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ILTM Review


Trends shaping the luxury sector unveiled
January 2017 343

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) shares the latest travel trends put together from inputs shared by their development team and the spotlight is on Mexico. The new year will see momentum continue to grow in the country’s luxury boutique hotel sector. The Caribbean is highlighted along with unique island escapes and Ibiza.


SMALLER IS BIGGER

Trends come and go, but independent luxury lasts forever. That’s why the one major ‘trend’ that continues into 2017 and beyond, say analysts at SLH, is the preference for small, independently owned boutique hotels. 'Of the thousands of applications we received, we offered 57 new hotels a place in our ever-evolving brand. The average number of rooms of these new signings is 28 compared to an average number of 48 for our entire portfolio of 510 hotels and demonstrate that smaller is definitely getting bigger,' says a
company spokesperson.


EXPERIENCES OF A LIFETIME

The new consumer luxury mind-set has evolved to being more about ‘who I am’ rather than ‘what I have’, therefore guests seek more bespoke, relevant and one-off experiences that speak volumes about their tastes and sensibilities. Amongst other SLH signings, Dar Ahlam, Morocco, exemplifies this with its curation of exceptional experiences which from one day to the next takes you from a picnic in the middle of an oasis to aperitifs on top of the Atlas Mountains. Celebrating its 15th anniversary next year, Dar Ahlam will be offering 15 weekends of surprises throughout 2017, comprising culinary and theatrical delights. The 34-room Hotel Santavenere, situated in Maratea, offers an array of experiences and is soon to launch paragliding sessions from Maratea’s very own Christ the Redeemer statue straight through to the hotel. The hotel also sits a stone’s throw away from Matera, voted the European capital of culture, 2019.


LOVE OF LOCAL

The love affair with local has grown to fever pitch. Across design, décor, ingredients used in F&B and on-site staff, never have hotels embraced their locality so much. This demonstrates that, despite globalisation, traditional culture still matters and hotels are keen to serve guests with an authentic dose of local goodness. Gone are the days when hoteliers favoured international to internal – they now look to what is right on their doorstep.


DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT

The digital era has successfully transformed our connections with strangers but, in 2017, consumers will look to new experiences to help them form deeper connections with their nearest and dearest. Nowhere is this more evidential than in some of SLH’s new signings. The very foundation of Kokomo Island, Fiji, is that of a family vision to create a retreat for families and couples to completely disconnect from the modern world in order to re-connect with nature and their loved ones. Treetop paradise, El Alma Soul Retreat in Costa Rica, provides a similar offering and does away with in-room TVs and invites guests to discover 'pura vida' through massages, walks and simply enjoying the tropical views.


SOPHISTICATED SIMPLICITY

More and more hotels are going natural with their design and mixing up materials to achieve an eclectic yet laid back ambience. Bamboo and rattan, among other natural materials are all being utilised in some way, shape or form bringing an earthy feel to the hotel décor. Sikelia, El Alma Soul Retreat and our new Tulum hotels all typify this type of décor.




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