20 March 2020
Downtown spa for busy urbanites
Recognising demand for spa facilities without a time-consuming and expensive trip to a distant destination, a health service provider opened a wellness centre in the bustling commercial hub of Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.
Offering yoga and mindfulness classes alongside regular spa treatments and plant-based cuisine, wellness centre Fivelements Habitat Times Square enables city dwellers to relax without boarding a plane to a wellness retreat or destination. The brand is part of the Evolution Wellness portfolio, which operates a network of wholly owned fitness clubs in Asia; brands include Celebrity Fitness and Fitness First.
Spread across 15,000 square feet, the facility includes a soundscapes room (main picture), offering a multi-sensory wellness experience. Jason Lee Washbourne, Managing Director of Evolution Wellness Hong Kong, said such a diverse range of wellness-based offerings is not usually found in big cities.
Fivelements opened its first facility in Bali, Indonesia, in 2010. But the brand was keen to branch out beyond the typical wellness destinations. “We wanted to bring this concept closer to urban residents and corporates who live highly demanding lifestyles,” he said.
Mr Washbourne saw Fivelements Habitat Times Square as a city sanctuary for residents and corporate groups seeking greater balance, stress reduction and authentic, personalised wellness experiences. “The intention is to create a home or ‘habitat’ for the growing urban wellness tribe and cultivate it as the second-most important place for urban dwellers, creating a bridge between their first, being their residence, and their third, being their workplace.”
A location in the popular Times Square shopping arcade boosted the brand’s footfall. Sister brand Fitness First has been operating in Hong Kong for more than a decade; its reputation helped Fivelements secure space in the sought-after mall. “We’re really pleased with this location, where we are able to provide a rich collection of holistic practices right in the heart of Causeway Bay. At the same time, we’re tucked away from the hustle bustle of the city," Mr Washbourne said.
Fivelements Habitat Times Square’s core clientele comprised forward-thinking, eco-conscious “change makers” who actively transform their lives, their communities and the world around them. Other customers have come to seek solace from their increasingly busy lives. “We see new clients who are experiencing stress on all levels and they frequently have low energy, strained adrenals and pre- or existing degenerative diseases. They have committed themselves to a journey towards wellness,” he said.
The demand for and awareness of holistic wellness in Hong Kong had grown substantially and rapidly, Mr Washbourne said. “There are a lot of discerning residents and corporate wellness clients in Hong Kong who have already experienced wellness retreats or more mainstream places and are looking for a more personalised transformational experience within an authentic location.”
Mr Washbourne said Fivelements Retreat Bali received many guests from financial centres such as Hong Kong. “Many regular retreat-goers are now asking for urban versions of these retreats, where they have access to these wellness and healing tools on a daily basis. That’s where the concept of Fivelements Habitats comes in. We support people on their daily wellness journey.”
Some gyms and wellness facilities cater to the latest fitness trends but Fivelements focused on building high-impact wellness offerings and timeless experiences, Mr Washbourne said. “We continue to work on perfecting our signature retreats, workshops and classes. So much of it is about creating and holding the space for life transformation and helping people to gain new perspective.”
Mr Washbourne acknowledged that many wellness events had been cancelled recently but said the wellness community were trying to find the time to network. “Everyone is sticking to smaller events at the moment. We are working with local brands such as [health and wellness website] IRIS, and we’re also hosting many gatherings at Fivelements Habitat ourselves.”
Fivelements is working on securing a second site in Hong Kong and as the brand develops, it will probably explore smaller spaces, reaching further into communities and making offerings more accessible to a wider audience.
Developers and hotels had made enquiries about licensing the name, Mr Washbourne said.
Fivelements Habitat Times Square opened during testing times in Hong Kong in July last year but the timing had worked out well in some ways, as many residents had since made mental wellness and health core priorities. “The city is in need of a safe sanctuary where people can unwind. We’ve learnt to trust the process and follow our mission to create a secure space for transformation – a wellness haven that many of us have been longing for,” Mr Washbourne said.
“The time for wellness is now and many people are waking up to the fact that they might have been neglecting many aspects of their well-being.”