USA Today reported last week that Whole Foods plans to open an upscale health resort where guests could stay and learn about a healthier lifestyle. The resort would most likely open in Austin, Texas, where the company plans to expand its headquarters.
The story says Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey is negotiating for real estate and searching for the right hotel chain to operate the resort, and that additional resorts would depend on the success of the first one.
Mackey is hoping the health resort concept turns out better than the education-focused wellness clubs that opened in stores in the last year. "It wasn't a total bomb," he said, "but we couldn't reach critical mass."
"To move from natural foods to natural spas works," says brand guru Robert Passikoff, who pointed out that Whole Foods ranks first in brand recognition in the natural foods category. "Whole Foods is really a category unto itself."