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Spa People
Celine Vadam

We create immersive hands-on experiences so guests can live the Blue Zones way for a week


Explorer Dan Buettner has wowed wellness leaders with his discovery of Blue Zones – five areas in the world with the highest concentration of centenarians. In 2018, delegates at the Global Wellness Summit heard how, with a team of medical researchers, anthropologists and demographers, he spent years studying these populations to find out their common denominators.

Buettner identified what he calls the ‘Power 9’ – shared lifestyle behaviours that keep people thriving 12 years longer than the 71-year global average (see p22).

Six years on, Blue Zones has a docu-series streaming on Netflix, a centre in Miami showcasing the next generation of longevity medicine and a partnership with Immuncologie skincare. Most recently, it’s revealed a series of retreats globally – with Kamalaya in Thailand, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica and the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) in the US and Mexico – and is looking for more hosts.

Spa Business catches up with Celine Vadam, head of retreats & hospitality partnerships at Blue Zones to find out more.

What do Blue Zones retreats focus on?
They’re organised into five modules – Happiness, Right Outlook, Purpose, Connect and Set for Success – guiding guests through all the Power 9 principles. Taking a life coaching approach, our goal is to empower guests to make long-term, sustainable wellbeing adjustments. Most importantly, however, we create immersive hands-on experiences so guests can live the Blue Zones way for a week.

How do you adapt the retreats according to location?
We integrate local experiences which include everything from sightseeing tours to arts and crafts activities, tailored movement sessions and social traditions.

In Thailand, for example, we’ll visit surrounding temples and islands, attend a tea ceremony and learn t’ai chi. In Costa Rica, we’ll be fully immersed in nature and the pura vida and have the opportunity to go surfing or zip-lining.

Some Power 9 categories don’t have obvious wellness applications. How do you incorporate those?
Wine @ 5 is more about the social aspect rather than the wine itself. It’s an opportunity to gather towards the end of the day, exchange gratitude and take-aways and unwind before dinner. For Loved Ones First and Belong, we address relationships and connections from a broader perspective, looking at how to make friends as an adult, nurture healthy relationships and be a better partner, friend and human being.

How do you make it fun and educational?
We offer a range of reflective exercises, from examining your weekly schedule and hosting a quiz night to hands-on activities such as learning how to cook or looking at how to rearrange your kitchen.

Are spa treatments included in the programmes?
We make sure that guests have free time to enjoy the facilities of the host property, depending on what they offer. At Kamalaya, its signature consultation and treatments are part of the package. At Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, guests benefit from a spa treatment discount.

Do you provide training or certification?
We’re building a network of facilitators, providing training on-site to employees, as well as launching an upcoming course in partnership with Arizona State University.

What’s the target demographic?
Blue Zones’ reach is diverse, especially since the Netflix documentary. The differentiator will be the destination. We expect the MEA campuses in the US and Mexico to attract middle-aged guests, for example, in Costa Rica, it might appeal more to nature and outdoor lovers, while in Kamalaya it might entice those looking for a wellbeing journey.

How many participants can you fit on a retreat?
Our sweet spot is around 20 people, to allow for quality interactions. But we’re flexible and can accommodate as few as 10 or as many as 40.

What’s your revenue model?
It has to make financial sense for the host property. Retreats last six to seven days and prices start at US$3,885 (€3,556, £3,037) excluding accommodation.

Our contracts are based on a licensing agreement with revenue share and a facilitator fee.

What do you look for in a host partner?
Beyond quality accommodation and service, we’re looking for partners who embrace the Blue Zones Power 9 principles in their approach.

The properties need to be in an environment which fosters connections and downshifting while allowing for discoveries, natural movement and showcasing their local culture.

We work with chefs to feed guests Blue Zones-inspired meals and also make some content available for hotel employees while onsite.

How many partners are you ideally looking for?
We don’t have an optimum number in mind, but our goal for 2024 is to host a retreat at least in each of the five original Blue Zones countries.

• Spa Business first spoke to explorer Dan Buettner about the Blue Zones concept in 2018: see www.spabusiness.com/danbuettner

Power 9

The world’s five Blue Zones are based in Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California and Okinawa, Japan

The lifestyle habits they all share fall under the following Power 9 categories:

Move Naturally

Purpose

Downshift (routines which shed stress)

80 per cent Rule (stop eating when they’re 80 per cent full)

Plant Slant (predominately plant-based diets)

Wine @ 5 (drinking alcohol moderately and regularly)

Belong (having a faith-based community)

Loved Ones First

Right Tribe (supportive social circles)

Read about the first Blue Zones Center dedicated to longevity

Spa treatments are discounted in Costa Rica / photo: Hyatt
Local experiences, such as tea ceremonies in Thailand’s Kamalaya, are key Credit: photo: Kamalaya
Host properties, such as Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, have to help people to de-stress Credit: photo: hyatt
There’s a chance to gather and unwind before dinner each day Credit: photo: Hyatt
Forming connections and practising natural movement are fully encouraged Credit: photo: Kamalaya
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Uniting the world of spa & wellness
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Sign up here ▸
News   Products   Magazine   Subscribe
Spa People
Celine Vadam

We create immersive hands-on experiences so guests can live the Blue Zones way for a week


Explorer Dan Buettner has wowed wellness leaders with his discovery of Blue Zones – five areas in the world with the highest concentration of centenarians. In 2018, delegates at the Global Wellness Summit heard how, with a team of medical researchers, anthropologists and demographers, he spent years studying these populations to find out their common denominators.

Buettner identified what he calls the ‘Power 9’ – shared lifestyle behaviours that keep people thriving 12 years longer than the 71-year global average (see p22).

Six years on, Blue Zones has a docu-series streaming on Netflix, a centre in Miami showcasing the next generation of longevity medicine and a partnership with Immuncologie skincare. Most recently, it’s revealed a series of retreats globally – with Kamalaya in Thailand, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica and the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) in the US and Mexico – and is looking for more hosts.

Spa Business catches up with Celine Vadam, head of retreats & hospitality partnerships at Blue Zones to find out more.

What do Blue Zones retreats focus on?
They’re organised into five modules – Happiness, Right Outlook, Purpose, Connect and Set for Success – guiding guests through all the Power 9 principles. Taking a life coaching approach, our goal is to empower guests to make long-term, sustainable wellbeing adjustments. Most importantly, however, we create immersive hands-on experiences so guests can live the Blue Zones way for a week.

How do you adapt the retreats according to location?
We integrate local experiences which include everything from sightseeing tours to arts and crafts activities, tailored movement sessions and social traditions.

In Thailand, for example, we’ll visit surrounding temples and islands, attend a tea ceremony and learn t’ai chi. In Costa Rica, we’ll be fully immersed in nature and the pura vida and have the opportunity to go surfing or zip-lining.

Some Power 9 categories don’t have obvious wellness applications. How do you incorporate those?
Wine @ 5 is more about the social aspect rather than the wine itself. It’s an opportunity to gather towards the end of the day, exchange gratitude and take-aways and unwind before dinner. For Loved Ones First and Belong, we address relationships and connections from a broader perspective, looking at how to make friends as an adult, nurture healthy relationships and be a better partner, friend and human being.

How do you make it fun and educational?
We offer a range of reflective exercises, from examining your weekly schedule and hosting a quiz night to hands-on activities such as learning how to cook or looking at how to rearrange your kitchen.

Are spa treatments included in the programmes?
We make sure that guests have free time to enjoy the facilities of the host property, depending on what they offer. At Kamalaya, its signature consultation and treatments are part of the package. At Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, guests benefit from a spa treatment discount.

Do you provide training or certification?
We’re building a network of facilitators, providing training on-site to employees, as well as launching an upcoming course in partnership with Arizona State University.

What’s the target demographic?
Blue Zones’ reach is diverse, especially since the Netflix documentary. The differentiator will be the destination. We expect the MEA campuses in the US and Mexico to attract middle-aged guests, for example, in Costa Rica, it might appeal more to nature and outdoor lovers, while in Kamalaya it might entice those looking for a wellbeing journey.

How many participants can you fit on a retreat?
Our sweet spot is around 20 people, to allow for quality interactions. But we’re flexible and can accommodate as few as 10 or as many as 40.

What’s your revenue model?
It has to make financial sense for the host property. Retreats last six to seven days and prices start at US$3,885 (€3,556, £3,037) excluding accommodation.

Our contracts are based on a licensing agreement with revenue share and a facilitator fee.

What do you look for in a host partner?
Beyond quality accommodation and service, we’re looking for partners who embrace the Blue Zones Power 9 principles in their approach.

The properties need to be in an environment which fosters connections and downshifting while allowing for discoveries, natural movement and showcasing their local culture.

We work with chefs to feed guests Blue Zones-inspired meals and also make some content available for hotel employees while onsite.

How many partners are you ideally looking for?
We don’t have an optimum number in mind, but our goal for 2024 is to host a retreat at least in each of the five original Blue Zones countries.

• Spa Business first spoke to explorer Dan Buettner about the Blue Zones concept in 2018: see www.spabusiness.com/danbuettner

Power 9

The world’s five Blue Zones are based in Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California and Okinawa, Japan

The lifestyle habits they all share fall under the following Power 9 categories:

Move Naturally

Purpose

Downshift (routines which shed stress)

80 per cent Rule (stop eating when they’re 80 per cent full)

Plant Slant (predominately plant-based diets)

Wine @ 5 (drinking alcohol moderately and regularly)

Belong (having a faith-based community)

Loved Ones First

Right Tribe (supportive social circles)

Read about the first Blue Zones Center dedicated to longevity

Spa treatments are discounted in Costa Rica / photo: Hyatt
Local experiences, such as tea ceremonies in Thailand’s Kamalaya, are key Credit: photo: Kamalaya
Host properties, such as Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, have to help people to de-stress Credit: photo: hyatt
There’s a chance to gather and unwind before dinner each day Credit: photo: Hyatt
Forming connections and practising natural movement are fully encouraged Credit: photo: Kamalaya
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UK Spa Association - Summer networking event

Pennyhill Park , Bagshot, United Kingdom
28-29 Jul 2024

Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Spa Conference 2024

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+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
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FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS