March 2004
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Singapore ‘WHATEVER’ urban sanctuary
TAIPEI 101 spa in the world’s tallest building

Asia News

by Shirley Meerson

Durians, dates, mangosteens, mangoes, dragonfruit, snakefruit, jackfruit, starfruit. gailan, galangal, rambutans, laver, loquats, lassis, longans, parathas, pakoras, nan, and satsuma.

Oops…let’s get out of the kitchen - and on to continents, where the newz is waiting…what’s happening and where…
I’m always pleasantly intrigued when I hear of purposeful healing spaces, whether they are small or large.

South Africa's (oops... it is located in Africa. Sorry about that) first destination wellness centre – dedicated exclusively to health, lifestyle and tourism has opened. The Winelands Hotel is home to the country's first Santé Spa & Wellness Centre in a breathtaking location – the winelands of South Africa - offering a welcoming tranquil environment. The Winelands Hotel and Wellness Centre is also the only centre in South Africa – and significantly, only the second in the world – to offer Vinotherapy®, a specialised treatment that offers grape seed therapy, in the midst of the vineyards.

Dr Geraldine Mitton, the doyenne of wellness in South Africa, is the Medical Director of the Santé Wellness Group and Rob Cowling is Chief Operating Officer. Cowling has been involved with the Sports Science Institute, and was Wellness Director of the Altira Spa and others. Santé offers more amazing treatments such as the Rainbow Hydrotherapy Bath that presents a unique experience of colour, sound and magnetic field therapy and their signature treatment called Afrostone massage using South African gemstones on the chakra points.

With programs like the Fit for Golf, Lifestyle Enhancements and a 5-day Anti-aging and Rejuvenation package, I predict this will become a world-renowned spa and wellness brand.

Do check out this next place – in Singapore’s Chinatown – “Whatever”… is an urban sanctuary that provides city dwellers a quiet oasis for balance and serenity. According to Richard Williams, Director, and Stella Yfantidis-Chen, founder of “Whatever”: “we are probably Asia’s first one-stop-shop, independent holistic resource and healing center.” “Whatever” offers yoga, massage therapies of all modalities from ancient eastern to western modern, reiki healers, dance instructors astrologers, and more.

Whatever’s…healers come from all corners of the globe, Belgium, USA, New Zealand, Australia, UK, India and are each chosen for their own innate gifts and their integrity of service to all. And, “Whatever” has a bookstore and café offering a wide range of holistic and new age books served up with planet friendly foods sourced from organic farms in Singapore, Malaysia and India.

“Whatever”…the yoga and healing space has services as diverse as ashtanga and kundalini yoga, adult ballet or contemporary dance, to meditation, and drumming workshops.

And yet another healing center ala countryside that I’m continually getting rave reviews about is the Tao Garden Healing Arts Resort & Spa in northern Thailand. They offer a truly wide variety of holistic healing methodologies from TCM to Ayurveda to Qi Gong to Bioenergetics and spa and salon treatments.

Thailand luxury spa business projected to grow 20%

Spa Industry Survey Program 2003
The stats are in on the Asia Pacific Spa Trends. The following has been submitted by Julie Garrow, of Intelligent Spas (, an independent spa industry research company based in Singapore. They identified various trends immerging in key Asia Pacific spa markets. Preliminary results of the Spa Industry Survey Program conducted in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore showed:
Spa visitors are preferring treatments that:
* Help reduce stress
* Use natural products.
* Incorporate an indigenous or cultural flavor

There is an increase in:

* Couples treatments
* Younger clients
* Male visitors
Generally: Spa clients are becoming more knowledgeable and people are seeing spas as a way of life.

On to Spa Synergy: Managing Director Maggie Gunning, conducted an Essential Spa and Salon Management Course late last year in conjunction with the Tourism Management Institute. This course is part of Spa Synergy’s continuing efforts to develop high standards of education for the spa and beauty industry and to raise the level of competency within the spa and salon community in Singapore and Asia.

A reminder *>>>* is that the Asia ISPA Conference is in Japan this year. It will be held in Pacifico Yokohama from 8th – 10th May 2004…hot springs await you. When you are in Tokyo, stop by the Akasaka Sports Room & Clinic and get a treatment with the owner, Tamada Hisayoshi. He does an absolute killer shiatsu. But be prepared to ask him to back off some – as he is intense with his pressure. Please do tell him that I sent you, as this would be a very pleasing surprise to him.

Taipei 101 now takes over the Petronas as the world’s tallest building and will have a fitness centre. The Taipei 101 Mall has leased out 92 percent of its five-floor space, with more than 50 well-known international brands (including Louis Vuitton and Prada) among the tenants. The mall has secured a pact with Sogo Pacific Department Store to establish a Sogo spa and beauty section, focusing on top-line cosmetics.

Hilton International has announced plans to create a $52m luxury resort complex in western Australia…scheduled to open in 2006.
The showpiece of the site will be a luxury day spa and health center to be constructed above an existing lake.

As part of its goal to turn Bangkok into the “Tourism Capital of Asia” by 2006, the government has announced plans to make the Thai capital a “super city”, focusing on a cleaner city environment and improving transport facilities.

Thailand in a move to promote fitness, organized the largest aerobics event ever. According to the health ministry, a record of almost 4 million people signed up for this event nationwide. In Bangkok alone, there were about 60,000 who turned up to get fit in front of the Royal Palace…. More Thailand numbers are noteworthy >>> motivated by growing tourism and healthcare, Thailand's luxury spa business is projected to grow 20% to 12 billion baht in 2004.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand is studying plans to develop Asia's largest saline spa in the southern province of Krabi at an estimated investment of more than 400 million baht.
Another spa delight has opened in the heart of Bangkok at The Windsor Suites Hotel = their new Neva Spa.

Following renovation and refurbishing, the Patong Cliff View Resort & Spa located in Kalim has been renamed Blue Marine Resort & Spa. Following a major facelift, Anantara Resort & Spa now has a Mandara Spa. Located in The Golden Triangle, the spa offers its myriad of treatments with panoramic views of The Mekong. And finishing in Thailand – where the Springfield Village Golf Resort – known for its Jack Nicklaus design – has now added a spa. Golfers will now be able to experience treatments in this nice natural setting.

Martha Tilaar Group has launched its 46th spa during the recent ASEAN Summit 2003. Officially opened by the most distinguished ladies from various ASEAN countries, including Mrs. Mahathir Muhammad, the wife of Malaysian Prime Minister, the spa called The Eastern Garden at The Mansion is located at Sayan, Ubud-Bali. The Eastern Garden brings to the world a combination of traditional treatments from the three great civilizations of Asia: Chinese, Indian, and Indonesian.

Accor has added another property – its Novotel Oasis – located 30 kilometers from Beijing, China. This resort retreat features Spa Senso, Beijing’s most luxurious European style spa and wellness centre. Some of the facilities include three indoor swimming pools.

In Hong Kong, The Frederique Group, The Beautiful Skin Centre and Elemis have merged to form a new company The Paua Group. The Paua Group will run The Elemis Day Spa, The Beautiful Skin Centre, The Frederique Spa, The Frederique Academy and FrancOrientale, all based in Hong Kong. The merge is a 50/50 partnership between The Beautiful Skin Centre Group’s Lucy Whittaker and Frederique Deleage, who will both assume the position of Directors.

Maldives world’s first underwater aquum spa

Over to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean – where Per Aquum will be showcasing the world’s first underwater Aquum Spa at the Huvafen Fushi. The walls will be 4 inches thick. Spa-goers will be able to get a treatment and look out at the Indian Ocean – that is…when you have your eyes open and are looking. But what a design that is – bringing inner-space into the treatment room. Located in the North Male Atoll in the Maldives, the beautiful island of Huvafen Fushi is home to Per Aquum Resorts & Spas, their second stunning luxury resort.

As of this writing, Banyan Tree Holdings has pulled out of its Sri Lankan development – due to the continuing political atmosphere.

One of the new hot spots of developments is Mauritius. The big players are doing a land rush to get their spa developments up and running in this island paradise.

Le Meridien is one big player who is really gaining ground within India – with their acquisitions and spa and fitness openings. Now there are three new properties in India: in Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat, Kovalam in the state of Kerala and Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan, making it the country's largest international hotel operator.

When I was living in Mumbai – I became a client of the new Kaya Skin Clinics. There were 3 in Mumbai and they added Delhi and Dubai to their locations. High tech facials are not exactly a proficiency in that part of Asia so - I plugged into the Kaya Skin Clinics to provide some microdermabrasion in the name of their “Kaya Glow”. I got the Glow and the results I wanted. Kaya is a venture of Marico Industries Limited.

A new wellness brand launched in India called V3. Indian Beverage Company, Parle Agro, has diversified into the health and fitness market with the launch of this mind and body brand. The first of the women-only sites has opened in the Juhu area of Mumbai and there are more plans for expansion. They offer classes and workshops on a range of subjects from child nutrition to emotional well-being and have a spa facility.

The Aviation Club in Dubai, UAE, has launched its new health and fitness center with a huge cardio section making it one of the most advanced facilities in the UAE. They also have the RPM Cycle Studio, which accommodates 40 participants per class. It is fully equipped with brand new Schwinn IC Pro Cycles, sound/light systems making RPM an extraordinary experience. The new facility includes a sauna, steam room, Turkish bath and massage room.
Watch Dubai boom >>> pending are 15 new five star hotels and another 30 smaller hotels. What a developing area and business hub.
In the coming year Six Senses will open new spas in the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, the Imperial Palace in Delhi and the Evason Hideaway, Koh Samui in Thailand.

A warm welcome to The Year of The Monkey, which began 22 January 2004 and concluded on 8 February 2005. I hear that…business will skyrocket under his optimistic and shrewd influence. And the Monkey's resourcefulness will amaze and stun everyone.

Be ready for the positive changes that will occur...especially in the areas of finance.

Keep breathing…relax and revitalize.

In Health, Shirley

March 2004 - Spa Management Journal

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