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Our little black book of enchanting places

What's new for 2018?

Posted in NEWS By Maggie O' Sullivan

'Alexa: order breakfast...' Love it or loathe it, artificial intelligence will continue to influence the way we travel in 2018, with in-room services becoming increasingly voice-activated. One of the most visible manifestations of AI in 2017 was the chatbot, with all the major travel companies experimenting with chat tools. These will grow ever more sophisticated this year. You can also expect to see more actual robots like Pepper ®*, above, a Technical Ambassador at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas. With lifelike movements and gestures, 1.2m tall Pepper can provide answers to questions about the hotel, give directions, tell stories, dance and even pose for a selfie. Kinloch Lodge, Isle of SkyeCósagach is an old gaelic word meaning feeling ‘snug’, ‘sheltered’ or ‘cosy’. VisitScotland reckons cósagach will be huge in 2018, as we all batten down the hatches and seek contentment through cosiness. Where to find it? How about the beautiful Kinloch Lodge, on the Isle of Skye, which boasts snug reading rooms with open fires and cosy bedrooms with tartan throws, plus delicious food, made from the finest local produce? Wilderness Scotland has a luxury walking tour which includes six nights’ all-inclusive accommodation at Kinloch Lodge, transfers, activities and an experienced Wilderness Scotland guide from £3,095. Conrad Maldives RangailInstagram now has 800 million users worldwide. Hotels naturally want guests to post images showing their properties in the best light so you can expect more of them to get involved in the process in 2018. Conrad Maldives Rangail, for example, has just introduced an Instagram Butler to help Instagrammers discover the most picturesque locations on the island. Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, LondonForget dressing for dinner: 2018 will be the turn of ‘on-point customisation’, as boutique hotels give guests greater flexibility to eat what they like, when they like, where they like. A number of cuisine-centric brands have already introduced the concept, including Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, where guests can enjoy the dishes for which Nobu is famous in the comfort and privacy of their own rooms.Blink, Oman, Black TomatoUnique experiences and sustainability will both continue to be important. Operator Black Tomato has already got both covered with its Blink programme which offers 'pop-up' camps in destinations such as Oman, above. After the stay, the camp is completely dismantled, leaving no trace on the natural environment and, just as importantly, ensuring that no one else has the same experience.Grand Cabin, Venice-Simplon-Orient ExpressTrain travel will continue to grow ever-more luxurious in 2018. For the first time in its history, the Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient Express will include three cabins with ensuite facilities on every departure from March onwards. Even Poirot didn’t have his own private shower.

*Pepper is a United States registered trademark of SoftBank Robotics Europe, a French 'Société par Actions Simplifiée' company.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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