and other aesthetic treatments, rejuvenation, relaxation!
Still in Asia, Thailanda mass tourism destination, has clearly understood the need to include comparable establishments in its offer.
But, less credible than India, it attracts a clientele more tempted by aesthetic and regenerating treatments, than enriching on a personal level.
As for South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibetstrong in their thousand-year-old traditions, they are now able to offer luxury hotels to prestigious brands such as Como or Six Senses or even Hilton, which are totally seasoned in relaxation practices.
Same the Philippines and their “faith healers” practicing “quantum” medicine are beginning to attract a very knowledgeable elite…