Urban wellness resorts are on the rise

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Over the next few years some of the biggest names in luxury wellness resorts will be expanding beyond exotic destinations and into major urban centers, including New York.

It's a trend the Global Wellness Institute expects will not only continue, but continually evolve.

While the group in a recent report said that while it may seem "counterintuitive to place a wellness hospitality property smack in the middle of a major metropolitan area," it expects big growth in this sector.

Aman is already in Tokyo. Six Senses recently opened in Singapore. And both brands will be in New York City next year.

Likewise, One&Only recently announced creation of an urban portfolio, the first of which will be in Dubai. Each urban resort will house a One&Only gym, cycle and yoga studios and a spa open 24 hours.

"One&Only Urban Resorts will challenge the conventional city hotel," the company said in a press release. "In a buzzing and busy city, a place to escape the bright lights is always needed, a place to unwind; all urban resorts will offer beautifully designed green spaces to provide a serene sanctuary year-round."

Six Senses' city properties will offer wellness programming that includes a resident Chinese doctor in Duxton and a restaurant with Chinese medicinal offerings in Singapore, the company said.

Aman says it is taking a more traditional approach with its urban properties, which will operate more like standard hotels with large spas and other wellness components.

Looking ahead, the Global Wellness Institute predicts such wellness retreats will continue to open where the people are, with the biggest growth expected in Asia and North America.

It notes that globally, the world's urban population has grown from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. And the United Nations forecasts that will rise by another 2.5 billion in 2050.

"More travelers will choose serene wellness destinations when they visit cities, and more people nearby will stay too: Not everyone can get to that remote island resort," the report notes.

The group also predicts that the urban wellness resorts will continue to evolve, becoming "part hotel, part membership club, and part wellness residences, creating a whole new kind of wellness community and a smart business model that means extraordinary properties that get funded easier."

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