These days, it appears, travellers are after uncomplicated and honest luxury. They’re looking to for more interactions with local cultures and the environment and are eager to participate in something that feels bigger than themselves. That is, according to the annual Luxury Travel Trends 2020 Report, produced by Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH).
To predict these burgeoning trends that travellers are looking for in a luxury getaway, the report takes into consideration the most creative, inspiring and novel elements of SLH’s 520-plus independent hotels. It examined areas such as creative sustainability, wellbeing, community, food, escapes and emerging destinations.
Here are six overarching themes that stood out:
1. Conscious travel
Travellers are increasingly looking for ways they can be more environmentally conscious and it is becoming the role of hotels to provide this. Whether it be introducing plastic-free initiatives, implementing conservation initiatives or going steps beyond and using bio-architecture to minimise environmental damage, waste and pollution.
It is the hotels making a conscious effort and striving for carbon neutrality that are being noticed. As a response, SLH will be launching a Sustainability Manifesto in 2020 to guide its member hotels in this direction.
2. Learning escapes
Self-improvement-obsessed consumers are on the rise and using travel as a way to upskill themselves in one area or another. Getaways that allow travellers to interact with or be taught by experienced professionals are becoming particularly appealing to people who value productivity and learning something new. Many hotels are beginning to offer once-in-a lifetime-experiences like sporting lessons with Olympians or professionals, or seminars and expeditions with experts in the field.
3. Dispersed hotels
Travellers are intrigued by luxury properties that offer unconventional layouts. Dispersed hotels which spread across different buildings in a town or expansive area of land, create an exciting new way to experience a destination and provide a micro-community for guests and locals.
For instance, Enzo Ango Fuya II in Kyoto is Japan’s first-ever dispersed hotel includes five buildings, dotted around one street. Each with its own particular style, features and functionality. Another example is Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa which is scattered across two acres with 10 Cycladic buildings in the style of a traditional Greek village.
4. Wellness and sleep therapy
Keeping mindset, health and wellness in check is a rising priority for many travellers looking for a luxury getaway. For some, this involves seeking out spa treatments, meditation and wellness activities or gyms and fitness offerings.
For others, it is about improving their sleep. Sleep therapy offerings, as well as custom-made beds and relaxation techniques, are becoming a trend across hotels. For instance, Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa in California sparked interest by becoming the first hotel to introduce a sleep fitness programme, while Le Grand Bellevue in Gstaad, Switzerland, will host an overnight ‘Bamford B Silent Sleep Retreat’ this summer.
5. Bringing food back to its roots
With more and more people going vegan, turning keto diets or keeping it herbal, there are a growing number of plant-based restaurants setting up at resorts and hotels. As well as this hotel menus are taking food back to its roots and increasing the use of local produce, home-grown vegetables and keeping the look earthy. Charcoal is one ingredient that has grown in strides and has been popping up across both food and spa menus around the globe.
6. Unique destinations
Travellers are starting to turn away from what they know and turn to what they don’t. Whether it’s wanting to escape the crowds or experience something new, the popularity of lesser-known destinations looks set to take another leap forward in the year ahead. SLH is preparing to bring luxury tourism to more unique locations this year. They have hinted that places like Bhutan, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Tel Aviv in Israel and Montenegro are places to keep on the radar.