Daniel Shaw
11.12.2023

Urban Retreats: Finding Solace in the Heart of the City

In the bustling heart of the city, where the relentless pace of urban life can often leave one yearning for tranquillity, a new wave of hospitality destinations is emerging, offering solace and sanctuary to weary souls. These urban escapes, ranging from serene hotels to peaceful eateries, are redefining the urban experience, inviting guests to unwind, rejuvenate, and recharge amid the city’s chaos.

Aman Beverly Hills concept images

One such upcoming retreat is the Aman Beverly Hills, set to open its doors in 2026. This luxurious resort dubs itself “a serene oasis in a legendary city.” Nestled amidst the legendary frenzy of Los Angeles, Aman Beverly Hills celebrates the power of nature. Its architecture and landscaping seamlessly integrate Californian foliage and palm trees, cocooning guests in a verdant haven that shields them from the urban tumult.

Similarly, in the heart of Europe, Six Senses unveiled a new resort in Rome this year. Located within walking distance of the iconic Trevi Fountain, this urban gem draws inspiration from ancient Roman traditions. The resort’s spa, a wellness retreat ensconced within an urban setting, beckons guests to discover the art of bathing. Above, a concealed rooftop garden offers a tranquil hideaway where weary travellers can unwind, further blurring the lines between urbanity and serenity.

HaSalon at Six Senses Ibiza&Catacomb of Commodilla, Rome

This growing appetite for urban sanctuaries signifies a shift in the luxury travel landscape. It’s no longer just about opulence; it’s about striking a balance between seclusion, quietude, and immersion in urban culture and excitement. Hospitality experiences are evolving to cater to this demand, focusing on health-driven stays and hyper-personalised holidays centred around educational encounters and personal growth.

For instance, the Six Senses resort in Ibiza, Spain, has introduced its Guest Experience Maker program, offering dedicated consultations to maximise visitors’ stays. Meanwhile, guests at the Plaza Athénée in Paris can savour an intimate evening with the hotel’s celebrity chef-in-residence, Jean Imbert, who crafts bespoke menus for a culinary experience unlike any other.

The allure of personal growth and education extends beyond the realm of hospitality. In Rome, the Catacomb of Commodilla, dating back to the fourth century, is set to welcome visitors for the first time in 2025, following meticulous restoration by the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology.

In London, the city’s Hidden London series opens the door to a century-old secret, offering tours of the original Shepherd’s Bush Underground station, unseen since 1924.

Gucci’s Oura sleep tracker ring&Vrå restaurant with furniture made from food waste and bi-products

Yet, as consumers become increasingly conscientious travellers, they seek regenerative hospitality stays that minimise disruption to local communities and natural environments.

Luxury brands are embracing the burgeoning sleep economy, introducing innovative products and services to enhance the quality of rest. Gucci’s partnership with the Finnish health tech company Oura resulted in a sleep tracker ring launched in May 2022. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts tapped into the rise of sleep tourism with its Alchemy of Sleep offerings, allowing guests to immerse themselves in meditation and restful treatments that extend beyond their stay.

Furthermore, sustainable practices in the food industry are evolving, prompting restaurants and social environments to adopt circular design principles, where furniture is crafted from food waste and by-products. A prime example is Vrå, a restaurant in Gothenburg, Sweden, where local designer Carolina Härdh has created furniture to showcase the value of proper food waste reuse.

In a world increasingly conscious of its ecological footprint, these trends emphasise the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between urban indulgence and environmental responsibility. As we seek urban retreats and rejuvenation within city limits, it’s crucial to ensure these experiences leave as minimal an impact on the environment as possible—a harmonious coexistence between the city and the sanctuary.

References taken from The Future Laboratory and Wunderman Thompson

Daniel Shaw
11.12.2023