In this series of articles, I talk to a wide range of travel experts, insiders and luxury brands to find out more about the future of travel for next year and beyond. In Part 1, I wrote about the search for authentic travel and how technology can elevate travel experiences. For Part 2, I spoke to Black Tomato about the rise in people wanting to capture special moments through travel experiences. Today, I take a deep dive into the rise of sustainable architecture, the trend of happy hotel design and the quest for the best of sleep science.
TREND 5: SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE
Why biophilic architecture is tapping into a new zeitgeist.
In Booking.com’s just-released, annual Travel Predictions 2024 trends report, the company spoke to more than 27,000 travellers across 33 countries and territories. The digital platform discovered that 66% of respondents thought that they were the best versions of themselves while on holiday. As a result, to explore how travel will transport people out of autopilot and into unleashing their best lives, the company came up with seven ‘prediction personas’ for travel in 2024. One of these is ‘Mindful Aesthetes’—wherein the intersection of design and mindfulness will influence travel in 2024. These are travellers who have a desire to make more conscious and responsible choices as a way of life.
“The world of travel is poised for a sustainable makeover,” says the report. “Over half (53%) of travelers are seeking accommodation that blends comfort with innovative sustainability features. They crave the serenity of nature indoors, with 65% desiring green spaces and plants in their stays. Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a lifestyle. Travellers are keen on eco-friendly choices and, even more so, on app rewards for making sustainable decisions (60%).”
Exclusive Collection is a group of luxury hotels found across the UK – including Pennyhill Park in Surrey and South Lodge in Sussex. Danny Pecorelli, managing director agrees that sustainable architecture has never been so important. “While we’re continuing to better the environmental impacts of our historic country houses across the collection, we also see a great opportunity to use innovative sustainable design with any new builds,” he says. “For example, we have worked with Felce & Guy Architects on The Reeds at South Lodge, launching in 2024—eight luxury lakeside lodges using a rapid root pile system. This is a concrete-free foundation system using recycled aluminium poles, which have a lower carbon footprint and do not impact the roots of mature trees surrounding the lake.”
Hotel design company, Premier, which designed Renaissance Palm Springs comments about biophilia design. Senior design director, Abby Shehan, says: “For hotel lobbies and public spaces, biophilia goes beyond green walls. It’s more about how guests interact within the space, in ways that reflect the innate human connection to nature. We’re drawn to the calming ambience of nature, and holistically designed public spaces will take into consideration biophilic principles. This includes comfortable seating arrangements that encourage guests to gather, chat, and connect with others, just like they would congregate among each other at an outdoor patio. It also engages multiple senses. Guests may touch and feel natural materials such as wooden furniture or stone flooring, surrounded by indoor and/or outdoor views of nature.”
Leading design company, Arcadis, which worked on Loews Coral Gables in Florida, a LEED-certified, new-build hotel, comments: “Today’s travelers prioritize the principles of environmental, social, and governance (ESG), and our design must align with these values,” says Dan Freed, Business Unit director, US East. “The emerging generation of travelers puts their money where their mouth is by demanding that their chosen hotels and resorts uphold their personal commitment to sustainability. Sustainability efforts within resorts should not only be a 2024 trend, but a mandate.”
Based in Los Cabos, on the Baja peninsula, Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, part of Marriott Hotels, predicts that sustainable architecture and design will be at the forefront of hospitality design in the future. “Looking ahead towards a more sustainable future on the Baja Peninsula, Solaz has 15,000 square meters of green roofs to help save up to 30% energy within rooms,” says Flavio Rojas Negretti, marketing & PR manager, “The resort also has an endemic vegetation system, its own water desalination plant, that can produce 60,000 litres of fresh water per day, locally sources their ingredients from local farms, plus many more initiatives to make conscious decisions to create a more sustainable travel experience.”
Opened in 2019, Calilo in Ios, Greece, is another resort committed to sustainability. It is part of the LuxurIOS tourism project that was born out of a desire to promote tourism sustainably on the Greek island. Since the hotel has opened, with husband and wife duo, Angelos Michalopoulos and Vassiliki Petridou. at the helm, they have planted 68,842 trees and bushes around the island, as part of the Elektra Olive Tree project. They have also saved some 550 ancient olive trees (most of them over 300 years old) from being sold for firewood in Athens and this year, Calilo has planted an additional 30,000 trees as part of their conservation project. Looking ahead to next year, the family will introduce an education programme and private university on the island of Ios, called the Calilo School of Hospitality and Tourism. The programme will be fully funded by the family and allow students to develop skills in hospitality management, tourism, travel, gastronomy and business. The first-of-its-kind school on the island will contribute to the community by training local talent, creating jobs, offering new higher education programmes and extending the seasonal tourism market.
TREND 6: JOYFUL DESIGN
It’s all about the search for happy rooms and a playful aesthetic.
Travelers are shunning the once-craved beige, minimalism of chain hotels in favour of joyful, mood-boosting interior design, says the art’otel group. Its property in Battersea in London has a vibrant cacophony of colourful interiors and art designed by Spanish artist Jaime Hayon. The group is also gearing up to open its second London property, in Hoxton, in 2024, designed by acclaimed street artist D*Face. The group comments: “Our desire for a new type of maximalist hotel design is showing no sign of slowing down. For example, in Paris, Le Grand Mazarin has sprung onto the scene—an otherworldly space filled with such colour and eccentricity it could backdrop a Wes Anderson film. The nine-bedroom Villa Palladio in Jaipur, meanwhile, continues to delight design lovers with its glossy red hues, pastel pinks and chequerboard floors.”
Adrien Gloaguen, founder of Touriste Hotels, agrees that this styel of upbeat design is a trend that shows no sign of quietening down. “More than ever, people love stepping through the doors of a hotel to be transported to a different world. We saw this first with our collaboration with Luke Edward Hall on Hotel Les Deux Gares in Paris, which is an exemplar of maximalist design. It’s a mash-up of eras, a wellspring of artistic and intellectual references and a cacophony of clashing colours, zigzag patterned floors and striped headboards. This September, we also opened Hotel de la Boetie by Beata Heuman, where her candyfloss-coloured pink bedsheets, silver wallpaper and checkerboard tiles have been a hit. Design can often be something very serious, but people want to have fun and feel free when they’re travelling—which is what Touriste is all about.”
TREND 7: IN SEARCH OF SLEEP SCIENCE
Going back to basics with a good sleep offering is crucial.
While design is crucial within the hotel world, Hilton’s 2024 Trends Report pinpoints the essential business of guests finding a good night’s sleep, something which could be overlooked if too much focus is placed on aesthetics.
Focussing on this need, Canopy by Hilton offers exclusive bedding, including a mattress outfitted with support and temperature control, and Canopy slipper-socks for extra comfort. Motto by Hilton, meanwhile, has equipped its rooms with luxury mattresses, sound-absorbing surroundings and smart technology through the Hilton Honors app.
The report also reveals that desiring in-room white noise is an emerging trend, driven by the nearly 10% of global travelers who say they travel with a white noise machine. Other travelers make strategic choices in their travel journey to limit outside noise in the ways they can control.
“As the wellness spotlight turns to sleep, Hilton is uniquely positioned to lead the industry in evolving and innovating the on-property experience,” says Matt Schuyler, Hilton’s chief brand officer. “In addition to delivering on the basics that support a great night’s rest, we are focusing on the ‘power up’ and ‘power down’ moments of the day that contribute to quality sleep.”
Danny Pecorelli, managing director of the aforementioned Exclusive Collection, also says that offering a truly good night’s sleep is something the group is focusing on. “Over the years ,we’ve delved into pillow menus, sumptuous handmade beds and luxurious facilities to help guests feel rested.,” he says “But we recognise that from time to time, we all need a bit more of a helping hand to get some deep rest. That’s why we have launched Pro-Sleep Retreats at both our spa hotels, Pennyhill Park and South Lodge. These retreats include an extended spa treatment using the Tranquillity product range from fellow B Corp, Comfort Zone, with slow and gentle massage strokes designed to bring about slumber. Guests will also be given Tranquillity products, sleep tea, and more, for use in their room that night for the best night’s sleep and to take home to continue good sleep practice at home.”
Finally, Jacu Strauss, creative director of the Lore Group, adds: “To ensure our guests at Sea Containers in London have the perfect night’s sleep, we are embracing intelligent sleep technology by Eight Sleep, which creates pods to cool or warm your bed according to your environment and your body temperature. The pods can even differentiate between one side of the bed, and the other, in case you and your partner have different temperatures. Having said that, a little old-fashioned lavender pillow spray also never goes amiss, which is why launched our own brand spray at Lyle Washington DC.”