WINNERS OF THE ESPA INNOVATION AWARDS 2022 ANNOUNCED
On 22 September 2022, the ESPA Innovation Award competition came to a grandiose close. The winners in 8 categories were announced at a gala award ceremony in the prestigious hall of Hotel Thermia Palace in Piešťany, Slovakia.
Between 21 and 22 September, the Slovak spa town of Piešťany played host to the 26th ESPA Congress (Congress of the European Spas Association). The event brought together over 150 participants; leading spa industry professionals, hotel operators, clinic owners, balneologists, influential business partners, and media representatives.
An integral part of the event was the ESPA Innovation Award competition that recognised the best and most innovative ideas and services in the health & spa industry for the eighth year in a row. The goal was to award those, who developed new, more effective, and sustainable approaches in spa destinations, hotels, medical centers, and health resorts, as well as new spa programs, concepts, products, and scientific research.
The competition encourages the exchange of experience, best practices and know-how and rewards trailblazing projects. It is a celebration of well-being, innovation, and excellence in the spa industry.
The president of the expert jury, Gunnlaugur K. Jónsson, led the evaluation of the projects, alongside Dr. Siyka Katsarova, Silvia Giannini, Peter Janech, Todorka Kostadinova and Inga Dora Sigfusdottirm.
Dr. Siyka Katsarova, head of the competition: “The competition is an indicator of quality and innovation within the European Health & Spa industry. We are proud that the quality of the competition improves year-on-year.”
The winners of the competition and the recipients of the Special Jury Awards in 2022 are:
C1: INNOVATIVE SPA DESTINATION
Terme Tuhelj Glamping Village, Slovenia
Comments from the jury: Glamping Village Terme Tuhelj, part of the Terme Tuhelj Resort is surrounded by green nature. It is the first 5-star glamping park in Central Europe and one of the few in the EU that innovatively combines outdoor, glamor and health experiences.
Special Jury Awards – Innovative Spa Destination
Slovenia Green Wellness Route, Slovenia
The Slovenia Green Wellness Route cycling route created by the Slovenian Tourist Board and the Slovenian Spas Association connects 11 green-certified destinations, and Slovenia’s incredible natural spa resorts.
C2: INNOVATIVE MEDICAL SPA
La Roche Posay Thermal Resort, France
Comments from the jury: The modernity of the facility reopened in January 2022, makes the Centre Thermal La Roche Posay a unique establishment in the world of hydrotherapy in terms of treatment conditions (modern workstations with adapted ergonomics) and management of the thermal water resource as well as the control of its microbiological and physico-chemical quality.
Special Jury Awards – Innovative Medical Spas
Savoy Westend Hotel & Medical Clinic, Czech Republic
This medical spa utilises the healing properties of exclusively local natural resources in its spa procedures. This includes mineral water, carbon dioxide and peat.
C3: INNOVATIVE SPA HOTEL
Hot Springs Medical & SPA Hotel, Bulgaria
Comments from the jury: Hot Springs created its own real BIO Farm, that gives fresh ingredients for daily use. Customers can have a real naturalistic experience with the farm’s greenery and animals.
Special Jury Awards – Innovative Spa Hotel
TISA Spa Resort and Aqua Park, Romania
The resort is one of the largest and most popular in Romania, encompassing a wide range of services in the Tisa Aqua Park, Thermarium, Spa, Fitness and Bistro.
C4: INNOVATIVE SPA CONCEPT
Balvanyos Resort, Romania
Comments from the jury: Balvanyos combines Thermal facilities with a real Organic farm and local materials in architecture. Fine dining is part of the spa hotel concept. The exclusive spa resort creates a huge impact on the region and attracts 40% of the visitors in the close area.
Special Jury Award – Innovative Spa Concept
Digital service assistants Katica and Ivan in Terme 3000 – Moravske Toplice, Slovenia
The introduction of digital service assistants was an important innovation for Terme 3000 – Moravske Toplice for reaching their business goals and reducing costs.
C5: INNOVATIVE HEALTH SPA PROGRAMME:
Covid recovery program by Heilsustofnun Rehabilitation Clinic, Iceland
Comments from the jury: The programme for post-Covid rehabilitation has been created in connection with thermal and local resources, and a scientific approach. Exercise, both physical and mental, more healthy food make part of the cure. The continuous tests on patients, during their stay, allowed them to define scientific results.
Special Jury Award – Innovative Health Spa Programme
Covid recovery program in Strimon Garden Medical SPA Hotel, Bulgaria
In response to the disarray in the Bulgarian health system caused by the pandemic, medical spa center Strimon Garden created tailor-made programmes for restoring the health status of people infecred with COVID-19.
C6: INNOVATIVE SPA PRODUCT:
The Eclipse outdoor cabin by Alpha Industries, Belgium
Comments from the jury: Flexible and green, the cylinder-shaped Eclipse embodies the need for outdoor wellness after the pandemic. Many thermal and hospitality activities are set in nature, and this solution, easy to install, combines technology, nature, wellness, and the outdoors in one piece.
Special Jury Award – Innovative Spa Products
Robotic rehabilitation in Darkov Spa, Czech Republic
Darkov Spa, the leading spa and rehabilitation resort in the Czech Republic introduced a special form of exercises with robot assistance that provide great benefit for patients.
C7: INNOVATIVE SPA EDUCATION:
Terme Sveti Martin – Healthness programme, Croatia
Comments from the jury: The spa is based on a traditional holistic philosophy, with a focus on a healthy lifestyle requiring a balance between the mind, soul, and body. In many ways, their program is innovative, while based on a rich and long history. It is tailor-made for each individual, which is a big plus.
C8: INNOVATIVE MEDICAL SPA SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH:
Institute of Spa and Balneology Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
Comments from the jury: This research center combines studies on the environment of spa towns, studies on the behavior of potential spa guests, and cultural-historical research. An additional highlight is the use of modern methods and state-of-the-art equipment, virtual reality technology, and business intelligence methods.