Wellness: Affordable Spring-Break Retreats


Blue Lagoon — Grindavik, Iceland

Although Iceland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of spring break, the country's abundance of all natural geothermal spas does make it a top candidate for anyone in need of a little rest and relaxation. Lauded as one of National Geographic's "25 Wonders of the World," the Blue Lagoon's mineral-rich geothermal seawater has developed an international reputation for its healing effects on the skin, and for good reason — the combination of naturally occurring minerals, silica, and algae are known to stimulate collagen synthesis, the process that gives skin its smooth, youthful appearance. The standard rate of €40 ($44) is a rather small price to pay for four hours in a 100-degree, nine million-liter fountain of youth.

Pura Vida Retreat & Spa — Alajuela, Costa Rica

Spanning more than seven acres 4,900 feet above sea level, Pura Vida Retreat and Spa is where you go to find peace in the clouds. The resort's customized three, five, and seven-night mind-body-spirit packages include everything from room accommodations and meals to yoga sessions, massages, eco-adventures, and guided coffee plantation hikes. They even throw in round trip airport transfers to boot. Package rates start as low as $655 per person and nightly rates start at $115.

Tassajara — Carmel Valley, California

Situated in a mountain valley just inland from the iconic Big Sur coast, Tassajara is one of the three practice communities that comprise the San Francisco Zen Center. If you're looking for a later break, beginning in April, Tassajara offers Engaging Earth Retreats with a special focus on nature, wildflowers, and the culinary arts. Whether you sign up for "Cooking and Gardening in the Heart of Tassajara" or the "Zen of Baking," you will have the opportunity to practice bringing the art of Zen more fully into your daily life as you grow more intimate with Tassajara's gardens and kitchen. Retreat rates start at $225.

LUXE Branding: Sensory Marketing

Amin & Co. - Dallas Beauty Marketing

Involuntary Memory describes how everyday life triggers like sounds and smells can recall memories of the past without conscious effort. Elements such as scents, sounds and color can make someone feel like they are a place worlds away, when in actuality, they are physically elsewhere. For example, a coconut scent can jog our memories to a tropical beach getaway, while we are actually at home, just trying to survive sub-zero temperatures in the middle of a Midwestern winter.

This powerful memory tool can be utilized in spas or salons to create sensory experiences that your clients will recall long after their visit. The experts at Universal Companies share their advice of how you can build your own brand through this marketing technique.

Scent Branding:  Using scents in your spa business can create desired moods and impressions. The spa experience becomes the nostalgic memory sparked by a particular scent. Karen Short, vice president of marketing says, “Using our ESS Aromatherapy blends, you can layer a signature scent throughout your spa, immediately sending your clients back to their last experience in your spa whenever they smell your brand scent. Coordinate with retail items that allow clients to take a bit of the spa home with them." Scents can trigger an emotional response, which can then create a deeper connection between clients and their experience.

Sound Branding: Waves gently crashing, wind rustling the leaves and gently falling rain may quickly bring to mind your favorite vacation spots or a relaxing backyard oasis. Your spa can use sounds of nature, chiming tones, chanting, or signature music to tie in with your specific brand. Using speakers that are built into massage headrests is a simple way to replicate the feel of an expensive sound system. “The Zenvi is a face cushion offering little pockets for an iPod to slip into and flat panel speakers built in,” Short says. “The head rest is angled so that only the clients can hear the music in about a one foot area. Outside that span, it is quiet and does not interfere with other rooms or the hallway. You can create a completely customized sound system for your spa.”

Elemental Branding: Wind, water and fire create a dramatic ambiance at your salon or spa. Fountains, ambient lighting, wind chimes, candles and fire effects, or anything you can think of that plays off the four elements can create a unique look and feel to your space.

Color Branding: A consistent color scheme creates a one-of-a-kind pallet for your salon or spa, whether that be through the room’s paint, linens or hardware. Coordinate the look of your brand and show consistency by choosing colors and patterns that reflect your spa. Or use pops of color or exotic prints for international treatments or elegant damask patterns for a luxurious feel. “Selecting a linen line that feels opulent to the touch will increase your client’s sensory experience,” Short says.




Travel: Sub-Saharan Africa

Amin & Co. - Wellness Tourism Marketing

Economic growth has helped make Sub-Saharan Africa the world’s fastest-growing market for wellness tourism, and North Africa the second fastest, according to a Stanford Research Institute report for Miami-based Global Wellness Institute.

The Stanford study covered Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, among others.

Wellness travel is travel for the purpose of promoting well being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities, according to Travelmarketreport.com.

In 2013, sub-Sahara saw 4.2 million wellness trips with visitors spending $3.2 billion on wellness. This was a $575-million increase over 2012.

This increase is partly due to economic growth of countries such as South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria, which all increased presence and demand of wellness players, TourismReview reports.

North Africa was the second fastest-growing area for wellness tourism, along with the Middle East. Though wealthier than sub-Saharan Africa, it had a slower rate of growth despite 7 million wellness trips and $7.3 billion in revenue in 2013.

A 2015 Trend Report by Spafinder identified some travel trends and made some predictions about how the market will evolve and what customers will want and expect for 2015 and coming years, TourismReview reports.

Here area few of the findings:

  • Spas are combining the concept of wellness with an old-but-new-again product: cannabis. After its liberalization in some North American states, high-end tours with luxury experiences are emerging.
  • In Africa and the Middle East, spas are increasingly enhancing wellness treatments with Islamic cures that go beyond hammams. They’re rediscovering the benefits of dust-baths, mud-baths,  and the factors, ingredients and experiences tied to local wellness culture, according to TourismReview.
  • Social fitness is becoming more about a sense of belonging to a community. Groups attend big fitness events but also visit venues such as traditional spas that offer special packages. This trend is seeing exponential growth by specialized tour operators, according to TourismReview.
  • The luxury trend in wellness at the most exclusive venues is not about celebrities but about experiences, TourismReview reports. New luxury means exotic and local — plenty of space and solitude. Less is more.
  • In 2015 expect a new ritual in travel: spas in airports. Air carriers offer arriving passengers wellness services in their lounges as a courtesy service for jet-lag recovery.

Europe and North America are leading the wellness tourism market, according to the Stanford Research Institute report. Asia ranks third, TourismReview reports.


Travel: Six Senses NEW Resort

Amin & Co. - Bespoke digital marketing and consulting for travel, beauty and wellness brands

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced that it will develop a resort in the southwest of Bali at Uluwatu, a 35-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport. The resort is set atop a rugged cliff, sharing the spectacular ocean views with the island’s famed Uluwatu Temple.

Drawing upon the renowned Six Senses commitment of providing top-tier facilities wedded to environmental responsibility, the resort and spa has been brilliantly designed and when combined with the innovative spirit of the owners, PT Cahaya Warna Prima, it will result in a rare development.

True to Six Senses inimitable style, Six Senses Bali will include 28 sky villas, 62 one-­bedroom villas and seven two-bedroom villas that draw upon the local culture, embrace nature and offer every creature comfort.  The ultimate in Six Senses accommodations, the expansive and beautifully-appointed Retreat Villa, sits on a prominent knoll with sweeping views of the ocean and overall resort.  Two restaurants, a pool bar and a specialty restaurant with chef’s table, cooking school and extensive organic garden are planned.  

Situated on a 30-acre site, the project will be completed in two stages. The first phase includes the resort which rests on 16 acres, while phase two includes 60 residential villas available for purchase including luxurious three-bedroom family retreats.

“Six Senses is delighted to work with PT Cahaya Warna Prima on the Uluwatu development. The location is incredible and the design approach perfect for our brand. Innovative and fresh, this project will offer a new dimension in wellness for active and health-minded travelers,” said President Bernhard Bohnenberger of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.

In a famed island environment so deeply rooted with wellness and personal care, Six Senses Spa will be right in its element. The spa will feature locally-inspired specialty treatments together with an extensive menu of signature therapies. There will be something for everyone, from multi-day wellness programs to rejuvenation therapies and detox, as well as a selection of activities and complimentary morning yoga.

In addition to the Six Senses Spa, on-site activities will include a vast central pool and a gym. An event lawn will enhance the facilities of a beautiful ballroom, two meeting rooms and a wedding pavilion. The resort’s own Balinese temple will create a tranquil setting and present the true essence of the island’s deep cultural beliefs.

Six Senses Bali will include an Experiences Center that can arrange visits to everything that this legendary island has to offer, from sightseeing excursions, to cultural events plus over and underwater activities. This coastline is also one of the top places on the island see spectacular sunsets with sweeping panoramas out to the Indian Ocean.

Uluwatu is perhaps best known for Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of the six key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars, renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 250 feet (70 meters) above the sea. Ulu means top or tip and watu means stone or rock in Bahasa Indonesia. Several archaeological remains found here prove the temple to be of megalithic origin, dating back to around the 10th century.

Six Senses Bali is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.


Spa: 5 MUST-Visit Global Spas

South Africa: Karkloof Safari Spa
Set within the heart of a scenic game reserve, Africa’s largest spa and 5 star resort is the ultimate upmarket retreat. Enhance your well-being with a choice of wellness programmes, from detox to weight management, whilst enjoying nutritious organic cuisine and exploring an exotic list of natural spa treatments, with up to eleven treatments each day. Experience an unforgettable adventure through the African wilderness with your own private guide and vehicle, or work up a sweat with guided hikes and mountain biking trips.

Thailand: Soneva Kiri 
Escape to the secluded Thai island of Koh Kood where luxury wellness retreat Soneva Kiri takes indulgence to a whole new level. Taking inspiration from local Asian practices, the Six Senses Spa offers a range of holistic treatments which complement a choice of tailor-made yoga, detox, de-stress and fitness programmes. Reach new heights with Treepod dining; a culinary experience of the utmost luxury. Suspended in the forest canopy, take in breath-taking coastline views, whilst your waiter delivers gourmet delights via zip line. 


Bali: Como Shambhala
Set in 9 acres of lush tropical surroundings, this multi-award winning retreat offers a holistic approach to luxury wellness. Choose from a number of tailor-made wellness programmes, from detox to fitness, whilst giving a boost to your well-being with healthy cuisine, a dedicated Ayurvedic doctor, yoga and daily morning walks. Pay a visit to healing spring waters of The Source or unwind by the infinity pool of your own private villa, whilst having your every need taken care of by your own personal assistant

Oman: Zighy Bay
Unwind in the lap of luxury at Zighy Bay in Oman, where ancient holistic treatments at the Six Senses Spa and expert wellness consultants will set you on the right path towards a healthier and happier lifestyle. From cleansing detox diets, to yogic practice, personal fitness and adrenaline fuelled adventure activities, this luxury wellness retreat caters to your every desire. Raise your heart rate with paragliding or scuba diving and make the most of Zighy Bay’s secluded private bay on a traditional dhow cruise at sunset.

Turks & Caicos: Parrot Cay
It doesn’t get more exclusive than a luxury wellness retreat situated on its own private island. Guests seeking the ultimate luxury escape can rent their own private ocean villa, complete with a dedicated butler to meet your every need. Heal with holistic therapies at the award-winning spa, explore the coastline with catamaran sailing and stand-up paddle boarding, and complete your well-being venture with daily beach yoga and Pilates classes. Dine in style with private beach picnics, tiki hut dinners or pool side meals at your private villa.