The greatest challenge when travelling a lot, particularly for work, is the ability to find healthy food. Its quite amazing how hard it can be to find basic vegetables on a menu and it can be quite tiresome always having to ask for a special combination of food items you have located within the fine print of the menu. With this in mind, its so very important for hotels and resorts to start accommodating the wellness traveller, who seeks to maintain healthy habits whilst on the road. If your chef is resistant to this idea then it may be necessary to bring in another consulting chef who specialises in whole foods and other quirky but popular concepts. I often see menu's that 'try' to be healthy but there are holes throughout their entire food philosophy. Many restaurants would consider a potato gnocchi covered in cream and without the bacon to be the perfect vegetarian option, whilst missing the point that vegetarians, by definition of the very term, prefer to eat a diet that is high in vegetables. And therefore this attempt at considering the vegetarian is seen as a lack of true care and integrity to this particular population. Having said that, the paleo food philosophy, which is quite abuzz at the moment, can also be missed through a menu that is heavily laden with carbohydrates and still missing the necessary quotient of vegetables.
So then how does a restaurant within a hotel or resort create the ideal menu? And better still, how does this department link in to the spa so as to capture more clients and create a cohesive theme of wellness?
Firstly, I think its important to create a menu that considers food combining, the paleo diet, ayurvedic philosophies and raw foods. The philosophy also needs to be based on organic, seasonal, whole foods that are free from dairy, gluten and sugar. Then link this food philosophy back to the spa and wellness concept in the following ways:
Create a ‘culinary wellness menu’ for each restaurant that captures the essence of that particular food theme, but in a healthy way. For example: your Italian restaurant might offer zucchini pasta, spelt pizza with cashew nut cheese, dairy and sugar free tiramisu. Your Asian inspired restaurant might offer an array of paleo inspired recipes and vegetarian delights.
Add a stand alone ‘spa and wellness’ breakfast buffet that offers fresh fruits, activated nuts, gluten free muesli and granola, quinoa porridge, sheep and goat yoghurt, almond and rice milk, organic poached and scrambled eggs, home made beans, wilted spinach, sprouted and gluten free breads, vegetarian fritters, buckwheat pancakes and super food smoothies to name a few.
Add ‘spa and wellness’ foods to any other buffets that are hosted in your restaurants. Create a ‘healthy picnic hamper’ that might be enjoyed as part of a spa package or chosen by guests going out for a full day excursion.
Possible wording for your culinary spa menu might be... Spa & Wellness Menu, Spa Delights, Delicious Detox, Raw Beauty, Organic Gourmet, Culinary Creations, Health Bar, Wellness Weaver, Health Haven, Spa Bites, Wellness Delights or Organic Gourmet. The list is endless.
The intention here is to continually bring attention to your spa through the food menu’s, to position your hotel as a leader in wellness tourism and to most importantly, take care of guests with specialised dietary needs and preferences. At the end of the day, if our guests are happy, our business will also show a very happy profit.