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7 key luxury travel trends that will shape 2014

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Us Brits love to travel, whether it’s for holiday or work. And as we welcome in 2014 we look at some of the key luxury travel trends that will shape this year.

From experiential travel to ecotourism, from emotional holidays to fitness breaks, here are some key travel trends to watch this year.

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Experiential Travel

Experiential travel is not a new concept and has been around for a while. It’s all about experiences that connect you with a place and its people. These experiential travellers want to really get underneath the skin of their destination, beyond the ubiquitous tourist hotspots and really dive deep into the local culture and connect with the people to enrich their lives and create meaningful memories. But can luxury and experiential go hand in hand? This really depends on what your definition of experiential is and what you want from your travels. Destinations such a trekking in Machu Picchu, a walking safari in Zambia and visiting the Antarctica were all on many experiential travellers’ bucket lists, according to a recent Twitter chat hosted by luxury travel public relations consultancy PRCo.

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The Near-Away

The Staycation is over: 2014 is all about the Near-Away.  The difference? In 2013 Stay-cationers opted out of long queues and airport hassles and instead took their holidays in the UK. Now, that’s no longer good enough.  2014 brings the rise of residents looking for a night away or a weekend away in their very own back garden. The Near-Away is a 50 mile radius holiday that is becoming increasingly popular. It’s not just about avoiding airports anymore, it’s about being close enough to home to avoid any travel stress at all. And the reality is, most of us don’t want to go very far to get away from it all. London’s first and foremost country house hotel, Cannizaro House, based in Wimbledon, has seen a massive increase in guests who live just around the corner; it’s up nearly 70 per cent.

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The Green Mile

In 2013 we saw a rise in ecotourism, and a renewed awareness of giving back to our environment through travel. 2014 takes it even further – with more and more hotels looking to find new and innovative ways to become sustainable. Boutique hotel Aleenta Hua Hin in Thailand now sources everything, including staff locally. The hotel is on its way to being completely sustainable, and grows all its vegetables and herbs on its own farm, uses local fisherman/meat farmers, and even employees are sourced from within a 30 mile radius. Even their Tuk Tuks are run on bio fuel made on site. They recycle everything and even have a surplus farm outside the hotel for the locals to come and take what they want.

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Your favourite restaurant goes with you

We’re all familiar with branded spas like ESPA at luxury hotels, and well aware of celebrity chefs lending their names to hotel restaurants, but 2014 brings with it the rise of the ‘branded restaurant’. The D-Hotel Maris, a luxury hotel in Marmaris, Turkey, now hosts London’s award-winning and international restaurant Zuma. D-Hotel’s Zuma includes an outdoor robata grill on the terrace overlooking the Aegean coastline and will feature Zuma signature and classic dishes. Voted one of the best bars in the World, Zuma will also bring their unique award winning bar and DJ experience including their own mixologists and cocktails.

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The Emotional Trip

 Last year was about deals and discounts, 2014 is about the journey. Hotels are now offering emotional milestone themed trips such as ‘The Divorce Getaway’, ‘The Engagement Retreat’, and Thailand’s Aleenta Hua Hin has just launched the ‘Break Up Package’ for people looking to get over their ex and heal their hearts.

In order to prevent you from texting your recent ex, or obsessing over why he/she ISN’T texting you, the hotel collects mobiles at the front desk. Calls are answered by reception and messages left once a day. To keep you off the Blackberry/iPhone email, the hotel also provides and encourages a return to postcards, providing cards and stamps to guests for free so that you can stop obsessing and just write to those you should be writing to. And in terms of healing from heartbreak – Ryan Gosling was a regular here not too long ago – so there’s always hope for the future!

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The Bearded Facial

Spas are no longer just for women and more and more properties are actively recruiting staff who are trained to deal specifically with men. The Gentleman’s Facial is showing up on more and more spa menus as men look to take the kind of care of their skin that women have been doing for centuries. The Conrad Bali has just won the AsiaSpa award for the best spa for men in Asia. Using Vitaman products from Australia, the spa offers wellness treatments for men featuring both traditional Indonesian and Western therapies all using local essential oils and traditional massage. Conrad Resort is sprawled across a 350-meter stretch of white pristine beach on Bali’s southern coast on 17 acres of tropical gardens complete with cascading waterfalls, lagoons and a 33-meter beach-front infinity pool, all with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

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Haute Couture Fitness

No longer satisfied going on a generic ‘Fitness Break’ now guests want bespoke programmes created for their individual goals. The Divya Spa at The Leela Kovalam offers bespoke Ayurveda experiences, with three doctors and 20 therapists. All Ayurveda experiences are personalised and unique, with the treatments using organic medicinal plants which come fresh from the spa greenhouse.

You meet with the doctor and yoga teacher on arrival, who will then determine what style and level of yoga is suited to you. A personalised yoga programme is then carved out for a week (or another amount of time desired), and can also be combined with ayurveda treatments in the spa to complement. The yoga takes place in the beautiful rooftop yoga pavilion.

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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January 1, 2014 | Travel | View comments

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