I kicked off 2015 with a review of some of my favorite luxury family travel discoveries from this year’s International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) show. I meet as many of the top luxury brands as time will permit at this annual best-of-the-best show and I always come away with an excellent view of what’s hot … and what’s not. Here’s a look at the top luxury family travel trends for 2015:
Luxury Family Travel Trends for 2015
Hoteliers are showcasing activities in their home destinations, not just hotel amenities.
Smart hoteliers like Langham Hotels & Resorts are thinking about how travelers are making accommodation decisions and providing detailed information about the destination, not just what happens inside the hotel. Their new Langham Landscapes custom destination guides will be standard across their hotels around the world very soon. The first guides to go live are for The Langham, Sydney and Langham Place, New York, showcasing things to do highlights by the traveler and interest. The concierge is available with the click of the button to help. Kid-friendly suggestions are coming soon. Brilliant!
Luxury kids’ amenities and programs are going well beyond candy and stuffed animals.
Gone are the days when luxury hoteliers offered candy and stuffed animals and called it a day. The “Be Your Own Boss” etiquette class at Trump SoHo New York is a fantastic example of a brand taking kids’ programming to an entirely new level. The seminar marks the first among a series of events co-hosted by Trump SoHo and YoungBiz USA, a financial and business education company for youths, committed to delivering game-changing learning tools and training for real-life entrepreneurial experiences.
The Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London is offering “Etiquette Workshops for Kids” in partnership with Catiouche, the British children’s brand known for its sophisticated and elegant style. Qualified trainers host intimate workshops at Jumeirah Carlton Tower, educating children on key life skills such as the importance of exercise, nutrition, dining and social etiquette, and grooming.
The residence market is growing dramatically.
For the family and multigenerational market, or travelers who want a home-away-from-home experience, there continues to be strong momentum and development around adding residence inventory to their portfolios.
I’m excited to see that our friends at Preferred Hotel Group have recently launched their Preferred Residence Program, where beautifully furnished properties will have full kitchens with value-added services like private chefs and concierge access. This development is especially interesting for families who want space and privacy without sacrificing services and amenities.
More small, boutique hotels are now catering to families.
Speaking of the coveted luxury brand Small Luxury Hotels, I had a fascinating chat with Paul Kerr, CEO of the company, at ILTM. Paul has observed the demand growth of the family market in their <200-room portfolio first-hand. Properties like Fellah Hotel in Morocco are offering award-winning family programming to meet this demand with an onsite art center, library, and workshops.
Property size is no longer an indicator of the extent to which a property can offer exceptional and customized programming for different ages and interests. Fellah Hotel is certainly a fantastic example of this in action.
Family-friendly doesn’t mean a hotel offers a kids’ club.
I heard more and more hoteliers talk about catering to families effectively without a kids’ club. Some hoteliers, like Grace Hotels, offers spacious rooms and a fresh, modern feel; families are attracted to this aesthetic and intentionally select more intimate properties where the focus is a quality space to spend time together. Luxury, boutique offerings like Grace Hotel Mykonos fit the bill perfectly.
Some hotels such as Preferred Hotel Group’s Bunga Raya Resort in Borneo, Malaysia, purposefully do not have kids’ clubs. They want the on-property experience to be educational for the family together. This doesn’t mean families have to lounge on the beach together as their only entertainment; on the contrary, Bunga Raya puts together daily itineraries to explore their incredible ecosystem and Marine Ecology Research Centre.
If a luxury resort offers a kids’ club, the kid-focused spaces are increasingly amazing.
Of course, there are families who very much appreciate a well-run kids’ club and hoteliers are creating amazing spaces to meet this demand, like Cheval Blanc Courchevel, who opened Le Carrousel, a Mongolian yurt that has been transformed into a wonderful, creative play space.
Teen programming is still sparse, but there are exceptions.
Interestingly, teen programming continues to be underserved. My sense is hoteliers perceive that teens won’t use facilities and services developed just for them. I think it’s a matter of doing them right.
Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Bermuda has a new program crafted just for tweens and teens (ages 10-18) around discovering Bermuda’s hidden gems in a unique, active and engaging way, from exploring caves and jungles to visiting historical sights.
Ecotourism is still hot and expanding.
Ecotourism around the world remains a steadfast favorite for families and luxury suppliers are expanding their offerings around the world. Abercrombie & Kent is a great example of a company with new and exciting options for 2015, like their three new luxury yachts to the Galapagos, where families can charter a boat with a dedicated naturalist. Each boat has a maximum of 16 people, which enables A&K to create flexible, bespoke experiences for multigenerational and extended family trips.
Dubai is home to massive luxury hotel growth.
Dubai is home to many of our iconic luxury favorite brands, and the list just got longer. Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts just opened up a new jewel, the Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. The phenomenal beachfront location gives families the best of a vacation setup with easy access to Dubai’s attractions, including Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East.
Ready to plan a luxury family vacation for 2015? We can help!
Ciao Bambino’s Family Vacation Planning Service can help plan everything from full itineraries to standalone hotel bookings. Request assistance on My Trip Planner.
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