High Notes from the High End

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Just back from Traveller Made®’s annual Essence of Luxury travel show, which took place this year in Deauville, the French seaside resort that’s certainly no stranger to luxury.

While meeting with hundreds of hoteliers, destination management companies (DMCs), tourist boards and other high-end suppliers as well as fellow travel Traveller Made® designers, I saw several noteworthy trends standing out this year. Among them:

• Connecting with Locals: Increasingly, suppliers are offering experiences that allow clients to really meet and mingle with locals. This can take all forms, from going out on a fishing boat off the coast of Colombia to playing soccer (football in most places) with a local team in Hanoi.

Capturing Moments Like Never Before: More and more, hotels and resorts are providing onsite photographers who document guest experiences. Trisara in Phuket has taken it a step further by creating full stories about guest stays with carefully produced videos set to music selected by the guests.

New Twists on Old Themes: Instead of high tea at The Dylan in Amsterdam, there’s High Wine, which is a food and wine pairing tasting. The Dylan bartenders have also created a non-alcoholic gin—“The Vir-gin” and are working on a non-alcoholic Bourbon.

Fitness Rules: Many resorts and hotels around the world are getting increasingly creative as to what they offer guests in the way of physical fitness. One example: at The Six Senses Spa at The Alpina Gstaad in Gstaad, Switzerland, guests can have private stand-up paddle yoga lessons in the indoor pool.

Clever Options for Kids: Kids clubs and programs at hotels and resorts around the world are getting more fun by the day. One stand-out: At Rambagh Palace, a Taj property in Jaipur, India, kids between the ages of 8-15 can become a “GM for the Day.” They get to do rounds of the property making inspections, meet with staff members and experience other tasks that a hotel’s general manager is responsible for. In general, the offerings for kids everywhere (treasure hunts, mazes and the like) tend to be leaning towards educational and motivational without the children realizing it.

Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC (FarewellTravels.com), a travel design firm based in Westport, CT. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @FarewellTravels.