🍍 Cutting stress

Plus: How one GM prioritizes wellness, starting with himself

Happy Friday! As we head into the weekend we’re looking at three stories about relaxing - for your guests and for yourself:

  • Hotels focusing on cutting stress

  • “Tech-free” as an amenity

  • How one GM prioritizes wellness, starting with himself

Hotels focusing on cutting stress

Simply feeling relaxed on vacation doesn’t cut it anymore for a growing number of travelers, Allison Pohle writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Many say they are more intently focused on their mental health and overall wellness on their trips as they have navigated the stresses of the pandemic.”

More than one-third of American travelers say they are excited to take wellness and healing trips in the next 12 months, according to a recent survey from market-research firm Destination Analysts. That percentage increases to nearly half for millennials and younger. 

Earlier this year, AKA West Hollywood launched its Sabbatical Experience. Weeklong stays at the property start at $495 a night for those staying in studio apartments, though the Sabbatical Experience is priced based on the guest’s needs.

Megan Schroder, the property’s general manager and joy ambassador, creates individualized plans for guests who purchase the program. She describes it as a “vacation with a purpose” and says it can include free access to a private screening room to watch inspirational movies such as “Million Dollar Baby,” as well as fresh produce deliveries.

“Tech-free” as an amenity

A new batch of properties are doing everything they can to make sure guests use their vacation to disconnect, Lindsay Rogers writes for InsideHook.

According to a study in 2018, 43% of adults find it difficult to completely unplug, specifically from work, while on vacation. This was, of course, prior to the pandemic, which — thanks to the introduction of apps like Zoom and Slack — exacerbated the issue.

Fast forward to 2022, and “technology-free” is now being pedaled as an amenity across several notable properties, whose guests seek them out because of it.

  • Sheldon Chalet doesn’t have any TVs, phones — save for the emergency phone system — or wifi on the entire property. That, according to owner and property manager Marne Sheldon, is mostly due to Sheldon Chalet’s location — on a nunatak 10 miles from the summit of Denali in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater inside Alaska’s Denali National Park. In other words: the signal strength isn’t excellent. If anything, Sheldon counts it a selling point.

  • Wylder Hope Valley in California offers neither TV or wifi, with the exception of inn public areas. Their offerings — which include wood fired saunas, bike rentals, guided hikes, lawn games, snowshoe rentals, etc. — are meant to encourage guests to enjoy the outdoors. None of the other Wylder properties have phones.

  • Eastwind, a boutique hotel located in Windham, New York, also considers its lack of technology a point of pride. “By design, there are no TVs on the property to encourage guests to be present with their loved ones,” says co-founder Julija Stoliarova. Like at Wylder Hope Valley, guests at Eastwind are encouraged to really indulge in the property and the surrounding area.

How one GM prioritizes wellness, starting with himself

For Alex Francis, general manager at Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, creating a culture of wellness starts with prioritizing it for himself. He recently shared a bit about this with Kim Johnson for the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal:

How long has wellness been a priority in your life, and why did you make it a priority? Since being diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic at age 8, health’s been a priority for me. I was active early in my life and played multiple sports, but as I focused more on my career, I found myself not prioritizing my own wellness as much. Starting my job as GM at Radisson Blu during the pandemic revitalized my joy for coming into work, and this new opportunity also re-centered me personally, leading me back to prioritizing my well-being and fitness routine.

How do you typically start your day? On a typical day, I wake up quite early. Then, I usually read the news, hydrate and begin my workout, which is anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the day. After that, it’s time to get ready to head to work.

What is your typical fitness routine? Usually, I work out at home, and I always start each workout with a good stretch. Then I move on to strength training, and after that, I go for a 10- to 15-mile bike ride. I like to finish my workout with various forms of yoga.

His advice?

“Find what fuels your well-being and prioritize building it into your day. If you’re taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to better give your best to those around you. And, you might just inspire someone else to focus on their own well-being.”