There is no doubt in most travel professionals minds that this is the golden age of luxury travel spending. Millennials with high paying jobs and successful businesses are on a crusade to find themselves and have no problem shelling out cash to help with the hunt.
Luxury travel and experiences are now the preferred outlet for spending as well heeled shoppers divert resources to seeing the world instead of things that go fast or sparkle.
One of the more dominate trends in the luxury travel category are enhanced and luxury spa and wellness experiences. Many luxury resorts and hotel brands have invested in revamping, renovating or creating their spa facilities and wellness offerings.
Karine Lackner, a well known travel media personality agrees and in a recent interview with TheTopTier, she suggest that Spa and Wellness could be a more long term travel trend than the flavor of the week. She recently published a spa & wellness themed publication that spotlights the very best experiences from the top providers.
We caught up with Karine to get an update on this specific area of luxury travel:
TheTopTier: Congratulations on the new spa issue Karine. When we last spoke, you confirmed that spa and wellness were going to be a defining trend in luxury travel in 2016. In your research for the issue, can you elaborate on how this trend is evolving?
Karine Lackner: It is evolving in many different ways. First, new resorts give much more space often 4,000m2 and more to their spa to make it a unique wellness sanctuary, many add thalassotherapy and floating pools, light therapies and heat experiences, including ice-grotto rooms, mist showers and herbal saunas. Secondly, Kinisiotherapy, a technique used to release muscle tension and shortening, DNA specialists who can help improve your health by lifestyle changes necessary due to your genetic situation and healing visiting practitioners in resorts are some of the added values in luxury travel, as people will finally have the time to benefit from such offers in their vacation.
TTT: What are some of the more popular spa trends and treatments that you have seen among the resorts included in the issue?
KL: SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain for example proposes a large variety of spa treatments, health, beauty and slimming treatments combined with delicious Macrobiotic food. Soneva Kiri in Thailand proposes the Six Senses treatments known all over the world with a variety of visiting practitioners, and new detox cures as well as wellness body’s weak points lay and an Ayurvedic doctor who runs it through a high-tech program on his laptop gives you guidelines how to direct your lifestyle in the right direction in order to regulate your body and not expose him to potentially harmful sickness. Emotional wellbeing is also an important focus, which can be achieved by meditation sessions.
Pampering can range from herbal baths to sessions in a Rasul chamber, hour-long yoghurt, cucumber, melon and honeys facials and hot coconut oil hair and scalp treatments. A special spa experience in the wilderness in Southafrica accompagnied by game-drives past giraffe, relaxed rhino and herds of buffalo may be another exotic choice. The therapeutic olive-oil treatments (oleotherapy®), based on ancient local practices inscribed on clay tablets discovered at the nearby Palace of Nestor, are unique. Many therapies expand on the ideas of Hippocrates (460-377 BC), known in the West as the father of medicine, who described olive oil as “the great therapeutic” which are proposed in Greece at Costa Navarino ( This will be in my next issue)
TTT: Wellness is one of those vague terms that can really be interpreted differently. What are your thoughts on what makes an luxury ‘wellness’ experience? What should a potential traveller expect when exploring wellness?
KL: You are absolutely right. It depends on the traveller himself how well he is instructed and what he would be looking for. Any luxury resort today would have luxurious facilities, but more important are the people behind each and every treatment and what they can convey, either through a touch, an experience or deep knowledge of ancient wisdom. The luxury is on both sides, one the impeccable, clean, inviting and relaxing facilities, the other one the luxury of quality and time a treatment can bring you.
TTT: It may be rude of us to ask you to single out your favorite spa resort from the issue but could you share some of your favorites?
KL: One of my favorite spas when it comes to luxury was in Marrakech, the Royal Mansour, where the only Chanel treatment room in a resort is available in the world. The Mandarin Oriental has an amazing in-door pool and hamman, it is just pure luxury wherever you go. The Sha Wellness Clinic in Spain has the most complete program, but is more focused on health, than on pampering, which is nonetheless amazing.
TTT: Will the spa and wellness movement continue into the latter half of 2016 and 2017? Are there any other popular non-spa trends you are seeing among luxury providers?
KL: Yes off course, in a world that does not stop and even goes faster and faster everyone needs to find a balance and detox from many things. The other trend I can see developing are beautiful golf courses on shores with unobstructed views to the sea which is another indication that ‘ back to nature and yourself ‘ is becoming a necessity.
TTT: Thank you for sharing your thoughts Karine. This is probably one of the more definitive spa and wellness guides for 2016 and is a must have resource for industry professionals.
By Doron Levy Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media