2017 Travel Trends: What's New at Your Favorite Hotels

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Rome's Hotel Eden, a member of the Dorchester Collection.

The Future of Hospitality

From the biggest to the boutique, three hotel execs tell us what to expect at check-in.

Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim, part of the AccorHotels group.
The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas.

Interviewed by David Hochman
 Chris Cahill, CEO of Luxury Brands – AccorHotels
“No matter how much technology enables us, it can’t replace service from the heart. People thought the web might put an end to travel planners and concierges, but it’s never been more valuable to have someone with knowledge and integrity who says, ‘Here’s a place I think you’ll love,’ or ‘Skip this.’ You can use social media or even virtual reality to dream about where you might want to go, but people still want the high-touch component; they want to be seen
We have a program at Fairmont called President’s Club that’s built around this sort of recognition: If you’re a runner, like I am, you check in and there’s workout gear, socks, running shoes, and a map waiting in your room. The jazz I like is playing. There’s a golf magazine and The Economist. That’s where hospitality is headed. Going the extra mile doesn’t just mean jumping in a taxi to the airport after a guest leaves a briefcase. It’s picking up on the fact that it’s a guest’s birthday, and that she had an overwhelming day, and sending a cake up to her room.” 
On my list: “Although I travel extensively throughout the world, I’ve yet to visit Australia and New Zealand, and I’m fascinated by both. Also, the Maldives – in particular because of the environmental challenges they face.”
AccorHotels is the world’s largest hotel group outside the U.S. and is currently opening a new hotel roughly every two to three days.

Radha Arora, President, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts
“Looking ahead, the most striking difference is that we will be travelers and not tourists. No longer will we be content to passively visit a destination; we’ll want to fully immerse ourselves in a place. In turn, the most successful hotels will be part of their local communities, with native influences infused throughout the property. We see this already at Rosewood. 
Luxury travel is shifting away from traditional pampering and more toward a kind of deep engagement. We’ve incorporated wellness and mindfulness activities at our properties, like the new meditation programs at Jumby Bay and Rosewood Little Dix Bay. As people grow more curious and more adventurous, they’re looking beyond the expected destinations. We’re opening hotels in Puebla, Mexico, and Phnom Penh in 2017, and recently announced properties in Luang Prabang, Laos, and Siem Reap – whatever will excite our clientele of ‘affluential explorers.’”
On my list: “As Audrey Hepburn famously said, ‘Paris is always a good idea,’ but I cannot wait to visit next year for the reopening of Hôtel de Crillon. Hawaii also holds a special place in my heart – I’m struck by its outstanding natural beauty, the magical atmosphere, and the warm welcome I receive.” 
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts launched in 1979 with the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and now has 18 properties in 11 countries.
Christopher Cowdray, CEO, Dorchester Collection
“Speed and efficiency – that’s where we’re heading. Travelers have become far more impatient. They want to get up to the room straightaway. They want everything to be working and to know, ‘How can we do as much as possible in an abbreviated period?’ People don’t want to build in time to relax. 
In the future, when you arrive at the airport, the hotel will track where you are, how long you’re taking, and make the arrival effortless. A key code will download to your phone to unlock your hotel door. Your AC will be set to a preferred temperature, and spa treatments will be booked if desired. It’s no longer just business traveler versus leisure traveler; hoteliers need to respond on a micro level to infinite needs – and fast. I’m hoping the pace might slow down, but I think that’s unlikely.”
On my list: “Rome, for the reopening of Hotel Eden in April. I’m captivated by Antarctica, and hope to return and further explore the peninsula. And Dolpa, a remote region in Nepal – like Antarctica, its unspoiled beauty is hard to imagine unless you experience it.”  
Dorchester Collection manages ten iconic hotels spread throughout France, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, and the U.S.

More 2017 Travel Trends:
The Kinder, Gentler Airport
The Smarter Suitcase
The Haute Homestay
The At-Sea Retiree
Originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Virtuoso Life.