What's In and Out: Top Travel Trends of 2019


Now more than ever, travelers are multi-dimensional people, posing a challenge in the hospitality industry. Not only are hotels, resorts, and alternative accommodations expected to provide exceptional quality, but bespoke experiences are becoming a more popular way to satisfy one’s unique wanderlust. The challenge allows the opportunity for brands' personalities to shine through and for hotels to go beyond just heads in beds. With a need to please the taste buds of diverse travelers, Hawkins International Public Relations has projected the trends in the industry to look out for this year:

What’s Out: Gift Shops

What’s In: Shoppable Experiences

Gear shed at the Hotel Zags Portland.

Gear shed at the Hotel Zags Portland.

Gone are the days of postcards and keychains, as traditional gift shops become obsolete and guests can buy (or rent) a piece of their stay. Accommodations are offering personal touches with shoppable experiences designed for assorted desires.

  • An oasis in the heart of downtown, The Hotel Zags Portland (Portland, OR) welcomes guests to discover Portland in a new way with the Gear Shed, stocked with fishing poles, scooters, skateboards, hover-boards, digital cameras, and more, which guests can borrow for their adventures around town.

  • Domio Baronne St. (New Orleans, LA) is a new "apart-hotel" catering to group travel. Take a piece of Domio home with the property's shoppable room feature. Through Domio's partnership with Society6, guests can shop Domio's textiles and artwork to own their favorite pieces.

  • Lifeafar is a real estate investment and hospitality firm that caters to global investors, digital nomads, millennials, and discerning travelers in Colombia and Puerto Rico. After enjoying the global salsa capital in Cali or that South American Brooklyn vibe in Medellin (at one-third of the cost), or city living in Bogota, guests can purchase a unit or a share of Lifeafar's managed units where, unlike a timeshare, your investment grows in value every year.

  • At Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris (Paris, France), travelers can enjoy the height of Parisian luxury beyond their vacation with a variety of displayed artwork and décor available for guests to purchase.

What’s Out: Doves in Weddings

What’s In: Dogs at Weddings

A canine ambassador joins a wedding at Montage Deer Valley.

A canine ambassador joins a wedding at Montage Deer Valley.

Historically speaking, white doves at weddings have added the picturesque, romantic touch to a traditional ceremony. Nowadays, brides and grooms alike are trading feathers for fur with canine bridal parties.

  • Serving as ring bearers, flower girls, or a fun furry guest, Montage Deer Valley's (Park City, UT) very own canine ambassadors (Monty and Summit) will join your wedding party with a $500 donation to Big Dogs Huge Paws.

  • Jekyll Island Club Resort (Golden Isles, GA) welcomes guest's pets to be a part of their special day whether by walking down the aisle, bringing rings to the ceremony, or posing in wedding photos with a miniature suit and tie outside the Jekyll Ocean Club.

  • At Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa (Sausalito, CA) man's best friend can double as the groom's best man with dog amenities including a dog bed, bowls, leashes, collars, and more.

  • Tucked along the scenic California coastline, Balboa Bay Resort (Newport Beach, CA) offers over 10,000 square feet of outdoor wedding space and The Ambassador—a pup-friendly 150-person yacht for brides, grooms, and dogs to walk down the aisle. When four-legged family members check into Balboa Bay Resort, they receive a Charlie and Me bandana and toys, two collapsible dog bowls, a homemade treat from locally-based Just Food For Dogs, and a dog bed waiting in the room.

  • For guests looking to add a little bit of “Awww” to the “Ooohs” as they walk down the aisle, Montage Palmetto Bluff's (Bluffton, SC) canine ambassadors (River, May, and Cooper) will don your wedding colors, walk the aisle, and pose for pictures—either before or after your wedding for a $1,000 donation to the local animal shelter. At Brasada Ranch (Powell Butte, OR) four-legged groomsmen or bridesmaids will receive a Brasada Doggie Bowl filled with treats delivered to their room as they are VIP (Very Important Pups).

What’s Out: Drying Out in the Sun

What’s In: H2Well

Spa at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz.

Spa at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz.

Staying hydrated isn't just about drinking water anymore. Now, more spas are integrating water soaking into treatments for impactful, elemental wellness experiences.

  • Realize the potency of water wellness with the tradition of "Taking the Waters" in Santa Fe at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort (Santa Fe, NM) with a soul-evoking soak at the retreat's new Repose Pools. Situated along the edge of the Tranquil Pond and overlooking the historic waters that flow through the resort, the gently heated, artesian spring-fed pools provide a soaking experience that immerses guests in the healing powers of nature.

  • To soothe the mind and body before their treatment, guests at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort (Miami, FL) can unwind via the spa's Thermal Experience—one of the country's most expansive hydrotherapy circuits with stations ranging from the Crystal Steam Room and Experiential Rains to the arctic-inspired Igloo. To continue the H2Well experience, guests can book one of the spa's water-centric treatments from soaking with a Salt Float Therapy Bath, to having a massage on the cutting-edge Aemotio Spa bed with features that include a waterbed, Vichy shower with six jets, and water-enhanced vibro-massage.

  • Grand Resort Bad Ragaz (Bad Ragaz, Switzerland) uses thermal water from the Tamina Gorge in almost everything they do, such as making bread to serve in the restaurants, and providing thermal drinking water stations throughout the property, including faucets of the Spa Suite building and in its signature beer! To this day, the 36.5°C thermal water is used for a range of positive effects on the human body, such as boosting the metabolism and circulation, improving cardiac function, and helping to alleviate rheumatic ailments, diseases of the nervous system, and lung and kidney issues.

What’s Out: Finger Foods

What’s In: Bucket List Dining

The largest lobster roll in New York City at North River Lobster Company.

The largest lobster roll in New York City at North River Lobster Company.

Travelers' appetites are on the rise and finger foods simply won't satisfy. Bars and restaurants are aiming to impress with over-the-top, delectable dishes and drinks to check off your bucket list.

  • £10 at Montage Beverly Hills (Beverly Hills, CA) is the first and perhaps only bar in California to feature The Macallan 72 Years Old in Lalique - The Genesis Decanter by the glass for $12k and $6k for ½ dram (or one-ounce pour).

  • Enjoy a taste of New England on the Hudson River aboard the North River Lobster Company (New York, NY), the city's only floating lobster shack, and take a bite out of the biggest lobster roll in New York City by sampling The "Shelly"($99), which measures well over two-feet long!

  • The true taste of Maine is just a cracked lobster claw, shucked oyster shell, and fresh-picked vegetable away at Chebeague Island Inn (Chebeague Island, ME). This summer, the Inn has partnered with local specialists including Mike Robinson Lobstering, Chebeague Oyster Company, and Second Wind Farm to offer packaged opportunities for guests to harvest their own ingredients for Chef Matt Ginn (winner of "Chopped" on Food Network), to cook up and serve for dinner just the way they like it.

  • At Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris (Paris, France), sushi enthusiasts can discover the all-new Omakase Bar Experience (250 euros per person) at Chef Nobu's Matsuhisa Paris, where an eight-course sushi feast will be prepared in front of their eyes.

What’s Out: Chasing Tornados

What’s In: Chasing Rainbows

Carton House Boat House in Kildare, Ireland.

Carton House Boat House in Kildare, Ireland.

Chasing tornadoes is dangerous and not nearly worth the trouble. It's far better to follow photogenic and harmless rainbows to scenic destinations across the globe!

  • Donegal is not complete without driving up the Wild Atlantic Way to view some of the world's most jaw-dropping landscapes, including Slieve League, which is three times the size of the Cliffs of Moher, and features double rainbows at every turn. Lough Eske Castle, (Donegal, Ireland) is the only five-star property in the county and can arrange tours with local guides to take guests on this unexpected journey.

  • The Bushcamp Company (Mfuwe, Zimbabwe) located in South Luangwa National Park and home to the walking safari, is the perfect destination to enjoy uninterrupted views of vast rainbows. The Emerald Season (November through May) is the summer months in Zambia, where the bush is emerald green from the short rains clearing the air, resulting in lush greenery and vibrant rainbows.

  • Located bright and vibrant Jamaica, The Tryall Club (Montego Bay, JA) is perfect for rainbow spotting. Guests can enjoy viewing the edge of the rainbow over the sea at hilltop villa dragonfly and check out the magnificent colors across the sky while playing golf at The Club's world-renowned golf course.

  • At Carton House (Kildare, Ireland) guests can climb to the top of Tyrconnell Tower overlooking the expansive O'Meara golf course to view the many rainbows known to form over the rolling hills of the estate grounds. The tower stands proudly, like a giant chess piece, at the top of a grassy hill.

  • Located in the midst of Costa Rica's cloud forest, nestled between the Juan Castro Blanco and Poás Volcano National Park, El Silencio Lodge and Spa (Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica) is a 500-acre private reserve with not one but three waterfalls! With the expert help of the resort's Eco-Concierge, guests can hike or zip-line across the property in search of rainbows.

What’s Out: Hungover Hangouts

What’s In: Sober-Curiosity

Spa at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort.

Spa at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort.

While a night out on the town makes for good fun, the aftermath can lead to a nasty headache and, if done excessively, spoiled memories. Travelers are gradually tending more to their wellness on vacation by cutting out the booze and finding alternative methods of entertainment.

  • Discover Miami's empowering wellness scene at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort (Miami, FL) through the resort's impressive line-up of monthly socials and events that are designed to inspire and build connections within the larger wellness community with topics ranging from expert-led health talks and fit-socials to wellness brunch parties, and more. (additional details on events here).

  • In Santa Fe, Sunrise Springs Spa Resort (Santa Fe, NM) invites all to embrace the energizing culture and history of the destination through its selection of events and workshops that celebrate Native American traditions and rituals. This summer, locals and guests can take part in transformative workshops centered around the moon changes, water, and the Nahuli Ollin-Four Movement Dance.

  • The Wigwam (Litchfield Park, AZ), a 440-acre desert oasis celebrating 90 years of welcoming guests this year, believes that even those exploring a "sober-curious" lifestyle can still enjoy the incredible fresh garden-to-glass mocktails while soaking in the warm Arizona rays. With alcohol-free takes on a blueberry mojito, strawberry raspberry limeade, and a watermelon 'margarita,' there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

  • Sober curious travelers looking to enjoy a cozy night in can head to Boston's favorite boutique hotel, XV Beacon (Boston, MA), where the property's onsite steakhouse provides a selection of Mooo.... "Mocktails" to enjoy in-room.

What’s Out: Wine Pairings

What’s In: Whiskey Pairings

The bar at Highball Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes.

The bar at Highball Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes.

Sober-curiosity isn't everyone's cup of tea and a cocktail with dinner can make for the ideal nightcap on vacation. While pairing wine with the appropriate food is standard, guests are all the time more exploring their craving for hard liquor with whiskey’s popularity on the rise.

  • The Shelbourne (Dublin, Ireland) embraces what the Irish are known to do best, offering whiskey flights in The Horseshoe Bar—the hotel's famous little nook tucked away from the lobby where the likes of Bono and other Irish legends are known to frequent. This signature Irish whiskey tasting flight consists of Midleton Very Rare, Bushmills 10, Connemara 12-year-old, and GreenSpot.

  • At the Nines (Portland, OR), the brand new Westward Whiskey Experience is the perfect way to taste the quirky city of Portland's craft distilling revolution first-hand. Featuring a distillery tour and tasting from House Spirits Distillery, guests can learn how grain and natural botanicals are transformed into spirits and sample the distillery's award-winning products.

  • At Carton House (Kildare, Ireland) guests can enjoy exclusive whiskey tastings in the Whiskey Library, which is also available as an intimate dining venue upon request. Guests can book a private tasting experience in the Whiskey Library in the Manor House to enjoy local whiskey in an intimate library room with décor inspired by Irish spirit.

  • The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes (Orlando, FL) is home to an exclusive Single Barrel Knob Creek, sold at restaurant Highball & Harvest that features a Cocktail Table experience with a five-course cocktail menu designed specifically with the party's spirit preference and favorite flavors in mind when paired with H&H Signature Bar Bites.

  • Anchored by over 200 bourbons and American whiskeys, Montage Deer Valley's (Park City, UT) Burgers & Bourbon restaurant has been curated to showcase the nation's finest producers of craft spirits. Whiskey aficionados have a full menu of signature bourbon cocktails, spiked shakes, and whiskey flights to choose from.

What’s Out: Camping

What’s In: Gramping

Cabana at Balboa Bay Resort.

Cabana at Balboa Bay Resort.

For years, Grandma and Grandpa were homebodies that families visited at the holidays and maybe birthdays. With baby boomers in better health than generations before, grandparents are ready and willing to get in on the action, leading to a rise in multi-generational travel where grandparents take their grand kids on vacation.

  • Grandparents and grandchildren at Jekyll Island Club Resort (Golden Isles, GA) can enjoy a robust selection of islands activities sans parents, including guided hikes with an official Park Ranger, turtle exploration at The Georgia Sea Turtle Center, an island bike tour, and daily History Tours in the Clubhouse where both grandparents and kids have something to enjoy.

  • Carton House (Kildare, Ireland) lets grandparents and grandchildren share memorable Irish experiences with activities such as Children's Afternoon Tea in the historic Manor House, outdoor tennis matches and cycling on 9 kilometers of trails, as well as several archery and horse riding lessons.

  • Balboa Bay Resort (Newport Beach, CA) is offering families a quintessential California summer experience with its newly launched First Mates Kid's Package. With the package, families can cozy up and relax after an adventure-filled day in one of the resort's recently renovated guest rooms and decorate their own iconic Newport Beach Balboa Bars, which are delivered to the room.

  • The new Loews Loves Families focuses on the three pillars of comfort, imagination, and exploration, aiming to provide engaging experiences that can be shared among different generations. Loews properties provide family activity guides to explore destinations and kids under 18 stay for free at select locations.

What’s Out: Ancestry Websites

What’s In: Ancestry Trips

Inspirato residence in Tuscany.

Inspirato residence in Tuscany.

The Internet has resources to track lineage back to medieval times, but why stare at a screen when you can hunt down your ancestry on foot? Websites are a good start, but travelers are starved for more intimate experiences, and the pilgrimage to your roots allows for a personal discovery of heritage.

  • Helen Kelly is one of Ireland's leading genealogists and a member of Accredited Genealogists of Ireland. Guests at The Shelbourne (Dublin, Ireland) can work with her directly to trace their Irish roots. Helen can develop personalized research plans, genealogical tours throughout Ireland, assessment reports, and hosted trips to Dublin's various genealogical repositories.

  • Inspirato is the only hospitality company to exclusively manage a collection of branded luxury vacation homes all across the globe and curate one-of-a-kind adventures for its members, including ancestry trips.

  • Launched in 2013 and inspired by the belief that memories are the best travel souvenir, Flytographer connects travelers with a community of hundreds of local photographers in 250 destinations around the world for fun, candid vacation photo shoots that capture the magic of travel. Visit places with ancestral roots/ties, cherish the moment with your loved ones and have it documented to inspire your great-great-grand-kids years down the road.

[Images courtesy of Hawkins International Public Relations]

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Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk