Hacking Longevity in Wellness Hospitality

Category: Hospitality & Travel
26 Jan 2024
Read time: 6 MIN
Unpicking longevity drivers and the cohorts they push within a wider reconnaissance of wellness hospitality.
Written By
MOF Team
MOF Team

An October 2023 report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) says 2024 will be the year those aged 65 and over will outnumber those under the age of 15 in the European region. By 2030, dominant world powers including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the States will have record old-age populations, having previously possessed the largest working-age cohorts. 

It’s a shift already reshaping the world: looming over industry and undermining the strategy of any brand laser-focused on the newest generation. Because not only are we living longer, we’re living better – well into our golden years. 


What Does The Fountain of Youth Look Like Today?

The obsessive pursuit of youth is a tale as old as time – the plight of many a fairytale villain and a handful of morally grey characters. In the real world, it’s a pursuit that has fluctuated in popularity since the days of Cleopatra’s daily donkey milk baths. General consensus supports the desire for a longer life; driven by the desire for more time with our loved ones, a natural curiosity and, frankly, a fear of the great beyond. Despite these reasonable grounds, even immortality has its critics. 

In a provocative 2014 essay titled Why I Hope To Die At 75, bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel argues against prolonging life medically after the milestone age. His argument sits in favour of nature’s course unfurling sans obstruction, but with medical technology being where it is (that is, wildly futuristic in experimental work) those who can are certainly not stopping at 75.

What has become clear over the past twelve months is the exercise of de-ageing (not merely anti-ageing) is a pursuit for the ultra-rich. If we had to generalise, we’d call them Silicon Valley types. Tech bros who, when they’re not challenging each other to cage fights on Twitter – sorry, X – are racing to reverse the effects of time on their bodies. Chief among them: billionaire Bryan Johnson, the man spending $2 million a year to make ‘Benjamin Button’ a verb rather than just a motion picture.

Called ‘Project Blueprint’ by Johnson and his army of doctors, the endeavour spans every waking moment of his life: from 4.30am-8.30pm every day (though avoiding alarms for a ‘relaxed start’) Johnson self-prescribes a strict (understatement) regimen that includes consuming 2,250 calories between 6.00am-11.00am, dedicating 4-5 hours to focused thinking, popping 111 pills and tracking every data metric one could possibly think of – and then some. 

Having previously received blood transfusions from young anonymous donors, in the Spring of 2023, Johnson conducted the “world’s first multigenerational plasma exchange” with his 17-year-old son and 70-year-old father. Widespread criticism ensued, and despite the fact it didn’t work, Johnson defended the experiment as “blazing new trails”

Johnson is clearly an extreme example. Chasing longevity in this way exists in tension with the carpe-diem-esque mantra of ‘memento mori’ (remember death) that infiltrated public mindsets following the pandemic and its ubiquity of loss. Like ‘YOLO’ with more gravitas. 

Though the ‘live in the moment’ sentiment still drives many of our collective behaviours, it’s certainly waned since those first tastes of freedom in 2020/21, introducing a rebalance between ‘living in the moment’ attitudes and a desire to live through as many moments as we possibly can. One man who has spent decades exploring the latter is Dan Buettner – but instead of finding answers in test tubes and petri dishes, he found them in Blue Zones.



A National Geographic fellow and New York Times bestselling author, Dan Buettner coined the term ‘blue zone’ in the early noughties while investigating areas around the world where citizens often lived to 100+ years old. Two decades later, it’s wellness’ next frontier – crashing into popular culture with the definitive marker of social importance: a Netflix series. 

Live To 100: Secrets of The Blue Zones was an immediate hit, reigniting public fascination with longevity and zapping industries to attention with a lightbulb moment.

From his work, Buettner says, he’s found that effective longevity isn’t about trying to prevent death but learning how to live. The Blue Zones — Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Sardinia’s Ogliastra Region and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica — are home to people who live exceptionally long lives with exceptionally high quality. Not only did Buettner find record numbers of centenarians in these places, he also found dementia in those over 85 is rare – over 75% less common than it is in the United States. 

It’s evidently a compelling study for brands and travellers alike. Those with piqued interest can discover the secrets of the local centenarians at a six-day Blue Zones retreat being held at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo. Groundbreaking health sanctuary Kamalaya in Thailand has created a Blue Zones group retreat that revolves around plant-based meals influenced by the traditional diets, outdoor activities, and other Blue Zones Power of 9 lifestyle practices of the regions. At the Borgo Egnazia in Italy, guests can select a four or five-day longevity programme at the Vair Spa which includes movement classes, meal plans, spa treatments, a Roman Thermal Bath, Blue Zones cooking lessons, a series of Blue Zones concept workshops and a handful of evening events. 

While holistic retreats like these are still coveted by luxurians, especially those bolstered by the natural remedies of the Blue Zones, people are now yearning for slower, more thoughtful travel that takes care of their anxiety, insomnia, and nutritional needs. This year, more people will look for speciality therapies including breath workshops, psilocybin retreats, meditation masterclasses, and sleep clinics. 


By 2025, the market to “delay human death” will be worth $600billion according to Bank of America. Paired with a Hilton report that revealed 98% of Americans prioritise health and wellness activities when on holiday, the opportunity for longevity in hospitality looks vast with little downside. 

Medicine has become the base upon which wellness offerings are now built. By 2030, health will be considered a key metric of personal success and from that increase sprung a burgeoning offshoot coined ‘medi-luxe’ – a trend that elevates the hotel spa from ‘nice to have’ to a hub for high-touch health experiences.

Tapping in, the Six Senses Ibiza is hosting a “Young Forever” retreat led by longevity expert Dr Mark Hyman from the 9th-15th May 2024. The brand’s Ibizan destination is already leading the way in the space with its RoseBar longevity spa that uses extensive diagnostic testing and personalised programmes to “restore, regenerate and transform your health span”. Dr Hyman, a leading voice in the science of longevity, has designed the week-long retreat to incorporate seminars, group hikes, yoga, IV infusions, sound healing, sunset ceremonies and “fresh local phytonutrient-rich food”. On top of that, Six Senses London, which is set to debut later this year, has been projected as “Disneyland for biohackers” by founding board member of the Global Wellness Summit Anna Bjurstam. 

Elsewhere, Virtusan, a leader in wellness technology, and Maybourne Hotel Group are working together to help visitors boost performance; Four Seasons Resort Maui collaborates with Next Health longevity centre to offer stem cells therapy and NAD+; instead of bubbles, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay on Kauai welcomes visitors with a B12 shot, and its new wellness-focused suites feature infrared light mats to aid with recovery. Meanwhile, bio-regenerative procedures offered at Kamalaya's new Longevity House include hyperbaric oxygen chambers and ozone therapy while plenty of other luxury hotels are partnering with experts to provide visitors with comprehensive diagnostic testing. 

Most recently, and most publicly, Equinox – the high-end gym-turned-hotel chain – has announced a $40,000 annual membership to increase healthspans. Also being run in partnership with Dr. Hyman, Optimize by Equinox is a personalised wellness programme based on members' unique biodata. Blood tests will assess cardiovascular, metabolic, liver, kidney, thyroid health and more – the outcomes of which will then inform individual coaching across nutrition, sleep and fitness. 

According to Equinox's Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Julia Klim, healthspan is the focus for the programme, as good health should equate to a longer life. While Hyman's direct-to-consumer lab test company Function Health openly states its aim to help people "live 100 healthy years", Equinox isn't pinning itself down to a number. Not sure of the tangible ROI of a $40,000-a-year fee? Ageing-specialist scientists aren't either. Yet Equinox's programme isn't the most expensive by a long way – a $10,000-a-month fitness club opened in Manhattan in May.

Even if results aren't a guarantee, the cost of Optimize can be quartered: members are given access to Function's panel of blood tests, an Equinox membership, an Oura smart ring and sixteen hours a month of one-on-one coaching, ranging from sessions with personal trainers and nutritionists to sleep coaches and masseurs. An impressive lineup, but one that raises the price of extra life more so than most.


Opportunity also lies in overlooked places. Dermatologists have been espousing the benefits of daily SPF for decades, but 2023 was the year it sunk in on a massive scale. 

Brands like OneSkin “propelled by a shared mission to change the way humans experience aging” are experts in creating luxury products with scientific rigour, and could be a core collaboration with the right kind of resort. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to lug round a full skincare routine when we travel?

Additionally, at CES 2024, daily healthtech pioneer Baracoda unveiled the world’s first AI-powered smart mirror for mental wellness. Combining artificial intelligence with natural language processing, the tech claims the ability to determine the subject’s mood by analysing expressions, gestures and tones before offering light therapy sessions, guided meditations and self-affirmations tailored to the user’s emotional state. Seems likely this tech could transfer to physical wellness just as easily – potentially determining daily skin health and optimal routines for each day of guests' trips and beyond.

In a slightly different ballpark, the dietary supplement market was valued at just under $152billion in 2021 – another goldmine for transferable inspiration in hospitality, travel and F&B. Especially as people feel increasingly more in control of their own wellbeing, where diet is a key contributing factor.

Doctors, once upon a time the exclusive gatekeepers of our health data, have been usurped by smartwatches, apps and other wearables so luxurians are approaching wellness experiences pre-loaded with a wealth of analytics and smart brands are adjusting in kind. To that end, wellness hotels and resorts can either create their own wearables to compete or embrace the ability to leverage pre-existing data.

The core concept of Lanserhof Resorts, a chain of exclusive medical wellness resorts with locations in Tegernsee, Germany, Sylt, Austria, and Lans, as well as an outpost at London's prestigious Arts Club, is gut health. In order to enhance regenerative therapies given based on diagnostics ranging from liver-fat assessments and cartilage mapping to core strength and stability testing in a futuristic-looking Centaur machine, a strictly restricted diet (imagine less than 500 calories per day) filters the intestines. The aim is prevention. To help members postpone or prevent a knee replacement, technological tools such as force plates, for instance, can measure the amount of load entering your joints.



In all the Gen Z hype, it’s easy to forget brands have been championing ageing since well before longevity became a trend. Time is a luxury, health is wealth. As meme-ified as these things are, they are the drivers of many human behaviours. 

Travel companies like Scott Dunn, Cox & Kings and Saga (though the latter is often the brunt of endless jokes) have been catering to older travellers for decades with senior-centric products and services. And though in the wider travel industry we’re seeing a minor age diversification in campaigns, more generally we continue to disregard mature audiences despite their buying power.

It’s time for a shift in mindset – firstly, throwing out ideas that life stalls out between the ages of 55-65. Secondly, finding creative freedom in latitude. Whatever side of longevity we lean into (preventative vs reversal; youth-obsessed vs old-phobic) – all dichotomies nuanced but with vital differences), it’s more than a health pursuit. Our fascination with longevity is an extension of sustainability, not just in planetary terms but in wanting to enjoy things for longer – experiences, products, relationships and so on. 

There’s so much space for innovation in longevity, plus the opportunity to tap into new markets. Advanced audiences want to feel seen and valued by brands – consider the openings made by their changing needs, all the way from physiological to self-actualisation. Whether it’s a celebration of ageing, aiding that hunt for the fountain of youth, a combination of the two or neither – create experiences that resonate in spite of someone’s age. 

Widen the aperture.


At its most basic, by aiding guests with longevity pursuits and long-term health goals your brand is extending the lifespan of their loyalty too. This, alongside everything from high market demand to diversified offerings, should be convincing enough for wellness brands who are looking to maintain their place at the forefront of their category. Because longevity is long-term in every sense of the word, not strategic snake oil. 


To ensure sense and meaning before incorporating longevity into your experience, ask yourself:

How might we apply our approach to long-term thinking in design and development in a wellness capacity?

How can we work to not alienate certain demographics through a longevity offering? How might it appeal and cater to all ages of our target psychographics?

How might we ground ideas of longevity in ways unique to our core founding spirit? What is the golden thread connecting the brand to values of longevity?

How can we verify expertise in this area? How can we become a trusted authority in the space? Are there connections in our existing network? If we have to venture outside of that network, how can we balance surprise and delight with a clear, sensical association?

Time is just as much a luxury for brands as it is for humans. It's why, instead of short-term gains in our work, we champion ambitions of timelessness with clients across hospitality, health, wellness, retail and real estate – thinking long-term and always asking ourselves what's next. To collaborate, get in touch with one of our consultants via hello@matterofform.com.

MOF Team

Published by MOF Team

We are a London-based Brand & Experience Design Agency delivering second-to-none experiences for forward-thinking luxury brands with something to say.

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