Trend: More “Nighttime Wellness” 

 In a world becoming unbearably hot, and with younger gens ditching booze and bars for healthy social destinations, after-dark wellness experiences are rising: from stargazing and full-moon meditation at resorts to a wave of urban social bathhouses that are the “hot new party scene” 

Wellness experiences and spa hours have long been a daytime affair. But because of our increasingly heat-crushed planet (and because more people are kissing bars goodbye and seeking less debilitating, healthier “nightspots”), we see a distinct rise in super-social nighttime wellness programming. You see it in the surge in stargazing experiences and more nighttime everything at resorts—from meditation, to hot springs soaking, to guided rainforest walks, even night snorkeling. And the wave of new social bathhouses and wellness social clubs are rolling out everything from huge social saunas with DJs and dance parties to group ice plunges until midnight and beyond.  

The new “nighttime wellness” is really the meeting of two recent GWS trends. Our 2024 trend “Climate-Adaptive Wellness,” which explores how an increasingly broiling world is leading to innovative cooling solutions (from climate-adaptive clothing to cooling architecture) identifies after-dark wellness programming at hotels/resorts as a rising trend. Our 2023 trend “Wellness Comes for the Loneliness Epidemic” details how the biggest post-pandemic trend is new wellness spaces/experiences where social connection is the whole point—and how new wellness clubs and bathhouses are reinventing the “nightclub” as a healthy experience.  

“Coolcations” grab the headlines, where travelers are choosing mountains over beaches and Northern Europe over the Mediterranean. But creating more nighttime wellness experiences at resorts/hotels (and re-embracing the siesta) will become crucial in warmer places as temperature records just keep being toppled. A new study last week in Nature revealed that last summer was the hottest in 2,000 years and 2024 looks to be worse. In just the last few weeks, a string of dangerous weather events globally—such as extraordinary heat in Southeast Asia—have killed hundreds.  

The new nighttime wellness experiences connect guests with nature and with each other, like The Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay’s full-moon yoga classes and outdoor NightSpa Ritual for couples, starting at 9 PM. Astrotourism and expert-led stargazing experiences are positively booming in 2024, an extraordinary year for spectacular sky events, from the rare solar eclipse to the recent solar flares that brought the northern lights to unexpected places worldwide. There are now so many more poetic, awe-inspiring stargazing programs at resorts: from Arizona’s Mii Amo 2.5-hour Hiking Under the Stars program, which leads guests through the dark sky community with a mid-hike “canyon bathing” meditation; to Qatar’s Zulal Wellness Resort family stargazing; to the ayurvedic hotel Engel Ayurpura in South Tyrol, Italy, with mind-bending stargazing tours along the Dolomites panorama trail.  

It’s amazing how the new loneliness-fighting, open very late, social bathhouses are becoming the buzzy new urban nightspots. The new Bathhouse Flatiron in Manhattan, described as “New York City’s hottest new party,” has a massive coed sauna (seating almost 100) and sauna aufguss, where sauna masters put on a theatrical, steamy show. Othership (two locations in Toronto and one opening next month in New York City’s Flatiron) also has a vast sauna, group ice-baths, and has built a passionate community. At night it hosts events, described by Shondaland’s editor as a hangover-free version of a ”night out at da club—dance music, high energy, loquacious strangers … the future of nightlife, where after-dark socialization can be simultaneously uplifting, inclusive, healthy, and not too weird.” The Guardian just explored how, in the UK, a big new crop of social saunas are challenging pubs as the place to meet.  

Younger gens, moving away from alcohol and soulless nights out, will drive the nighttime wellness trend. An ever-hotter world will change everything.

*Learn more about this trend in this brief extract from the 100+ page 2024 The Future of Wellness Trends global report, including the trend entitled “Climate-Adaptive Wellness” by Jane Kitchen.*

Spa and Wellness Implications

An ever-hotter world has implications for traditional spa and wellness as well. We’ve already seen travelers rethinking destinations based on climate change, with “coolcationing” on the rise as consumers trade beaches and deserts for mountains, the Mediterranean for Scandinavia, and summer vacations for fall or spring ones. Everyone, from Conde Nast Traveler to Country Living to The Future Laboratory, is talking about this shift in travel, and consumer surveys back this up: luxe travel network Virtuoso found that 82 percent of its clients are looking at destinations with more moderate weather in 2024, and digital travel platform found that 42 percent of UK travelers said that climate change will impact their travel plans in 2024, with 43 percent looking for cooler destinations.

“Tourists will need to be rerouted, tour schedules will be changed because of the weather, and people will start to question whether they should travel to certain locations,” Susanne Etti, PhD, global environmental impact manager for Intrepid Travel, told The Future Laboratory. “If there is a heat wave, people will wonder how it will impact their travel plans.”

In its report “A Sustainable Future for Travel,” The Future Laboratory identifies “Chasing the Shade” as an emerging trend, and suggests that in Europe, places like Scandinavia, the Baltic, Belgium, Slovenia and Poland are emerging as alternative destinations. “We are now in an era of ‘global boiling’ when the established dynamics of global tourism will fluctuate,” the report says.

Places like the upcoming Six Senses Svart, set at the base of the Svartisen Glacier in Arctic Norway and designed to be one of the world’s first energypositive hotels, will be well-positioned to capitalize on this trend. We’re also seeing expanding wellness offerings in places like Canada (Vogue has just named Vancouver Island as the next great wellness destination) and Scotland, where the 2024 Global Wellness Summit will be held.

Meanwhile, in traditionally hot places like Arizona or Morocco, new nighttime wellness programming is emerging. Offerings like full moon yoga classes, stargazing and after-dark hikes can be done in the cooler part of the day while immersing guests in the locale and connecting them with nature. At Mii Amo in Sedona, Arizona, a 2.5-hour Hiking Under the Stars program leads guests through the dark sky community with a mid-hike “canyon bathing” meditation, while Zulal Wellness Resort in Qatar offers family star-gazing, and the Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay offers both outdoor fullmoon yoga classes and an exclusive outdoor Night Spa Ritual for couples, starting at 9 p.m. These outings are happening across many locations, and the purpose is twofold: to witness the vast night sky and to escape the heat in locations where it’s prohibitive for activities during the day.

“The real key is going to be not only where people choose to take a health holiday, but how they do it,” says Marcus Coplin, ND, a naturopathic medical doctor and medical director of The Springs Resort in Colorado. “As climates change, and people are in need of adaptation to their environment, regular hydrothermal therapy or intensive health holidays featuring hydrothermal, thalasso, and climatotherapy will be essential in graceful transitions, no matter where we end up.”

The study of climatotherapy looks at the effects different climates have on the body and explains how to utilize a stay in certain climates to facilitate predictable health changes, says Dr. Coplin, and hydrothermal therapy is essential to any climatebased wellness offering.

“Whether you are pairing an arid hot summer climate with a cool ocean soak (the science of thalassotherapy has highlighted the numerous health benefits of this) or contrasting between a hot spring and cold river plunge in a more temperate mountain region, using the healthy stresses of thermoregulation, your body’s control of its temperature in hot and cold environments, you will improve your overall wellbeing,” he explains.

The mega-trend of cold immersion—whether through ice bathing, cold plunges or cryotherapy— will likely continue to grow as the planet heats up; indeed, ice baths are being used in medical situations to help quickly cool people suffering from heat stroke.

Discover the 10 Trends Shaking Up the Wellness Industry in 2024 Here

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