Before half term I spent a great couple of days at the West Country Tourism Conference in Exeter. Not only did I get to enjoy some fabulous Devon pasties for lunch courtesy of Chunk, I also heard from some very inspirational speakers from within the hospitality industry and related sectors.
The first speaker (Amanda Winwood, founder of Cornwall-based skincare brand Made for Life Organics) was so inspirational and really got me thinking about holidays, wellness and inclusivity. She talked about the importance of our “mental wealth” - a combination of our mental health and our mental wellness. In today's fast-paced world, where stress and anxiety seem to be constant companions, taking time for oneself has become more crucial than ever. One avenue to achieve this balance is through holidays. We need to keep that mental wealth topped up.
Did you know that the words hospital, hospitality, hostel, hotel and hospice all have the same route word in Latin? Me neither until the question and answer session following Amanda's talk where one of the other conference participants pointed that out. As a fan of etymology I just had to look that up. They all arise from the Latin word 'hospes' - meaning guest or visitor and curiously also meaning the one who provides lodging for a guest or visitor i.e. a host. For more on this check out this post from Merriam-Webster dictionary which explores the origins of these words further.
Holidays are somewhere you go to feel well - to have a break from your normal routine, to relax in beautiful, restful surroundings, to allow you to recuperate, perhaps from an illness or a bereavement or a stressful time at work - to regenerate one's self.
Thinking back through history it makes sense that hospitality and hospitals are related - in the past patients would be recommended to stay by the sea or go to the mountains for the clean fresh air or to visit a spa for the healing waters. It's not really any different today - people still go on pilgrimage to beach resorts and the countryside, and to spa hotels for the life-enhancing benefits they bring through the effect of natural beauty on our minds and the opportunity for a nice rest or for healthy exercise for our bodies or both.
Hospitality is not merely about providing accommodation; it's about creating experiences that nurture the mind, body, and soul of guests. Self-catering cottages offer an environment where guests can personalise their stay to suit their well-being needs. From cooking nutritious meals with locally sourced ingredients (or indeed enjoying a delicious meal out nearby) to practicing yoga on the patio, going for a rejuvenating walk in nature, or stopping to read for a while with a coffee or herbal tea in the conservatory or on the balcony overlooking the pond. Our cottages can become sanctuaries for holistic rejuvenation your way.