Health, fitness, well being, SPA or better called self pampering is still an huge untapped opportunity in Eastern European countries. Take for instance Bucharest. In spite of my long travels and opportunities to make use of SPAs in top luxury hotels, I still felt the need to have a regular place to visit while home. It has been over 2 years since my first membership at Swedish owned WORLDCLASS and it is still the only option for premium health club services.
The health club at the InterContinental is a tiny fitness room with a sauna, the one at the Hilton is slightly larger yet, the lack of a swimming pool (the existing one is slightly larger than a regular jaccuzi) and the ones at the Howard Johnson and Novotel are reserved for the use of hotel guests. That leaves the so called neighbourhood health clubs that have grown in number during the past year. Yet, none of them offers premium services.
Being back at the WorldClass, same location Downtown, it has been a pleasant surprize. Services and facilities have not improved, yet they have not worsened either. The premium level is still kept, with clean facilities, good customer services at front desk and a reasonable array of added services such as massage, sauna, facials etc. Holding a monopoly on the market, it is obvious why, in the locker room, I have come accross all types of shoes (in front of each occupied locker) from sports shoes to the latest Vuitton, Pacciotti, Tods, Prada collections. The same is valid for cosmetics used by men – La Prairie, LOccitane, Adidas, LOreal dominate the shelves in the large bathroom space. The reason for such a mix ? – the lack of options.
Indeed, it would be an obvious extension of WorldClass to create a luxury extension, yet the booming financial situation on the premium level still makes owners wonders whether they should make the step now or wait.
As we have previously voiced and even debated at the LuxuryDays conference in March this year, SPA / wellbeing is one of the luxury industry segments that represent a huge oppportunity.
The same situation is valid for Belgrade (Serbia), Kiev (Ukraine) or Sofia (Bulgaria). All these capital cities offer hotel health clubs and some even lack a large operator such as WorldClass.
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