Welcome to 2017!

My team work hard to bring you the best independent hotels that reflect the latest travel trends, so we decided to compile a list to help you narrow it down for your upcoming experiences in 2017. We have covered destinations that are sizzling hot, travel fashions that are yet to be noticed and hotels that are simply unmissable, because we don’t follow the trends at SLH – we make them. So read on to really be In the Know

spotlight: Mexico

If the world’s a stage, then Mexico is the star of 2017. Mexico has a burgeoning trend of stylish luxury properties with a truly local flair, ensuring independently minded travellers can have an authentic experience with all the luxury trimmings. We have recently added eight new hotels to make Mexico our biggest destination for 2017.

Not only does Mexico have a variety of experiences, but it provides a pared-back luxury in a relaxed, independently-minded setting. Offering a contemporary-chic flair, our Tulum properties epitomise the new luxury mind set: enrichment over materialism. These properties enrich the experience as most of them were born out of passion from individuals who come from various non-hospitality backgrounds. Rather than a cookie-cutter experience that focuses on material consumption, our Tulum hotels embody the new wave of SLH hotels that leave the competition in the dust by focusing on unforgettable experiences with an authentic local twist. 

Spotlight: Castaway Seafront Experiences

This year sees a real focus on intrepid seafront adventures. It’s all about island escapism and ditching the usual resort town to explore an undiscovered secluded paradise. These remote destinations offer a revitalising adventure with a key focus on health and well-being in an inspiring location. A key example is Kokomo Island Fiji, which offers a luxury castaway experience where you're footsteps from the coastline, hemmed with unspoilt coral reef and marine life. Perched between Tunisia and Sicily, Sikelia is located on the rugged yet picturesque black volcanic island in a UNESCO World heritage site, known only to locals who enhance their health with the wellness properties of the unique springs and mineral rich mud.

Trend Tracker: Smaller is Bigger

Trends come and go, but independent luxury lasts forever. That’s why the one major trend that will continue into 2017 and beyond is the preference for small, independently owned boutique hotels. Of the thousands of applications we received, we offered 46 new hotels a place in our ever-growing brand to demonstrate that smaller is definitely getting bigger. The average number of rooms at our new hotels is 28, compared to an average of 48 for our entire portfolio of over 520 hotels. These new additions include Mahana Villa, a two-bedroom luxury retreat and winery in the breath-taking south island of New Zealand, and El Alma Soul Retreat, a small luxury retreat in Costa Rica.

Trend Tracker: Local Love

From design aspects to on-site cuisine, our hotels are embracing their locality with gusto. Traditional culture has never been more celebrated, and our hotels are proud to serve guests with an authentic dose of local goodness. Gone are the days when hoteliers favoured international - they now look to what is right on their doorstep, providing local touches at every turn to give guests an authentic experience to take away with them.

Great examples of this include Sikelia serving up a unique blend of UNESCO World heritage wine using the rare UNESCO heritage Zibibbo grape and Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa using local breadfruit instead of potatoes to create a traditional version of French fries.  This type of attention to local detail not only celebrates local culture, but it really turns a simple vacation into a truly unforgettable experience. 

we've only just begun

We’ll be bringing you travel trends over the first quarter of 2017 to ensure you’re In the Know. Keep an eye out on The Journal for the most up-to-date travel tips. Here’s to an independently minded 2017!

Filip Boyen

CEO, Small Luxury Hotels of the World