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Elevating Wellness in Hospitality: A Conversation with Khun Kanidtha Pattanapanitchakul

From the idyllic tropical islands of  Thailand’s to the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City, an evolution is taking place in the hospitality sector of the Asia Pacific. A shift towards wellness-focused amenities and experiences is rapidly reshaping the industry. No one understands this shift better than designer Khun Kanidtha, Hospitality Sector Leader based in dwp’s Bangkok studio who is spearheading several innovative hospitality projects across the region. We sat down with Kanidtha to discuss her perspective on this blossoming wellness trend.

Q: What are the wellness amenities that are in demand in the hospitality sector in Asia Pacific?

Kanidtha: The Asia Pacific region has witnessed a palpable surge in demand for wellness amenities. Guests now seek out experiences that holistically cater to their health and wellness. Fitness facilities have become an absolute must, equipped with top-notch gear and expert trainers. Spas and massage services, offering a diverse array of therapies, facial treatments, and body scrubs, are increasingly in demand. Yoga and meditation sessions are also growing popular, with guests eager to maintain their routines while traveling. For instance, at the Movenpick BDMS Wellness resort in Bangkok, we’ve integrated amenities like cryosaunas and floatation tanks. This high-tech wellness arsenal has become one of our key selling points.

In addition, hotel guests are now searching for wholesome, healthy food options. Locally-sourced organic cuisine that caters to a variety of dietary requirements is becoming more important. There is also a yearning for the calming influence of nature and greenery. Hotels offering mind and body activities, such as Tai Chi workshops, cooking classes, and creative arts programs, are witnessing a surge in popularity. All these amenities aim to ensure that travelers maintain their well-being during their stay and return home refreshed.

Q: It seems that there is a shift of perception of luxury, is new luxury more about being effortless and wellness-centered?

Kanidtha: Absolutely. Luxury today is less about blatant displays of opulence and more about crafting experiences that prioritize guests’ well-being. There’s an escalating demand for sustainable, mindful design that integrates wellness into architecture and hospitality. New luxury is not about material indulgence but focuses on curated experiences that cater to individual well-being. In a recent high-end residential project in Malaysia, we intertwined indoor and outdoor design elements to create experiences that deeply connect people with nature.

The role of technology cannot be overlooked in creating an effortless experience for guests. With advanced tech, we can offer a personalized, friction-free experience that elevates luxury to new heights. Contactless check-ins, for example, let guests skip the front desk and use their smartphones instead, seamlessly integrating into their digital lifestyle. These digital keys also make room access a breeze.

Q: What are the future trends in wellness in the hospitality sector?

Kanidtha: There’s a significant movement towards wellness travel as people are becoming more conscious of their health. People are seeking solace from their busy lives, hunting for ways to relax, disconnect, and rejuvenate. The inclusion of wellness amenities in hotels and resorts provide the perfect refuge for individuals seeking comfort and good health.

Moreover, wellness travel is a burgeoning industry worldwide. The Asia Pacific region, especially Thailand, with its scenic beauty, tropical climate, and tranquil surroundings, provides an ideal backdrop for wellness tourism. As such, hotels and resorts are innovatively incorporating wellness amenities to lure this new breed of travelers, eager to preserve their health even while vacationing.

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