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Breaking news: Hyatt is acquiring Exhale, as wellness travel growth takes a huge leap


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Photo: Exhale

If Exhale and Hyatt have anything to do with it, your on-the-road routine will soon be as healthy as your at-home regimen—sweat sessions and self-care and all. This morning the Hyatt team announced the acquisition of the buzzy spa that brought you the Core Fusion barre workout. The move shows that the hotel giant, which added the Miraval Group (including its flagship in Tuscon and another spa mecca, the Travaasa Resort, in Austin) to its holdings earlier this year, is seriously doubling-down in the white space where wellness and travel intersect.

Both partners bring a history of innovation and thought leadership to the deal. Between its fitness classes, spa and healing treatments, and well-being programs, Exhale has been transforming the wellness world since the first location opened in New York City 14 years ago. Now, with more than 20 spas across the US and the Caribbean, the brand is joining forces with the major hotel chain to bring the power of wellness to guests across the globe.

With wellness tourism growth outpacing every other sector, it’s no surprise that the travel world is looking to boutique fitness for inspiration.

“When we founded Exhale in 2003, we were convinced that what people wanted from the spa and fitness industry didn’t exist. We set out to create and build a unique well-being experience that was a true departure from everything in the space,” Eschbach says. “With Hyatt’s support, the Exhale brand will be positioned for global expansion—in free-standing locations, existing locations, and Hyatt properties where the brand and offering fits. We couldn’t be more excited about the next path in the Exhale journey.”

With wellness tourism growth outpacing every other sector, it’s no surprise that the travel world is looking to boutique fitness for inspiration. Between 2013 and 2015, wellness tourism jumped 14 percent (to $563 billion)—more than twice the rate of general tourism over same period, says Annbeth Eschbach, president and CEO at Exhale. Global wellness overall is growing at its own quick clip.

Just because Exhale is expanding doesn’t mean your favorite studio is going to disappear. According to Eschbach, they’re happy with their existing hospitality partnerships—and the entire Exhale team will remain in place. Now they’re just able to take what they do best and bring it to even more people.

“We are at a tipping point, in an era that is hugely focused on well-being, mindfulness and well living,” Eschbach says. So what does that look like for the healthy traveler? Let’s just say it’s going to be a lot easier in the coming years to keep up your go-to wellness habits on the road.

Quit stressing out while you’re en route: These gadgets will make traveling a lot easier. And while you’re at it, try a solo trip. You’ll learn a lot more than you think.

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