Bending to the latest wellness trends

Updated: 2014-04-12 07:20

By Xu Lin (China Daily)

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Dozens of guests and associates gathered at The Westin Beijing Financial Street recently for a yoga session led by yoga guru Wang Yuan, as part of the Westin Well-being Movement.

More than 200 Westin hotels and resorts around the world celebrated the $15 million global campaign all week, inviting guests, associates and consumers to join their wellness events and programs.

"This is a very important initiative for us. Our recent survey shows that about 80 percent of the respondents are looking for ways to have a healthier lifestyle," says Hazel Ooi, senior brand manager for Sheraton, Westin and Le Meridien in Greater China, Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

 Bending to the latest wellness trends

The Westin Beijing Financial Street runs a yoga session to enhance their guests' well-being. Provided to China Daily

To enhance the well-being of their guests and associates around the world, Westin started the yearlong campaign to offer various programs based on the brand's six pillars of feel well, work well, move well, eat well, sleep well and play well.

Guided by Wang, the yoga participants sipped seven cups of hot Chinese green tea, closed their eyes and sat straight up as they concentrated on meditating.

"When I finished my first two cups, I started to move a bit and had a lot on my mind. But after the fifth cup, I surrendered myself to the moment. I felt so much better," Ooi says.

The brand is starting a Westin Well-being Council - a board of thought leaders in different categories according to the six wellness brand pillars. They will offer guests advice on wellness and introduce new programs.

One of Westin's new partners is Headspace, based in London, one of the leading forces in the field of health and well-being.

Andy Puddicombe, Headspace co-founder and meditation expert, became the first member of the council as the authority for the "feel well" pillar.

"Our mission is to be a partner in our guest's well-being before, during and after their stay. It is the motivation behind this movement. I believe the idea of mindfulness, to keep one's mind healthy, is the next trend of well-being," says Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader for Westin Hotels.

Headspace offers customized content such as guided meditation exercises in terms of video and audio via, to help them relax on the journey. Westin is the first hotel brand to launch a global mindfulness and meditation program, and it will announce more partnerships.

"The online hub is accessible and convenient. They can start a healthier lifestyle not just in our hotels also in their daily lives," Ooi says.

"We like to use the opportunity to go back to how to slow down, to spend time concentrating on one thing at a time. With only 10 minutes, meditation helps you focus better," she says.

Guests can meditate anywhere in the Westin hotels, at gyms, guestrooms or by the side of the swimming pool. They can even do it in the lobby while sipping a cup of tea.

"Mindfulness is very important. Like when we eat, we focus on the food we eat. When we exercise, we focus on the experience of exercise," Ooi says.

(China Daily 04/12/2014 page13)