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For the first time in the company’s history, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has unveiled its picks for the top travel trends for 2017. Insight from the inaugural SLH Travel Trends for 2017 report includes:

Destinations to Watch

  • Mexico
    With momentum continuing to grow in Mexico’s luxury boutique hotel sector, agents should definitely keep this popular vacation destination on their radar in the New Year. SLH has recently signed eight new hotels in Mexico, making it the company’s biggest new hotel destination for 2017.
    Among SLH’s new member properties is the Chable Spa & Resort in the Yucatan. In addition to offering 40 private villas dotted across 750 acres of tropical gardens and lush landscaping, this tranquil luxury spa retreat features a one-of-a-kind spa within a cenote (a revered Mayan cave). At the property’s onsite restaurants, guests can pair tequila from the hotel’s tequila cellar with regional dishes made with seasonal produce from the hotel’s garden. Rates start at $1,040 per night dbl. For more information, visit slh.com/hotels/chable-spa-and-resort.
  • The Caribbean Gets a Makeover
    The Caribbean is getting a makeover as SLH introduces five new hotels to its portfolio. One of the standouts, The Reef By CuisinArt, recently opened on Merrywing Bay in Anguilla, features 80 guestrooms, the 27,000-sq.-ft. Venus Spa, and the first hydroponic farm at a Caribbean hotel. Rates start at $500 per night. For more information, visit slh.com/hotels/the-reef-by-cuisinart or read our overview of the property here.
Beachside at the Naxian Collection in Greece.
Beachside at the Naxian Collection in Greece.
  • Unique Island Escapes
    When it comes to idyllic luxury getaways, you can’t go wrong with the new seafront escapes SLH has signed to its portfolio—Sikelia in Italy, Kokomo Island in Fiji, Naxian Collection in Greece, Yemaya Little Corn Island Resort & Spa in Nicaragua and Le Domain Misincu in France. For example, at the Naxian Collection in Greece, starting at $272 per night, guests can experience the eco-luxury life while staying in one of 10 contemporary Cycladic villas on the picture-perfect Naxos Island, dining on gourmet Greek dishes with a modern twist, and while lounging beachside in a cabana. Set to open April 28, 2017, the resort also features its own organic garden, vineyard and olive grove. For more information, visit slh.com/hotels/naxian-collection-luxury-villas-suites.
  • Ibiza
    After topping SLH’s list of unfulfilled destination for the last six years, an Ibiza property has finally found its way into the company’s portfolio. SLH’s first Ibizan outpost, Ibiza Bay, opens May 2017, featuring 152 designer rooms and suites, a spa inspired by the healing benefits of the surrounding environment of Ibiza, a kid’s club, four restaurants and bars. Plus, an additional highlight of the new property is its central location near the trendy boutiques and clubs of Marina Botafoch or the authentic shops and tapas bars of Ibiza Town. For more information, visit ibizabay.com.
In honor of its 15 anniversary next year, Morocco's Dar Ahlam will be offering 15 weekends of surprises throughout 2017.
In honor of its 15 anniversary next year, Morocco’s Dar Ahlam hotel will be offering 15 weekends of surprises throughout 2017.

Hotel Concepts
– Smaller is Bigger
The one major ‘trend’ that SLH sees continuing into 2017 and beyond is the preference for small, independently owned boutique hotels. Of the thousands of applications the company received, it offered 57 new hotels a place with the average number of rooms at these new signings being 28 compared to an average number of 48 for the company’s entire portfolio of 510 hotels. Take the Mahana Villa in New Zealand, for example. The 2-bedroom luxury retreat and winery located in the scenic South Island is the smallest hotel in the SLH portfolio. Rates start at $2,000 per night. For more information, visit slh.com/hotels/mahana-villa.

– Experiences of a Lifetime
Travelers continue to seek those bespoke, one-off experiences that they can brag about back home. To help meet guests’ over-the-top expectations, SLH has signed the 14-room Dar Ahlam, located on the fringes of the Moroccan desert, which curates unique experiences such as a picnic in the middle of an oasis to aperitifs on top of the Atlas Mountains. In honor of the hotel’s 15th anniversary in 2017, Dar Ahlam will be offering 15 weekends of surprises throughout the year, including culinary and theatrical delights. Rates start at $970 per night, including full board. For more information, visit slh.com/hotels/dar-ahlam.

– Love of Local Experiences
The allure of experiential travel is here to stay. Across design, decor, ingredients used in the restaurants, and the onsite staff, never has SLH’s hotels embraced their locality as much as the present time. For a taste of the local life in Pantelleria, Italy, guests can stay at the 20-room Sikelia hotel. Located on Italy’s ‘Black Pearl of the Mediterranean’, between Sicily and Africa, Sikelia serves up a unique blend of UNESCO World Heritage wine using the rare UNESCO Heritage Zibibbo grape at its Thema Mediterranean restaurant. Rates start at $340 per night. For more information, visit slh.com/hotels/sikelia.

El Alma Soul Retreat in Costa Rica exemplifies hotels’ trend of going natural with their design.
El Alma Soul Retreat in Costa Rica exemplifies hotels’ trend of going natural with their design.

– Disconnect to Reconnect
The desire of travelers to digitally detox and connect with family and friends while on vacation is evident in some of SLH’s new signings, such as the 21-room Kokomo Island in Fiji, where everything—fine dining, delicious drinks and experiences—is included. This private island retreat was created to provide families and couples with a place to completely disconnect from the modern world in order to re-connect with nature and their loved ones. With individual infinity pools for every beach villa, guests will feel like they have their own little resort within a resort. Rates start at $1,795. For more information, visit slh.com/hotels/kokomo-island-fiji.

Sophisticated simplicity
SLH’s newly signed property, El Alma Soul Retreat, exemplifies hotels’ trend of going natural with their design. The beach hotel located on Costa Rica’s Papagayo Peninsula features three guestrooms in one villa that are part beach house, part tree house decorated with wood and stone furnishings. Rates start at $600 per night. For more information, visit slh.com/hotels/el-alma-soul-retreat.