Moodlit cocktail vintage

The Luxury Hospitality Trends Report

Category: Hospitality & Travel
28 Mar 2024
Read time: 5 MIN
Valued at USD 140.28b in 2023, the global luxury hotel market is anticipated to grow to 369.23b by 2030. For brands who want to light the way, below are six key shifts defining the state of luxury hospitality beyond the short-term, curated by the Matter Of Form team.
Written By
MOF Team
MOF Team

Back in February Matter Of Form CEO Anant Sharma was invited to a panel at Walpole’s Modern Luxury Mindset event, backdropped by Wiltshire’s Kin House. The four panel members were asked whether we live in a post-trends era. An intriguing question, we thought, considering it sparked some debate in the studio as we sifted through stim prior. Despite a fascinating panel discussion, we never really landed on a yes or no – as is the curse of creatives who love to carve out space in the grey areas. 

What we did manage to agree on is that the contents of trends reports from 2019 aren’t much changed in 2024. Occasionally, it can seem that a trend forecaster’s main role is to rework different names for what is essentially the same thing. It’s not hugely surprising. Despite the world’s obsession with “what’s new”, any shift worth your time will undoubtedly take time to gestate. And simply because new trends emerge, plenty seem to forget about those that came before, even when they’re still simmering away in the background. 

There are already reams of hospitality reports fully accessible to any being with opposable thumbs, most of them equal parts informative and exhaustive. With the time poor in mind, the Matter Of Form team lists six shifts currently driving decision-makers in luxury hospitality, pulled from our own insights, work and wider reading.

Maximalist Sensoriums

Although revenge spending’s moment has been and gone, with luxurians returning to more measured and selective purchases, don’t expect them to be any less opulent. 

Pent-up demand for sensory experiences has yet to wane, born from a global ennui that is heightening desires for sensorial and sensational surroundings. Chic bar Erma in Chengdu, China uses mood lighting in more theatrical ways to create ambience, appealing to the senses with neon pops of pink, orange and blue. 

Slightly further into the Pacific, Tokyo’s 1950s listening bars are inspiring restaurateurs and hoteliers in every corner of the world – London’s cocktail bar Seed Library, despite its ‘stripped back’ ethos, elicits sensorial pleasure through an audio-first approach. A curated playlist of vinyl records pours from a retro DJ booth aurally reflecting the bar’s ‘lo-fi, analogue’ style of mixology. 

And they aren’t the only ones. The House of KOKO, a London music venue and member’s club, guns for the same sense with dedicated listening rooms full of records. In fact, the British capital is now teaming with mood-lit spaces that celebrate the analogue, harking back to simpler but ultimately funkier times.

Maximalism is taken to new heights in Shanghai’s surrealist lounge The Showroom. A maze of eight rooms, each themed and decorated with bold styling and artworks, infused with signature scents and lo-fi trance soundtracks. Each room also features its own cocktail to complete guests’ total sensory immersion. It’s ‘more is more’ to the max. 

In a first-of-its-kind experience, Eatraline at Europa Park in Germany takes guests on a literal ride through worlds, senses, incarnations and cuisines. Guests feel as though they’re floating from oceans to great plains to the outskirts of the universe — all the while treated to unusual and exquisite plates. It’s the finest culinary craft combined with new dimensions of dining, packed with moments of awe, pleasure and delight. Like a theme park for foodies.

Sophisticated Hedonism

Following on from the maximalist mindset that has taken over luxurians, the sterility of lockdowns followed by ongoing global permacrises has encouraged consumers to engage in the extravagant, excessive and edgier side of hospitality and experience. 

Visit invitation-only speakeasy, Bedroom 6, and you’ll find young revellers reviving antiquated absinthe rituals. The concept and vibe became so popular the brand has hosted pop-ups across the States and even built a partnership with Soho House.

In a similar vein, NYC’s Temple Bar offers ‘caviar bumps’ to its guests. Encouraging drinkers and diners to spread the roe on their hands and ‘sensually lick it off for a salty hit’ in a bid to replicate the high of doing something you shouldn’t rather than an illegal one. 

Simultaneously, this desire for indulgence is being tempered by luxury aesthetics, with touches of sophistication that continue to lean into play. From Seoul to Doha; Mexico City to Cannes, Mondrian has excitement engrained in its brand psyche. Their hotels include sky bars, “boogie rooms” and cigar lounges, placing a seductive emphasis on nightlife and dining. 

Similarly, NoMad, with all its New York origins, is dramatic and decadent, punctuated with a hedonistic buzz coveted by affluent pleasure-seekers all over the world, despite a mere two locations in London and Las Vegas. 

Elsewhere, hedonism becomes less a cornerstone and more of an experiential thread for the adventurous to pull. Following its recent remodelling, The Lexi Las Vegas is now being promoted as the first cannabis-friendly hotel in the city. Air filtration devices are installed in its "420 rooms" on the fourth storey where hardwood floors, shutters, and painted murals have taken the place of odour-absorbing wall hangings, carpets, and drapes.

At the Yi Hotel Mykonos, guests are given DJ lessons from local artists alongside exhilarating quad bike experiences. Not at the same time, we don’t think.

Indigenous & The Intrepid

One sentiment that has cropped up countless times in our qualitative research, is this idea of intrepid travel. Throughout our brand strategy work with Wilderness (formerly Wilderness Safaris) – Africa’s largest conservation hospitality company – we found affluent travellers yearned for the unfiltered, raw and visceral. In a time when the wild has become softened and sanitised and the luxury safari category has stagnated, Wilderness strides into the fifth decade of protecting Earth’s ultimate untamed places through educational, enlightening and empowering experiences.

Tour operators like Black Tomato, Pelorus and cazenove+loyd deal in the same desires. All of them create bespoke trips for their clients where the offering is, simply, true immersion. Whether you want to ski on the perfect powder in Niseko, Japan or traverse the Gobi Desert in Mongolia on horseback, cazenove+loyd’s destination experts are the key to making it happen. 

For nearly two decades, Black Tomato has been lighting the way for curious travellers, providing bespoke experiences designed to inspire, challenge and connect. Their pioneering travel products are designed to uncover rare ways to experience destinations – well-known or untrodden – and reflect every passion, obsession and desire. Standouts include ‘Blink,’ ‘Bring It Back’, ‘See You In The Moment’ and ‘Get Lost’ – the latter being “the ultimate adventure challenge”. 

In a similar vein but no less unique, Pelorus was founded in 2017 to bring a new mindset and approach to experiential travel and yachting, transforming people’s perspective on the world and their impact on the planet through immersive and sustainable experiences that are unique to every traveller they work with. Adventures span from diving off the Pacific coast of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest to a two-wheel trek across the Omani desert on Harley-Davidsons.

Longevity Retreats

The obsessive pursuit of youth is a tale as old as time – the plight of many a fairytale villain and a handful of morally grey characters. In the real world, it’s a pursuit that has fluctuated in popularity since the days of Cleopatra’s daily donkey milk baths.

When we analyse the state of luxury and culture internally, the question of what the fountain of youth looks like today springs up frequently. With the rise of Blue Zone popularity and best-sellers like Peter Attia’s Outlive, longevity is transforming into the ultimate luxury pursuit.

By 2025, the market to “delay human death” will be worth $600billion according to Bank of America. Paired with a Hilton report that revealed 98% of Americans prioritise health and wellness activities when on holiday, the opportunity for longevity in hospitality looks vast with little downside. 

Six Senses Ibiza is hosting a “Young Forever” retreat led by longevity expert Dr Mark Hyman from the 9th-15th May 2024. The brand’s Ibizan destination is already leading the way in the space with its RoseBar longevity spa that uses extensive diagnostic testing and personalised programmes to “restore, regenerate and transform your health span”. Dr Hyman, a leading voice in the science of longevity, has designed the week-long retreat to incorporate seminars, group hikes, yoga, IV infusions, sound healing, sunset ceremonies and “fresh local phytonutrient-rich food”. On top of that, Six Senses London, which is set to debut later this year, has been projected as “Disneyland for biohackers” by founding board member of the Global Wellness Summit Anna Bjurstam. 

Elsewhere, Virtusan, a leader in wellness technology, and Maybourne Hotel Group are working together to help visitors boost performance; Four Seasons Resort Maui collaborates with Next Health longevity centre to offer stem cells therapy and NAD+; instead of bubbles, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay on Kauai welcomes visitors with a B12 shot, and its new wellness-focused suites feature infrared light mats to aid with recovery. 

Rail’s Second Golden Age

Having worked on the digital transformation of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (a Belmond train), we know the glamorous appeal of train travel all too well. And when combined with the eco-credentials of this style of slow travel, rail’s second golden age shows no signs of slowing down.

The highly awaited Orient Express La Dolce Vita, from the French hospitality business Accor (another MOF client), will serve as the flagship locomotive in Italy's new tourist train network. After being discontinued in 2020 (COVID), Malaysia’s Eastern & Oriental Express – also a Belmond train – will return with new itineraries, cuisine prepared by two-Michelin-starred Taiwanese chef André Chiang and refurbished carriages with a piano bar and outdoor observatory. 

In 2025, Saudi Arabia will get its first luxury train service, ‘The Dream of The Desert’. From Italian hospitality company Arsenale Group, the service will run 800 miles from Riyadh to Al Qurayyat and, despite being made in Italy, the interiors will be fully inspired by Saudi style and tradition.

The same year, Accor will revive the original Paris-Instanbul Orient Express that ceased operations in 1977 but whose Art-Deco carriages have been incredibly well preserved. Now the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, the sleeper train is being brought back to life by French restoration architect Maxime d’Angeac who has previously worked with houses such as Daum, Hermès and Guerlain. What could be a clearer indication that train travel is having a reawakening than the re-establishment of luxury rail’s ultimate legend?

Starry Sojourns

As religion is swapped out for spirituality among younger cohorts, hospitality offerings all around the self and higher frequencies will become increasingly coveted.

Adjacently, astrotourism is making a name for itself. In a piece by Condé Nast Traveller, it’s called starbathing – “the act of travelling with the aim of catching sight of astronomical phenomena – disappearing to lands devoid of any pollution, crowds and traffic, where we can focus solely on the skies above and while away hours gazing at the stars, planets and constellations overhead.”

In August 2023, Under Canvas's Lake Powell – Grand Staircase became the world's first certified DarkSky Resort (awarded for commitment to light-reducing design choices and operations, as well as community education) while Ambiente, A Landscape Hotel features forty glass-walled cabins set up for stargazing. 

Enveloped by the Qatari desert, the Arabian Gulf's Zulal Wellness Resort is one of the area's best sites for pollution-free astromancy. The resort offers special workshops and stargazing sessions for families and kids who want to learn more about the cosmos. 

Texas ranch life meets desert-style camp at Mirasol Springs (Auberge Resorts) who host a Solar Eclipse Day offering immersive activities, hiking trails and gourmet delights amidst the spectacular Texas Hill Country – complemented by the expertise of the University of Texas's renowned astronomy team. “Picture yourself basking in opulence under the big Texas sky, surrounded by the unparalleled beauty of a total solar eclipse. It's a truly extraordinary escape at the intersection of luxury and cosmic marvels.”



As exhausting as an ever-changing industry can be, the scope for innovation in hospitality is vast, as is the potential for uncapped success.

For brands who want to appeal to more than just a demographic, focus on your definition of luxury. As the term becomes increasingly overused, brands need to get specific about what it means to them. Is it a decadent spin on nostalgia? Is it taboo fun? Is it a futuristic cognitive massage? Is it a sound? A scent? An intangible sense? Or something else altogether? Form your definition and let that be your lighthouse in changing industry tides. 


Matter Of Form is a design consultancy specialising in brand strategy, CX and digital innovation for timeless brands. Design what’s next –

MOF Team

Published by MOF Team

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