What is Shiawase?

What is Shiawase?
Nobu Portman Square

Wellness was once ticking off your five a day and taking a brisk walk. But now, 2024 has witnessed an increase in people reigning it in and making it their mission to find happiness. It has birthed into a worldwide phenomenon that's not only poured over to our timelines but also our priorities while travelling.

The growing demand for wellness while away has reached record-breaking heights, with 61 per cent of travellers between the ages of 31 to 45 prioritising self-care and well-being when booking a trip.

Such trips focus on reducing stress through wholesome activities such as exercise and cooking classes, spa treatments and turning a blind eye to alcohol and opting for mocktails instead.

Nobu Hotel London Portman Square is no stranger to the demand – and is arguably one of the first hotel brands to have wellness at its heart before the concept even became 2024's biggest travel trend.

Nestled in Marylebone, Nobu Portman Square strikes the balance between the hustle and bustle of the capital and a well-needed reset at a hotel deep-rooted in ancient Japanese methods that are ingrained throughout.

They've even gone one step further by incorporating a limited shiawase package for those looking for an extra feel-good boost.

"The Japanese philosophy of ‘shiawase' is the celebration of happiness and wellbeing, which is wanted to bring to the property at the beginning of the year, at a time when people are reflecting and looking to recoup after the festive period," Lilliana Gutierrez, head of wellness and fitness at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square told Indy100.

The two-night staycation is filled with a carefully selected range of experiences including Pilates sessions in one of the chicest studios London has to offer. Guests can also indulge in some of Nobu's finest foods, including the delicious detox Bento Box and non-alcoholic beverages in collaboration with Everleaf.

Nobu Portman Square

"We want our guests to feel refreshed, inspired and ready to take on 2024," Lilliana continued. "Shiawase is all about positivity, and we want to embody this by encouraging our guests to start the new year by enjoying our carefully curated experiences - from the Detox Bento Box for health and refuel at Nobu Restaurant, to strength and wellness at Nobu Pilates."

I had the pleasure of trying it out for myself... Kicking off with Pilates.

Pilates in itself has evolved into a lifestyle, mostly thanks to social media. And it's no surprise given the feel-good benefits that go hand-in-hand with the shiawase philosophy.

Even I caved to the Pilates peer pressure and switched my running trainers for grip socks a mere few months ago and haven't looked back since.

A quick swipe through Instagram shows Pilates fanatics in all types of compromising positions on the Reformer, from Megan the Stallion to Kourtney Kardashian, the Biebers and Maya Jama – who happens to practice Pilates at Nobu's Portman Square with creative director Marsha Lindsay (@pilatesbymarsha).

"Everyone I know is riding the Pilates wave, so I decided to start and I’m absolutely loving it,’ Jama told Women's Health. "I do one-to-one sessions with Marsha Lindsay at Nobu London and it’s great because it's a lighter workout but you're using every single muscle."

"Nobu Pilates at London's Portman Square was the first Pilates studio and concept to launch globally, which we are very proud of. Created by Marsha Lindsay, Nobu Pilates offers a range of classes including PURE, POWER and PRECISION," head of fitness Lilliana told Indy100.

"Each class offers a unique experience, incorporating many of the classical Pilates equipment, including the Reformer. From the design of the studio to the curated music played, the members leave feeling energised after releasing those feel-good endorphins."

Now, while I previously mentioned I had dipped my toe in the Pilates world, I may have stretched myself a little too far by opting for the POWER class, a session described as "challenging, but hugely rewarding."

Pilates regulars lined up with bottles filled, waiting to enter the prestigious studio – all the while, it felt like my first day of school all over again.

The feeling soon settled when I realised I was in the good hands of Harriet Rabb (@pilateswithharriet) offering all the assistance if and when needed (which I may have required).

The session was indeed challenging – but while the Pilates burnwasburning in parts of the body I wasn't even aware had muscles, it was strangely relaxing. The feeling of accomplishment, and what some friends would describe as Pilates propaganda, soon flooded my group chat as I left on a Pilates high.

So much so, I headed to the restaurant to indulge in Nobu Portman Square's delicious Bento Box while completely zenned out and blindsided I was sitting in a fine dining restaurant alone surrounded by couples and corporate meetings.

While Nobu Portman Square's shiawase package may come to an end in February, Nobu wants every guest to experience the feel-good benefits all year round.

Their delicious lunchtime Bento Box and delectable mocktail menu will continue Monday through Friday, and Pilates is available to book separately.


Not to mention, Portman Square's exclusive Nobu Catering offers fresh sushi from the comfort of your own home and masterclasses for sushi-fanatics delivered by world-class Nobu-trained chefs.

For those wanting to add a little shiawase to their everyday lives, Gutierrez shared one go-to feel-good tip that everyone can do. Unsurprisingly, it's all to do with your sleep.

Not only does an adequate night's sleep combat ageing but it's also said to help "soothe and restore" through skin rejuvenation.

"We love Noble Panacea Chronobiology Sleep Mask, packed with active ingredients which are released during the overnight circadian rhythm process, amplifying detoxification, repair, and regeneration," Lilliana added.

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