12 Hotel Amenities That Are Essential For A Wellness Getaway
In recent years, the hotel industry has evolved their marketing to reach guests interested in exploring and expanding their personal wellness. Wellness tourism is at an all-time high and travelers like me prioritize wellness and intentional travel over well-beaten paths, nightlife, and party scenes.
If you are searching for a wellness getaway (or are a hotel looking to expand into the wellness tourism market), there are a number of must-haves that can really make or break a guest’s wellness vacation.
Here are my top hotel amenities essential for a wellness getaway & why they matter:
1. In-house gym or fitness classes
I’m not a gym rat by any means, but between hours of transit and the cultural side of travel (ie. eating everything I possibly can) my vacations can find me sluggish and bloated. When I see a hotel has a gym — and even better, amenities like fitness classes, water, a cold towel, and sweat wipes — it immediately puts that hotel at the top of my list during the booking process. Whether or not I actually head to the gym is another thing; the availability is what’s important to me.
2. Spa Services
While I only use onsite hotel spa services about 25% of the time (prices are often much higher than spas in town), you never know when you’ll need it and I love when a hotel offers a spa or is partnered with one nearby — especially if they have couples services. I often look for a one-hour massage (deep tissue or Swedish) though have never taken advantage of the skin and hair services offered. For me, an essential wellness vacation includes a massage because I hate feeling exhausted from a vacation — such an oxymoron!
3. Hotel Pool & Jacuzzi
If a hotel is tight on space and can only afford to choose one or the other, I’m all for the jacuzzi any day. Not only are you less likely to find kids in a jacuzzi (as opposed to them splashing around in a pool and totally ruining your zen), jacuzzis are just what I need after a long day of touring a new city or adventuring in nature.
4. Refreshing water in the lobby
Surprisingly, this perk is rarer than you’d think! I adore hotels that offer fruit-infused water in the lobby, available for guests to use. Frankly, I can’t believe more hotels don’t do it. It is so easy to forget to hydrate while on vacation, and this small, welcoming gesture makes a big difference.
5. Comfortable bedding
Recently I stayed at a hotel that had the worst pillows I’ve ever slept on. While I have no trouble sleeping on a mattress without pillows, it can truly ruin an R&R getaway for a guest — especially when you’re paying big bucks for it. My neck and back hurt after the first night and it took a day or two to truly feel comfortable. I was lucky that I had a week to adjust, but for people more sensitive than me, you should check that your hotel offers bedding to your liking.
6. Wellness toiletries
This. This. This! Since I can still count on one hand the number of hotels that have actually met all of my toiletry hopes and dreams, I will provide my dream bathroom amenities below:
Thick body lotion (not that watery stuff): Shout out to W Hotels for using Bliss products
Shower cap (or two because this afro doesn’t fit)
Make up towel: I love a dark cosmetic towel in the bathroom; it shows me the hotel has evolved from just catering to corporate businessmen
Hair conditioner: I can’t believe how many hotels still don’t offer hair conditioner (all-in-ones are not acceptable)
Q-tips and cotton balls: often hotels have this hidden in a jar and guests just don’t realize it — for those who find it, it’ll be the gem you forgot you needed
Body scrubber: it is rare to find this in hotel bathrooms, but they do exist and will take your vacation to the next level if you have one
Handheld shower head: many hotels have introduced rain showers for their chic, modern look — but I hate them! I don’t always want my hair wet when I shower so if a room has a rain shower, I expect to see a handheld shower head as well
Essential oils: I didn’t realize I needed this for a wellness vacation until I received one at a Westin Hotel — now I’m obsessed
Front desk service: though not directly in the bathroom, hotels that will run up a razor, toothpaste, needle & thread, etc. are angels and have secured a place in hotel heaven
7. Bathrobe & slippers
I love a fluffy bathrobe in my hotel room. Sometimes they’re not so fluffy, but that’s okay — better than nothing. Bonus points to hotels that also offer complimentary slippers. Bathrobes are the perfect vacation attire to keep you relaxed and stress-free.
8. Blackout Curtains
Most hotels have this now and I appreciate that! Black out curtains allow us sensitive sleepers to sleep in without interruption. Just remember to put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your doorknob unless you’d like to be startled by boisterous knocks from housekeeping.
9. Healthy breakfast options
I am admittedly a fan of the standard egg and bacon breakfast, but have grown to also enjoy the increase in healthier breakfast options from hotels too. From vegetarian menus in a yoga resort in Costa Rica to energizing picks from a holistic hotel in Quebec, properties with farm-to-table offerings are always a wellness winner.
10. Local nature & trail info
On most hotel websites, you’ll find itinerary and activity suggestions for your visit. When browsing hotels for your wellness getaway, check for nature and hiking trail information. A hotel that prioritizes wellness will often offer a guide to get you moving.
11. Good room lighting
What is it with hotels and bad lighting? Yes, dim lighting can keep you in a relaxed mood but it will also give you a headache from optical strain after a while! Hotels with a good overhead light, bedside lighting, and illuminating bathroom lighting is a favorite during my vacations.
12. Late check out
Yes! Let me sleep in and take my time packing. I avoid hotels that require check-out before 10:00am and give preference to ones that allow check-out after 11:30am. Bonus points for hotels that let you call for later check-out without an extra charge.
Simply because I don’t want to make a list of 13 amenities, I’ll add this as a bonus suggestion: serene seating. Whether in a peaceful lobby or by way of poolside hammock, guests may want to just stay by the hotel all day (but not in their room). If you don’t offer private balconies, aesthetically pleasing seating options are an essential hotel feature.
What are your wellness hotel Must-haves?
My idea of a wellness vacation is one that allows me to relax, explore at my own pace, and retreat to a sanctuary. That sanctuary is my hotel.
You don’t have to book an expensive retreat in order to find wellness on a vacation; it is the small things you encounter each day that truly matter.
What are your favorite relaxation / wellness elements to experience while on vacation? Share your must-haves in the comments below!