GET SPA BUSINESS
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital editions of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines and the FREE weekly Spa Business and Spa Business insider ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Uniting the world of spa & wellness
Get Spa Business and Spa Business insider digital magazines FREE
Sign up here ▸
News   Features   Products   Company profilesProfiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise    Subscribe  
Spa tourism – Madeira
Madeiran Marvel

The Portuguese island of Maderia is poised to flourish as a sought after wellness hub. Spa consultant Anni Hood finds out why

By Anni Hood | Published in Spa Business 2012 issue 3


Madeira is a jaw-droppingly spectacular landmass lying 620 miles off the Portuguese coast and 310 miles from the African continent: this is the outermost region of the European Union.

There are a plethora of reasons to visit this stunning island. It has immense natural beauty and its hills and valleys add a cocooning feel. I would describe Madeira as a hidden jewel.

Year round temperatures are warm, averaging between 17-21?C, and ideal for the island’s numerous vineyards. Madeira is famous for its wine, which is absurdly delicious and high in antioxidants. The island also boasts a close to zero crime rate. In addition, a vast range of activities, culture and history provide a rich and tantalising choice of possibilities for visitors.

Tourism is the main industry in Madeira, accounting for 28 per cent of GDP and numbers are steadily increasing according to figures from the Madeira Tourism Board. In 2011, the island welcomed just over 900,000 visitors in total, up 6.7 per cent from 2010; while the average length of stay rose slightly from 5.1 nights in 2010 to 5.3 in 2011.

Only three hours from Europe, Maderia is most popular with visitors from this continent. There are four dominant source markets led – unsurprisingly – by Portugal which accounts for 24 per cent of visitor numbers, closely followed by the UK at 19 per cent, Germany at 16 per cent and France at 10 per cent. When it comes to overnight stays, however, the UK and Germany are at the top making up 24 and 21 per cent of the 5.5 million nights respectively, while Portugal only makes up 13 per cent.

But just how important is the spa industry to tourism in Madeira?

A promotional alliance
My impression of the spa industry in Madeira is one of innovation and enthusiasm. There’s a growing realisation with Madeirans that they have a coveted gem slowly revealing itself as a potential – and rather significant – magnet for spa and wellness enthusiasts and beginners alike.

The concept of wellness in Madeira has been around since the days of old – the cultivation of whole, natural foods, the weather and a laid back lifestyle all contribute to an environment that is naturally balanced and effortlessly composed to embrace the expectations of today’s market.

There are no figures to support how substantial the spa industry is or how effectively it contributes to the island’s economy. However, a large proportion of hotels now have spas and/or wellness centres.

Notably, the strategic intent to promote and expand the exposure to spas and wellness is also very evident. Since 2005, a self-elected amalgamation of hotels and spas across the island have joined together in an initiative to help drive their own businesses alongside the destination of Madeira as a whole. The group, called Spas da Madeira, was started by former Madeira Promotion Bureau (MPB) executive director Oto Oliveira and the owner of the country’s Galo Resort hotels Roland Bachmeier. MPB, which contributes to half of the budget, is still one of the sponsors. There are currently 11 participating properties and members meet periodically to put together a strategic, common plan such as focusing on press/familiarisation trips or sending out newsletters to 60,000 travel agents in source markets, which was the goal for mid-2012. Another focus is to develop their dedicated website www.spasmadeira.com to make it more user-friendly, attractive and current by adding special promotions. Already working in their favour is a link to MPB’s own website www.madeirapromotionbureau.com which itself has a complete section and a digital brochure highlighting spas as a key activity for visitors.

unique selling points
During the last couple of years the Spas da Madeira group has also recognised the need to create an original identity for each of the spa concepts. This includes emphasising unique treatments such as thalassotherapy; those incorporating aloe vera, a native plant; and the hot sand treatment which is offered at the Porto Santo Hotel & Spa.

Next to Madeira, Porto Santo is known as the Golden Island and its sand is a mix of coral reefs, seashells and volcanic ash. The sands have a high content of calcium and strontium and have been proven by scientists at the University of Oslo, Norway and the University of Aveiro, Portugal to help people suffering from rheumatic orthopaedic conditions when they submerse themselves in it.

The spa at the Porto Santo Hotel has hot sand beds and it claims to offer the first sand spa treatments in the world. The beds feature the local sand which is heated to 40-43?C. Guests spend 30 minutes covered in the sand twice a day to get the therapeutic benefits. The minimum number of sessions recommended is 12 and for hotel guests there’s a seven day package of 14 sessions for €490 (us$600, £387). For others, the price is €50 (us$61, £40) a session.

Within this article, there are three other examples of how spas are differentiating themselves (see p76-77).

If I’m honest, I was a little blown away by my three-day peek at Madeira. The country has a fabulous energy about it and I’m excited by how much camaraderie there is among the spa operators – not only for driving their own businesses but in their collective passion to raise the fortunes of Madeira through their own sector.

Case Study

The Vine

- 79 bedrooms and suites
- Five treatment rooms including one for nail services
- A wet area with a steamroom, sauna, whirlpool (too cold unfortunately), experience showers and a relaxation area

The décor of The Vine Spa, as with the hotel, is one of seductive luxury. It’s sharply minimalist, although there were some attention to detail touches that let it down – dusty candles, water served in plastic bottles and no definable ‘journey’ from arrival.

It’s a relatively quiet spa, usually six to eight treatments a day during high season (April to September) reducing to three in off-season. Eighty per cent of customers are hotel guests. The remaining percentage comprises local people and tourists.

The spa concept is anchored to vinotherapy – a unique selling point. If a guest is having a full massage treatment they’re given a measure of five-year-old Madeira wine afterwards; in addition, vinotherapy bath rituals include a glass of red wine (my kind of spa!). The theory is that antioxidants in the exquisitely-tasting wine work in unison with the grapeseed in the products – supplied by Theravine from South Africa – for both an internal and external glow.

My treatment was a 30-minute grapeseed oil massage (sadly without the Madeira shot) costing €50 (us$61, £40). The actual massage was very pleasant and well delivered technically but the treatment introduction was lacking an explanation and engagement on a personal level and the option to tailor the massage wasn’t in place.

The concept is an excellent one in a beautiful venue. Yet operational flair and service delivery are needed to properly showcase the spa as a unique and desirable experience.


 



The hotel’s design is stunning but it lacks a definable spa journey
 


The décor throughout is one of seductive luxury
 
Case Study

Galo Resort Sport Hotel

- 121 bedrooms
- Five treatment rooms over 400sq m (4,306sq ft) plus a spa garden and 80sq m (861sq ft) yoga room
- There are 12 spa team members, including eight trained in ayurveda

The Ayurveda Cure Center, a brand new addition to the Madeiran spa and wellness offering, is part of the Galo Resort Sport Hotel that opened in November 2011. Its offering is, without doubt, unrelentingly wellness focused. The experience is still indulgent, but the techniques and observations scream health, prevention and enlightenment.

Despite opening only a few weeks previously, the centre had already taken care of six guests taking part in a two-week cure programme. Priced at €1,900 (us$2,300, £1,500) per head (excluding accommodation), The Cure includes diagnostic testing; an ayurvedic therapy plan featuring German product line Ayurveda Kalari and local herbs; acupuncture, physiotherapy and lifestyle coaching; advice and lectures on diet/cooking, ayurveda, yoga and meditation.

Birgit Moukom, a very experienced ayurvedic practitioner and utterly delightful German lady, is running the centre. She’s been practising alternative medicine and psychology since 1998 and believes in delivering highly personalised treatments. I look forward with great anticipation to see how the concept flourishes under her guidance.

 



The centre is strongly focused on health
 


The hotel and ayurveda centre opened in late 2011
 
Case Study

Reid’s Palace

- 163 bedrooms
- Five spa treatment rooms
- No dedicated wet area but the changing room space included a sauna and steamroom

My experience at Reid’s Palace, part of the Orient Express group, was the epitome of how to get it right. The entire guest journey is one of effortless superiority and grace and the spa, with its focus on indulgence, relaxation and catering to every need, is no exception.

My experience was pure perfection. From the reception greeting to the treatment itself, it was classy and seamless without losing any sense of warmth. The treatment – a specially tailored massage using fresh aloe vera and grapeseed oil – was delivered flawlessly. Nothing was left to chance with any of the basics such as room temperature, pressure or music volume. The therapist extended my treatment as she felt my shoulders needed more work: a nice touch. The treatment menu, featuring La Prairie, Aromatherapy Associates and Ytsara products, was focused on top-drawer indulgence.

By tradition, and anecdotally, Madeira has a relatively aged tourism demographic which presents a market that, as yet, is untapped as far as the spa trade goes. The general manager of Reid’s Palace, Ulisses Marreiros, admitted difficulty in attracting hotel patrons to the spa, despite the exceptionally good service and treatment delivery.

On average, treatments generate €90 (us$110, £71) and revenue per occupied treatment room is €13 (us$16, £10). Accounting for 18 per cent of total spa income, the retail sales are impressive. The team have slick and well-executed product sales systems and stand out commercially against other spas I visited. Although therapist utilisation is reasonably good at 72 per cent, room utilisation at 25 per cent is disappointing.

Wellness orientated treatments, consultations and assessment could be the solution to using up vacant room space and increasing revenues. With an older, more savvy and aged demographic, packages that focus on anti-ageing, longevity and lifestyle advice in such a fabulous environment may be the tipping point they’re striving for.

 



The treatment experience at Reid’s Palace was ‘pure perfection’
Scientists say Porto Santo’s sand has therapeutic qualities
It attracts 900,000 tourists annually
There’s a strong focus on wellness
A vast array of activities are available
The Porto Santo Hotel & Spa claims to offer the first sand spa treatments in the world
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Discover Comfort Zone’s Stand For Regeneration campaign
Comfort Zone's latest initiative, the Stand for Regeneration campaign, consolidates its position as a pioneer in the cosmetics business. [more...]

Elevate your spa business: master global standards and thrive in Saudi Arabia's tourism boom
Discover how to prepare your spa or wellness facility for the influx of international guests and meet global standards as tourism in Saudi Arabia surges. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
BC Softwear Ltd

British-based, BC SoftWear was launched in 2002 by founder and managing director, Barbara Cooke. [more...]
myndstream

Release the power of Music.

Enhance your treatment. Transform their experience. With the [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

22-24 Apr 2024

UK Aufguss Championships

Galgorm Resort, York,
23-25 Apr 2024

ISPA Conference 2024

Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, United States
+ More diary  
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
SPA BUSINESS
SPA OPPORTUNITIES
SPA BUSINESS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024
Uniting the world of spa & wellness
Get Spa Business and Spa Business insider digital magazines FREE
Sign up here ▸
News   Products   Magazine   Subscribe
Spa tourism – Madeira
Madeiran Marvel

The Portuguese island of Maderia is poised to flourish as a sought after wellness hub. Spa consultant Anni Hood finds out why

By Anni Hood | Published in Spa Business 2012 issue 3


Madeira is a jaw-droppingly spectacular landmass lying 620 miles off the Portuguese coast and 310 miles from the African continent: this is the outermost region of the European Union.

There are a plethora of reasons to visit this stunning island. It has immense natural beauty and its hills and valleys add a cocooning feel. I would describe Madeira as a hidden jewel.

Year round temperatures are warm, averaging between 17-21?C, and ideal for the island’s numerous vineyards. Madeira is famous for its wine, which is absurdly delicious and high in antioxidants. The island also boasts a close to zero crime rate. In addition, a vast range of activities, culture and history provide a rich and tantalising choice of possibilities for visitors.

Tourism is the main industry in Madeira, accounting for 28 per cent of GDP and numbers are steadily increasing according to figures from the Madeira Tourism Board. In 2011, the island welcomed just over 900,000 visitors in total, up 6.7 per cent from 2010; while the average length of stay rose slightly from 5.1 nights in 2010 to 5.3 in 2011.

Only three hours from Europe, Maderia is most popular with visitors from this continent. There are four dominant source markets led – unsurprisingly – by Portugal which accounts for 24 per cent of visitor numbers, closely followed by the UK at 19 per cent, Germany at 16 per cent and France at 10 per cent. When it comes to overnight stays, however, the UK and Germany are at the top making up 24 and 21 per cent of the 5.5 million nights respectively, while Portugal only makes up 13 per cent.

But just how important is the spa industry to tourism in Madeira?

A promotional alliance
My impression of the spa industry in Madeira is one of innovation and enthusiasm. There’s a growing realisation with Madeirans that they have a coveted gem slowly revealing itself as a potential – and rather significant – magnet for spa and wellness enthusiasts and beginners alike.

The concept of wellness in Madeira has been around since the days of old – the cultivation of whole, natural foods, the weather and a laid back lifestyle all contribute to an environment that is naturally balanced and effortlessly composed to embrace the expectations of today’s market.

There are no figures to support how substantial the spa industry is or how effectively it contributes to the island’s economy. However, a large proportion of hotels now have spas and/or wellness centres.

Notably, the strategic intent to promote and expand the exposure to spas and wellness is also very evident. Since 2005, a self-elected amalgamation of hotels and spas across the island have joined together in an initiative to help drive their own businesses alongside the destination of Madeira as a whole. The group, called Spas da Madeira, was started by former Madeira Promotion Bureau (MPB) executive director Oto Oliveira and the owner of the country’s Galo Resort hotels Roland Bachmeier. MPB, which contributes to half of the budget, is still one of the sponsors. There are currently 11 participating properties and members meet periodically to put together a strategic, common plan such as focusing on press/familiarisation trips or sending out newsletters to 60,000 travel agents in source markets, which was the goal for mid-2012. Another focus is to develop their dedicated website www.spasmadeira.com to make it more user-friendly, attractive and current by adding special promotions. Already working in their favour is a link to MPB’s own website www.madeirapromotionbureau.com which itself has a complete section and a digital brochure highlighting spas as a key activity for visitors.

unique selling points
During the last couple of years the Spas da Madeira group has also recognised the need to create an original identity for each of the spa concepts. This includes emphasising unique treatments such as thalassotherapy; those incorporating aloe vera, a native plant; and the hot sand treatment which is offered at the Porto Santo Hotel & Spa.

Next to Madeira, Porto Santo is known as the Golden Island and its sand is a mix of coral reefs, seashells and volcanic ash. The sands have a high content of calcium and strontium and have been proven by scientists at the University of Oslo, Norway and the University of Aveiro, Portugal to help people suffering from rheumatic orthopaedic conditions when they submerse themselves in it.

The spa at the Porto Santo Hotel has hot sand beds and it claims to offer the first sand spa treatments in the world. The beds feature the local sand which is heated to 40-43?C. Guests spend 30 minutes covered in the sand twice a day to get the therapeutic benefits. The minimum number of sessions recommended is 12 and for hotel guests there’s a seven day package of 14 sessions for €490 (us$600, £387). For others, the price is €50 (us$61, £40) a session.

Within this article, there are three other examples of how spas are differentiating themselves (see p76-77).

If I’m honest, I was a little blown away by my three-day peek at Madeira. The country has a fabulous energy about it and I’m excited by how much camaraderie there is among the spa operators – not only for driving their own businesses but in their collective passion to raise the fortunes of Madeira through their own sector.

Case Study

The Vine

- 79 bedrooms and suites
- Five treatment rooms including one for nail services
- A wet area with a steamroom, sauna, whirlpool (too cold unfortunately), experience showers and a relaxation area

The décor of The Vine Spa, as with the hotel, is one of seductive luxury. It’s sharply minimalist, although there were some attention to detail touches that let it down – dusty candles, water served in plastic bottles and no definable ‘journey’ from arrival.

It’s a relatively quiet spa, usually six to eight treatments a day during high season (April to September) reducing to three in off-season. Eighty per cent of customers are hotel guests. The remaining percentage comprises local people and tourists.

The spa concept is anchored to vinotherapy – a unique selling point. If a guest is having a full massage treatment they’re given a measure of five-year-old Madeira wine afterwards; in addition, vinotherapy bath rituals include a glass of red wine (my kind of spa!). The theory is that antioxidants in the exquisitely-tasting wine work in unison with the grapeseed in the products – supplied by Theravine from South Africa – for both an internal and external glow.

My treatment was a 30-minute grapeseed oil massage (sadly without the Madeira shot) costing €50 (us$61, £40). The actual massage was very pleasant and well delivered technically but the treatment introduction was lacking an explanation and engagement on a personal level and the option to tailor the massage wasn’t in place.

The concept is an excellent one in a beautiful venue. Yet operational flair and service delivery are needed to properly showcase the spa as a unique and desirable experience.


 



The hotel’s design is stunning but it lacks a definable spa journey
 


The décor throughout is one of seductive luxury
 
Case Study

Galo Resort Sport Hotel

- 121 bedrooms
- Five treatment rooms over 400sq m (4,306sq ft) plus a spa garden and 80sq m (861sq ft) yoga room
- There are 12 spa team members, including eight trained in ayurveda

The Ayurveda Cure Center, a brand new addition to the Madeiran spa and wellness offering, is part of the Galo Resort Sport Hotel that opened in November 2011. Its offering is, without doubt, unrelentingly wellness focused. The experience is still indulgent, but the techniques and observations scream health, prevention and enlightenment.

Despite opening only a few weeks previously, the centre had already taken care of six guests taking part in a two-week cure programme. Priced at €1,900 (us$2,300, £1,500) per head (excluding accommodation), The Cure includes diagnostic testing; an ayurvedic therapy plan featuring German product line Ayurveda Kalari and local herbs; acupuncture, physiotherapy and lifestyle coaching; advice and lectures on diet/cooking, ayurveda, yoga and meditation.

Birgit Moukom, a very experienced ayurvedic practitioner and utterly delightful German lady, is running the centre. She’s been practising alternative medicine and psychology since 1998 and believes in delivering highly personalised treatments. I look forward with great anticipation to see how the concept flourishes under her guidance.

 



The centre is strongly focused on health
 


The hotel and ayurveda centre opened in late 2011
 
Case Study

Reid’s Palace

- 163 bedrooms
- Five spa treatment rooms
- No dedicated wet area but the changing room space included a sauna and steamroom

My experience at Reid’s Palace, part of the Orient Express group, was the epitome of how to get it right. The entire guest journey is one of effortless superiority and grace and the spa, with its focus on indulgence, relaxation and catering to every need, is no exception.

My experience was pure perfection. From the reception greeting to the treatment itself, it was classy and seamless without losing any sense of warmth. The treatment – a specially tailored massage using fresh aloe vera and grapeseed oil – was delivered flawlessly. Nothing was left to chance with any of the basics such as room temperature, pressure or music volume. The therapist extended my treatment as she felt my shoulders needed more work: a nice touch. The treatment menu, featuring La Prairie, Aromatherapy Associates and Ytsara products, was focused on top-drawer indulgence.

By tradition, and anecdotally, Madeira has a relatively aged tourism demographic which presents a market that, as yet, is untapped as far as the spa trade goes. The general manager of Reid’s Palace, Ulisses Marreiros, admitted difficulty in attracting hotel patrons to the spa, despite the exceptionally good service and treatment delivery.

On average, treatments generate €90 (us$110, £71) and revenue per occupied treatment room is €13 (us$16, £10). Accounting for 18 per cent of total spa income, the retail sales are impressive. The team have slick and well-executed product sales systems and stand out commercially against other spas I visited. Although therapist utilisation is reasonably good at 72 per cent, room utilisation at 25 per cent is disappointing.

Wellness orientated treatments, consultations and assessment could be the solution to using up vacant room space and increasing revenues. With an older, more savvy and aged demographic, packages that focus on anti-ageing, longevity and lifestyle advice in such a fabulous environment may be the tipping point they’re striving for.

 



The treatment experience at Reid’s Palace was ‘pure perfection’
Scientists say Porto Santo’s sand has therapeutic qualities
It attracts 900,000 tourists annually
There’s a strong focus on wellness
A vast array of activities are available
The Porto Santo Hotel & Spa claims to offer the first sand spa treatments in the world
LATEST NEWS
Circadian Trust invests in wellness to support its NHS partnerships
Operator Circadian Trust has launched a five-year growth drive designed to support health and wellbeing across South Gloucestershire, UK. The initiative will see a £2.4m investment in its five Active Lifestyle Centres.
US named world’s largest wellness economy, reaching US$1.8 trillion valuation
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has released new data on the US’ wellness economy, valuing it at US$1.8 trillion.
Galgorm Resort gears up to host UK Aufguss Championships next week
UK sauna enthusiasts will converge at Galgorm Resort in Northern Ireland next week for the highly anticipated second annual UK Aufguss Championships.
Remedy Place to launch two new social wellness clubs annually as part of rollout strategy
Remedy Place, a US-based social wellness club brand, is poised for steady expansion in the coming years, with plans to open two new clubs annually moving forward.
Clinique La Prairie to operate health resort at Tri Vananda in Phuket
Swiss longevity brand Clinique La Prairie (CLP) has inked a deal with Montara Hospitality Group to operate a resort at Tri Vananda – a purpose-built wellness community in Phuket, Thailand.
Six Senses La Sagesse launches with lagoon-fronted spa inspired by Caribbean fishing villages
Six Senses has announced the grand opening of its first-ever property and spa in the Caribbean, called Six Senses La Sagesse.
Basic-Fit trials corporate wellness drive across its Spanish clubs
Basic-Fit has signed up to trial the Wellhub network across its recently expanded Spanish network, giving access to subscribers and enabling them to use all 152 of its Spanish clubs.
Go Fit CEO, Mário Barbosa, unveils expansion plans in this month’s HCM
Having redefined the model of public-private collaboration in Spain, Go Fit is now expanding into Italy and has ambitious plans to grow its estate, memberships and profits.
US$60m Zion Canyon Hot Springs project breaks ground in Southern Utah
A brand new desert hot springs oasis, called Zion Canyon Hot Springs, is set to open in Southern Utah in Q3 of 2025.
Dedicated recovery clubs tipped to become a trend
Recovery, social wellness and longevity were talking points at the recent PerformX Live, tipped by many speakers as upcoming trends, while the exhibition halls featured infrared saunas, compression therapy and ice baths.
Research: Kundalini yoga provides cognitive benefits to postmenopausal women at risk of Alzheimer's
A new study by UCLA Health found Kundalini yoga provided several benefits to cognition and memory for older women at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
New lakeside spa oasis set to open at The Ritz-Carlton-Reynolds, Lake Oconee
Luxury lakeside retreat The Ritz-Carlton-Reynolds, Lake Oconee in Georgia, US, is gearing up to unveil its new-look destination spa this May following a comprehensive makeover.
+ More news   
 
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Discover Comfort Zone’s Stand For Regeneration campaign
Comfort Zone's latest initiative, the Stand for Regeneration campaign, consolidates its position as a pioneer in the cosmetics business. [more...]

Elevate your spa business: master global standards and thrive in Saudi Arabia's tourism boom
Discover how to prepare your spa or wellness facility for the influx of international guests and meet global standards as tourism in Saudi Arabia surges. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
BC Softwear Ltd

British-based, BC SoftWear was launched in 2002 by founder and managing director, Barbara Cooke. [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

22-24 Apr 2024

UK Aufguss Championships

Galgorm Resort, York,
23-25 Apr 2024

ISPA Conference 2024

Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, United States
+ 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
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS