Sioux Henrietta Lees Director Spa & Wellness Raffles Hotel Group
Director Spa & Wellness

Holistic wellness (e.g. Yoga, Breathwork, Meditation, Mindfulness, Sound Bathing) is fairly new to the (GCC) region and therefore very limited in availability...

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The Future Of Wellness & Hospitality

The GCC region continues to be an area of interest where growth in the Hospitality and Wellness sectors is concerned, no more so than Saudi Arabia. Whilst the Kingdom is a relative newcomer to embracing Tourism, the pace is moving fast and areas such as Jeddah, The Red Sea, AlUla, NEOM and Diriyah Gate in Riyadh will all soon become home to the biggest names in luxury that include; Raffles, Fairmont, Jumeirah, Ritz Carlton Reserve, Four Seasons, Armani, Aman, Anantara and The Chedi. Many of these Hotel groups are also not only committing to one location, but in a few cases such as Raffles, there are currently a number of projects in the pipeline which will really cement the brand firmly in the Kingdom.

Wellness is also a massive growth sector in the region, as historically Spas have for the most part focused on Gentlemen only, but with the many changes taking place in this ever-evolving Country, this is changing rapidly and the demand for Ladies only Spas is high. Hotel Spas will need to continue to focus on design and build that allows for completely segregated areas as whilst the Country is embracing change, we must remember that this is still a very traditional Country and also the home of Islam. Ladies Spas will benefit greatly from including a studio space as generally classes are preferred to personal training – and at the end of the day, Arabic culture is very social and the same goes for exercise. Also, to be considered in the design of Saudi Arabian Spas, will be communal areas for refreshments such as Juice Bars / Coffee lounges – yes, whilst we would not ordinarily serve coffee in our Spas elsewhere in the World, here it may be essential in order to satisfy the needs of the guests, especially the renowned Saudi Coffee. Additionally, from a nutrition standpoint, culturally the Arabic guests love sugary foods, so there will be opportunities to provide nutritional education for overall long-term health.

Holistic wellness (e.g. Yoga, Breathwork, Meditation, Mindfulness, Sound Bathing) is also fairly new to the region and therefore very limited in availability, but this will also be an area for Spas to build upon and create more awareness on the importance of mental health and mind / body fitness.

These are exciting times for this region and none other than the Hotels and Spas that will be launching in the coming months and years and especially those lucky enough to be working in and experiencing this very special culture.

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