ILTM Day 3: Big Growth Plans for Several Hotel Companies

Luxury Travel Advisor is on site at ILTM in Cannes, France this week and Day 3 started with a gong bath and some chanting, courtesy of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. One of the most talked-about events of the conference, Hyatt imported Fernanda, a shaman from Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, who led the group in a gratitude chant followed by a long “gong bath” with two gong masters. To our surprise, everyone got into it, and later enjoyed various stations from tarot card reading to calligraphy. Many brands have been talking about creating unique experiences; Hyatt actually delivered some.

In terms of news, “Hyatt has doubled their luxury portfolio and quadrupled their lifestyle portfolio,” according to Heidi Kunkel, commercial director, Hyatt EMEA. Hyatt’s Crystal Venisse Thomas, vice president, global brand leader, lifestyle and luxury brands, shared that Hyatt’s “'Find' platform is helping customers to connect with meaningful experiences, like what we experienced and many others from horseback riding in Texas to stargazing in Oman.” Hyatt is promoting this heavily with Andaz, which launched a marketing campaign “Be Like No One’s Watching,” showcasing different immersive experiences.

Hyatt is continuing to grow, with more than 35 properties in the pipeline. Park Hyatt will have new hotels in Marrakech (opening February 2024), London (opening mid-2024), Mexico, and Malaysia; the Thompson Hotel brand’s expanding in Europe with the first properties in Austria and Italy; the Andaz brand’s growth is in the Americas with its first hotel in the Caribbean; and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand’s opening its first properties in the Nordics and India. Hyatt will also see luxury growth in the trending destination of Portugal, with the planned openings of Andaz Lisbon and Dreams Madeira Resort, Spa & Marina.

We chatted with Tristan Dowell, global vice president, luxury, lifestyle and leisure for Hyatt, who is particularly pleased with the growth and response from travel advisors to the Hyatt Privé program. “We have about 350 of our most luxurious properties in the program and it really gives travel advisors direct access to GMs and concierges. Requests are reviewed on property each morning." In terms of demand, “villas [and] suites are in huge demand now, and guests are looking for new long-haul destinations.”

Press conferences Thursday were a mix of brand introductions and news. Highlights included:

Leela Palaces to Open in the Northeast of India

A presentation from The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, which operates 12 in major cities and leisure destinations across India. These include the flagship hotel in the capital city of New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Udaipur, Jaipur, Gurugram, East Delhi, Mumbai, Gandhinagar, and Kovalam and Ashtamudi in Kerala—which look particularly amazing. The company just announced their first foray into Northeast India with the signing of The Leela Sikkim, a 140-room hotel in Ranka, Sikkim, opening in 2026. It will offer very authentic luxury experiences with a focus on art, culture, cuisine and celebratory rituals with deep Indian roots.

Six Senses and the Cities; the Intersection of Wellness and Tech

Six Senses La Sagesse_Aerial View
Six Senses La Sagasse (Six Senses La Sagesse)

Six Senses CEO Neil Jacobs spoke about entering cities—in particular, Rome, which opened to great reviews in March, and London, which is slated to debut in 2024. Jacobs reports the London site is coming along nicely and will open next year with 110 guestrooms and suites, accompanied by 14 residences, lounge and an all-day restaurant with an open kitchen, plus a 3,500-square-foot fitness area, a 65-foot indoor swimming pool and a relaxation room with vaulted ceilings. 

Other exciting openings: Six Senses La Sagesse in Grenada is the company’s first venture in the Caribbean, with 56 two-level pool suites and 15 villas designed with natural, renewable and repurposed materials. There will be a spa and wellness offerings. The property will be a self-sufficient and plastic-free operation, growing most of its own produce and sourcing local seafood.

Wellness is a continued theme and area of growth for Six Senses, and it is using tech to enhance the experience, including a new partnership with the Timeshifter app to help with circadian rhythm and jet lag. Look for other new programs around “spiritual wellness, breathwork, chakras and other activities to help people connect with emotions within themselves.” Additionally, to support guest recovery, there are new programs to support biohacking, including massage guns, infrared treatments and adaptogenic herbs. The Alma Festival, which was held this year in Ibiza was a success, and more events combining wellness, music and art are being planned.

A question was asked about the Six Senses in Israel, which Jacobs noted is closed for the time being. Many of the workers have been called for military service and he doesn’t know when it will reopen; the company is tentatively planning for May, but this is uncertain and dependent on the conflict with Hamas.

The LUX Collective: Vision 2030 Set to More Than Double in Size

Based in Singapore, The Lux Collective currently manages 18 resorts and hotels in Mauritius, the Maldives, Ile de la Reunion, China and Tanzania, with 11 more hotels in its development pipeline in Asia, Middle East and Mauritius. The company now has four brands: LUX, the original island getaway; Salt, design-driven, adults-only and sustainable; Tamassa, for “modern, simplicity-seekers,” and Socio, which has more of a city vibe. The company has just opened an office in Dubai, and announced its “Vision 2030” with an aim to grow mainly in the Middle East and Africa. Two properties will open in 2024: Lux Al Bridi in the desert and Lux Al Jabar by the beach in Sharjah, U.A.E.

Internova: First-Ever Advisor Survey Results

For the first time ever, Internova, one of the world’s largest travel services companies, surveyed its top sellers of luxury travel. Albert Herrera, SVP Partner relations, shared five key results: 

  1. Locations: Mexico is the No. 1 destination for American luxury travelers, follow by three European countries in the top five—the United Kingdom, Italy and France—along with Japan. South Africa, Australia, Turks and Caicos, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates round out the top 10 luxury travel destinations.
  2. Types of travel: 70 percent of luxury travel advisors said they will be booking more ocean and river cruises in 2024 than in 2023.
  3. Style: Customized trips and private tours are popular. More than 60 percent of advisors said that their clients want to visit multiple destinations and they’re asking about “skip-the-line experiences” and things that are difficult for them to get on their own, like tickets to a sold-out concert.
  4. Spend: 52 percent said their clients plan to spend more on travel next year, and 45 percent said that their clients are planning to take more trips in 2024.
  5. Trip length: 70 percent of advisors expect that trip lengths will be similar in 2024, with most vacations lasting from eight to 10 or 10 to 14 days.

Internova CEO J.D. O’Hara shared news on the company’s Curated Travel program, a new portfolio of 400 design-driven lifestyle hotels and resorts offering more options, personalization and value for clients who book through Internova travel advisors. He also spoke about the new Green Circle program, starting in 2024, where a portion Internova’s sales will go toward supporting verified carbon offset programs around the world.

Capella Hotels: Growing From Strength to Strength

Capella President Cristiano Rinaldi at ILTM
Capella President Cristiano Rinaldi (Photo by Emily Goldfischer)

Capella Hotels & Resorts President Cristiano Rinaldi brought up the word of the year, “authentic,” as this is what Capella sees itself offering: “Connection through custom experiences.” The company keeps snagging awards, as well as honors for its hotels in Singapore, Bangkok and Hanoi. In March, the brand opened its first hotel in Australia, the 192-room Capella Sydney, a conversion of the heritage-listed Department of Education Building, which has been getting rave reviews. 

The company also operates the Patina Maldives, which opened in 2021 on a manmade set of four Fari Islands. Patina is on the largest island, made up of a very natural-looking cluster of  90 one- to three-bedroom villas, as well as 20 studios, all set in a private sanctuary, offering both isolation and belonging (there's lots to do, from water sports to a kids club).

In the pipeline, Capella has a 90-room hotel opening in Taipei in 2024 and, in 2025, the company will make its debut in Japan with Capella Kyoto, a four-story, 92-room hotel located in the Miyagawa-chō district.

Nobu Hotels & Resorts: Celebrating 10 Years With a Growth Spurt

Nobu Hotels & Resorts celebrated 10 years in 2023, and has gone from one property in partnership with Caesars in Las Vegas in 2013 to 18 hotels in locations spanning from Atlanta and Miami to Ibiza and London. Three openings happened this year—in Marrakech, Los Cabos and San Sebastian. Next up is Atlantic City, which is set to open within the Caesars in June 2024. The property will have 80 rooms, the minimalist luxury design the brand is known for and sea views. Other openings for 2024: Toronto, New Orleans (again with Caesars) and Rome. 

Big news for 2026: The iconic Plaza Athénée Hotel located in the Upper East Side near Central Park will become the Plaza Athenee Nobu & Spa New York, marking Nobu’s inaugural hotel in the city, with 145 guestrooms, including suites with indoor and outdoor glassed terraces and gazebos, as well as a traditional Japanese Onsen, spa and wellness center, a rooftop events space, and a “Nobu omakase experience.” Meanwhile, a sister Plaza Athenee is being developed in Bangkok, a conversion of  the city’s historic East Asiatic Company building on the banks of Chao Phraya River in Bangkok’s Bang Rak district. The hotel will have an F&B experience under an East-meets-West concept, and will also offer a Nobu cruise boat for bespoke private functions.

More locations on the horizon for Nobu include: Madrid, Lisbon, Putna Cana, Rome, Hamburg and Saudi Arabia. 

Stay tuned for one more final news drop from ILTM Cannes!

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