The travel industry is nothing if not competitive these days. Consider a recent study from 1010data that found bookings through Airbnb increased 49 percent from November 2015 – October 2016 to November 2016 – October 2017, while bookings at boutique hotels grew 43 percent – both well ahead of the industry average of 28 percent. How is the luxury segment responding? With its wits: offering access, interactive experiences and creativity – from the kitchen to the spa to the concierge desk – to keep guests plugged in, engaged and coming back for more. Here are Hawkins International PR‘s predictions of top trends in travel, hospitality, culinary and wellness for 2018:
“ZZZZZZZ” IS FOR ZEN
What’s out: Tired Turndown Service
What’s in: Zen Action Before Bed
Inspired by the meditation trend, hotels are offering mindfulness programs designed to get guests zen before bed. The only destination spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sunrise Springs Spa Resort offers a turndown experience that invites guests to unwind under the covers with a custom cup of tea and The Little Book of Mindfulness, which includes tips on how to relax, de-stress, and bring more peace into one’s life. In the heart of historic St. James’s Mayfair, DUKES LONDON is spearheading the trend toward “mattress mindfulness” with a Beditation Butler. Guests can peruse a selection of herbal teas and specialized podcasts and playlists curated to help calm breathing and clear the mind. 45 Park Lane in London helps guests wind down before bed with a Wellbeing Bath Menu that features six different combinations of essential bath oils designed to enhance physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Each bath is drawn by a personal host and also includes a candle and herbal tea.
MAKE MINE A MEMBERSHIP
What’s out: Just-for-Guests Experiences
What’s in: Hotel Meets Members’ Club
Hospitality companies are launching membership programs in an effort to connect visitors with local residents, while also creating an additional revenue stream. Home to the most expansive spa in South Florida, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort offers a new exclusive membership program that gives local wellness enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy their own world-class wellness retreat all year round. Each member receives a customized wellness journey plan and perks include access to the resort’s 70,000 sq.ft. spa, 40+ fitness classes and wellness workshops daily, detox “staycation” retreat weekends and bi-annual physician consultations. Guests and homeowners of the home-meets-hotel company Oasis enjoy access to a network of members-only cultural and social clubs where they can meet influential tastemakers in global cities. Member clubs include The Clubhouse Buenos Aires and The Clubhouse Rio, both Oasis-owned and boasting exclusive events such as film screenings and private dinners with international chefs. Premier Membership at the landmark Wigwam Arizona in Phoenix includes unlimited access to the resort’s famed golf course and wide use of resort amenities for members and their families. Exclusive membership for Spa My Blend by Clarins is available at Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, with access to all spa features and amenities, including the longest hotel swimming pool in Paris (23 meters) and 20% discounts on all spa treatments, products and coaching.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
What’s out: Artists in Residence
What’s in: Historians in Residence
Hotels and tour operators are hiring on-staff historians to help preserve the hotel and destination’s heritage, while also introducing it to guests. The Shelbourne in Dublin found its places in history when theEaster Rising took place outside its doors in 1916 and the Irish Constitution was drafted within its walls in 1922. The hotel’s accredited genealogist – dubbed the Genealogy Butler – works with guests to find their own Irish roots through research plans, genealogical tours and personalized assessment reports. The hotel also features an on-site historical museum where guests can page through old guestbooks and menus. Guests of Montage Palmetto Bluff can spend the day with Dr. Mary Socci, resident archaeologist of Palmetto Bluff, and explore the land that dates back to 10,000 B.C. Get outdoors and go on an artifact hunt, visit the History Center to see the historic “timeline wall” or head over to the Conservancy Reading Room for rotating exhibits on display. Discover New York City history o’er the waves on a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise. The line’s new Bronx Class vessels are attended by whip-sharp tour guides, some with more than 20 years of experience, who liven up five classic itineraries including the Liberty Cruise with all sorts of facts about Lady Liberty, and the Landmarks Cruise with remarkable details of the most famous landmarks in the city. The Wigwam in Arizona employs a historian to teach guests about the resort’s origin as a cotton farm owned by Goodyear Tire & Rubber. Classified as part of Jamaica’s National Heritage, The Tryall Club in Montego Bay’s resident Environment and Conservation Manager, Shaku Ramcharan leads The Club’s sustainability and preservation efforts and also hosts custom Heritage Tours which take guests on a historical adventure through Jamaica’s past. With onsite ruins that date back to the 17th century, Shaku guides guests through The Club’s historical landmarks, including the Tryall Fort constructed by Oliver Cromwell, Jamaica’s oldest functioning Waterwheel, the 18th century aqueduct and the Great House.
IT’S 6 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE…
What’s out: Breakfast for Dinner
What’s in: Dinner for Breakfast
Breakfast for dinner has long been a favorite, but some restaurants are flipping the menus by putting a breakfast spin on traditional dinner dishes. Purple Palm at Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs offers an imaginative morning menu complete with Breakfast Fried Rice prepared with scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, shiitake mushrooms, napa cabbage and chili sauce. For another morning twist on fried rice, check out the signature breakfast buffet at InterContinentalLos Angeles Century City, which features traditional dinner dishes during the morning hours, including fried rice, braised tofu and mushrooms. Everybody knows pizza in Brooklyn, but nobody knows Breakfast Pizza like The Box House Hotel, whose onsite restaurant, Brooklyn Lantern, lights up mornings with a special Breakfast Pizza Menu including creations like the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Pizza with stracciatella, caramelized onions, Applewood smoked bacon, over-easy eggs and homemade tomato sauce. What’s the best time for ceviche? The earlier the better at Paroquotte Restaurant at Country Club Lima Hotel, which serves ceviche for breakfast with ingredients straight off the boat. The newly reimagined Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa offers aBreakfast Martini that puts a morning spin on a classic cocktail usually reserved for happy hour. The martini features gin, Cointreau, marmalade and fresh lemon juice, garnished with a dehydrated orange – perfect for toasting the famous Cayman sunrise or whatever remains of the moon.
GOOD CLEAN FUN
What’s out: Adult Coloring Books
What’s in: Adult Doodling and Dancing
Coloring books were just the beginning. Travel companies are taking inspiration from activities typically reserved for children to develop programming that encourage adult guests to feel like a kid again. Embrace your inner child at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe, with activities from Zen Doodles, Rock Paintingand Art Dolls to everyone’s favorite – playing with puppies! At The Dolder Grand in Zurich, adults and their children are invited to try their best at a Live Escape Game, with 60 seconds to solve a riddle as they attempt to escape from a hotel guest room. Carillon Miami Wellness Resort in Miami offers a “Let’s Dance” group class for adults to learn new dance routines while working out, and a two-story indoor rock wall for beginners to learn the basics of climbing and experienced climbers to hone advanced drills and techniques. Following a major transformation, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal is betting that play will help inspire productivity and creativity in meeting attendees. The hotel’s new 3rd-floor business campus, CoLab 3, features themed rooms with playful accessories, including swings and a ping-pong meeting table.
BACK TO BASICS
What’s out: Digital Devices
What’s in: Analog Accessories
Hotels continue to embrace digital technologies to improve the guest experience, but some are also recognizing the nostalgia and delight that analog accessories inspire in their guests. The Box House Hotel, Henry Norman Hotel and Franklin Guesthouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn all feature hidden antique treasures like retro typewriters, binoculars and vintage cameras in each guest room. The Nines in Portland, Oregon features a hidden library just off the lobby housing over 1,000 books from nearby Powell’s Books, the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. Guests can peruse hiking guides, dog-eared paperbacks, large format art books and classic novels. Don’t rush the ride to your floor at XV Beacon in Boston. The 63-room hotel housed in a 1903 Beaux-Arts address features the building’s original cage elevator as well as its cast-brass lit railing with brass newel post in the lobby – perfect for a glimpse of “Old Boston.”
ONE FOR THE GUEST ROOM
What’s out: Cocktail Classes at the Bar
What’s in: Cocktail Service by the Bed
Savor a cocktail in your P.J.’s? Why not! Room service has reached new heights at The Darcy in Washington, D.C., with a Cocktail Butler on call to mix spirits right in your room. Guests can request the hotel’s “secret” cocktail cart and accompanying mixologist to whip up classic cocktails or the hotel’s signature, The Darcy Double. 45 Park Lane in Mayfair is a Negroni aficionado’s dream destination, with three variations of the popular cocktail – Classic, Vintage and Aged – available in your guest room via a unique Negroni Trolly. A variety of Bloody Marys are also available in guest rooms upon request.
WORTH A SHOT
What’s out: Vitamin-infused Juices
What’s in: Vitamin-infused IVs
Hotel spas are getting serious about offering guests vitamin therapies with vitamin IV treatments. The 70,000 sq-ft spa at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is home to Miami’s leading expert on healthy aging, Dr. Adonis Maiquez, who offers a range of functional medicine and health programs designed to optimize wellness and achieve healthy aging. Tops among them is IV vitamins, with intravenous replenishment of some of the nutrients needed to boost energy, vitality and the immune system to aid fighting stress and infections and recovering from exercise. In Scottsdale, Arizona, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess recently partnered with REVIV to create a full menu of signature IV vitamin and nutrient therapies at Well & Being Spa. Offerings include Hydromax for quick rehydration; Ultraviv for recovery from hangovers or general illness; Megaboost to promote overall wellness; Vitaglow, a Glutathione IV to refresh skin appearance; andRoyal Flush for a deluxe infusion of recovery and wellness.
What’s out: Taking Out the Trash
What’s in: Reusing Rubbish
Hotels are enhancing their eco initiatives to thoughtfully repurpose waste into the guest experience. The team at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe has launched a Trash into Art initiative to recycle used materials and utilize them in onsite art classes. Empty cardboard boxes are being reused as book boards for “Little Library of Joy Books;” leftover plastic lids make perfect paint palettes; and wine corks are repurposed to create stamps for ink and paint. Through AccorHotels PLANET 21 program, the Group has pledged to reduce food waste across its global portfolio by at least 30% by 2020. To avoid throwing out food, properties have developed clever ways to reuse unconsumed produce. For example, The Novotel Nantes Carquefou in France turns breakfast pastries into puddings, while The MGallery Hotel St-Moritz de Queenstown in New Zealand transforms unconsumed milk into cheese. The butcher at Urban Farmer of The Nines hotel in Portland, Oregon typically breaks down about four pigs and one cow per month. To ensure less waste, every part of the animal – from nose to tail – is used in dishes for the restaurant, including in an adventurous in-house charcuterie program.
ONE IS THE TASTIEST NUMBER
What’s out: Mealtime Mélanges
What’s in: Solo Spreads
Hotel chefs are challenging themselves to create multi-course menus inspired by a singular ingredient. Chef Peter Brunel of Borgo San Jacopo at Hotel Lungarno in Florence has fashioned a Potato Tasting Menufeaturing six courses made with the humble starch. Dishes include Yellow Potato Spaghetti with egg cream, cured pork cheek and black truffle and a dessert finish of Purple potato sorbet with pure gold chocolate potato pralines. Siren Restaurant at The Darcy in D.C. features a Caviar Service Menu where guests can mix and match four types of caviar with unique flavors, including white chocolate, potato and buckwheat blinis, créme fraîche, red onion, chives, and farm egg.
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