The luxury travel trends we’re seeing in 2017 might not be trends at all. Concepts like health and wellness, sustainability, adventure and authentic experiences may be here to stay — at least that’s how Renshaw Travel’s Jessica Renshaw sees it.
“I prefer not to use the word ‘trend’ as it means that something is here today and gone tomorrow,” she says. As the recipient of Virtuoso’s 2017 Rising Star award, a specialist in holistic health and wellness and co-creator (along with her sister, Carly) of The Renshaw Wellness Collection, Jessica may have a better grasp of the “trend” than most.
“It may seem like a trend right now as many hotels are adding their concept of a wellness program, but health and wellness is not a trend,” Renshaw says. “The support of many wellness programs in the tourism industry, I believe, is a global shift in consciousness… [However], wellness hotels like Rancho La Puerta and Canyon Ranch have been around for decades; so that concept has always been available but more now than ever people want to slow down and reconnect to what is important to them. People want to feel alive and well and I wouldn’t say that’s a trend!”
Regardless of where Renshaw is traveling, she makes sure she always has a little bit of wellness on-hand: one item she always has in her suitcase is an herbal apothecary medical kit, made of immune-supporting tinctures, herbal balms and supplements — all put together on her own. “Travel is taxing on the body and it is important for me to know I have some immune support if I need it,” she tells us.
It’s a great idea, especially when you consider that she’s off traveling to places like the High Canadian Arctic. “I am currently enamored with the polar regions,” Renshaw says.
Most recently, she stayed at a family-owned-and-operated lodge on an uninhabited island at 74 degrees north latitude along the Northwest Passage. “For six weeks in the summer, the beluga whales congregate here. I was able to sit on the riverbank next to hundreds of beluga whales while they played and rubbed their bellies on the rocks,” she says.
While she told us she wouldn’t travel for a specific food or restaurant, she absolutely would return to a destination for a specific hike, trek, swim, or hot spring.
Fortunately, the lack of a brand name in these destinations doesn’t scare her off. In fact, it’s not so much about the name on the building as it is the way she’s treated when she’s inside that makes the difference. “What I look for in a hotel is a genuine and hospitable staff,” Renshaw says. “How did they go above and beyond? How did they make me feel? If I feel welcomed, taken care of and that I am recognized by my name not a number, then that will be an incredible stay for me. It is all about the people!”
Renshaw recently stayed at La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa. Upon arrival, the doorman opened her taxi door and greeted her by name. “It sounds like such a simple thing but it makes the world of a difference to know that the hotel has done some background research and is truly there to welcome you into their home regardless if you show up in a Bentley or a taxi,” she says.
And if you’re looking for something to add to your book list — perhaps to help get in touch with your wild side — Renshaw suggests “Becoming Wild: Living the Primitive Life on a West Coast Island” by Nikki van Schyndel. It’s the tale of an urban woman who spends nearly two years living off the land in the Broughton Archipelago in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia, Canada.