Healthy hotels on the Move

October 01, 2011 Writer Name: Sankalita Shome
With increasing globalization, travel is no longer confined only to vacations or for the privileged few. There is escalating travel associated with work, and people are looking to travel frequently for recreation. But health and a healthy lifestyle is something that one does not want to give up, even while traveling. But it is the five-star luxury hotel chains that make it really easy to carry on with a healthy lifestyle while traveling. The leading hotels in Cairo like the Marriott, the Four Seasons and the Fairmont are leaving no stone unturned to make sure that its health all the way.

Today, your request for vegetarian, low-fat or even gluten-free food is less likely to be met with scepticism or a blank look. There are several options available to allow you to continue with your workout regime. There is a growing awareness about the benefits of healthy eating, of working out regularly and the need for conservation and preservation of the environment in the countries around the world.

Eating healthy is the first casualty while traveling, but the five-star hotel chains in Cairo are extremely particular about including healthy eating options in their menus, both at the in-house restaurants as well as in-room service.

In fact, Fairmont asks, “Why stop eating well just because you’re on the road?”  Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a global hospitality brand and the Fairmont Nile City offers “Lifestyle Cuisine Plus,” a new menu available upon request catering to guests with specific diet-dependent conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, as well as unique dietary preferences including, macrobiotic, raw, gluten free and vegan diets.

“Diners with specific dietary requests often have to forfeit flavor and choice for their health, but not at Fairmont,” says Farah El Alfy, Manager, Public Relations at the Hotel.  
Fairmont chefs make use of technology, the Nutritionist Pro™ by Axxya Systems, cutting-edge recipe analysis software to help customize entrees and menus to fit with guests’ requests for caloric and nutritional requirements. Guests with specific food allergies and sensitivities are invited to have a direct conversation with the chef in order to plan their food options during their stay.

The Cairo Marriott serves all kinds of cuisine such as Mexican, Italian, Japanese and English food and they are all healthy. Besides, it provides healthier options depending on the guest orders if they want their plates gluten free or if they would like vegetarian options.
“As long as the guest tells us what their concerns and requirements are, we can take care of everything - whether it is a protein-rich menu, whole-wheat pasta or sugar-free desserts,” asserts Oliver Bruns, hotel manager at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza.

Initiatives geared towards health and wellness do not stop at the kitchen.  The 24-hour health club at the Four Seasons is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and offers certified trainers and fitness assessment counsellors to help guests get the most out of their workout. The gym is part of the spa and wellness center, where the treatments range from facials, pedicures and manicures to body cleansing and slimming care and a host of specialized massages.

“Guests seeking a sanctuary to relax, have fun and find renewed energy need look no further than Willow Stream and Fairmont Spas,” says El Alfy. The spa is the largest in Cairo with an incredible Nile view. Apart from features such as “Energized Rain” and “Ice Mist Shower,” “Desert Star Steam Rooms” and refreshing ice fountains, it also has an integrated fitness center and a yoga studio.

The Cairo Marriott Splash Health club is newly renovated and equipped with the latest machines. Apart from a sauna and Jacuzzi and a 24-hour swimming pool, professional coaches and masseurs are available to attend to guest requests.

If playing a sport is how you keep healthy, the hotel chains have information available and can guide the guests to the nearest facilities, where the guests can enjoy golf, boating and myriad other experiences.  

The efforts that the hotels put in ensuring that their guests don’t miss home are indeed commendable. A good night’s sleep is the top recommendation for a healthy life and The Four Seasons Nile Plaza provides mattresses, especially custom-made, for it by the “Sealy Sterns and Foster.” The thick mattresses are filled with 40 to 50 pounds of cotton, as opposed to synthetic stuffing and are, therefore firmer. “They are designed to offer the best balance between support and comfort for our guests,” says Bruns.

Ruen Thai, located in  Dusit Thani LakeView, is a  Thai restaurant with some healthy temptations. Chef Panya mentions that Thai food is made with many healthy ingredients, such as different types of vegetables, coconut milk, fish, chicken, seaweed and bamboo shoots. Dishes don’t upset your stomach, lower bad cholesterol while promote good cholesterol

“Thai cuisine is one of the healthiest foods you can eat,” says Anna Thaiset, Ruen Thai Restaurant Manager, “Many of the fresh herbs and spices used in Thai cooking - such as turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, and fresh chilies - have immune-boosting and disease-fighting power.”

A unique initiative is undertaken by the Four Seasons to celebrate 50 years of hospitality as it has made a global commitment to plant 10 million trees, as part of the hotel chain’s long-term efforts to support sustainability. Thirty-five thousand Four Seasons’ employees in 34 countries have contributed towards achieving this goal. The guests can also participate in this initiative by purchasing a gift card; each gift card purchased contributes towards the funding of the planting of a tree. Additionally, these electronic gift cards are environment friendly as they do away with the necessity of printing on paper and packaging.

The Cairo Marriott has established a committee for the protection of environment, comprising of 19 permanent members that has worked towards integrating a number of energy saving measures at the Hotel. “Cairo Marriott is the only hotel in Cairo to receive a record for environmental status from the Center for Space Studies and Consultancy managed by Faculty of Science, Cairo University,” Ghada Abdel Khalek, Director of Marketing Communications at the Cairo Marriott informs Community Times.

Another initiative aimed towards better health of its guest, by the luxury hotels, is the creation of non-smoking areas. For example Cairo Marriott has converted more than 50% of its rooms into non-smoking, created no-smoking areas in all the food and beverage outlets on its premises and also made its lobby a no-smoking zone. Four Seasons also has 192 rooms designated as non-smoking.

Known for pampering and cosseting their guests, the luxury chain hotels are now also ensuring that health does not take a backseat while travelling.