Rotana reaches for the spas

Spas are essential to Rotana’s new expansion plans

ROTANA Hotels is to roll out a strong initiative into the spa market, with three new openings set for the coming months.

The first, which opens at the Grand Rotana Resort & Spa, Sharm El Sheikh, in May will be quickly followed by two spas at properties in the UAE. TTN caught up with Rotana's Daniel Hajjar for the details. Excerpts from an interview:

What has prompted Rotana's decision to move into the spa market?
Rotana Hotels focuses on the needs of the clientele staying in our properties and we try to introduce what our guests suggest, and to an extent follow overall industry trends. We are expanding at a phenomenal rate and consequently, our resources are well focused on what our future clientele will be seeking. Spas are becoming far more in the Middle East which, when coupled with client feedback, has led us to begin introducing them into our properties. 
So does that mean a spa at each Rotana property?
We're working towards a spa at each of our five-star resorts and hotels. From a portfolio of 41 properties, 21 are currently in operation, most of them five-star properties.
What will your spas be like, then?
Spas at Rotana properties will have exquisitely designed treatment rooms and relaxation areas. Planned treatment menus will include holistic therapies from around the world. We will also introduce signature treatments for face and body, traditional Thai massages, exquisite massages and hydrotherapy besides 'romantic' treatments. Each spa will be manned by internationally trained therapists.
How important are spa facilities to hotel guests in the region?
Spas are definitely becoming more important to travellers, and this is really an international trend. In the Middle East as we attract more travellers it becomes strategically important to stay in tune with those international trends. We believe as more and more people are looking at their own personal health and wellbeing more seriously, spas will eventually become an essential facility within each property, just as a health and fitness club is today.

What do you expect the addition of spas to do for your properties? 
There is a huge market devoted to spas that we haven't yet tapped. Some of this clientele wouldn't even consider our properties because we haven't had spas. Obviously they are firmly in our target segment now, so we do see an overall increase in business.
Where are these clients coming from?

From within the Middle East and mainly from the UK, Germany, Russia and Europe.
What's the future of spas for hotels in the Middle East?
As said earlier, spas will become a necessity rather than a luxury and you will begin to see some innovation in how spas are promoted in this region.    
So what’s the biggest challenge for the spa industry worldwide?
Competition, in so much as supply could well outstrip demand in the short term. Longer term, as with other sectors of our industry, it will even itself out.