Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

25 Jun, 2014

Four Universities to highlight North African spa culture at Global Wellness Summit

New York, NY (PRWEB) June 24, 2014 – The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) today announced the unique focus, and participating universities, for its 2014 Student Challenge. While the parameters for each Student Challenge vary each year, the competition always involves students from major academic institutions from the region where the GSWS is being held competing to create “the spa and wellness concepts of the future.”

With the Summit in Marrakech, Morocco in 2014 (Sept. 10-12), this year’s contest involves two Moroccan universities: Al Akhawayn University in Ifran and Mohammed V University in Rabat; additionally the ESSEC Business School in France and The American University in Cairo will compete.

“The purpose of the student challenge is to involve young, entrepreneurial business and hotel students in developing concepts and feasibility for future spas and resorts that will attract commerce and tourism,” said Mary Tabacchi, PhD, professor, Cornell University of Hotel Administration and co-director of the Challenge. “This year, students will focus on creating spas that illustrate the art, architecture and products of Northern Africa, while also honoring the culture and its people. The challenge showcases both the talents of the students and the participating architecture firms, and we are honored to have their involvement.”

How the Challenge Works: Students first compete against one another at their respective institutions. Then, as each winning team (overseen by their faculty director) develops the conceptual and financial details of their project, they’re paired with a high-profile professional architect who collaborates with the students to fulfill their designs. The Al Akhawayn University team is working with Inge Moore, President, Europe, of HBA. Mohammed V University is assisted by Luciano Mazza, Vice President of HKS Architects. The ESSEC Business School will work with Didier Le Fort, principal of Didier Lefort Architectes Associés. And The American University is matched to Tarik Oualalou, design principal and founding partner of KILO architectures.

On September 11, the four teams will present their concepts to the Summit delegation and a VIP panel of judges. This year, architectural sensation and Summit keynote speaker, Bjarke Ingels, will join the judging panel which also includes executives from each sponsoring company: Sheila McCann, Chiva-Som; Simon Casson, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts; Frank Strobel, Klafs Group; Todd Walter, Red Door Spa; Andrew Gibson, FRHI Hotels & Resorts; and a representative from Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

The GSWS grants all participating students complimentary registration to the Summit, along with a travel and accommodations stipend. Competitors are invited to attend all sessions as “student delegates,” bringing their own valuable, next-generation insights to the conference.

The students compete for cash prizes (top prize is $1,000) and winning projects will be published internationally and to the industry.

“Given North Africa’s unique spa and wellness heritage, including North African hammams and the recent growth in popularity of Morocco’s native argan oil, we’re looking forward to seeing what modern twists the students will put on authentic North African spa culture and which concepts could be most practically and profitably rolled out worldwide,” said Susan Harmsworth, CEO & founder, ESPA International and 2014 Challenge co-chair.

2014 Sponsors: This annual contest to discover and support the future leaders of the spa/wellness industry was made possible by the following generous industry sponsors:

Chiva-Som: Located in Hua Hin, Thailand, Chiva-Som is widely regarded as one of the best destination spas in the world, and renowned for fusing Eastern philosophies with Western diagnostic skill. The resort has received numerous accolades, including Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Spa Awards “Top 5 Best Overseas Spa Retreats” and “The World’s Top 25 Spas”. http://www.chivasom.com

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts: At Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts spas are a top priority, and more than 60 new properties with luxury spas are slated to open in the next decade. Four Seasons Spas are consistently recognized with prestigious, global industry awards, including multiple wins in 2013 by Travel + Leisure magazine and Condé Nast Traveler. http://www.fourseasons.com/spa

Klafs: Founded over 80 years ago, German-based KLAFS group is a world leader in the field of sauna, wellness and spa. The company’s customers span hotels and resorts, health clubs, thermal spas, cruise ships and private customers. KLAFS is one of the only companies with its own development and production facility to create the highest-quality, individually designed spa equipment. http://www.klafs.com

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces: Recognized as one of Asia’s largest and finest hotel groups, Taj Hotels are designed for the world’s most discerning travelers seeking authentic experiences and ultimate luxury. Spanning world-renowned landmarks, modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts, authentic Rajput palaces and rustic safari lodges, each Taj hotel reinterprets the tradition of hospitality in a modern way to create unique experiences. Their Jiva Spas deliver a unique concept that brings together the wisdom and heritage of the Asian and Indian philosophy of wellness. http://www.tajhotels.com

Red Door Spa: With its renowned beauty expertise based on the fundamental elements of day spa pioneer Elizabeth Arden, Red Door Spa operates 30 day and resort spas nationwide. Red Door Spas’ all-encompassing spa menu, complete with award-winning signature services, enhanced specialty treatments and beauty and wellness recommendations, offers everything from facial skincare, massage and body treatments to nail care, hair design, make up artistry and more. http://www.reddoorspa.com

Raffles Hotels & Resorts: Raffles Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning, luxury international hotel company with a history dating back to 1887 with the opening of Raffles Hotel, Singapore. The portfolio currently comprises ten luxurious properties, from secluded resorts to city hotels in key locations around the world: in Singapore, Cambodia, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, the Philippines and Paris, each one is an oasis of calm and charm. The company is embarking on a new phase of expansion, with openings in key destinations scheduled over the next two years. With a compelling mix of cultures and styles, every hotel in the Raffles family has its own story to tell and its own sense of place. However, each one is proud to draw on the timeless essence of Raffles – to deliver thoughtful, personal and discreet service to well-travelled guests. http://www.frhi.com

To learn more about the 2014 Summit, or to apply to become a delegate or sponsor, visit: http://www.gsws.org.