After being shut down, hotels had to restructure and rethink their plans upon reopening. With the limited contact policies that were put into place, hotels also began to restructure their wellness plans for their guests. In an interview with Forbes, Chris Erickson, hotel manager of The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, explains that they're seeing a greater demand for wellness offerings. "What we’re finding is people were unable to go to Mexico, Puerto Rico—pick a sunny destination—Hawaii, and they want pampering here, and they need it. There’s a heavy desire in the local market for self-care," he says.
Forbes dove deeper into how hotel spas, gyms, golf courses and other amenities are being altered to still bring an aspect of wellness and pampering to their guests in light of COVID-19.
For starters, a big change when it comes to hotel spas is the new rundown that each guest receives in terms of safety protocols and social distancing rules and requirements. Another major change? The reduced capacity that many hotel spas are working at: Some have been reduced to 50% capacity, and others are operating at an even lower rate than that.
Communal spa areas have also changed drastically; in fact, most are shut down, which means that there's no access to sauna rooms and whirlpools, limited locker availability and no snack or drink services.
Regarding the treatments themselves, spas are taking a range of different approaches to providing guests with a sense of well-being. Some recently created, special treatments include:
Anantara Spa at Anantara Siam Bankok Hotel. This spa created a targeted massage lotion to provide immunity-boosting and antibacterial benefits.
Carillon Miami Wellness Resort. This resort introduced high-tech, touchless wellness experiences for their guests including sleep therapy and holotherapy.
Miami Hotel Prism Light Pod. The Prism Light Pod uses red light therapy to accelerate natural healing at 4 to 10 times the usual rate.
Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. This spa created a "touch free" spa menu featuring Hyperice massage, which uses a device to relax muscles and work out knots. The menu also includes reiki and sound bath therapy.
Sunstone Spa. This spa took a more simplistic approach by altering massages to be strictly facedown for 40 to 60 minutes.
Depending on the rules in each location, some treatments aren't able to be performed, like couples massages, facials and spa party packages. Even with these changes and reduced amenities, hotels are still able to offer a version of wellness to guests.
Another area of wellness that has seen some change is in fitness centers. Even though working off some steam is a great past time, especially right now, hotels have had to modify their fitness offerings to make them more COVID-friendly for guests. One step requires spacing out equipment, so that everything is at least six feet apart.
The Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village also provides guests with small magnetic strips upon entering the gym that they fasten to their machines once they've finished their workout. This alerts the staff that the machine is ready to be sanitized.
“I think that it is important—now more than ever—to give personalized care and attention to our guests throughout their experience with us. Traditionally, gym-going has always been about improving your own health; now it is also about protecting the health of others in your community," said Victoria Nickle, executive director of Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village's California Health & Longevity Institute.
To offer this same sense of fitness and well-being to their clients who are a little nervous about going back to a gym setting, The Four Seasons in L.A. has provided Fit with Four Seasons, an app that provides a series of workouts for guests to do in their hotel room or at home.
Some properties, like the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, have taken a completely different route, converting two wellness suites into a gym that can be rented out for an entire day.
Whether from the cuisine, spa treatments or fitness centers, it looks like COVID-19 is not slowing hotels down when it comes to offering their guests a sense of wellness and well-being.