Forum HOTel&Spa 2023: Eight takeaways from the Paris event

By Sarah Camilleri


By Sarah Camilleri

16 June 2023

The 15th edition of Forum HOTel&Spa, recently took place at the iconic Four Seasons George V in Paris on June 1. This year’s prestigious event brought together a 150-strong delegation representing 14 countries.

Forum HOTel&Spa is organised by Vladi Kovanic once again featured a stellar line up of international speakers from spa and wellness hospitality. This year’s event in Paris saw plenty of inspiration and advice on the theme of ‘Authentic Wellness – time for change’.

European Spa’s Sarah Camilleri shares her top takeaways from the Paris event.

“The challenge for the entire spa industry is to rethink the business models and processes and put the customer back at the centre. Today, perhaps more than ever, the customer has new demands."

Vladi Kovanic

Founder, Forum HOTel&Spa
a conference room full of people in summery clothes
There was a buzzing atmosphere at the recent 2023 Forum HOTel&Spa event in Paris which saw spa leaders share business advice

Forum HOTel&Spa 2023: The science of wellness

Dr George Gaitanos, Chenot Group’s chief operating officer and scientific officer, asked how spas can deliver ‘health wellness’ through dynamic pathways to optimise the body.

Renowned for this scientific approach, Chenot, a global health and wellness operator located in Swiss Alps, runs three brands: Chenot Palace destinations,  Chenot Espace, for hotels resorts and urban locations; and its Chenot Spa.

“Muscles are hormone factories that create the hormones of youth... We use four pillars that catalyse the internal medicine of the body: diet, hydrotherapy massage treatments and energetic treatments.”

Dr George Gaitanos

COO, Chenot Group

He revealed how his team use the Chenot Method. This three-scientific approach to health wellness that focuses on fasting, autophagy and renewal to reset the body.

“We use four pillars to catalyse the internal medicine of the body: diet, hydrotherapy massage treatments and energetic treatments,” said Dr Gaitanos. He shared how the Chenot team uses the latest diagnostic tools and biohacking techniques to activate the body’s protective response.

To find out more about the Chenot Group, click here

A QR offer to download a spa business publication for free

Supercharging your spa business

European Spa magazine launched its exciting new FREE downloadable guide – 10 Ways to Boost your Spa Business. Click here to download

This essential new guide provides expert advice for spa leaders and investors worldwide. Packed with expert content, it explores the latest thought leadership, business advice and marketing and PR expertise.

“As the demand for spa and wellness services grows globally, our new Guide offers insights into spa business development and team leadership.”

Sarah Camilleri

Editorial director, European Spa magazine

Expert contributors to 10 Ways to Boost your Spa Business include Roger Allen of RLA Global; Iain Bell of the Executive Fitness Foundation and Evolution-U’s Neil Orvay.

They are joined by Tracey Stapleton of The Spa PR Company; Kirsty McCormick of The Spa Consultancy; Alexa Poortier from itmustbenow; and Ian Alexander Bell, founder of

To download a free copy of 10 Ways to Boost your Spa Business, click here

Four women standing next to a table with proucts on it in a conference room
The Elemis team at Forum HOTel&Spa in Paris

Forum HOTel&Spa 2023: Spas, the metaverse and healing spaces

Tom Middleton, founder of White Mirror, presented the future of augmented wellness and how spas could be reimagined for the metaverse.

Presenting a kaleidoscope of colour and imagination, he painted the possibility of virtual spa spaces and avatar spa teams of the future.

“What if spas can design virtual spaces that can heal? Let's build the spas of our imagination that deliver empathy, trust and social interactions.”

Tom Middleton

Co-founder, White Mirror

Middleton is an award winning sound designer and composer of spatial soundscapes. He discussed the latest science-based wellness music to bring new insight to Forum HOTel&Spa.

White Mirror’s expertise ranges from home-spa products to large-scale immersive wellness spaces, as well as sound and light saunas. Clients include notable global apps including Calm and Sleep Cycle apps and collaborations with Apple Music, Wund (Therme Group) and Bluphoria.

“Alongside our research lab, our mission for White Mirror is to transform human suffering in a time of multiple global crises – from mitigating stress, anxiety and pain to improving sleep, recovery, productivity and flow,” confirmed Middleton.

To find out more about White Mirror, click here

An award winner receiving her award from a man in a suit and a woman in a red suit jacket
Isabelle Charrier, founder and editorial director of Sense of Wellness, receives the Red Diamond Award for her service to the spa industry

Forum HOTel&Spa 2023: Diamond Award winners

Every year, Forum HOTel&Spa founder Vladi Kovanic presents three diamond awards to professionals who have made an outstanding contributions to the spa industry.

This year, a very special Red Diamond Award was presented to French wellness media star Isabelle Charrier, founder of Sense of Wellness magazine.

Across 25 years of commitment to wellness journalism, Isabelle has promoted, influenced and valued development across the spa industry.

Marie-Cecile Roussett, spa director of the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, receives the Black Diamond Award for spa personality of the year at Forum HOTel&Spa

This year’s Black Diamond Award at Forum HOTel&Spa for spa personality of the year was presented Marie-Cecile Roussett Spa director of the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel, France.

The Blue Diamond, for leadership in thalassotherapy was awarded to both Jean-Pascal Phelippeau and Anne Phelippeau-Korb, Relais Thalasso, France.

To find out more about the Forum HOTel&Spa Diamond Awards, click here

A man and two women in smart buiness attire receive awards
Forum HOTel&Spa awards the Blue Diamond to Jean-Pascal Phelippeau and Anne Phelippeau-Korb of Relais Thalasso, France

Forum HOTel&Spa 2023: Scarcity of labour and shifting hospitality mindset

Wellness and hospitality expert Andrew Gibson and leadership coach Cornelia Kausch discussed the global recruitment crisis in hospitality.

Kausch called for more wellbeing policy in spas to encourage successful retention and improve performance. “Employee wellness has to be part of your future planning,” she told attendees.

Gibson added that wellbeing policy was so critical to hospitality as a whole that “in the next five years we will have wellness officers or directors in hotels. They will be work with all departments, as the glue that puts the whole philosophy of the hotel together.”

He added that this was “a career opportunity for spa directors”.

“In hospitality the spa is often treated like an unwanted stepchild. We need to be seen as a profit centre – we need to shift this mindset.”

Andrew Gibson

Wellness and hospitality expert

Gibson advised that spas also need to raise their value with investors and GMs.

“The spa is often treated like an unwanted stepchild instead of being seen as a profit centre – we need to shift this mindset,” he said. “Make sure you are measuring and communicating all the spend that surrounds the spa customer beyond the spa. In a hotel or resort your spa could be the primary reason they stay longer [and] spend more on F&B and many other activities”.

A man and woman sit in armchairs with their backs to the camera, facing a room full of conference delegates
Jean-Guy De Gabriac, founder of World Wellness Weekend interviews European Spa's editorial director Sarah Camilleri about trends to watch in spa world

Forum HOTel&Spa 2023: Wellness design to connect and quieten the mind

US architect Bob Henry presented some of the latest spa and wellness destinations he has designed in the States through a video masterpiece.

A visual tour for the senses, it brought alive the majesty of nature at Mohawk Mountain Resort, Catskills, featuring hiking trails with reflexology huts enroute.

By contrast, he showed the rise in demand for Quiet Rooms in the centre of Manhattan, New York.

“Wellness travellers are looking to reboot and connect with nature. Wellness design can be brought into urban spaces in new, ingenious ways.”

Bob Henry

RDH Architects

Notably, Henry showcased his innovative designs of facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Eunice Park’s new Manhattan aesthetics clinic, AIREM.

This innovative urban beauty sanctuary, which puts selfcare first, offers medical-grade skincare, aesthetic treatments and cosmetic surgery. Henry showed how its ingenious tea room concept and biophilic design works to relax and rejuvenate.

To find out more about RDH Architects, click here

For details of the AIREM aesthetics clinic, click here

A man and four women make W shapes with their hands while smiling at the camera
From left: Forum HOTel&Spa's founder Vladi Kovanic; Soumia Hite, founder of Prestige Coaching and country ambassador of World Wellness Day in Morrocco; Jean-Guy de Gabriac; Isabelle Charrier; Aheem Siddique, strategy and marketing director, ALTEARAH Bio and country ambassador of WWW in the UAE

Forum HOTel&Spa 2023: Data is king… the metrics that matter

Bringing the wisdom of RLA Global to the stage, Simon Saunders presented six data sets that revealed key performance indicators of 2,000 hotels worldwide.

He also invited the conference and industry leaders to read RLA Global’s new Wellness Real Estate Report, now in its fourth year.

The 2023 report delivers key financial metrics for hotel and resort owners investors looking to understand leisure and wellness contribution to hotel performance.

“The wellness industry is so diverse and expanding rapidly. We have a challenge with so many languages… the only common language is data.”

Simon Saunders

RLA Global

Saunders highlighted wellness trends and partnerships to watch, including the continued growth of wearable technology to monitor health; citing 447 million downloads of fitness apps alone in one year.

He also cited adventure activities as a hot trend for hotels and resorts, asking: “What can you do as spa operators to increase the total revenue of a destination outside of the spa?”

He also namechecked Peleton’s successful in-room partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts as “presenting imperial proof of the importance of health to our hotel guests”.

To download the latest Wellness Real Estate Report, click here

Three women greet each other across a table in a conference hall
Skincare brand Altearah Bio founder Shahida Siddique with Debbie Leon, founder of Fashionizer Spa, and leadership coach speaker Cornelia Kasch

Nature is the new luxury

Phytomer’s Tristan Lagarde gave a thought-provoking presentation on the conference theme ‘Authentic Wellness is it time to change?”

Representing a leading brand in thalassotherapy and wellness, he highlighted the growing desire for global wellness travellers to tap into the richness of nature and culture.

“Change is at the heart of our business, we need to think differently about how we bring products to market and how we create experiences.”

Tristan Lagarde


Lagarde reminded the audience that wellness is embedded in European culture, and said that “nature is the new luxury”.

“People want to experience authentic nature. As an industry we need to be eco and sustainable, upgrading our locations, designing for a future wellness world.”

He also brought the theme back to authentic wellness and the power of human touch in the future. “We also need to be better at storytelling in the spa industry to be recognised. As an industry we need to embrace change… to remain relevant.”

To find out more about Phytomer, click here

Be informed...

The 2024 edition of Forum HOTel&Spa will take place on May 30 in Paris.

To find out more and keep up to date with developments, click below

Be inspired...

To read the Summer 2023 eidtion of European Spa magazine, click below

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