Small Luxury Hotels of the World, in partnership with global trends analysts Trendwatching, released a report on what will shape the luxury boutique hotel experience in 2018. Below are five luxury travel trends that are expected to influence the global lodging market this year.
While the hyper-competitive experience economy is nothing new, the travel industry hasn’t yet seen the full impact of the Instagram effect. In 2018, travelers will be looking to design their own experience. One example of how hotels are tapping into this trend is the scents program at Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano where guests can choose the fragrance of their room while staying in an old perfume factory. At The VIEW Lugano in Switzerland, guests can choose in advance the color of their toilet paper, brand of toiletries and linens, and when to have their bag unpacked to customize their experience.
The wellness industry has always been entwined with spirituality. In 2018, the focus will be on those spiritual experiences that enable guests to seek out one-of-a-kind moments to focus their independent minds. From visiting rejuvenating ancient Power Spots at the Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima in Japan to night-time spa treatments under the stars, floating on water, or being lapped by the waves at Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali, the nature of these immersive experiences goes far deeper than a deep tissue massage.
A complete digital detox might be too much for some. However, the desire to take a vacation from modern technology and nostalgia for times when life seemed simpler has led to a resurgence of literature in small hotels. Providing a taste of the timeless, hotels are paying homage to esteemed writers or classic novels, as well as offering libraries, reading rooms, and library butlers. The Betsy South Beach in Miami celebrates its Pulitzer connection with bedtime poems and a writers room where guests can interact with local creatives. Le Pavillon des Lettres in Paris offers literary room service and Kristiania Lech in Austria has a book butler who creates a reading list to reflect a guest’s tastes. Rockliffe Hall in the United Kingdom plans to open a Lewis Carroll-inspired parkland in 2018 as a nod to the author’s love for the area, and the Owl and the Pussycat Hotel in Sri Lanka crosses the divide by using Instagram to recreate the non-sensical world of Edward Lear.
It is no longer enough to offer a pillow menu and a comfortable bed to guarantee a good night’s sleep. Some brands are now introducing pioneering bed linens that prevent sweating and eliminate bacteria, including DasPosthotel in Austria. In 2018, hotels will be competing to guarantee the optimum night’s sleep. 137 Pillars Suites Bangkok and 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai offer Sleep by Design therapy and a Sleepdown service conducted by a dedicated sleep curator. Sometimes, however, it’s worth having an interrupted night, as demonstrated by the Hotel Ranga in Iceland’s Northern Lights wake up call.
While data capture can promise optimum personalization, in small luxury hotels nothing beats a thorough and instinctive understanding of each guest to get everything just right. Dar Ahlam in Morrocco, Ett Hem in Stockholm, and Foxhill Manor in the United Kingdom each disregard menus and inflexible dining rituals. Instead, guests can eat what they want, where they want, and when they want, or are conveniently surprised just when they are feeling hungry.