26 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2022 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Kim Weller

Spa People

Kim Weller

Veya offers modalities to help with modern-day issues and to respond to what guests say they need – which is a safe, supportive environment

The Veya concept is an antidote to today’s stressful lives Photo: Banyan Tree Veya Phuket
Banyan Tree Veya has opened in Phuket Photo: Banyan Tree Veya Phuket
The flagship Veya resort opened in Phuket, Thailand Photo: Banyan Tree Veya Phuket
The Veya philosophy is that guests do not need to travel the wellbeing path alone Photo: Banyan Tree Veya Phuket
There’s a focus on breathwork and somatic movement Photo: Banyan Tree Veya Phuket
Veya’s eight wellness pillars include sleep, nutrition and physical vitality Photo: Banyan Tree Veya Phuket
Photo: Banyan Tree Veya Phuket

Banyan Tree has launched a new wellbeing brand, Banyan Tree Veya, within its multi-brand ecosystem.

The flagship resort in Phuket opened in March 2022, and the second Veya will be opening in Q4 2022 in the Maldives. Created in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Banyan Tree Veya aims to address a world with an urgent need for reconnecting mind and body on a daily basis.

“The pandemic has caused extraordinarily high levels of fear, stress and anxiety for many,” says Kim Weller, Banyan Tree’s wellbeing director. “A silver lining is that it has also underscored the importance of wellbeing and sustainability, and the way the two are interlinked. Veya is a place of peace and discovery, offering our guests access to wellbeing specialists and practices that can honour their commitment and aspirations to live a better life of balanced wellbeing.”

Wellbeing journey
Veya means ‘to weave’, and is designed to provide a safe space for guests to integrate their own path to wellbeing. The Veya experience is led by certified multidisciplinary wellbeing hosts around a three-step protocol of awareness, discovery, and sustenance.

The resorts offer bespoke programmes with an emphasis on what the brand calls ‘embodiment therapies,’ built on Banyan Tree’s proprietary eight pillars of wellbeing: Sleep and Rest; Dietary Awareness; Bonding and Connection; Physical Vitality; Cultivate the Mind; Learning and Development; Harmony with Nature; and Sustained Practices.

The Veya journey begins with a private consultation with a wellbeing host, certified and trained in Eastern medicine, naturopathy and coaching. After an assessment against the brand’s codified wellbeing approach, a personalised itinerary is aligned to each guest’s needs and priorities, centering on embodiment therapies and somatic practices.

Mindfulness practices, including classes such as Ocean Breath and Conscious Grounding, raise sensory awareness through breathwork, sound therapy and guided imagery meditation techniques in natural environments. A focus on somatic movement includes intuitive forms of dance, yoga and classes such as Balance and Stability, which focus on the internal experience of movement to release chronic tension patterns and calm the nervous system. A new range of signature therapies combines rehabilitative floatation with body stretch massage techniques and meditational sound therapy to create a restorative sensory experience.

Lifestyle learning
Veya also includes a focus on lifestyle learning, with workshops aimed at introducing wellbeing rituals into daily life such as creative therapies, integrative nutrition, and classes such as Positive Resilience, which help guests bring the retreat experience home.

“We are not one to rest on our laurels,” says Weller. “We find there are new needs surfacing; mind-body connection is lacking with so much digital work and the chronic stress of being always on. Veya offers modalities to help with current modern-day issues and to respond to what guests say they need, which is not more information, but a safe, supportive environment. People are seeking purpose-driven holidays that make a difference to themselves and their lives when returning home. A wellbeing holiday traditionally looked like a solo woman trip, but now includes couples, solo male and like-minded groups of travellers who come to Veya and love the freedom, acceptance and aspirational nature of the journey they experience with us.”

Veya experience
Each of the 23 one-bedroom Veya Pool Villas have been designed for optimal rest, and feature organic cotton bedlinen, choice of pillows, black-out curtains, night time aromatherapy, sleep light and music. Each villa also comes equipped with amenities including a wellbeing mini-bar, yoga mats, sound therapy bowls, and exercise stretch bands.

Veya showcases plant-forward cuisine that weaves together Asian and Mediterranean influences created around a Fuel-Balance-Repair daily sequence. Resident nutrition sommeliers assist guests in curating a tailored menu during their stay to fulfil dietary needs and preferences.

Guests also can access a wellbeing centre with a White Room for sensory detox and meditation, and a herb pharmacy workshop is set to open soon. Prior to departure, a journey reflection consultation is offered, which provides personalised programmes and lifestyle practices so guests can continue their wellbeing journey at home. Veya will also host Veya Circles – retreats with visiting practitioners that bring people together and focus on different sustainable wellbeing practices.

“Many people are hesitant to join in wellbeing retreats or events that seem to require experience and a high level of fitness and strictness,” says Weller. “We want to foster an atmosphere of inclusion, diversity and flexibility by offering a unique range of practices that are accessible and enjoyable.

“We expect 20-40 guests at these events to foster a sense of intimacy and connection and want them to interact together to share their wellbeing experiences and journey. We do not travel the path of wellbeing alone.”

Photo: Banyan Tree Veya Phuket

"People are seeking purpose-driven holidays that make a difference to themselves and their lives" – Kim Weller wellbeing director, Banyan Tree

Originally published in Spa Business 2022 issue 3

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