The concept of luxury for an overstimulated generation is starting to look a lot like the serenity provided by nature.
Millennials are turning to experiences that encourage silence, a disconnection to technology, and reintroduction to the outdoors nature as the ultimate luxury. And everyone from major hospitality brands to entrepreneurs are answering the demand.
For a new generation of affluent mobile workers, luxury looks more like Livingston Manor Fly Fishing Club (LMFFC), a collection of lodges and cottages on five acres of land in the Catskill Mountains in New York, than a five-star city hotel.
“We definitely consider ourselves to be luxury in a transformative sense. Being just two hours away from New York city, we’ll never compete with the level of traditional luxury provided in the city, nor do our guests want us to,” said Tom Roberts, one of three founders of the Livingston Manor Fly Fishing Club.
“Coming to LMFFC is about getting an immersive experience in nature, disconnecting from the hectic nature of modern life, and connecting with the group around you on a deeper level. This is a huge luxury for the majority of the guests we have staying.”
Rooms can cost between $500 and $850 for a weekend depending on the room and included experiences, which Roberts emphasizes are an essential part of the stay.
“Whether it’s building a fire, learning the ancient art of fly fishing, jumping in the river after a sauna, or sharing fire roasted tout on a communal table under the stars with the sound of the river in the background – the luxury is in the experience of being connected to nature and to one another in a deeper way.”
Experiences in nature such as forest bathing, hikes, surfing, and notably hot springs are a huge factor for millennials deciding where to travel, according to health and wellness publication Well+Good‘s August 2017 survey of 4,600 W+G readers.
“In a world where we glorify how busy we are and over-schedule ourselves, people are willing to pay for silence. There’s tremendous scarcity around quiet-time, alone-time, having white-space, and doing nothing—therefore it’s incredibly valuable,” explains Well+Good co-founder Melisse Gelula.
The team is looking to launch a membership model in 2018, which demonstrates that there’s demand for relatively affluent urbanites to trade in their Ludlow Soho House membership for the wellbeing and serenity offered by nature-driven luxury experiences.
Major hospitality brands are also grappling with how to introduce elements of nature and wellness into their more offering. For example, Soho House has slowly adjusted its traditionally fashion and entertainment-driven programming to include more meditation classes and yoga sessions set to live cello players. And Four Seasons recently announced Wellness Rooms featuring meditations by Deepak Chopra, healthy in-room dining menus, circadian mood lighting and Alo Yoga mats.
Andrew Gibson, vice-president, well-being, luxury brands at AccorHotels, has built a career around how to best incorporate wellness into guests’ stay.
“I would expect to see anything that focuses on stress relief or fitness be a success,” Gibson said on the next wave of wellness vacations to come.
“I think that yoga will remain very popular. As data tracking of individual performance becomes universal we shall see more programs linked to take home care and support. I expect to see technology play a large part in relaxation – digital detox, virtual reality scenes for escapism and similar.”