Wellness is big business in the space of post-lockdown travel, and some hotels have come up with new ways to ensure their guests’ mental and physical needs are met during their stay. By Karen Yue
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. At Ovolo Hotels, guests can dine with peace of mind, knowing that a vegetarian-led offering is guaranteed across all dining venues.
Launched on February 14, Ovolo’s Plant’d initiative is the company’s ongoing pledge to ethical eating and conscious cuisine, and is an extension of its Year of the Veg campaign that was launched in October 2020 to transition menus to plant-based dishes for an initial 365 days.
Ovolo’s group creative culinary partner, Ian Curley, worked with restaurants across Ovolo Hotels to take the Plant’d veg pledge and to revamp all their menus.
While the initiative is not executed at Ovolo Collective properties, dining menus still carry a variety of vegetarian and plant-based options.
Ovolo said the move was inspired by a growing consumer interest in the many benefits of a plant-based diet. The move not only promotes an ‘eating good to feel good’ mentality, it also supports sustainability goals by sourcing from suppliers who offer nutritious, delicious and sustainable food solutions.
Ovolo Group’s founder and executive chairman, Girish Jhunjhnuwala, told TTG Asia: “Plant-based and vegetarian dining was always in the back of our minds. but it wasn’t until the pandemic that we saw the trends really shift, and there was a real opportunity to be a first-mover in a market that was starting to pick up globally.”
He added: “Ovolo prides itself on being an industry leader. We believe that the world changes, therefore we continue to evolve – we want to ensure we are doing our bit to help preserve our environment, promote healthy eating, and enhance the image of vegetarian and plant-based dining.”
Curley said Ovolo’s move to vegetarian dining “has been even more successful than we anticipated, and we now find ourselves part of a new wave of plant-based pioneers”.
He said: “A key focus for us has been ensuring we are creating something that still appeals to everyone – from vegans to flexitarians, and those who are simply keen on expanding their palette.”
Indeed, Ovolo’s plant-based menu is anything but solemn and bland. Healthy, plant-based ingredients are played up with creativity. Imagine: chargrilled okra seasoned with mushroom XO sauce from the kitchen of Alibi at Ovolo Woolloomooloo, Sydney; an escabeche made of marinated paneer and grilled maitake florets on makhani curry from Veda at Ovolo Central Hong Kong; oyster mushroom ceviche with coconut, fermented poblano and pineapple from Lona Misa at Ovolo South Yarra, Melbourne.
When asked if the initiative would carry on beyond a year, exceeding the lifespan of the Year of the Veg campaign, Jhunjhnuwala said the progamme has a “flexible timeline” but the company is keen to stick to it and evolve the initiative as time passes.
Banyan Tree Veya is the latest addition to Banyan Tree Group’s multi-brand ecosystem, and one that is positioned as a resort offering bespoke wellness programmes and knowledge that will continue to benefit guests beyond their stay.
While the group is already known for its well-being offerings through the restful Banyan Tree resorts and Banyan Tree Spa sanctuaries, Lee Woon Hoe, the group’s senior assistant vice president and executive director of well-being, said Veya was a necessary addition.
“With our hyper-stimulated modern life, chronic stress erodes our natural immunity and regenerative capacity. Our nervous systems cannot truly relax and therefore, rest. At Banyan Tree Veya, our ethos #OwnYourPresence guides our mission of inspiring individuals to travel inwards and become conscious of how their daily actions, thoughts and emotions interact with their physical being,” said Lee.
Defining the difference between Banyan Tree Spa, which is an established wellness brand, and the new Banyan Tree Veya, Lee said the Veya experience is led by certified multidisciplinary well-being hosts around a three-step protocol of Awareness, Discovery, and Sustenance.
“During their stay, guests will gain a greater awareness on their state of well-being through Banyan Tree’s proprietary eight pillars of well-being. They can discover new tools and knowledge through mindfulness practices, somatic movements and lifestyle learning workshops, so that they are empowered to continue to improve their own well-being when they return home,” he explained.
The first Banyan Tree Veya is set in Phuket, within the existing Banyan Tree Phuket resort. Luxury accommodation is offered, and guests can pursue well-being practices in the privacy of their room. Amenities including a well-being minibar, yoga mats, sound therapy bowls, exercise stretch bands and more.
Attention is paid to healthy meals, with Veya offering plant-forward cuisine that weaves together Asian and Mediterranean influences in a creative, flexitarian approach that respects ingredient provenance.
Menu signatures include bowls, broths and reinterpreted local dishes around a Fuel-Balance-Repair daily sequence. Resident nutrition sommeliers will help guests curate a menu that fulfils dietary needs and preferences during their stay.
Banyan Tree Veya at Vabbinfaru, Maldives will follow in 4Q2022.
Determined to help guests rest better, Langham Hospitality Group (LHG) has created the Sleep Matters by Chuan, a comprehensive programme developed with the World Sleep Society.
Launched across all properties of The Langham Hotels and Resorts and Cordis Hotels and Resorts in March, the programme is crafted on the basis of sleep medicine and scientific expertise.
“Sleep is one of the essential connections between our hotels and our guests,” said Bob van den Oord, regional vice president – operations for North America, Europe and the Middle East of Langham Hospitality Group. “There is a direct link to guest sleep quality and their happiness with their hotel. Sleep Matters by Chuan is deliberately designed to enhance the wellness of our guests with new rituals and habits that they can take home and use long after they have stayed with us.”
All Langham and Cordis properties have embraced Sleep Matters by Chuan, and each have curated their own packages to take guests on a more fruitful sleep journey.
The Langham, Shanghai Xintiandi, for example, has designed a sleep package that includes healthy meals, spa baths, yoga classes, consultation with a sleep doctor, and more; while The Langham, Melbourne brings in a Traditional Chinese Medicine consultant as part of its Sleep Matters by Chuan package.
At the same time, a broad selection of sleep programmes is made available across all properties. They include the Sleep Matters Turndown Kit, which comprises sleep-promoting items like herbal tea and cushioned sleep mask; Sleep Matters Menu, which offers wellness-related items, such as a fitness ball for pre-sleep stretching and white noise sleep machines; a curated Spotify playlist of relaxing tunes; and bedtime reading materials.
All Chuan Spa locations offer Ear Auricular Therapy for Sleep.
According to a spokesperson of LHG, Sleep Matters by Chuan has been well received, with guests saying that they are now more aware of their own sleep habits. Sleep tips offered through the programme have continued to benefit them at home.
As an indication of LHG’s long-term commitment to sleep, it is collaborating with StimScience, a start-up team of neuroscientists and inventors, to launch Somnee, an electronic headband that mimics and enhances the brain’s natural sleep patterns for improved sleep. Somnee will be available exclusively to LHG properties.