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Thoughtful luxury

Susie Ellis shares her thoughts on her Lanserhof Sylt experience

Lanserhof has a mind body approach Photo: Lanserhof Sylt

Recently, when travelling in Germany, I had a 36-hour opportunity to experience the new Lanserhof resort on the island of Sylt.

During my stay, I experienced the “ah ha!” moment I was hoping for and understood why the famous brand has had so much success — and why Lanserhof properties typically enjoy a 75 per cent guest return rate, being fully booked most of the time.

Luxurious discipline
Lanserhof Sylt has that magical formula of being strict and luxurious in all the right ways. Guests are required to stay a minimum of seven days and in my view that timescale works. I’ve experienced this type of programming once before when I worked with the Golden Door in Southern California in the 70s. The programme there was strict and this is where Hollywood movie stars would go to get ready for a film – and they felt and looked terrific after only a week.

The combination of discipline and thoughtful luxury is a winner. Lanserhof removes temptation and guests end up doing the one thing that almost all of us have trouble accomplishing – saying no to easily available things that are not good for us.

They do this by offering marvellous substitutes – at Lanserhof Sylt there’s no coffee or alcohol, no cookies, no snacking and very low calorific intake. Plus, there are gentle gut cleansing protocols, a daily exercise programme and medical consultations. At the same time, there are also enjoyable and luxurious spa treatments on offer, together with caring people, beautiful views, high quality books to read, soothing music, highly-qualified medical staff, health education, abundant hydrotherapy options, beautiful skincare products, delicious (if very little) food, a connection with other like-minded guests, sumptuous sleep and more.

Simply effective
This is a model that's increasingly difficult to find, as most resorts offer a smörgåsbord of options (even the Golden Door now offers coffee and alcohol).

Many destination spas offer a wide variety of options because they say “this is the real world where people have choices and they need to learn to make good choices”. But that’s actually the point. People need a break from the abundance that most of us live around all the time. And while no one wants to feel deprived, uncomfortably hungry, bored or lonely, when a place mitigates all of those things with thoughtful substitutes, that really is a formula for success.

Is it expensive? Yes. Will you see results? Yes. The challenge for the operator is substituting wisely and even artistically and that takes thoughtful programming.

I’m glad there are still places that succeed with a strict yet thoughtful luxury formula. In my opinion, it’s the most effective and comfortable way to kick-start a new, healthy lifestyle. Sign me up!

Photo: Susie Ellis

"Lanserhof Sylt has that magical formula of being strict and luxurious in all the right ways" – Susie Ellis

Originally published in Spa Business 2022 issue 3
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