Technogym
Technogym
Technogym

Wellness Communities

Asia

In the first in a series, Jane Kitchen looks at some of the biggest wellness communities being developed in Asia – and what the challenges and benefits are to a region that seems primed for growth


Wellness communities are on the rise; real estate firms, investors and the public are starting to see the benefits – both financial and physical – of creating and living in areas dedicated health. But what are the challenges faced in this budding industry, and how successful will these communities be?

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) estimates that wellness real estate was a US$118.6bn (€107bn, £95bn) sector in 2015 – a healthy 19 per cent increase since 2013. In response to this, the GWI launched an initiative last year focused on wellness communities – defined, in part, as those developed with proactive health and wellness, ecological sensitivity and social connectivity in mind. “Models for wellness real estate are evolving from places we’d like to visit, to places we can now work, play, heal, learn – and ultimately – places we can live,” says Mia Kyricos, who is chair of the initiative and founder of strategic advisory firm Kyricos & Associates.

Ingo Schweder, CEO of GOCO Hospitality, which is developing several wellness communities, says the movement is becoming more mainstream. “The demand for wellness communities is growing worldwide, because individuals are now seeking a combination of healthy lifestyle, sustainable environments and dedicated service at their fingertips,” he says. “We’re witnessing an increase in health and wellness consciousness throughout the world, which is creating and supporting this change of mindset.”

‘Major market opportunity’
Kyricos says she too expects to see growth in the sector, as both the health benefits and business opportunities become more apparent. “For the first time in years, there is authentic consumer demand, and there’s very little supply,” says Kyricos. “This isn’t just an under-served market for a select few; it’s a major market opportunity that spans all income levels and geographies.”

Wellness communities typically include facilities such as places to connect socially and outdoor fitness amenities, and are also usually built to environmental standards, but spa and wellness facilities still feature front-and-centre in every major development. “With the development of this market, spas and the spa lifestyle have the opportunity to serve at the heart of the community,” explains Kyricos.

The pivotal nature of spa in wellness communities also means that these communities are an untapped area of growth for spa operators and suppliers.

And importantly, this is a way for spas to move from being special-occasion pampering for the few, to being places of daily healing and preventative health for an entire community. “(Spas) will serve a critical role in wellness communities, and without them, it will be hard for the community to deliver on its overall value proposition of holistic health and wellness,” explains Kyricos.

A closer look at Asia
While there’s widespread interest from around the world in wellness communities, each region has its own nuances – and challenges. We begin this multi-part series in Asia, where we take a look at some of the biggest projects in the works.

Samantha Foster, director at Bangkok-based Destination Spa Management, says in China, pollution problems and a high-stress business culture have created a strong demand for wellness communities.

“China has the same wellness drivers as the rest of the world – but on steroids,” says Foster. But despite this demand, converting wellness communities from concept to reality is a slow process. “Developers feel that adding wellness to a development will provide them a competitive advantage in the increasingly tough real estate market,” Foster says.

However, part of the problem in Asia may be that there is a lack of evidence proving the success of the concept. “Investors get cold feet when they see the greater expense and complexity relative to a normal development, and want to see proof of return on investment – which of course doesn’t exist yet,” Foster explains. “I believe that as soon as the market sees the first true wellness community in action, many will quickly follow. The region just needs one champion project, and it will be solid growth from there.”

GOCO Retreat
Ubud, Bali

Opening: late 2017/early 2018

With the aim of being “a pioneer in Indonesia’s wellness hospitality industry,” GOCO Retreat Ubud will be set on a 180,000sq m (1.9m sq ft) site, billed as Indonesia’s first large-scale wellness community.

The retreat will have 76 wellness real estate properties ranging from single units to four-bedroom villas, as well as 83 retreat guestrooms. It will also include a substantial wellness centre with 45 treatment rooms, as well as consultation rooms, traditional Chinese medicine rooms, an ayurvedic centre, nursing facilities, a medi-spa, fitness studios, outdoor treatment areas and an extensive outdoor rainforest bathing area.

“We want to create a village with seamless integration between hotel, F&B, retail, sustainability, cultural authenticity, fitness and spa,” says Ingo Schweder, CEO of GOCO Hospitality.

All the buildings will have circadian lighting and air purification systems, and be constructed in accordance with green building standards.
Masterplanning will encourage general physical activity and a wide range of facilities will be available, including F&B outlets such as a wellness restaurant, tea lounge, thermal bathing cafe, farm-to-table restaurant and food stalls. 

The development will also have an aromatherapy distillery, an organic farm and gardens, artists’ studios, an amphitheatre and a cultural gallery. Rounding out the development will be a cooking school, retail outlets, a kids’ club and jogging and bike trails.

GOCO Retreat Ubud has plans to deliver integrative wellness programmes that are designed around the guest’s personal wellness journey, and use professional consultations to prescribe specialty treatments, along with focused nutrition and exercise. Treatments will combine Asian traditions and knowledge with contemporary Western medical science.

The Retreat will feature a substantial wellness centre with 45 treatment rooms
The Retreat will feature a substantial wellness centre with 45 treatment rooms
A farm-to-table restaurant, cultural gallery and organic gardens are all part of the Retreat’s wellness appeal
A farm-to-table restaurant, cultural gallery and organic gardens are all part of the Retreat’s wellness appeal

Sangha
Suzhou, China

Opening: Q2 2017

Architecture practice Tsao & McKown have designed Sangha, a 189,000sq m (2m sq ft) luxury wellness retreat along Yangcheng Lake outside of Suzhou, China, which includes a collection of four-bedroom residential villas and apartments as well as a 69-bedroom wellness hotel, a substantial spa and a “learning campus.”

Sangha is being built by Octave – a development company dedicated to creating wellness communities, which is owned by Calvin Tsao, co-founder of Tsao & McKown. GOCO Hospitality did the initial consultancy work on the project. Tsao says he’s interested in eventually bringing his work with Octave to other markets outside China, and has his eye on upstate New York.

Sangha’s wellness hotel offers a platform for wellbeing works, including an integrated medicine assessment and treatment centre, mind-body practice, coaching and counselling, spa, medi-spa and mindful dining. The 6,000sq m (64,583sq ft) spa will include treatments from massages to colonics, as well as a hammam, wet spa, steam room, saunas and night walks.

“Because the spa space is all about the environment and relocation and introspection, it’s rather fantastical,” says Tsao. “It’s a subterranean space pierced with skylights – and the ceiling undulates.”

Adjacent to the wellbeing hotel will be a village quarter that houses an executive education and learning complex, designed for deep group learning experiences. “In the design, the way we’ve organised spaces is meant to encourage congregation as well as individual contemplation, so there are quiet places, areas where people can retire for meditation and introspection,” says Tsao.

The wellness retreat will offer a series of six wellness programmes, focused on everything from nutrition awareness to mindfulness to family harmony.

Octave has already built the Shanghai Living Room
Octave has already built the Shanghai Living Room
A prototype and incubator for Sangha
A prototype and incubator for Sangha

Unnamed project
Hoa Thang, Vietnam

Opening: 2019

Destination Spa Management is working on an unnamed project in Vietnam with a focus on both education and health. Owned by Sonia Nguyen, who grew up in the area, the project is set on 17 hectares (42 acres) over five beaches in Hoa Thang, and will include a detox retreat, an 80-room family resort, a school for village children (which will teach both English and hospitality skills) and 60 houses.

Central to the project is a town square where residents and guests can interact with the local community for retail, arts and crafts, dining, and workshops that provide a hands-on experience of traditional Vietnamese life. Other features include an on-site organic farm and a distillery for aromatherapy based on Vietnamese traditional medicine. The housing will use WELL building standards, and wellness facilities have been designed so that they can be accessed by residents but retain an element of privacy for the resort guests. “It’s a magic, magic project,” says Foster. “It’s literally all about creating something for the good of the local people as well as the guest.”

Set on 42 acres, the project will focus on education and health
Set on 42 acres, the project will focus on education and health
The DSM team, from left: Sharon Menzies, Joy Menzies, Samantha Foster
The DSM team, from left: Sharon Menzies, Joy Menzies, Samantha Foster

Q’in Wellness
Hainan, China

Opening: late 2018

Q’in Wellness will include 1,000 homes, a residents’ club and a 110-bedroom destination spa resort, including 10,000sq m (108,000sq ft) of wellness facilities. Destination Spa Management (DSM) provided concept planning for the project, and will manage the destination spa.

Services at the spa will include diagnostics, holistic health, physiotherapy, fitness, spa, beauty, and non-invasive cosmetic procedures.

Samantha Foster, director at DSM, says that the wellness facilities will be available to residents and resort guests, and the next step is to work on the integration of wellness into the masterplan, with plans to add allotment gardens, running tracks, cycling paths and an organic cafe.

Q’in will include 1,000 homes
Q’in will include 1,000 homes

Avira Living in Wellness
Malaysia

Opening: unknown

Avira – ancient Aramaic for ‘air, atmosphere and spirit’ – is billed as a 207-acre wellness community located within Medini, a fast-maturing enclave with easy access to Singapore.

Developed in part by Malaysian-based lifestyle property development group E&O, The community has “Living in Wellness” as its theme, and will feature homes, bungalows, condominiums, and serviced apartments peppered with green pockets, pedestrian-friendly walkways, and communal gardens. The wellness facility is currently being redesigned, and further details are not yet available.

featured supplier
Featured Supplier: CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo Americas in Miami, Florida, the region’s only event dedicated to cruise ship interior design.
company profile
Company profile: Barr + Wray Ltd
Founded in 1959, Barr + Wray is recognised as a world-leading provider of spa design, engineering and pool & spa equipment.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Some 1,100 trees of 
23 different species will line the building façades
Stefano Boeri is working on a number of major green schemes in China
"We’re creating new spheres, where people, trees and animals can coexist in an environment of wellness"

On how the vertical forest model promotes wellness

CLAD people: Jean Nouvel
Jean Nouvel Architect
"It has spaces inside that exist nowhere else"

On the National Museum of Qatar

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
James Biber is the founder of Biber Architects
Susan Ungaro has been president of the James Beard Foundation since 2006;
"It was a truly one of a kind look"

On the winners of the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards

The playground at Dokk1 was a seminal project
Ole Barslund Nielsen founded Monstrum in 2003 with Christian Jensen. The two met when working in theatre scenography
"Failing and falling can be a good thing"

How his background in theatre set design inspired Ole Barslund Nielsen to create playgrounds with a difference

features
Ed Ng
"Of all hospitality design, we feel that F&B is the most fun. You can be creative and it’s where you get all the limelight"

When ABConcept’s co-founder got The brief for the Four Seasons’ Mei Ume restaurant, he jumped straight on the plane to London. He tells us why

Rockwell Group were responsible for the interior design of EMC2 in Chicago
"Millennials are investing more in experiences versus physical things"

How millennial travellers are transforming hotel design

The Al Hajar Mountains in northern Oman, home to the Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel
Fabio Scacciavillani is chief economist for the Oman Investment Fund. He started his career working for the International Monetary Fund
"The region has a microclimate thanks to the monsoon, so the summer is cool and rainy"

The Oman Investment Fund’s chief economist talks us through plans to redefine Oman as a high end leisure and tourism destination

cladkit product news
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
cladkit product news
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
cladkit product news
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
Technogym
Technogym