Hotels have more of that “feel good feeling” about them today. Two recent trends are making guests not only feel more relaxed but also feel good about spending their money at certain hotels.

Now that hotel spas are considered more of a staple than a trend, hoteliers are extending their spa investment throughout the entire hotel. Some are adding in-room amenities while others are completely redesigning their entire hotels to offer a more peaceful, “Zen-like” experience to guests. These hotels must have drawn the conclusion that their guests are so stressed out that they need to feel they're in the spa even when they're not. After discovering how expensive a spa can be to build and operate, they may have also decided to focus on how to capture a greater percentage of the guests to recoup their investment.

Hilton plans to bring the spa experience into each of its guestrooms with the introduction of its new Serenity Bath Collection from Crabtree & Evelyn. The collection includes La Source bath amenities and custom-designed hammered stainless-steel accessories. This line was created to provide an in-home spa experience, and select products contain aloe vera and marine extracts.

W hotels, which, in the past had used Aveda, now use Bliss products as their in-room amenity. Some hotels not only have mini bars, but they also have “aromatherapy bars.” Guests can select from an assortment of aromatherapy oils and can have a relaxing whiff of lavender before they fall asleep. Some hotels are washing their bed linen with lavender-scented laundry detergent or offering flip flops in the guestrooms rather than slippers. (Some of the flip flops even have the spa logo on the bottom so when you walk in the sand, you leave the logo everywhere…nice advertising.)

Six Senses Resort and Spa management group take their resorts to a whole new level when it comes to being “spa-like.” In “The Approach” booklet they describe Soneva Resorts as “committed to offering luxuries of the highest international standard in an environment that nurtures the indigenous feel in design, architecture and service.” The concept of the resort strives to reward all the human senses to create a sense beyond the sixth sense.

In addition to the trend toward more spa-like hotels, many hotels are turning to a “green” concept. These earth-friendly inns, eco-lodges, eco-hotels and eco-resorts feature innovative and imaginative programs for conserving natural resources, reducing waste and minimizing pollution.

Backed by advertising clout of local and state government agencies, hotels such as Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch and Hyatt Sarasota are undergoing certification as green hotels, which are also referred to as green lodgings.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched a program one year ago to recognize hotels and resorts that take rigorous measures to become more environmentally friendly. The four-year-old Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch, which touts that it ranks third for service and overall satisfaction among 2,750 Holiday Inns in the Americas, will be the first to qualify as green lodging in Manatee and Sarasota counties in Florida.

The DEP is targeting tourism, Florida's largest industry, for improvements in water, energy, waste management and recycling, said Karen Moore, environmental specialist with the DEP in Tallahassee, FL.

This green approach goes hand in hand with spas, a great number of which are finding ways to become green and incorporate natural elements in their design. Instead of the cocoon-like facilities of the past, spas being built today are bright and airy, bringing in the natural elements, and the energy that goes along with it. In fact, some spas are not only bringing in more outside elements but they are also going outside with treatments. In Calistoga, CA, which is well known for its thermal springs, Auberge Resorts opened the Calistoga Ranch and Bathhouse spa. Now guests can take the waters in luxury and privacy. They nearly doubled the square footage of the spa by building around the spring and adding outdoor treatment rooms.

Fitness facilities should pay attention to these trends as they develop their look and feel for the future. The need that our society seems to feel in this day and age to relax and conserve natural resources is seeping into more and more businesses. Fitness clubs — some of which already see this trend — are another place where the need could play out in the future.


Glenn Colarossi is the president of Colarossi Spa & Health Club Consulting & Management. He has worked on projects throughout the world for five-star clients. He can be reached at 203-357-7555 or at www.healthclubandspa.com