Hotel News We Noted: June 14, 2013

Happy Friday, “Hotel News We Noted” readers. Summer is heating up, and that means that the hotel world is in full swing, promoting summer travel, touting new resort openings and even launching new initiatives. This column brings you the best, the weirdest and the most interesting news of note from the hospitality world each week. Have a tip, comment or question? Leave your note below or shoot us an email. We’d love to hear from you!

News of Note: Omni Gets Five
Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts has gotten even grander as of July 1 with the acquisition of five of the country’s best-known resorts. The five properties are Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, TX; La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA; Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA; The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC; and The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. We’re excited for the addition of these new properties to the brand’s portfolio – it gives us an even better way to use our loyalty points!

Wellness World: Trump Launches New Wellness Endeavor
We all know that Donald Trump doesn’t do anything halfway. It’s all in or “you’re fired,” as the catchphrase goes. So now, the brand has launched a comprehensive wellness program that blends healthy menus (Trump’s “Nourish”) with a healthy kids menu and super-fast-delivery menus (“Quick Bites”), plus has a fitness component (“Travel Fit”) that includes delivery of equipment to the room plus apparel, footwear and an iPod. In addition to working with two of the best brands in the biz (Technogym and Under Armour), Trump has done a brand-wide sweep of all in-room dining, quick dining and minibar options to make them all healthier and locally focused wherever possible. Kudos to Trump for going over the top – in a very good way.
Sad Hotel News: Carbon Monoxide Kills Young Boy At North Carolina Best Western
It was reported this week that a young boy was killed by carbon monoxide at a North Carolina Best Western hotel. The room, which was directly above the hotel’s pool heating equipment, also had caused the death of an elderly couple earlier in the year. While the incident is certainly unfortunate, it illustrates a scary fact – hotels are not often required to have in-room carbon monoxide detectors. If you feel faint, dizzy, or develop severe headaches in your hotel room, alert a member of the staff immediately.

Cool Promo: Marriott’s Autograph Collection Develops A Limited Edition Cocktail Book With Jim Beam Bourbon
Capitalizing on the small-batch cocktail trend (and just in time for National Bourbon Day, today!) the Autograph Collection of Marriott, a portfolio of fun independent hotels, has launched a special limited edition cocktail book with special drinks inspired by 12 of the hotels. Sample a drink that reminds you of Scrub Island in the BVIs or the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront. Scrub Island did a “Scrub Island Dream,” a mix on a Dark and Stormy with bourbon, passion fruit puree and ginger beer, while the Bohemian reinvented a classic gin martini with a mix of Bourbon, amaretto, bitters and orange juice dubbed the Maritime Martini.

Wellness when traveling now more than a trip to the gym

When we think of wellness when traveling, thoughts turn to the exercise facility at a hotel. Maybe a walk on a beach comes to mind or the extra exercise we might get naturally at a destination we visit. That’s a good place to start but hotels are taking that idea a step or two further, defining wellness as just one part of a healthier lifestyle.

“Wellness is about more than exercising and living a healthier lifestyle, it’s about a completely changed attitude toward the way most people live their daily lives – especially when they travel,” says Dan Marcec, managing editor of Hotel Interactive.

Pointing out that wellness involves a balance of mind, body and spirit that will deliver a better, richer quality of life, Kristi Bonsack, director of wellness at Longboat Key Club & Resort, notes that “the medical field is about helping to cure disease, where as wellness is about preventing it, and there’s a distinction. Being well is not about limiting life, but enhancing it.”

Hotels, resorts, cruise lines and other lodging options are doing more to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Wellness programs are easy to access for travelers and are timed to meet their needs. The focus is on encouraging and empowering guests to find a balance of fitness, nutrition, education and relaxation, far more than merely providing directions to where the on-site fitness center is located.”Wellness encompasses everything – your dining, leisure activities, sleeping habits, and even finding joyful things in your day,” says Bonsack.

Wellness when traveling is becoming more popular all the time. Now, in addition to checking room rates, directions to the hotel and availability on dates we want to travel, those planning a hotel stay are looking for wellness options. Questions like “Is there healthy food available on-site or close-by?” and “What programming is available that contributes to my wellness and will fit into my schedule?” are being asked and the answers are often hard to find. Still, there are resources available that can help.

  • Spafinder is dedicated to helping people find establishments, experiences and information that promote the well-being of body, mind and spirit and to inspire them to lead a healthy lifestyle.
  • The HealthyTravelNetwork has a mission to build a community of business travelers who are united by a common commitment to fitness and by a desire to be role models in helping America build a culture based on health and well-being.
  • Travel To Wellness is an online resource catering specifically to the growing number of wellness-minded travelers and the expanding spa and wellness travel niche.

Responding to an increasing demand, even cruise lines are focusing on wellness. Once the land of never-ending buffets and an almost guaranteed ten-pound weight gain after sailing, cruise lines are now offering more healthy lifestyle choices. Capitalizing on the all-inclusive nature of a cruise vacation, accessing healthy lifestyle choices is just as easy as bellying up to the Chocolate buffet.

In addition to the standard complement of exercise equipment found on most ships, now world-class rock-climbing walls, ice skating rinks, and full-size basketball courts are available at sea. Recently, Royal Caribbean invited guests to participate in the line’s first “Royal 5K St Maarten run”, Carnival Cruise Lines introduced SkyCourse, the cruise industry’s first-ever ropes course aboard Carnival Magic, and Princess Cruises got in the swing of things with the world’s first-ever marathon at sea. Aboard Celebrity Cruises ships, a rabidly popular Celebrity Life program features life-enhancing programs that provide a hands-on, active participation role for passengers as well as something to take back home that contributes to overall wellness.

“Wellness Travel is about traveling for the primary purpose of achieving, promoting or maintaining maximum health and a sense of well-being,” says TravelToWellness, encouraging us to be “proactive in discovering new ways to promote a healthier, less stressful lifestyle. It’s about finding balance in one’s life. It begins with intent.”

Flickr photo by mark sebastian