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Culinary Tourism and Wellness Travel

11 November 2020

Culinary tourism and wellness travel have co-existed for a number of years, but as both spaces evolve, their relationship is now more pronounced.

Wellness as we know it, is about transforming yourself, to be your best self, achieved through a variety of authentic travel experiences. It comes in many different modalities; you might spend time practicing yoga in an Indian Ashram, nourishing your body with the delights of an Ayurvedic diet at a wellness resort or enjoying a Halotherapy experience in Yangzhou. We are going beyond the standard wellness retreat in favour of varied experiences that will broaden your horizons, mindfulness, and heal your gut!

Mitchell & Eades adopt a human centric philosophy to the design process which calls for deep levels of empathy. We aim to understand the rhythms, rituals and routines behind experiences and embody these through design.

While culinary tourism and wellness travel have co-existed for a number of years, as both sectors evolve, their relationship is now more pronounced. A new generation are now exploring what it means to be ‘healthy’. Millennials are increasing their spend on well-being. Their knowledge around mindfulness has resulted in a stronger awareness surrounding mental health and the effects of stress. This means a holistic approach to health – food and body going hand in hand.

From 2015 to 2017 the wellness tourism market grew from $563bn to $639bn, or 6.5% annually – more than twice as fast as the growth of tourism overall, according to GWI. By 2022, GWI predicts the market will reach a whopping $919bn – representing 18% of all global tourism.

Hotels offering dedicated Wellness Programs

Primary wellness travellers, who are motivated by the brands that offer wellness at its core, might choose a property by Six Senses, Chiva-Som or Equinox, where they can have their own personal wellness ‘menu’ prepared with a goal oriented program tailored to their stay. Secondary wellness travellers, with a broader travel agenda, but still seeking to engage in wellness activities might be drawn towards a regional retreat with a focus on community fitness.

At select Marriott properties in the United States, for an extra $30 a night, travellers can sleep in a “Stay Well” hotel room. These rooms offer air purifiers, organic mattresses and anti-microbial countertops, as well as circadian mood lighting, aromatherapy and vitamin C-infused showers. Guests also receive access to a Stay Well app, which has a meditation/training podcast, an innovative jet-lag tool, sleep, nutritional and stress management programs.

A Royal Palace of well-being by Mitchell & Eades

Preventative principles of Ayurveda, along with Western influences, epitomise the pursuit of well-being at Six Senses Fort Barwara, India (Opening late 2021). The 2,800 square meter Six Senses Spa and fitness centre is located within the original women’s palace at the fort. It offers an extensive Ayurvedic “whole body” healing system, meditation and personalised wellness programs.

At Fort Barwara, they encourage the use of the Six Senses signature range of indigenous essential oils, muds, clays, gels and vegetable oils, all lovingly blended for their therapeutic energy.

Salt Therapy in Yangzhou

Halotherapy, also known as salt therapy, is new to many parts of the world, but has ancient roots. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates recommended the inhalation of salt water steam for relief from respiratory problems. Medieval monks took patients deep into salt caves for therapy, crushing stalactites to infuse the air with fine salt particles. The practice all but disappeared for centuries, however has had a resurgence in Europe and the United States approximately 20 years ago.

The concept for Mitchell & Eades Curio Hotel by Hilton, in Yangzhou, China, surrounds the extensive treatment options involving salt through body applications; expanding to the cuisine offerings for a total healing experience.

While inland now, some 7,000 years ago, Yangzhou’s surroundings were coastal, located at the junction of two great waterways, the Yangtze and the Ancient Canal. In the waters of the Yangtze, a considerable load of silt and sediment would roll continually downstream. Over thousands of years, this sediment deposit put the coastline into gradual retreat. In the resulting estuary environment which was created in its wake, a rich harvest of salt could be gathered.

At Mitchell & Eades, we believe luxury is something that cannot always be seen. It shouldn’t be immediately obvious or easy to describe. It is a feeling, a moment in time where you feel transported – a mysterious and alluring sensation that encompasses your entire body. It is a complex feeling which takes time to unpack, sparking curiosity and leaving a lasting impression. This presence of luxury embedded within a wellness lifestyle is what we strive to achieve for every property.

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projects by Hayley Mitchell
& Samantha Eades

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