The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in an unprecedented way, and travel is no exception. Causing an accelerated shift in luxury consumers’ behaviours and budget allocations, the health emergency has forced the travel industry to reinvent itself and adjust to ‘the new normal’. From implementing advanced health and safety protocols to sharpening wellbeing offerings, designing meaningful travel experiences and adapting booking policies, hotels and resorts around the world are ready for 2021. Here are some of the trends to watch for next year:
THE YEAR OF THE MEDICAL-SPA
Different from wellness resorts, medical spas offer a fully integrated, science-based approach to health and wellbeing, with on site medical departments, laboratories and high tech machines: the post-Covid luxury consumer is no longer looking for mere relaxation, but rather at safeguarding health and improving mind and body performance.
Where to go: Unlock human potential by increasing mental and physical performance at any age, with the three signature programmes Advanced Detox, Recover and Energise or Prevention and Ageing Well at Chenot Palace Weggis in Switzerland, the newest and most advanced property within the Chenot portfolio. Chenot Palace Weggis offers guests unparalleled medical machines, the most advanced treatments and diagnosis technologies, and a team of expert doctors to meet the needs of the most wellbeing-conscious crowd.
WORKING FROM HOTEL
As remote working becomes the norm, an increasing number of destinations, including Barbados and Mauritius, are launching premium VISA programmes to encourage visitors to stay for longer: resorts around the globe are jumping on the trend and inviting digital nomads to leave their flats and flock to a tropical paradise for a workation.
Where to go: Located on a private island in the serene Shaviyani Atoll, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi has launched a Work from Paradise package. Wealthy home-workers can benefit from complete peace and privacy in a luxurious Beach Villa, just steps from the crystal ocean. Closer to home, COMO Metropolitan London, has designed its new Working from COMO package: luxurious workspace, wellbeing from COMO Shambhala and a nutritious two-course lunch from the COMO Shambhala menu, with handcrafted dishes to boost immunity and increase concentration.
As guests’ safety is the top priority for all airlines, hotels and resorts around the world, several businesses have partnered with medical associations and cleaning companies to ensure the highest hygiene standards are met.
Where to go: The first resort to achieve the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ certificate in the Maldives for impeccable cleaning standards, Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa promises the safest vacation on the planet. Besides offering COVID-19 testing on site, the resort has implemented procedures such as mobile sterilization UV light disinfectant and electrostatic sprayer with disinfectants and appointed a Hygiene Manager to ensure guests safety is always front of mind. Leading lifestyle brand Nobu Hotels, is also reopening its properties with adjusted measures such as temperature monitoring, UV Light Germicidal Room Sanitisers, personalised mini bar stocking, voice-controlled smart devices and the iconic Nobu inroom dining menu to limit interactions between guests.
THE ATTENBOROUGH EFFECT
Following the release of Sir David Attenborough’s latest documentary, British asset management company Hargreaves Lansdown found that the so-called ‘Attenborough effect’ is real: people have changed their lifestyles and are more likely to make sustainable investments after watching the show. Green-minded businesses are deemed to be more resilient and have better grow prospects, therefore ‘putting your money where your morals are’ is today easier than ever before.
Where to go: Ecologically sustainable and environmentally responsible, the newest CAYO Exclusive Resort & Spa in Crete has invested in a number of technologies such as the state-of-the-art heat recovery system, where the heat produced by the air conditioning units is used for warming the water in guests’ rooms and in the main building, to minimize environmental impact. A real farm-to-table culinary experience awaits the hotel’s guests, who can taste products from CAYO’s very own organic garden. Resting in a small fishing village between mountain and sea, Gennadi Grand Resort in Rhodes is artfully designed with eco-sensibilities in mind. Gennadi operates under a Building Management System comprising of leading innovative energy management technology. Slanted roofs simultaneously minimise sunlight reflection whilst optimising the microclimate conditions, with energy-saving glass panels, and forward-thinking recycling practices.
Next year will be about the concept of regenerative travel and it is no doubt that travellers won’t be prioritising price over ethical travel considerations.
Where to go: Part of the family-owned Lindos Hotels group - including the eco-friendly Gennadi Grand Resort - Lindos Village Resort & Spa and the new Lindos Grand Resort & Spa (opening May 2021) are part of the ‘Forest Ambassador’ programme in Rhodes which aims to plant, water and protect new trees in the burned forests to restore nature and keep a healthy balance between tourism and the natural environment. Further afield, the rich marine ecosystem around Fairmont Maldives is flourishing. Its Coralarium (designed by British eco-artist, Jason deCaires Taylor), the archipelago’s first and only coral regeneration project in the form of an underwater art gallery, it's flourishing: coral cover has increased by 30%. In Thailand, many gibbons are killed: Guests staying at COMO Point Yamu can support the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project; a centre dedicated to saving gibbons from captivity, rehabilitating them, finding mates and setting them back into protected areas.
BLUE HEALTH BOOM
The new trend labelled Blue Health is al about the restorative powers of water . Get ready for some invigorating swimming, adrenaline-packed surfing, and calming paddle boarding.
Where to go: Heart of the Mediterranean, in the island of Ibiza the sleek Amàre Hotel Ibiza has prime access to the nearby harbour and to the rustic Cala de Bou, where guests can take a dip in the turquoise ocean to activate the body’s healing mechanisms, paddle board to re-connect with the mind and balance the emotions and attend the bi-weekly sunrise yoga classes on the rooftop overlooking the open waters.
THE RISE OF JETCATIONS
When most air travel effectively stopped in March 2020, private jet sales began to ramp up since leisure and business travellers want to be in total control of their moves and schedules, and this is not granted when chartering. NetJets revealed that the number of new aircraft owners tripled compared to 2019, highlighting that the ‘peace of mind’ guaranteed by flying privately is now considered unnegotiable.
Where to go: Nothing embodies luxury and privacy more than a paradisiacal private island in the Maldives, and of those, Velaa Private Island stands head and shoulders above the rest. Velaa Private Island is proud to announce VistaJet as its official private aviation partner for 2021. As part of VistaJet’s Private World collection, Velaa can now offer customers the ultimate in bespoke luxury travel whilst guaranteeing a safe point-to-point journey to the paradise island from anywhere in the world.
SECLUSION, SECLUSION, SECLUSION
To echo the ‘location, location, location’ cliché, the three most important factors in determining the desirability of a hotel are ‘seclusion, seclusion, seclusion’ during this time. Next year isolated villas, rural locations and resorts that offer buyouts solutions will be scoring high according to trends forecasting agency Globetrender.
Where to go: Naturally allowing social distancing thanks to its premium location on the Raa Atoll, Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa is one of top three hotels for lowest density of villas construction in the whole Indian Ocean. On the other side of the globe, COMO Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos represents the pinnacle of Caribbean luxury and is home to one of the region’s most exclusive rental villas – The Sanctuary. Sleeping up to 21 guests, The Sanctuary comprises a main house and two four-bedroom villas that can be rented altogether for the upmost privacy. Set on 10.5 acres and with private beach access, each villa has its own infinity pool, sun-soaked decking area and access to COMO butler
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Next year is expected to be the year of the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ journey. Travellers had the time to plan and research which travel brands can ensure their next trip will be a remarkable and meaningful experience.
Where to go: Rooted in Balinese culture, COMO Uma Ubud offers guests the chance to uncover the secrets of the region’s most celebrated dishes with the resort’s private cookery classes. Under the watchful eye of the award-winning Head Chef, Dewa Artana, guests head to the local market of Payangan to collect ingredients, weaving through locals buying and selling produce, before testing their skills in the kitchen with Chef Dewa. In Cappadocia, Turkey, a new experience for 2021 by the iconic argos in Cappadocia hotel will take guests on a wine tasting and culinary journey to protect the local cuisine of the region with a chance to harvest the in-season produce themselves, taste traditional local dishes and cook alongside the hotel’s experienced chefs.