Juice -- a basic staple of any hotel stay, right? Out on the breakfast buffet, with OJ leading the way and perhaps a choice of grapefruit, apple or tomato for the daring few who may feel like deviating from the mainstream.
Well, think again. Juice -- freshly-squeezed from an arcane assortment of veggies as well as fruit, and in more combinations than you can imagine, has become a unique selling point at several hotels this year. These are places that believe juice is not just for breakfast, but at the center of wellness or detox programs they say jaded travelers are crying out for.
"Business as well as leisure guests are buying big into our juice offerings," says Mina Gough, spa director of The Standard, Miami, which has done so well with a new juice and wellness program, other hotels in the group are preparing to follow suit.
"There's been a real buzz in the group about how so many different categories of guests have embraced the chance to detox with fresh juice," she says.
"Business travelers may not be able to devote themselves to the full wellness program, with scrubs and massages, but they'll still do juice for breakfast and lunch, then go out for a regular business dinner.
"They like the way it makes them feel so much, many finish their stay with a full-day juice detox."
These are not any old juices -- for morning, The Standard is currently blending cantaloupe and ginger into its freshly-squeezed OJ -- the ginger works as an anti-inflammatory -- and proposing a pint of tomato-carrot-red pepper-cucumber-fennel and lime juice midmorning to improve digestive health.
It gets a little out there by evening, when a pint of green juice pressed from kale, collard greens, romaine, cucumber and green apple is proposed as a meal replacement designed to detox the blood.
Working in the hotel? Room service is ready to deliver coconut water to sip throughout the day.
A less likely venue than a Miami Beach spa for a detox program is a big city hotel. But the InterContinental on London's Park Lane is introducing just that, under the direction of Thandie Newton's naturopath, Elizabeth Peyton-Jones.
"It will give all the tools and support needed to begin a new lifestyle, including a pre-stay fridge analysis, a two-week detox and a follow-up motivation call," says hotel spokesperson Patty Kahn.
"We know many guests are looking for ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling," she adds, noting that the hotel will also create juices to guests' own specifications, even if they're not registered for the detox experience, which must be booked ahead.
No advance warning, however, is needed for delivery of an Antioxidant Revival drink (apple, raspberry and blackberry juice), a Vitamin C Blast (orange, mango and pineapple), an apple-ginger-cucumber Booster and similar health drinks. All are available at every bar and restaurant in the hotel or 24/7 via Room Service.
Another London hotel embracing juice in a big way is the uber-cool Sanderson, whose Long Bar has a "sin-free" section where mixologists create health drinks.
Choices include the Cellulite Reduction Cocktail (pink grapefruit, orange, dandelion, burdock, lemon and pineapple juice) and the Jetlag Rescue Smoothie in which scary-sounding "stabilized oxygen" is added to orange juice with hemp seeds and vitamin C powder. In the Agua spa, guests can find more exotic drinks like goji berries from the high Tibetan plateau, blended with seaberry, pomegranate or lychee juice.
Guests can also create their own smoothies at the Sanderson, indicating that juicing may become an activity in its own right rather than merely a means to an end.
The Four Seasons Biltmore has a juice bar at its oceanfront cabana club in Santa Barbara where guests can create their own juices.
Courtesy Four Seasons
At the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara, California, guests can create their own combinations from an assortment of fruit and veg including kale, beets, parsley, ginger and celery at the Fins organic juice bar. And the Travaasa "experiential" resort is offering an actual class in pressing fresh juice at both its Austin, Texas and Maui properties -- yes, it's called Juicing 2.0. And it's also not just for breakfast -- guests learn to convert what they've pressed into soups, dips, spreads, desserts and salsas as well as mere healthy juices.
Other places to get stuck seriously into the fresh stuff include:
LaSource, Grenada This luxury, all-inclusive spa resort puts fresh juice at the center of its holistic offerings, allowing lots of experimentation at no extra cost.
The cafe-deli features such unusual combinations as the High C (celery stalks, carrot, parsley and asparagus) to prevent arthritis and lower blood pressure, the anti-oxidant ABC Trio (apple, beet and carrot) and the Power Ball high-protein drink involving fresh papaya juice and - er - peanut butter. It contains soy isoflavones which some say help reduce bad cholesterol, regulate glucose levels and improve kidney filtration.
Missoni, Kuwait Creative Director Rosita Missoni has created juice pairings for food in the restaurants and bars of the fashion brand's first resort, as well as a range of stylish "mocktails." Guests can opt for a "heavenly orchard," featuring, apple, pear, quince and citrus juices blended with locally-grown cinnamon. They can get a blackberry julep in which the berries are pressed with plenty of fresh mint, then hit with fresh lime juice and a shot of sparkling water.
Destinations where you don't need a fancy hotel to get superb freshly-squeezed juice include:
Bali -- Juice stands abound, pressing everything from bananas (much juicier than starchy western varieties) to avocados, with all the other usual fruit and veggie suspects. Your hotel will offer them too.
Israel -- Residents love fresh carrot juice even more than their freshly squeezed OJ, and often combine them half and half. Look for juice stands everywhere in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and expect to find fresh carrot juice on the breakfast buffet alongside a wide variety of other juices.
Morocco -- Freshly squeezed OJ is a birthright in this country, and in Marrakech you'll find at least 20 stands competing for your business on the main square, the Dja el Fnaa. Since it costs less than 35 cents a glass, you can try all the vendors to find your favorite before your stay is out, but you may want to bring your own glass for hygiene reasons.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel about healthy options at hotels? What are your favorite offerings?