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INTERVIEW

Discovering wellbeing Guests pay around US$500 (€425, £383) a night to stay in one of the 23 Banyan Tree Wellbeing Sanctuary villas in Phuket. That’s a 15-30 per cent premium depending on season and location. Included in this price is a daily massage – “spa is a critical component, we’re building on our foundation as a known wellbeing leader,” says Lee – and the option to try 50 different types of wellness activities, or 80 classes, a week. These range from more typical sessions such as yoga, pilates and talks on nutrition to less conventional things like gratitude meditation and conscious grounding (forest bathing and breathing by the ocean), which reflect Wellbeing Sanctuary’s philosophy of the intertwining of self, others and nature. “We’re also going to place a greater emphasis on mental wellbeing in response to the pandemic,” adds Lee, “with classes that focus on self-introspection and being aware of your emotions. I think this is the first step towards a journey of recovery and greater elevation. “This year, we built a space called the White Room, which provides a sanctuary for a sensory detox and we’re now developing a range of floatation experiences for our

The key is to help people discover the many components of wellbeing

The White Room provides a sanctuary for sensory detox

30 spabusiness.com issue 3 2020

Over the next 12 months, villa pools will be converted into floatation experiences

villas which we’ve found can be highly calming for the mind. We’ll launch these in Phuket towards the end of this year and roll them out over the next 12 months.” The key intention behind Wellbeing Sanctuary, says Lee, is to “help people discover the many components of wellbeing”. Not just physical, mental and social wellness, but things like gratitude, forgiveness and compassion. “We weave in a lot of activities and experiences which you probably don’t find in your daily life,” he says. And it’s not prescriptive. While tailored programmes can be put together if guests want, the starting point is to give them the freedom to pick and choose activities – at no extra cost. “We made a very conscious decision to make the activities complimentary to build a sense of trust,” says Lee, explaining that people are more likely to try something different if they’re not worried about hidden charges. This approach enables Banyan Tree to target a much broader market. Not just primary wellness travellers (those who choose a resort specifically for their health) but also secondary wellness travellers,

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Spa Business issue 3 2020  

Spa Business issue 3 2020