From April 12th to May 6th 2o21, a global network of hoteliers, travel advisors, visionaries, travelers, hotel developers, and students will assemble in a united goal to elevate a collective consciousness and to chart the roadmap for the future of experiential travel. Reflecting the missions of two handpicked nonprofit beneficiaries, Rockhouse Foundation and The Hopenclass, there will be an emphasis on education, learning and belonging.
Co-hosted by Unsettled a global community for remote work and independent living, the retreat’s innovative program features interactive workshops; hotel discussion panels with 20 participating member hotels, including Firmdale Hotels, Troutbeck, Trunk Hotel, Proper and Sir Hotels; connect sessions; one-on-one virtual meetings; and an elevated self-care program offering activities from movement to breathwork sessions with consciousness teacher Lisa de Narvaez.
The four-week module, composed of both live and pre-recorded sessions, will also incorporate essential tools sent by mail, allowing for participants across all time zones—from Australia to Argentina—to connect in new ways and to truly shift to a mindset of contribution over consumerism. Furthermore, the Design Hotels Virtual Retreat aims to support and reach into projects that are taking place in the physical world.
With the firm belief that an educational element will become an essential motivation for travel, Design Hotels predicts that learning will soon become an essential component of the ‘before, during and after’ of visiting a destination. This understanding is the impetus for partnerships with Rockhouse Foundation and The Hopenclass, with the goal to amplify their inspiring work in the space of education.
The full value of tickets sold will be given to Rockhouse Foundation, (a registered charity in the United States and Jamaica), founded by Design Hotels Original Paul Salmon of Rockhouse Hotel. The foundation focuses on giving back to the local community by contributing to the childhood educational system in Jamaica. To ensure equal access, concessionary tickets are available.
Markus Schreyer, SVP of the Americas and Business Innovation at Design Hotels says, “As we prepare for the return of travel, we aspire to be more unifying and conscious. We want to elevate the virtual experience while tying it back into the physical travel space. We know travel will return soon, but we also believe the virtual space is here to stay. We see the opportunity for these two worlds to complement each other.”
The retreat coincides with the first anniversary of The Hopenclass, a cultural think tank and digital academic space initially established in Paris, as a global hotline to help the Class of 2020 navigate the pandemic. Design Hotels will offer 10 scholarships worth over $15,000 to The Hopenclass community. Sissi Johnson, founder and president of The Hopenclass says, “Design Hotels’ digital wellbeing retreat aligns with Hopenclass’ credo of transforming traditional education by prioritizing community, accessibility, and soft skills.”
In the face of screen fatigue, how can digital networks be used to build experiences that are more spontaneous, insightful, and memorable? How can new technologies, from gaming to live-streaming platforms for virtual shopping and cultural programming, be informed and leveraged to create more meaningful experiences both online and offline? How can the serendipity of chance encounters and the discovery of rich and diverse cultures—so essential to hospitality—be achieved in the often scripted and monotonous ‘digital experiences’ we have seen time and time again? Where is purpose found in these virtual escapades? The Virtual Retreat will not only explore a host of actionable solutions to the changing face of travel and the challenges it presents, but will also foster a series of interactions, ideas and collaborations that will continue once the retreat has concluded.
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