Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa Pioneering Wellbeing and Travel Trends in 2024

Officially opened in June 2023, Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa, nestled on the shores of Lake Rotorua, is already proving a hit with local and international visitors alike, while it has also picked up a plethora of awards, including Best New Spa at the 2023 Spa and Wellness Awards, receiving three prestigious accolades at the Designers Institute Awards and Qualmark’s highest accreditation.

Apart from being completely unique in Aotearoa and around the world, Wai Ariki is also ahead of the curve when it comes to wellbeing and travel trends for 2024*.

1. Wellness + authentic indigenous experiences

Community-driven indigenous travel experiences are on the rise. Travellers are increasingly yearning for more profound cultural experiences, expressing a keen interest in the origins of ancient healing to better understand how they can care for themselves. Wai Ariki stands out by being grounded te ao Māori, traditional Ngāti Whakaue healing practices and manaakitanga, the centuries-old concept of welcoming and caring for manuhiri (visitors).

2. Wellness + restoration

According to wellness company, mindbodygreen, the success of a trip in 2024 will be determined by how we feel when we return. Where we once sought escape through adventure, we are now seeking a break that will leave us rested, restored and closer to ourselves. Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa has been specifically designed to deliver a relaxing and rejuvenating experience that benefits the body and mind, ensuring you return feeling better than ever.

3. Wellness + longevity

Travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller says ‘longevity’ is predicted to be the biggest buzzword of 2024, with more people striving to live a longer, healthier life, and today’s travellers seeking health benefits during their time away. With health benefits in mind, there’s no need to look further than the healing waters of Wai Ariki. Ngāti Whakaue would visit the local waiariki (hot springs), in conjunction with immersion in the contrasting waipuna (cold springs), for therapy and healing. Investigations in more recent times supports the benefit of these traditions, with the alteration between hot and cold bathing helping to reduce fatigue, delayed onset muscle soreness and swelling.

4. Wellness + silence

Luxury travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller has predicted that silent travel will be one of the biggest trends for 2024. Saturated with stress and screen time, many of us are looking for ways to disconnect. That’s where ‘The Sanctuary’ comes in: this luxurious, quiet space at Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa offers guests rest and stillness through exclusive thermal bathing and spa experiences.

5. Wellness + astro tourism

Astro tourism, or star bathing, is the pursuit of celestial wonders in pollution-free destinations, enabling uninterrupted gazing at the stars, planets and constellations overhead. Mt Ngongotahā in Rotorua is identified as one of the top stargazing sites in Aotearoa, and Wai Ariki’s Tirotiro Whetū (stargazing pool) offers the perfect view of not only Mt Ngongotahā, but also the stars above, including the Southern Cross, the Matariki star

cluster, as well as the other significant stars that Ngāti Whakaue tipuna (ancestors) used for navigation when they first arrived in Aotearoa hundreds of years ago.

6. Wellness + water

According to the Global Wellness Summit, hot springs are poised to be the next big thing in wellness globally. As Kiwis, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to hot springs, however, Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa takes this to the next level. Not only does the luxury spa offer multiple bathing experiences in geothermal waters drawn from its source deep within the earth, but it is supported by a multi-sensory journey through hot and cold experiences. Our personal favourite is the “frigidarium” where guests can put ice or cold water on themselves – it definitely awakens all the senses.

*as identified by the Global Wellness Summit, Forbes Magazine, Condé Nast Traveller and more.

Discover the magic of Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa and reserve your experience via the website.

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