Luxury travel network Virtuoso has released its 2017 Best of the Best directory. The elite portfolio is published annually and features the most exclusive hotels and unique travel experiences around the world—amounting to more than 1,150 hotels in 100 countries. This year’s edition is a record-breaking 656 pages long and introduces 75 new properties.
The extensive Best of Best directory reveals some important trends developing in the luxury travel industry. A select few are highlighted below.
1. Luxury Travel in Emerging Destinations
South Africa, Colombia and Portugal are just a few of the trending destinations in the 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report. Naturally, leading luxury hotel chains are making rapid developments in these rising cities. South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari and Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal are two of the stellar luxury hotel and resort options in these emerging destinations.
2. Work-Centric Lobbies
Recently, it has become a priority for hotels to create multi-functional lobby spaces comprised of stylish lounges and work-friendly amenities. This environment is great for corporate meetings, because it encourages all aspects of business to be conducted in flexible spaces. The new Four Seasons hotel in downtown Manhattan in New York City has pioneered the trend by providing usual work amenities such as laptops and interpreters for business meetings.
3. Authentic Cultural Experiences
One of the most prominent trends in travel is that travelers are increasingly looking for authentic and exciting experiences. Adding local flair and unique experiences gives planners an opportunity to create truly memorable events. Nighttime safaris in Laos and sushi-making sessions with top chefs in Tokyo are some culturally important experiences that are becoming readily available.
4. Social Media Photo Opportunities at Boutique Hotels
The search for a stunning locale to post on social media has contributed to the rise of boutique hotels. Often designed and furnished with a unique aesthetic, boutique hotels generally have fewer guest rooms, which permit enhanced customization, increased privacy and more opportunities for Instagram-worthy additions. Ted Turner’s one-room Ladder Ranch resort in New Mexico is the perfect example. Guests can enjoy wildlife-spotting opportunities, hot springs and snap away without any interruptions.
5. Enhancing Wellness
Wellness has been a pervasive trend around the world for some time now. This fascination is now entering the travel realm, as evidenced by Virtuoso’s prediction that the wellness travel niche will hit $680 billion this year. Wellness centers such as Reiki in Japan, which focuses on stress reduction methods, and Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland, a medical retreat combining cell therapy and holistic wellness, are two great options. Overall, health and wellness in travel is growing 50 percent faster than the general tourism industry.