The opening of the Angsana Spa and Health Club Dubai Marina marks the foray of the Banyan Tree group into the region, a venture that will be followed by several new properties in the Middle East and North Africa.
The group has also signed agreements to develop resorts in Greece, Mexico, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
TTN talked to Ho Kwon Ping, chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings, Laguna Resorts & Hotels and the Wah Chang Group, who is perhaps best known for making the Banyan Tree chain of resorts Asia’s most successful. Excerpts from the interview:
What can Dubai residents expect from the Spa?
The Angsana Spa & Health Club Dubai Marina boasts world-class facilities including 11 indoor single treatment rooms, two indoor single treatment rooms with spa baths, a 25-metre spa lap pool, separate men’s and ladies’ jacuzzis and steam rooms, a well-equipped fitness centre and a juice bar.
There are enough spas in Dubai already. What differentiates your spa from the rest?
The early 1990s saw the spa business become the fastest growing travel industry sector in the Asia-Pacific region. When the first Banyan Tree spa opened with the first Banyan Tree resort in Phuket in 1994, guests were treated to a new experience. We went against the accepted European concept of spas with our “New Spa Experience,” breaking away from the air-conditioned rooms and therapists wearing clinical white. Our philosophy behind each hotel and resort is based on providing a place to pamper all the human senses and provide a sanctuary of rest, wellness and pleasure.
We build from scratch and manage upmarket luxury boutique hotels and resorts steeped in Asian traditions and sensitive to the environment. Our spas offer holistic massages, beauty, beauty wraps and tropical scrubs using fresh botanicals and the ancient art of aromatherapy.
Can you expand on that new spa experience?
We offer our guests a ‘high-touch, low-tech’ approach celebrating the power of human touch together with the use of fresh botanicals. A soothing compilation of time-honoured massages from around the globe forms the backbone of the spa menu. Wraps, scrubs and facials serve to nourish the body and specially developed oils are adapted to meet individual needs. The Angsana Gallery within the spa enables guests to experience home with exclusive products such as specially-blended essential oils, massage oils, incense sticks, body, foot and hair care toiletries and more.
Dubai has positioned itself as the ‘lifestyle’ destination of this region. The phenomenal growth of its tourism and hospitality industries is a testament to its popularity as an ideal year-round business and leisure destination.
Are you planning to expand further into the region?
Our regional expansion drive includes an Angsana Spa and Angsana Spa Golf Club in El Gouna, Egypt, an Elements Spa by Banyan Tree in Kuwait and a Banyan Tree Resort and Spa in Morocco.
On an international level, we’ve embarked on a massive expansion plan: besides two resort projects that are well underway in China, the company has recently opened its first Angsana Spa in Malaysia and signed agreements to develop resorts in Greece, Mexico, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
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