Five hotel trends changing how we travel

Belmond Train - Five Hotel Trends
Belmond Train - Five Hotel Trends

From reimagined all-inclusive offerings and curated sleep programs, to holistic lifestyle propositions and leisurely journeys of discovery, the hospitality industry is witnessing a paradigm shift. Perth-based design practice AboundStudio’s founder, James Huntly, explores five key trends that are changing the face of luxury travel

In my work as a designer and brand strategist for luxury travel and lifestyle brands, I have witnessed first-hand how the landscape of travel is ever-evolving, and how the concept of luxury continues to undergo transformation. Today, as travellers seek more meaningful experiences and seamless indulgences, hotels are adapting to meet these changing demands with unique and innovative offerings, and it is fascinating to witness the key trends that are emerging out of this new wave of hospitality. From reimagined all-inclusive offerings and curated sleep programs, to holistic lifestyle propositions and leisurely journeys of discovery, here are five of those key trends that are changing the face of travel.


All-inclusive meets all indulgence

We’ve all been there – the sinking feeling as the final hotel bill lands on checkout day, the result of over-indulging during your dream getaway. But a growing number of luxury hotels are now working to reinvent the all-inclusive model, creating a new era of “all-inclusive meets all indulgence”.

This is no ordinary all-inclusive experience. Leading the charge are brands like Ennismore, whose ALL Inclusive Collection promises a “whatever you want, whenever you want it” ethos. Guests are immersed in a world of flexibility and curated experiences, with food, drink, activities and entertainment all included in the nightly rate. Gone are the days of buffets and mediocre cocktails – these properties are about highly personalised programming, signature dining concepts, and exclusive access to bucket-list adventures.

Similarly, destinations like The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana and Ambergris Cay in Turks and Caicos are redefining what all-inclusive luxury can be. Both offer guests an array of included experiences – from gourmet cuisine and premium beverages to a vast menu of outdoor pursuits and wellness offerings. But the true luxury lies in the seamless, white-glove service that anticipates your every need, creating a sense of effortless indulgence.

Not another pillow menu

In the pursuit of holistic wellbeing, hotels are recognising the importance of a good night’s sleep. Amidst the flurry of experiential offerings, the core experience of rest often gets overlooked. But a shift is underway, with properties now laser-focused on optimising sleep through holistic, science-backed programs.

Leading the charge, brands like Six Senses are taking a multi-pronged approach, combining sleep-enhancing room design, in-room sleep amenities such as white noise machines and sleep trackers, and personalised treatment programs including expert advice, personal coaching, breathing exercises, movement and nutrition.

Rosewood’s ‘Alchemy of Sleep’ is a dedicated program aimed at resetting and reinforcing positive sleeping habits. Wellness-focused brand Equinox Hotels offers an ‘Art + Science of Sleep’ package, which is a 360-degree experience that harnesses cryotherapy, spa treatments, and in-room rituals to deliver the ultimate in restorative slumber.

Meanwhile, InterContinental Hotels recently announced new initiatives that tackle travel fatigue through scientifically-backed food and beverage programs, guest access to the Timeshifter jet lag app and a collaboration with a neuroscience-based designer to revolutionise guestrooms.

No more gimmicky pillow menus or sleep sprays, these hotels are redefining what it means to prioritise rest and recovery.

Beyond the local: A holistic lifestyle

In an increasingly crowded hospitality landscape, the notion of “living like a local” is no longer enough to capture the modern traveller’s imagination. Today’s guests are seeking hotels that offer a comprehensive lifestyle proposition, one that speaks to their values, interests, and sense of community.

Enter brands like SOMOS, a contemporary surf hotel in Costa Rica that combines adventure, relaxation and a vibrant surf culture. Or Bullo River Station in Australia, a vast working cattle station that immerses guests in the rugged charm of outback life. NIHI Sumba‘s Spa Safari epitomises the brand’s approach to bringing the spirit of the locale into the experience, immersing guests in a journey through the Sumbanese landscape before indulging in a vast array of spa treatments in a private clifftop setting. These properties don’t just provide a place to stay – they curate a holistic experience that allows guests to truly live the lifestyle they aspire to, surrounded by like-minded individuals.

This trend could likely extend beyond traditional hospitality, presenting brands known for their culinary or wellness expertise with an opportunity to branch out to create their own hotel concepts. Imagine a Dishoom hotel that not only serves its renowned Indian cuisine, but also offers ayurvedic wellness programming and cultural immersion experiences. Or an Aesop property that celebrates the brand’s ethos of mindful, sustainable wellness through design, dining and guest activities.

Milestone memories

In the ever-evolving world of luxury hospitality, the definition of true exclusivity is shifting. Today’s discerning travellers place greater value on experiences that create lasting memories and celebrate life’s meaningful moments.

Brands are responding by curating bespoke experiences and spaces that cater to these desires. Luxury heritage trains, the Northern Belle, evoke the opulence of 1930s rail travel and offer guests a unique and memorable setting for events and special occasions. Offering private charters and exclusive use of carriages as well as an entirely bespoke range of services, guests can access most parts of Great Britain using the National rail network. Northern Belle allows guests to create their own journeys to explore Britain’s most stunning landscapes.

InterContinental‘s ‘Incredible Occasions’ program reinforces the brand’s commitment to providing extraordinary and culturally rich experiences for modern luxury travellers. With a focus on smaller, intimate occasions such as birthdays, proposals, anniversaries, dinner parties, masterclasses and weekenders, the program helps guests elevate micro-celebrations with thoughtfully designed private settings and curated programming.

By placing a renewed emphasis on hospitality’s true roots – being the perfect host and creating unforgettable experiences – InterContinental aims to become the destination of choice for those seeking to commemorate life’s moments both big and small.

Going slow on a voyage of discovery

For the affluent traveller, the journey can now be as exclusive as the destination. Luxury hotels are charting new frontiers for mindful mobility, embracing modes of transport that allow guests to slow down and savour the experience.

At the pinnacle of this trend are the world’s most exclusive superyachts, which offer unparalleled privacy, personalisation and bespoke amenities. Ports catering to these floating palaces are springing up from Costa Rica to Montenegro, providing a range of high-end services and experiences for the discerning seafarer.

But it’s not just the high seas that are capturing the imagination of luxury travellers. Iconic train journeys, such as Belmond’s Eastern & Oriental Express and Accor’s new ‘Orient Express – La Dolce Vita’ in Italy, are also experiencing a renaissance. These luxurious rail experiences invite guests to immerse themselves in the journey, with meticulously curated regional cuisine, cultural programming and design that evokes the Golden Age of travel.

Whether by land or by sea, these slow-paced, highly curated voyages are redefining the very notion of luxury transportation. For today’s mindful traveller, the journey is not just a means to an end, but a vital part of the overall experience.

These trends signify a seismic shift within the hospitality industry, ushering in an era of immersive experiences and personalised journeys. As travellers continue to seek meaning and authenticity in their adventures, hotels must adapt and innovate, ensuring that every stay is a transformative voyage of discovery.


James Huntly is Founder & Creative Director at Perth-based design practice, AboundStudio.

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