TOP 7 THINGS TO DO IN ATHENS
- 18 Mar - 24 Mar, 2023
From pop-up hotels to slow travel and year-long intergenerational adventures, these are the 5 travel trends we're most excited about for the coming year.
The forces that drive us to travel can be represented on a triangle in the same way that Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" can. Travel as a necessity - to remove us from danger (known as Safety on Maslow's hierarchy of needs - would be at the bottom. Travel to help us achieve deeper human connections (known as Love and Belonging) may come next, followed by travel to increase our knowledge and status (known as Esteem). This level is linked to the Experience Economy, which holds that goods and services are valuable due to the positive impact they can have on our lives. potential. So, what is at the top of the pyramid? According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow, after we have met all those other "needs", the ultimate goal is Self Actualisation - in essence, "being your best self". This is also true for travel; transformation retreats will become a popular tool to help people reach their full potential in the coming year.
After a year of post-pandemic travel for fun, relaxation, and reunion, 2023 will be the year we travel for personal betterment. Whether you want to overcome grief, discover your life's mission, or learn what your body is physically capable of, there will be a Transformation Retreat for you. When it comes to planning, Healing Holidays is a good place to start because it aggregates retreats from around the world based on the type of experience you want to have. You can, for example, sign up for a "emotional and physical" transformation retreat at Euphoria in Greece, which includes dance therapy and self-awareness group sessions.
Flat-pack hotels are based on modular housing and prefabricated architecture principles, and are far less gimmicky than they sound, with more soul and deep-seated sustainable credentials. The building components are manufactured in a factory, flat-packed, and shipped to the destination for on-site assembly. While flat-pack anything has traditionally been associated with low-cost mass production, this changed in 2017 when hotel group Habitas opened its first flat-pack hotel in Tulum, delivering a thoughtful, sustainably slanted lifestyle hotel to burnt-out city dwellers looking for light touch holidays with stylish simplicity.
The hotel group built its own factory in Mexico to manufacture modular hotel parts, flat pack, ship, assemble on-site, and open for guests in less than a year. There is almost no foundation, and instead of glitzy lobbies and heavy-handed structures, each hotel is built around trees, rocks, and water. The effect capitalises on the growing trend of nature-based off-grid retreats that promise access to expansive wilderness. Habitas hotels have opened in far-flung locations around the world since Tulum. The most recent is in Saudi Arabia's Ashar Valley and the countryside of San Miguel de Allende, with plans to open more retreats in Mexico, Morocco, Costa Rica, Bhutan, and elsewhere by 2023, with a goal of 10-12 hotels per year. This type of construction is not only sustainable; with rising construction costs, it is far more cost-effective than traditional construction, allowing Habitas to rapidly expand its flat-pack hotel empire.
Hybrid flight-light itineraries aren't just better for the environment; they also make getting from point A to point B, or point B to point A, part of the adventure. We're becoming flexitarians and climatarians with our diets, swapping out animal proteins for plant alternatives, and now we're becoming flexi-air-ian. A more environmentally friendly way to travel through Europe is to forego an outbound or inbound short-haul airline ticket in favour of a train ride. We're smitten with slow travel company Byway for making flight-free adventures particularly appealing. They plan multi-destination journeys by train, bus, and boat in a way that avoids planning and administrative headaches and maximises our time in transit. They also share our preference for small, independently owned boutique hotels, and we appreciate how they format all arrangements in a single user-friendly PDF that is integrated with all train and travel tickets.
Slower and greener travel is becoming increasingly important as corporations and consumers demonstrate greater commitment to reducing emissions. When compared to flying the same distance, taking the train can reduce our carbon footprint by up to 90%. Bragging about being jet setters is being surpassed by virtue-signaling about low-carbon travel adventures. We're also more eager to support ethical businesses. Byway is a B Corporation, which means that the company has undergone a rigorous assessment of its impact on workers, customers, suppliers, the community, and the environment. Another responsible travel company that has B Corp status, and is upping their train travel itineraries, is Intrepid Travel. This means their B Lab team has verified they meet high standards of social and environmental performance, with transparency and accountability.
As more travellers figure out how to use credit cards or other memberships to gain access to airport lounges, airlines are working harder than ever to distinguish their top-tier lounges as exclusive spaces. Recent perks include a premium Champagne bar in British Airways and American Airlines' newly opened JFK lounges, a Clarins spa offering facials and other treatments in Air France's business-class lounge also at JFK, and a 36,000-square-foot Delta One lounge in New York and Los Angeles, exclusive to the airline's first-class customers. Capital One will launch a new culinary lounge concept with chef José Andrés focused on serving Spanish tapas-style cuisine in both Washington DC and New York.
Those in the upper tiers of airline elite status schemes or with the most expensive credit cards will want to arrive at the airport early to take advantage of the perks, and the revamped lounges will also make layovers less of a hassle for some passengers. However, as part of the lounge-reset process, airlines and credit card companies will make the spaces more difficult to access throughout the year. (To address overcrowding, Delta has already tightened its lounge entry requirements and limited who can purchase memberships; others are likely to follow suit.) All the more reason to be cautious when developing your 2023 points-and-miles strategy.
The announcement of a new breed of luxury yachts from the world's leading hotel brands has been eagerly anticipated, with loyal clients eager to take to the seas in the comfort and style for which their on-land counterparts have become known. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has already made the dream a reality. Evrima, Spain's most sophisticated and expensive civilian ship, was launched last October. "Nine out of ten of our guests have never been on a cruise before, which just shows the type of client we're dealing with. You won’t find things like casinos on board, we want guests to explore the places we visit rather than spend all their time on board," says CEO Douglas Prothero.
This is only the beginning of what we can expect from the luxury cruise industry. Four Seasons confirmed the launch of a cruise ship with 95 suites at the end of 2022. "Love makes waves," it says. Although the first cruises will not begin until 2025, customers will be able to purchase tickets beginning in late 2023. The first Four Seasons Yacht itineraries in the Mediterranean and Caribbean will focus on breathtaking destinations that offer highly bespoke shore experiences as well as one-of-a-kind overland adventures. Aman will launch its 600-foot luxury yacht, Aman's Project Sama, in 2025, with only 50 suites and in collaboration with Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design. Belmond was a forerunner, introducing river-focused péniche-hôtels in 2004. However, the beloved LVMH travel brand has news for 2023 as well: the Coquelicot will be launched next summer as an updated version of the iconic Belmond Hirondelle barge. Three suites for up to six people, starting at $81,500 per week, and a complete and luxurious itinerary through the Champagne region. Mr. David Moralejo