Summer is officially here and with warm weather and longer days comes vacations and adventures worldwide. With airlines expecting the busiest summer in the history of U.S. air travel and nearly half of travelers planning multiple weekend getaways, according to a survey from Citi, this season is shaping up to be the summer of travel for many Americans. Hotels, resorts and other travel companies worldwide are keeping things fresh with new offerings, programs and packages–from complimentary vacation photographers to sky high excursions, below NYC-based Hawkins International PR predicts the top 10 travel trends for Summer 2015.
1. Vacations That Deserve More Than a Selfie
What’s Out: Selfie sticks
What’s In: Vacation photographers
Hotels and travel companies are recognizing that travelers are looking for quality photography to help remember their trips. Travel photography service Flytographer connects travelers with a network of over 230 photographers in 140 destinations to coordinate candid, informal shoots, with images sent electronically within five days. In Florence, Lungarno Collection’s Portrait Firenze offers a package that includes a professional photographer who also serves as a local tour guide, while Utah’s Montage Deer Valley has on on-staff photographer who guests can utilize complimentary. On Maui, Montage Kapalua Bay partnered with Pacific Dream Photography to offer all guests complimentary photography sessions, with photos professionally edited overnight and available the next day.
2. Undercover Meals
What’s Out: What you see is what you get
What’s In: Food that looks like other food
Hotel chefs are having fun and getting playful in the kitchen with dishes that appear to be one thing but taste like another. Created to look like the French delicacy, the “Faux Gras” Mousse at Sustenio at San Antonio’s Eilan Hotel is really a just-as-tasty chicken liver mousse with jalapeno jelly layer. Order a “Breakfast of Champions” at Hotel Vermont’s Juniper Bar and be treated to an edible cocktail disguised as a bowl of cereal, complete with “milk” made from Vermont Spirits White Vodka and Boyden Valley Spirits Apple Cream. Madeline Hotel and Residences’ Black Iron Kitchen & Bar in Telluride offers a surprising spin on the classic BLT with an Organic Salmon “BLT” stuffed with butter lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, Applewood smoked bacon and unexpectedly, salmon.
3. Meals “a la Cart”
What’s Out: Grab ‘n go meals
What’s In: Food and drink that comes to you
Hotels have long catered to guests who want to eat on-the-go, but what about guests who want their meals to literally come to them – no matter where they are? Many hotels have introduced over-the-top food and beverage carts that let guests customize their meals without ever leaving their room or seat in the lobby. Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH offers a new “ATB” (All-Terrain Beverage) cart for guests to enjoy seasonal beverages throughout all areas of the resort – from sipping a mimosa on the golf course to enjoying a refreshing lemonade on the front lawn. At the Nines in Portland, guests can summon a “Cheese Cart” overflowing with seasonal cheeses and accouterments (including honey from the hives on the hotel roof) and work with the hotel’s cheesemonger to build a custom plate.
4. Meet Me at the Barre
What’s Out: Kicking back at the hotel bar
What’s In: Working out at a hotel barre class
Taking inspiration from popular workouts like Pure Barre and Bar Method, many hotels are now offering guests ballet-inspired workout classes on-property. The Dolder Grand in Zurich provides complimentary high-intensity Ballet Workouts designed to stretch and tone the entire body. In Miami, plié your way into a longer leaner you with The Carillon Hotel & Spa’s complimentary Buff Ballet Booty class that puts a new twist on traditional ballet classes with a routine designed to tighten and tone. This summer B Resort & Spa in Orlando will introduce Barre Fusion classes that blend ballet, pilates and yoga in an onsite dance studio.
5. Race to Relaxation
What’s Out: Yoga retreats
What’s In: Run-cations
Hotels worldwide are catering to serious runners who travel to run, as well as those who use running as a way to experience a destination. Runners embarking on Lake Placid’s annual half and full marathons and September’s Lake Placid Classic can book Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort’s Run For Your Life package complete with a carb-loading dinner, welcome bag and nightly accommodations. The resort also offers 20% discounts for marathoners who want to train on the course in the spring leading up to the full marathon in June. Trump International Golf Links & Hotel, Doonbeg in Ireland has a Running Coach on staff to give tips for running on the area’s tricky beaches and trails. In Boston, XV Beacon offers personalized running maps for taking in the city’s historic sites on the fly. Runners can request ice baths on return and refuel with runner’s essentials in the mini bar including coconut water and protein bars.
6. Trans-formative Travel
What’s Out: Vacations that change your life
What’s In: Vacations that change your lifestyle
More and more travelers are embarking on vacations they hope will have a major impact on the quality of their lifestyles long after their suitcases have been unpacked. The only wellness destination retreat in South Florida, The Carillon Hotel & Spa in Miami also has a one-of-a-kind, integrative medical wellness center. Guests can meet with renowned Medical Director, Dr. Karen Koffler for everything from physician consultations to specialty and diagnostic services. The Medical Wellness Team can also create personalized itineraries for weight loss, stress relief, executive retreats and more, with a goal of enriching guests’ lives beyond each stay. In Zurich, The Dolder Grand also offers a professional Medical Wellness Team comprised of specialists from the Aesthetic+Health Link network of doctors. The team can provide medical advice and carry out treatments in anti-aging and preventative medicine, checkups and second opinions, aesthetic dermatology and laser medicine, as well as aesthetic plastic surgery.
7. Creative Collaboration
What’s Out: Foodie meeting breaks
What’s In: Artistic meeting breaks
Hotels are sparking meeting attendees’ creativity with art-inspired breakouts and amenities. Orlando’s B Resort & Spa has a partnership with local Baterbys Art Gallery to offer groups Wine & Paint Classes hosted by the gallery’s professional artists. Groups staying at the Nines in Portland can take a break and explore the hotel’s 419-piece art collection through a twice-a-week free guided art tour hosted by the hotel concierge. In Bermuda, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, a Fairmont Managed Hotel groups can organize private guided tours of the property’s extensive art collection, featuring works by Andy Warhol, Nelson Mandela and others. Groups at The Dolder Grand in Zurich can embark on their own private art tours with help of the hotel’s iPads pre-loaded with an app to guide them through the 124 pieces on display, including works by Henry Moore, Salvador Dali and others.
8. The Sky is the Limit
What’s Out: Drive-to excursions
What’s In: Fly-to excursions
The sky is literally the limit when it comes to offsite excursions for hotel guests. Ireland’s Trump International Golf Links & Hotel, Doonbeg offers daylong helicopter excursions to the Burren National Park and over the Cliffs of Moher. Guests staying at Madeline Hotel and Residences in Telluride, CO can opt for paragliding explorations and hot air balloon rides to take in the spectacular views of the Umcompahgre Valley and San Juan Mountains. Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid offers guests the option to add an Adirondack Scenic Flight onto their visit to enjoy a soaring plane adventure over the state’s highest peaks, breathtaking lakes and the village’s iconic Olympic venues. As part of Montage Deer Valley’s Moab Adventures, travelers are treated to a private plane ride from the resort to Moab’s airport where they can embark on an 18-mile bike loop.
9. Catering to the Kids
What’s Out: Family-specific itineraries
What’s In: Kid-centric itineraries and camps
Tour operators are putting a major emphasis on the smallest travelers in the group with itineraries and camps just-for-kids. Big Five’s newest collection of trips, Precious Journeys, offers families an immersive experience into exotic locales like Ecuador, India and Kenya, while teaching kids skills that can lead to powerful careers as volcanologists, archaeologists and naturalists. Wilderness Collection’s North Island welcomes children under the age of 17 staying with two adults to the Seychelles free of charge where they can enjoy tours of the island alongside environmental guides, create-your-own pizza classes, just-for-kids spa treatments, and even meet-and-greets with the Island’s oldest residents – the giant Aldabra tortoises.
10. Taking Time to Travel Deeper
What’s Out: Checking off your bucket list itinerary
What’s In: Exploring a destination at a slower pace
Sometimes the best way to appreciate a destination is at a slower pace. Slow travelers can let equines do most of the walking as they experience Nomadic Expeditions’ Northern Mongolia On Horseback adventure through majestic forests and meadows to Lake Hovsglov, also referred to as Mongolia’s “dark blue pearl.” Guests staying at Wilderness Safaris’ Linkwasha Camp in Hwange National Park can experience Zimbabwe’s largest and most popular National Park by foot, alongside an experienced safari walking guide. The area is a haven for one of the largest concentrations of elephants in all of Africa, providing guests an up close and personal experience. A quieter alternative to the more heavily traveled Inca Trail, the newly launched lodge-to-lodge Mountain Lodges of Peru Lares Adventure hiking program follows the Lares Trail to Machu Picchu and into the Urubamba Valley, offering travelers a deeper and more authentic cultural immersion into remote areas of Peru in luxurious accommodations.