Swissôtel: Built on a Foundation of Wellness
Heading to Europe or Asia this summer and looking to book a hotel with wellness at its very core? Allow me to introduce you to Swissôtel. Despite the fact that I have been a travel writer and industry journalist for the last 20 plus years, I have just recently experienced this wellness-focused hotel brand. Earlier this year I was a guest at Swissôtel Stamford in Singapore and, most recently, traveled to Turkey to visit Swissôtel The Bosphorus, Istanbul, and Swissôtel Buyuk Efes, Izmir on the country’s Aegean coast.
Launched in Switzerland in 1980, long before “wellness” became an industry-wide hospitality trend, the brand upholds Swiss sustainability standards, plus their mission statement – “From Phuket to Estonia, we strive to rejuvenate, relax, and restore our guests, whether they’re on holiday or a business trip” – certainly resonates with today’s wellness-minded traveler. The two programs that support the mission statement are Pürovel Spa & Sport and Vitality, more than just a program, a lifestyle philosophy.
Pürovel, the hotel chain’s signature line of Swiss-made bath amenities and in-room aromatherapy menu is available at all hotels. Pürovel Spa & Sport offers on-site spa facilities, a gym, fitness classes, indoor and showpiece swimming pools at select hotels only including the Swissôtel Resort Bodrum Beach, Turkey which opened this June.
The two spas I’ve experienced – both in Turkey – were beautifully appointed with a contemporary look and feel and with a full complement of spa amenities including Turkey’s most famous wellness offering – the Turkish Hammam. If you are only going to book one spa treatment in Turkey, it must, of course, be the cleansing and social tradition so deeply ingrained in Turkish culture.
Extensive fitness facilities and daily fitness classes are also part of Pürovel Spa & Sport. The Swissôtel in Izmir, for instance, offers extensive fitness facilities including an 800-square foot gym, a tennis court and two swimming pools plus there are fitness classes including various types of yoga, Pilates, and even a spin class. At the Swissôtel in Istanbul, a 50-minute pool bike class is on the list of fitness options. Yoga mats, Pilates balls, free weights and other workout items are also available on guest request for in-room use.
As part of the Vitality program (available at all hotels), the company has researched and curated a list of the most nutritious ingredients that allow travelers to maintain mental and physical wellbeing on the road and these ingredients are worked into dishes available on Vitality Cuisine menus. The menus also include vegetarian and gluten-free options along with nutritional information and calorie counts.
Introduced earlier this year, Swissôtel Vitality Guides are interactive digital maps including key attractions within walking distance of each Swissôtel location. Paper maps with planned walking and running routes with images, descriptions and opening hours of local attractions are also available. At the Swissôtel The Bosphorus, Istanbul, for instance, the map includes the Grand Bazaar (the oldest covered mall on the planet and boasting 4,000 shops). Underscoring the Vitality philosophy, the hotel general manager leads a running tour every Friday morning inviting both guests and staff to join him. I, unfortunately, missed the opportunity.
Some hotels like the Izmir property also offer Vitality Weekend packages including healthy meals, use of all fitness facilities and classes and a discount on spa treatments. And, at the Swissôtel Chicago (the only Swissôtel in North America) there are weekly Vitality Bootcamps.
There are now over 30 Swissôtels in 15 countries and another dozen or so properties are in the works and will open by 2018. Clearly, ‘wellness” is working for this hotel company.