Social Media Mindfulness

Over 3 billion of people around the world now use social media; with most joining in the last five to 10 years. As a result, most of us exist in an ‘always-on’ state of being. It was recently estimated that millennials check their phones up 150 times a day, meaning that we only really switch off when we sleep. Some people were concerned by these findings, others not surprised, but it has sparked a conversation about how much social media is impacting our lives.


At Raison d’Etre we believe it is important to have a healthy and mindful approach to social media, where people enjoy the positive interaction but are also able to disconnect and relax in their own space. Each individual must figure out how they want to live and how much they want to allow the internet and social media to be a part of their life. We would suggest practising Social Media Mindfulness by keeping a journal for a week or so, noting when you use social media, why and how it makes you feel. It is important to really focus on how long you use social media for each day then add up that time at the end of the week to think if it was really worth all of your time? Are there other things you would like to rather have time for?

Recent surveys and polls have proven that social media anxiety and depression is on the rise. Many people, especially teenagers find it hard to not look at social media for fear of missing out; however in reality those who spend too much time on social media end up feeling more isolated and with lower self-esteem.

While social media continues to grow, there has been a small minority who have taken a U-turn, deleted their social media and decided to completely disconnect. Going off the grid and eschewing society at large is not a new concept.  In a globally-networked world, deleting all your social media accounts is a way to avoid the ‘pressure’ and choose to spend time focusing on things that make you happy rather than endlessly scrolling through what others are doing.  More people are beginning to see that the only way to connect to themselves, friends, nature around them is to disconnect from social media.

But is it really possible to do a complete digital detox?

Anyone who decided to quit social media would have to make the decision as to where to draw the line with technology.  Does quitting everything include not having a smartphone?  Playing online games?  Emails that are necessary for work? Or are you just talking about deleting Facebook and/or Instagram? The key is figuring out what is working for you, what isn’t and making your decision based on that.  Ultimately if you are wasting too much time using Facebook or Twitter, limit your use or quit that platform.

Will going ‘off-grid’ become a real trend?

As social media use becomes more normal, people will have the choice to be more thoughtful about what they use and when and how they use it. Withdrawing altogether can be easier than trying to limit your use as it is very easy for ten minutes or staring, comparing and scrolling to turn into an hour. We are not sure how many people will choose to completely switch off, but we do hope that more people, especially those who experience negative effects, decide to spend less time on their phones.

Is there a certain type of person or personality that should avoid social media?

Those who suffer from low self-esteem, poor impulse control or a tendency toward addiction should pay attention to their social media use.  Contrary to many peoples’ fears, social media does not always make someone more socially avoidant or isolated.  In fact, it can do the opposite by providing access to people and resources.  People who have problems with social media–whether it’s severe FOMO (fear of missing out), negative social comparison, or a need for validation or overuse–will have similar issues in other aspects of their life. Positive social media use may, in fact, be an indicator of future success given the need for self-control and goal-setting implied in controlling it. However many young users may struggle to find this balance of self-control and knowing when to unfollow or put the phone down.

Below is a list of rules and results taken from the website Digital Detox to help people who want to try and reduce their social media use:


Hands-free holidays

Going on holiday used to be a time to recharge or get away from the office, but now that you can get WIFI on board cruise ships, 4G service on Mount Everest and new international data plans for just about every country in the world, it’s trickier than ever to leave work behind. This has people going out of their way to spend time without tech in order to truly relax.

It is no secret that our devices can be taxing on our physical and emotional well-being. The bright screens can undermine a good night’s rest, constant social media use is linked to depression, and waking up to a string of 3 a.m. e-mails from your boss could leave anyone stressed.

Large hotel chains like the Westin offer a Digital Detox Package, starting at €458 per night in Dublin, where they babysit your phone at the front desk for the weekend while you spend your time with print newspapers, massages, walking maps and a take-home tree planting kit.

While hotel packages offer a short breather from digital communication, other programs have a more immersive method of reconnecting people with IRL activities. Retreats such as Digital Detox, which works with different U.S. campgrounds, takes a Wet Hot American Summer approach to helping people recover from technology. It replaces Instagram, email and Facebook with yoga, meditation, typewriters and arts and crafts. A three-day session costs nearly $700. Read more about gadget-free vacations here.

While wellness companies and retreats are cashing in on those trying to escape their inboxes, some countries have already taken a stand against overbearing employers. A French law came into effect this year mandating that businesses larger than 50 people outline when staff should and should not be sending or answering e-mails to avoid burnouts and underpaying employees for working around the clock.

Although work texts and e-mails may be the main problem for some people, there are those whose reason for leaving their gadgets behind is private tech use. Whether it is social media or overwhelming group chats, technology has maybe given our friends too much access to us. One of the top New Year’s resolutions for 2017 was to cut down on social media use.

Notifications set off the chemical rewards system in our brains, which can make it hard to put down the phone.  And even if you do, it may not be pleasant. The addictive nature can cause withdrawal symptoms among heavy users, similar to that of drug or alcohol. A recent BBC Panorama documentary interviewed key players in the tech world who agreed that social media has been partly designed to make people become addicted and admitted that they try to use it as little as possible.

It can be easy to overlook addictive social media use which is why monitoring your own behaviour is so important.  For some it can have a negative effect on their well being but for others it can be a useful and tool for work and leisure.







Raison d’Etre ‘Rocks Om’

The team at Raison d’Etre (RdE) are delighted to announce that we have been contracted by the Hard Rock Hotel Davos in Davos, Switzerland to design and implement the hotel’s ‘Rock Spa’ which opens on 1st August 2018.

The Hard Rock Hotel Davos will combine the power of music with the beauty of its location in the Swiss Alps to create an unforgettable experience for its guests and this will be fully reflected in the new Rock Spa through sights, sounds and other sensory experiences.


As experts in luxury spa design, we wanted to create a unique and authentic spa, which offers guests a 360 degree approach to wellness, in keeping with Raison d’Etre’s philosophy to encourage everyone to maximise their potential.  The 945 sq metre spa will boast a series of thermal experiences including a main pool, Kneipp Walk Pool, Whirl Pool, sauna, steam bath and ice shower. Guests will be able to enjoy a varied choice of Body Rock® fitness activities ranging from functional training, cardio and urban dance.

There will also be a spa shop with Manduka PROlite yoga mats and on-demand instruction videos available via TV systems in the guest rooms. Rock Om® is an in-room program and a relaxation area.

With six treatment rooms including one specifically for beauty and two with sliding doors which can then be turned into a room for couples, guests will enjoy a series of exclusive signature treatments under the heading ‘Rhythm & Motion’.

These will include:


You will never have felt the music like this before. A curated soundtrack is paired with pressure and rhythm, choreographed to give you a performance that will truly transform you.

Smooth Operator

Give your skin and your soul a glow with this two-part treatment. It begins with a rhythmical, dry brushing and finishes with a soothing detoxifying wrap to release toxins. It’s all set to a musical mix that will rock your world.

Face The Music

Using the therapeutic benefits of sound vibrations, this treatment will rejuvenate and hydrate your face and awaken your skin. With all organic products, you will be pampered VIP style and glow like a rock star.

Wrap Remix

A special dry exfoliation activates circulation and improves your skin. An expert therapist will wrap you in organic fragrance-infused hot towels for complete relaxation; finishing with a relaxing, rhythmic massage.

Announcing the development of Rock Spa at Hard Rock Davos, Raison d’Etre Project Manager, Michael Simonato, says “Hard Rock is such an iconic brand that it has enabled us to really extend the creativity around Rock Spa while implementing serious but fun wellness experiences. We’re looking forward to hearing guest feedback for what will be a really unique and fulfilling spa journey.”

Hotel General Manager, Dagmar Weber, says: “We are delighted to partner with Raison d’Etre and create a state-of-the-art spa for our guests to enjoy. The combination of music and wellness is a unique and exciting movement; we look forward to pairing authentic Nordic experiences with the Hard Rock ethos.”

Living Well and Dying Well


A few weeks ago the Raison d’Etre (RdE) team attended a talk in London about ‘The Healing Self’. Dr. Deepak Chopra spoke about how the fear of death is one of the greatest forms of stress that affects our health and wellbeing. He emphasised that apart from good and sufficient sleep; meditation, nutrition, yoga and pranayama, a greater sense and understanding of our place in and relationship to this world, was vital to maintaining a strong sense of wellbeing. However a clear lack of this was evident in our non-acceptance and fear of death.

The topic of our relationship with death does occasionally surface in the media. In 2015 The Huffington Post published ‘6 Positive Ways to overcome your fear of death’ and in 2017 The Guardian asked ‘We fear death, but what if dying isn’t as bad as we think?’

And yet, it seems that the two greatest and most impactful events in our lives, our birth and our death, have been reassigned. What used to be a social and often celebratory event, supported and attended by our families and friends’, is now more often than not experienced in the anonymity and sterility of a hospital or hospice ward.

Our innate fear of dying has turned into an eternal quest to look and feel younger. As a result, the beauty and wellness industry offers a plethora of anti-ageing products, tips and tricks- but is this just making our fear worse?  We are constantly being told about how we can extend our lives, appear younger and if we are lucky, hold off the inevitable a little longer.

Last month, Ian Bell, Senior Project Manager at Raison d’Etre was invited to represent Raison d’Etre’s Wellness Think Tank and visit Sukhavati in Bad Saarow, just outside of Berlin, Germany. Sukhavati is a Buddhist house of both the living and dying. People go there to attend seminars, visit as part of a growing spiritual community, take time for private retreats, convalesce after traumatic events or as a place to rest and die with dignity. Sukhavati offers a safe and loving atmosphere where this can be done with professional support and compassion.

Sukhavati opened in 2016; however in 2018 they found themselves on a cusp of change. Whilst debating their situation and the restructuring of their teams, they grew curious about how the wellness industry is influencing our understanding of our world and ourselves. With that, they decided to start a dialogue with Raison d’Etre on the how principles of wellness could apply not only to living well but dying well too.

Ian, explains: “I was deeply moved by my visit, which also made me realise that I had in fact never seen a dead body, let along witnessed a death. 100 years ago communities were smaller and closely knit, so birth and death was a natural experience of everyday live but today many people reach mid-life without coming into direct contact with either

“To put this into perspective, within the next 100 years over 7 billion people will die. However the majority of deaths I will hear about during my lifetime will be violent deaths or the death of celebrities reported in the news. My time at Sukhavati reminded me that dying with dignity should be a birth-right for everyone.”

After three days at Sukhavati he took his impressions back to the Raison d’Etre Think Tank group to present the topic of how their understanding of wellness could support somebody who was close to death. During their first creative session, the team voiced their own fears of death and their experiences with dying, which then formed the foundation for our first meditations and creative processes.

Engaging with this topic has impacted the team deeply and they will continue the dialogue and offer focused suggestions on how wellness principles can support visitors and residents at Sukhavati on their journey to living well and dying well too. With awareness of cancer in the spa industry a focused trend, Raison d’Etre has also decided to extend and deepen the training about the awareness and sensitivity of working with elderly guests and guests with potentially debilitating illnesses and cancer. Especially with the launch of one of the company’s latest spa developments, the world Viking Cruise, which will take 245 days to complete.


The largest Spa in Denmark to open

alsik Facade-2-16x9

We’re pleased to announce that Raison d’Etre has been commissioned by the Bitten & Mads Clausen’s Foundation, the majority shareholder of the Danfoss Group, and the German based hotel operator, RIMC Hotels & Resorts Group, to design and implement the largest spa and wellness area in Denmark at the new superior hotel, Alsik in Sønderborg, opening in spring 2019. The arrival of the new hotel is part of a large development-masterplan of the industrial harbour of Sønderborg. The development has been created by the world famous architect Frank Gehry and its evolution carries the signature of Henning Larsen architects™.

Heavily influenced by Nordic design and wellness, the new spa will be located over four floors, covering a total of 4,500 sq metres, making it the largest in Denmark. The spa will boast a variety of recreational, fitness and relaxation opportunities for guests to enjoy, including a complete wellness floor offering a range of cutting edge thermal experiences along with personalised wellness screening. Other facilities include a spectacular 160 sqm indoor pool, an outdoor infinity pool, an expansive Ice and Fire World, a Watsu pool, Aurora Borealis Cave and Hammam. Raison d’Etre has also created a unique, world’s first signature treatment that takes wellness to a whole new level which will be revealed closer to the opening date. There will be over 60 wellness experiences available including a wide selection of treatments performed by the spa’s expert therapists with product houses to be confirmed later this year.

Spa Cafe Tafeln_170113 (3).jpg

The spa and wellness area will also be equipped with a large first class 24-hour gym with two virtual fitness studios and a strong focus on functional training, a Café, a Teen Club, Kids pool and play areas, uniquely designed to help children relax and unwind, fully embracing Nordic wellbeing.

Announcing the new spa development, Raison d’Etre’s Senior Project Manager, Ian Bell says “It is a privilege to be involved in this exciting spa development which will establish a number of ‘firsts’ in the market. Scandinavian design and wellness go hand in hand and the Alsik Spa will offer guests a relaxing experience whether they are on business or visiting for leisure purposes with their friends and families.”

treatment room.PNG
Alsik will feature 190 luxury bedrooms and a number of other premium amenities, including 11 conference rooms and three restaurants which will overlook the picturesque waterfront of Sønderborg. The food & beverage concept of all restaurants at the Alsik carry the signature style of the renowned Danish star chef Jesper Koch. There will also be a breath-taking viewpoint located on the 16th floor of the hotel, offering guests a chance to take in the scenic views of the city.

The arrival of the new upscale hotel will attract an array of new business and leisure visitors and is set to double the hotel capacity in Sønderborg. Upon completion the design forward hotel, which is tipped to become a new focal point for the growing city is expected to have 65,000 overnight guests in the first year of opening. Fresh and contemporary, over 90% of the modern bedrooms will have a stunning sea view and scenic southerly outlook over the Flensburg Förde.

With over thirty years’ experience in the industry, the talented Irmela Heinsius is the pre-opening and General Manager of Alsik. One of the first important tasks of Ms Heinsius will be to set the management team around Alsik to start organising all the 130 people who will eventually work in the hotel, restaurants, conference and spa.

The investors of this ambitious hotel project are Bitten & Mads Clausen’s Foundation (BMC Foundation) and the Danish Pension fund PFA. The BMC Foundation’s vision for Alsik is to set up a combined new ‘go to’ destination and landmark for Sønderborg.


The World’s Longest Spa Break

Can you imagine travelling the world and enjoying a spa experience in and between every port?  Now it’s possible when your book onto Viking Cruises’ first around-the-world luxury cruise, complete with our own state-of-the-art LivNordic spa; making it what has to be – the longest spa break in the world.

The Viking Sun cruise ship will span 59 countries during a 245 day journey that will reach every continent excluding Antarctica. On a holiday like no other, lucky travellers who book a spot aboard will depart from London on the 31st August 2019 and return to the British capital on 2nd May 2020.


A well-being experience of a lifetime, travellers will be able to experience the ultimate in well-being by booking into the LivNordic spa which has been designed and created by our own expert team of consultants. The spacious Nordic spa features our signature saunas and Snow Grotto; offering guests the chance to enjoy a traditional Nordic bathing experience which exposes the body to hot and cold temperatures. The sharp contrast between the hot and cold has many health benefits: it detoxes the body, improves the skin’s elasticity, provides relief from aches and pains, relaxes tired muscles, boosts circulation and enhances happiness and improved well-being.

Those who would rather enjoy a dip at a less extreme temperature can enjoy a relax in the pool or hot tub letting the warm water relax and revive their muscles. Our LivNordic spa also has an array of expert therapists on board offering a wide choice of rejuvenating spa treatments including facials, massages, body wraps and scrubs.


The cruise ship will set sail from London before heading to dozens of countries, with highlights including: Dublin, Iceland, Norway, Canada, New York, various islands across the Caribbean, Brazil, Chile, San Diego, Figi, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Oman, Egypt, Italy, Spain and Portugal before returning back to London. Click here to see the full list of destinations.

The Viking Sun cruise ship is one of the newest ships and possesses a contemporary Scandinavian design, featuring private balconies in every room and a mesmerising infinity pool.

We are very proud to have worked with Viking Cruises since 2014 and look forward to guests enjoying our LivNordic spa on this incredible journey around the World.

The Viking Sun around the world trip costs £67,690 per person.

Wellness Travel IS Booming

wellnes hols 1

More and more people are investing in wellness escapes and travelling to destinations around the world in a bid to relax and rejuvenate. Whether you need some time away from the rat race, life stress, a relationship breakdown or an illness, wellness travel is one of the best investments you’ll make in 2018.

In addition to indulging in some time-out during a time of need or distress in your life; Skip Gen holidays, where grandchildren go on an adventure with their grandparents and Be Happy Holidays are on the rise this year.

As leading Spa consultants, we’ve outlined our favourite wellness trends and chosen idyllic spas and retreats for you to visit for these special occasions:
Breaks, Break-ups and Life-Transitions

Contrary to the belief that holidays are reserved for celebratory events such as honeymoons and anniversaries, more people are planning wellness holidays following the breakdown of a relationship or another major life-changing event. The stress and anxiety caused by major life changes like divorce, lead many individuals on a solo wellness trip, to tap into the transformative power of travel. Retreats are responding to this growing trend, offering a plethora of emotional healing therapies, stress management and life coaching services.

Empty Nest syndrome is another example of a life change that some spas now have programs for. Of course, serious illness and death are some of the most challenging times in someone’s life but are not the only hard times people face. Divorce and job loss are among the many life challenges millions cope with every day, and any destination spa or resort spa can be a good place for people to reflect, rejuvenate and restore their lives.

Spas that offer full wellness programs are a particularly good choice. In the future we think (and hope) more spas will recognise their natural role in providing healing, support and care to people facing serious illness and death – and the opportunities they must help them deal with life’s challenges… both large and small.

Examples: Mii amo Spa, (Sedona Arizona, USA), Phuket Cleanse (Thailand), Kamalaya Embracing Change (Thailand), BodyHoliday September Solos (St Lucia).

Skip a Generation Holidays

wellness hols 2
While last year we saw a rising trend for family and ‘multi-generational’ holidays; 2018 is set to be the year of ‘skip-gen’ trips, where grandparents take grandchildren and go on once-in-a-lifetime holidays, leaving parents behind. The reason for this shift can be attributed to the fact that the baby boomer generation are now retiring, with their top priorities being family and travel. Skip-gen holidays combine the two, providing the opportunity for major milestones such as graduations and special birthdays to be celebrated in style.

Examples: Six Senses Zighy Bay (Oman), Sun Gardens Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kamalaya (Thailand)

Be Happy Retreats

Wellness hols 3
According to recent studies, experiences, not things, make us happy; therefore, it’s no surprise that people are investing more on satisfying their wanderlust than buying material goods. Activities like morning hikes and beach circuit training all foster the production of serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’) and the likes of laughter yoga, smile-asanas and inner-smile meditation will soon fill your retreat schedule.

Other examples are of course the O – holidays – travel to celebrate the special 0 birthdays – 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70’s and onwards where perhaps the largest group are in the 40-50-60 as that is the groups with most disposable income.

Examples: The Mind Coaching Retreat at Macdonald Monchique (Portugal), SwaSwara (India), Shanti Maurice De-stress (Mauritius)




Every day you hear about fantastic new children’s wellness initiatives, so why are our children still inactive, unhappy and even unwell? What is really going on with our children and their wellbeing? And how can we create more happy habits for kids?

In an age where we’re constantly on-the-go and everyone wants to document their every move on Instagram (even young kids) – now seems to be just the right time to pull the emergency break and slow down.

It feels as if we’ve forgotten how to enjoy the moments of doing nothing, and to feel good about it. People often separate children’s wellness from adults, but society and its values, crises and happenings affect us all. The western world has changed; children no longer run around and play the way that they used to. Everything is more organised, structured, supervised and lead by adults.

We don’t believe the world is a more dangerous place today; it’s just different. We tend to live more isolated lives. Gone are the days when generations of families would live together in one area where everyone knew everyone.

As more of us move away from close family into bigger fast-paced cities, many couples and single parents are often left looking after their children without much help. They say “it takes a village to raise a child”, but for many people that village or support network just isn’t there.

2In addition to this, times have changed and as it’s no longer considered safe to let children’s run outside or explore their neighbourhood with friends, parents have had to create more structured activities. Some of these can be great, but a lot of children are missing out on simply running around outdoors.

We have also have adopted a very goal driven approach to life, we want to be successful in every aspect of our lives and for many, a large part of that involves sharing those successes on social media. These ideals are transferred onto how we treat our children as parents want the best for them; they are inclined to push them to go to dozens of extra-curricular activities and classes.

While it’s great for parents to care and want to give their children as many wonderful opportunities as possible, it’s also important for them to have time to just be: be silly, be fun, be kids.

When we look at kids’ wellness, we tend to look at it from an adult’s perspective; believing that kids need the same as adults. Whereas actually children are perfectly fine as they are, they are naturally healthy. They don’t need yoga to be more flexible, they don’t need meditation to be creative and so on.

Where we, as adults, need to exercise and heal and re-do what went wrong, kids do not. In that respect, kids’ wellness is quite easy compared to adults. Kids’ wellness is much more about creating and maintaining a safe, happy and content environment for them to grow up in.

So what do children really need then? According to modern psychologists and research there are a few important key factors needed: connection, attunement, trust, autonomy and a healthy divide between love and, in their later years, sexuality. Children and teenagers need to know they are loved and safe and can trust their family and friends.

A recent Telegraph newspaper article about why children are unhappy included comments from expert in child psychiatry, Dr Mike Shooter. Among issues such as social media and bullying, Shooter also highlighted the breakdown of communities and family units as a problem.

“Community has broken down,” agrees Dr Shooter. “It’s right across cultures and right across class. You see the same levels of loneliness, unhappiness, anxiety and depression in children in middle-class gated communities [as you do in economically deprived households]. Kids spend more time talking to each other on their phone and less and less time doing things together.”

In order to steer away from stress and create more ‘happy habits’ for our kids we would like to encourage less structured activities. School days are already quite long and children feel the pressure of exams more than ever before; so we urge parents to not organise as many after-school activities in order to allow children more time to run around freely and enjoy time without having to achieve anything.

We would also like to encourage everyone to act more like grandparents to the children around us. We once heard a child express why they loved spending time with grandma –“Because she bakes and she listens and she knows what I mean when I say wait”.

So, what about Kids Wellness in the spa industry? Can we take the lead? Instead of separating families during precious vacation time, with kids’ clubs and adults’ only areas, can we create family-bonding spaces and time? Instead of spa suites, can we have family camp suites, with hammocks, waterslides, meditations cushions and fire pits, where families can just bond, connect and be naturally playful, without any aims of achieving anything, but time together.

Can we support parents of today?  Teach them about meditation and the importance of taking care of oneself in order to have enough energy to spend quality time with the most valuable we have in life – our kids?

It’s #timetogetbored and for us to realise that it is actually healthy for our brains, for our creativity and for our wellbeing.

So next Sunday, why not make a family camp at home? Cancel all booked activities, hide phones and tablets, eat dinner for breakfast, have dinner in pyjamas, play board games or cards, and just spend time together.

Please share #timetogetbored and #newhappyhabits to encourage more family time and help our kids de-stress, and remember they’re kids.

Stay up to date with other our other news.

The Anti-Trend Report


At Raison d’Etre (RdE) our company values, integrity and authenticity are extremely important to us. Every year the world sees a huge amount of new trends advising us on how we can live a healthier life. While some of these can be inspiring and motivating, others can be impractical and at times shocking – especially when it comes to beauty developments.

Impact of Trends

Some of these “bizarre trends” are fleeting and lose popularity. However they are quickly replaced with a new ‘hype’. We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve read new ways to shape our eyebrows.

However some trends don’t disappear as quickly and can often have a negative impact on individual wellbeing. One of the best examples of this is social media; which became overwhelmingly popular in such a short space of time. On one hand social media is a great way to spread knowledge and interact with others; however it can also, when used negatively, be detrimental to people’s self-esteem and overall wellbeing.

Anti Trend

Anti Trend

As more and more trends continue to develop, the Think Tank at RdE wants to focus on trends that we believe really are inspiring, effective and can make a positive difference in your life. As a result, we have decided to create an Anti-Trend report; a list of wellness trends that we genuinely believe in and hope to implement into our work and daily lives.

That is why, this year we will be releasing a monthly article or blog post discussing the trends that we think are beneficial for you and encourage nurture in the community.

Whatever we choose to talk about will grow, so join us in naming your anti trends and let’s focus on creating a better and healthier wellness world together in 2018.

Yours truly

The Raison d’Etre Think Tank

Cruise Critic’s Editor’s Picks Awards

Cruise Spa Compressed

Cruise Critic is the UK’s go-to when it comes to booking cruises, so it’s no surprise that we were delighted to have won not one, but two inaugural awards in their annual, prestigious awards. Celebrating the best of the world’s cruise ships and cruise lines, Cruise Critic’s Editor’s Picks Awards collate the expert knowledge of the editorial team to find the best in a number of cruising categories. Securing both ‘Best Spa’ and ‘Best Value for Money’ in the Luxury Cruise Line category, Viking Ocean Cruises took the sea by storm this year!

As a spa consultancy, we were delighted that our wellness expertise proved valuable to the design of the LivNordic spas aboard Viking Ocean Cruises. To win ‘Best Spa’ fortifies to us that wellness is becoming more and more important in day-to-day life, with vacations becoming a time to boost your health and wellbeing rather than to stop taking care of yourself.

Moreover, we hope that our authentically Nordic approach to wellness helps to introduce cruise guests to a whole new way of thinking about wellness. Feeling healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated – by simply taking a moment to pause and concentrate on the contrasting warm and cool sensations you’ll experience in a LivNordic spa, you become at one with nature and with yourself. It’s simple! As Cruise Critic put it: ‘Viking has set the bar high; its ocean ships offer the best spa at sea.’

To further encourage our mission of giving wellness to all, Viking Ocean Cruises picked up the ‘Best Value for Money’ award. This is another important achievement for us, as it is paramount for us to deliver an experience that guests feel is valuable and worthwhile. Perhaps this is what makes us stand out in the Luxury Cruise Line world – we opt out of unnecessary tricks and gimmicks, instead getting straight to the core of luxury wellness. In practice, this means drinks with lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi, one tour in every port, meals in main and specialty restaurant venues and gorgeous top-deck, all-weather hangouts to name but a few.

It’s been an excellent year for Viking Ocean Cruises, and we hope to continue changing the landscape of the cruise ship industry this year. Creating and innovating is what we do at Raison d’Etre, and when it comes to the world of cruises… we’re only just getting started!

Collaborative Thinking

Team 3

Our Raison d’Etre team is made up of people from around the world, each offering valuable insights into the global wellness industry. With over 20 years as a spa consultancy, we can confidently say that it’s this working collaboratively which helps us reach the most innovative, original and creative wellness solutions. Whereas one mind can only realistically see from one perspective, ideas that have been processed and contributed to by others can only become stronger, more developed and clear.
This is an approach we have put into practice with our Think Tank service, which brings together different areas of expertise to develop wellness solutions and proposals for all types of businesses. However, whether you have a large or small business, you too can adopt the collaborative thinking method that we use. Here are the top five benefits we’ve experienced from working as a collaborative team:
1. Increased skill set
By bringing together a varied group of minds, meetings and brainstorms become a dynamic environment reaping the benefits from several different skill sets. Your clients and projects will be benefitting from the strengths of different ways of thinking – one team member might have an abundance of creativity, whilst a more practical-thinker helps with the logistics.
2. Problems are solved quickly
With multiple minds comes multiple viewpoints which, as well as promoting creativity and helping ideas to flourish, helps to resolve problems. A team member is often the best person to turn to when you cannot see a clear solution for yourself. Equally, working closely with others can help to resolve issues within the team, encouraging employees to negotiate with one another to reach a compromise.
3. You’ll work more efficiently
A collaborative team has the capacity to work on several different projects at once. Often called a ‘Divide and Conquer’ approach, splitting tasks between a team before coming together to reach a final project means things are done quicker, more efficiently and with a several pairs of eyes to spot flaws and foresee issues.
4. Individuals become more developed
Seeing how a variety of different minds work can also strengthen each individual team member. A team member may watch the thought-process of a colleague, perhaps even a colleague with more experience, and use their creative strategies to reach their own unique solutions.
5. Job satisfaction for all!
Working as a team raises the feel-good factor in the workplace, giving a greater sense of satisfaction and achievement to all involved. At Raison d’Etre, we rely on each other for inspiration and support, fostering a happy and healthy environment for us to return to each day.

Healthy Diet: The Nordic Way

Nordic eating

While the Mediterranean diet has long been known for its benefits to our health and wellbeing, the Nordic way of eating is now beginning to be hailed as a key player in a healthy balanced diet, with research stating that it is the key to a younger, improved brain.

The LivNordic Spa & Wellness brand, created by Spa Consultancy Raison D’Etre embraces the natural way of living found in Nordic countries and at its heart lies the wisdom of the Nordic health traditions. With Nordic traditions, the diet accustomed to the region goes hand in hand with wellness and health. While Nordic lifestyle is known for its ‘Fika’ – a Swedish word meaning ‘to meet up for a cup of coffee and something sweet’, it’s the focus of a diet that incorporates wholegrains, plenty of fish and dark fruits that is bringing it to the forefront of wellness.

The Nordic way of eating is inspired by its surroundings and consists of low-sugar foods with a healthy balanced mix of protein in the form of poultry and oily fish, unrefined carbohydrates such as oats and rye bread, plus plenty of non-root vegetables, fresh berries and fruit.

Regularly eating oily fish such as sardines, mackerel or salmon is shown to improve brain health due to its impressive high content of omega-3 fatty acids. The Nordic diet is also known to balance glucose levels due to its inclusion of wholegrains and low-sugar fruit and veg such as kale and blueberries. A healthy sugar balance such as this reduces inflammation, which is key when it comes to preventing wear and tear to your brain cells. Furthermore the phytonutrients packed within these foods, such as folate and vitamins B6 and 12 assist in reducing inflammation and promoting general brain health.
3 Cognition-Boosting Foods recommended by Raison D’Etre:
• Non-root vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale are good sources of dietary fibre and are lower in sugars than other root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes.
• Cinnamon will elevate the levels of sodium benzoate in the brain, assisting in prevention of age-related neurological disorders. It is delicious sprinkled over a warming bowl of porridge!
• Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring contains large amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3s – aim to eat a portion twice a week.

Katara Beach Club

Relaxation room compressed

We feel excited when any brand new LivNordic spa opens, but the feeling when something as extraordinary as Katara Beach Club in Doha, Qatar, comes to life is unrivalled. The 4600msq club is situated in Katara Cultural Village, as we decided that an area so rich in diverse global influence would be ideal for introducing our Nordic spa concept. With magnificent spa facilities and an awe-inspiring gym open to day guests as well as members, Katara Beach Club is designed to help residents of the ever-changing city to discover how simple, yet effective, wellness can be.

Located amongst Doha’s luxury hotels and apartments, Katara Beach Club blends the authentic Scandinavian wellness practices LivNordic, our Raison d’Etre spa brand, is renowned for with the seamless, luxury hospitality of the Middle East. We wanted to reflect this eclectic mixture of influences whilst bearing in mind the and respecting culture of Qatar. This is why Katara Beach Club houses entirely separate floors for men and women, each floor with its own relaxation lounge, changing rooms and spa facilities.


We are particularly proud of Katara Beach Club’s fitness concept. The expansive gym houses state-of-the-art equipment, all of which aims to introduce guests to the Nordic concept of functional movement – a method of exercising that supports and develops the strength and movements required during our lives and helps guests reach their optimum performance every day. Overlooking 230 metres of private beach filled with cabanas, beach bags and loungers, the gym is perfectly crafted to enhance all aspects of health and wellbeing whilst maintaining a real feeling of luxury.

The relaxation lounges are where our Nordic heritage really comes in to play. Inspired by the world famous Aurora Borealis natural light display, these soothing spa areas bring the natural wonders of Scandinavia into the most cosy, comforting spaces. Guests can nestle in private, veiled pods and listen to the crackling of the log fires and take in the Nordic ambience.

The Nordic Bathing Experience is at the heart of any LivNordic spa, and Katara Beach Club is no exception. The age-old Nordic tradition of pairing a thermal experience with an ice-cold contrast emulates feelings of peace and stillness. Katara Beach Club is also home to Qatar’s first ever Snow Grotto, where peaceful ice rooms aglow with ambient lighting bring a sense of authentic Scandinavian living to the city.



Sauna Nights

41_Spa_Sauna_9530 compressed.jpg

There is nothing so comforting and reassuring as the feeling of warmth. Being enveloped in an invisible cloak of glorious heat helps us feel safe, relaxed, calm and carefree. No wonder then that at the heart of every spa design you will find the soothing, quiet space of a sauna – the signature heat experience.

Saunas, which originate from Finland, are at the very heart of Nordic culture and, together with cold baths, form the mainstay of the Nordic Bathing ritual, adopted for our innovative and highly successful LivNordic spa design. The premise of LivNordic, created by Spa Consultancy Raison D’Etre is simple: to embrace a natural way of living which draws inspiration from nature, creativity, contrasts of culture and simplicity of design found in the Nordic countries. Here the regime of spending quality time in the hot heat of the sauna immediately followed by a cold dip in an icy lake or pool, emulated with cold showers, ice plunges and snow grottos, is the route to wellbeing. The cold dip increases the saunas elevation of heart rate, adrenaline and endorphin release to ease any muscular pain and boost your mood.

Incorporating Sauna Nights for guests, where a small group can experience the traditional Nordic Bathing ritual together, has been a huge success. Guests are guided through a range of different experiences starting with a short meditation followed by a succession of alternate visits to the sauna and the snow room. Exchanging the cleansing heat of a sauna for the refreshing plunge in a cold bath helps release muscular tension, eliminate toxins and improve circulation. The ritual concludes with a gentle warm hug to the heart – releasing hormones that boost wellbeing, relaxation and happiness.

Meeting in the evening to share in this therapeutic experience is the perfect way to forget about the rigours of the day. It also helps prepare the body for quality sleep and regeneration. By raising the body temperature in the sauna before you go to bed, your heated body will automatically work to readjust and bring the temperature back down, leaving you feeling calm and relaxed enough to get a good night’s sleep. Also by easing any aches and pains such as headaches, muscle soreness or fatigue, evening sauna sessions help to alleviate many of the things that may cause restlessness and disrupted sleep patterns.

Creating inner stillness in this way is not only the perfect preparation for essential rest and rejuvenation but also for helping to achieve total peace of mind and a deeper sense of wellbeing.

There’s a Scandi word for that!

Scandi word

The likes of Hygge and Lagom have been waltzing their way into the English language, with the relaxing ‘everything in moderation’ lure of the Scandi lifestyle ever present in our everyday lives. The spiritual, social and economic elements that make our home countries of Scandinavia some of the happiest, wealthiest, most beautiful and environmentally sustainable countries on earth today are at the heart of our LivNordic, brand which is based in Sweden’s capital city of Stockholm.

Offering guests spaces to connect, recharge and enjoy life the Nordic way, in spas, hotels, at sea or at work, our team at LivNordic has put together its list of 2017’s most aspiring Scandinavian words that we all should consider adopting.

Fika A Swedish word meaning ‘to meet up for a cup of coffee and something sweet’. You can Fika as a noun or a verb – to Fika or go for a Fika. It’s casual, but you can Fika with your friends, or even have a Fika date. You can Fika with colleagues at work or even fika with your family. It’s a social thing, you can’t Fika alone!

Forelsket A Norwegian and Danish word that means ‘that intoxicatingly euphoric feeling you experience when you’re first falling in love’. That pre-real-love. More than fancy, less than love.

Klämdag A Swedish word, literally meaning Squeeze Day. If there is a bank holiday then a working day and then another day off, that working day will become a ‘Squeeze Day’ – and we’ll all be off work.

Fredagsmys A Swedish word meaning ‘Friday cozy’. Taking place every Friday, Fredagsmys includes nice food, sweets and a cozy evening setting. But it can only be on a Friday!

Mysa A Swedish word that is almost like snuggle. However, the difference you can do it with someone, alone, or even in a café – maybe ‘to cosy up’ is more apt!

Kura Skymning A Swedish term meaning ‘sitting quietly and pondering at dusk’.

Livsnjutare A Swedish word describing the type of person who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme.

Smultronställe A Swedish words that translates to ‘wild strawberry place’. A special place discovered, treasured and returned to for solace and relaxation. A personal idyll, free from stress and sadness.

Friluftsliv A Swedish word translated to ‘free air life’. It’s where different spots and activities are done outdoors while exploring and appreciating nature. It’s a much-appreciated nature connecting and uplifting activity in both Norway and Sweden.

#Hashtag Treatments

BloggerWelcome to part 4 of our 2017 Wellness Trends. Here we discuss the rise of #Hashtag Treatments.


Branding has taken over every industry and wellness is not an exception. If before, it was fashionable to simply get the latest beauty treatments, today it is fashionable to get them from a celebrity therapist, fitness guru, person trainer, artist, you name it. With the world of social media obsession, online word of mouth and picture of the day enables really good therapists to become Insta-famous and sometimes more famous than their celebrity clients.

For those who can afford it, it is no longer interesting just to go to a great specialist, guests want to go to the same master who trained Victoria Secret models and threaded Kim Kardashian’s eyebrows. What fuels this trend is that celebrities are on board and gladly share their beauty tips and secret contacts. One does not even need to have celebrity clients to become a famous specialist (although being Madonna’s PT doesn’t hurt). Smart vloggers -who have gained huge audiences with their daily posts now create their own training programs, nutritional guides, offer personalized coaching and are in high demand.

#Who #Where

An example of this could be seen at this year’s Oscars when celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Emma Stone, Jessica Alba and others posted themselves getting ready by putting on the LED (light emitting diode) mask by Hollywood esthetician, Shani Darden elevating her to equal celebrity status.

Others gaining a huge following and engagement include Kayla Itsines – creator of Sweat with Kylie online training, Sonia Tlev – Personal Trainer, Joyce Bonelli – Kardashian’s make-up artist, Dr. Simon Ourian – celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist, Dr.Kevin Sands – LA based celebrity dentist and Richard Ward – celebrity hairdresser.


We are now in an era, where besides going to celebrity therapists for those promised amazing results and guest’s awareness and expectations, many engage in experiences not only to live through it, but also to photograph, post it and capture likes and views. We predict that the FOMO (fear of missing out) generation will continue to drive #Hashtag treatments at least for the next few years. We do not see it as a new everlasting movement, just like all hypes, it must pass sooner or later, but the demand for shareable experiences and high quality results is definitely here to stay.