19 APR 2018: Coming off the best year ever, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) saw double digit growth in luxury hotel bookings due to the exceptional work of travel agents and consultants. “This year business is growing by 20 percent in the first quarter,” said CEO, Filip Boyen  at an industry event held recently at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Boyen was  COO of Orient Express with Belmond Hotels, and recognizes the value of agents saying, “Over three-quarters of our bookings are made by you travel advisors and we thank you.”

An SLH Overview

In business for 27 years SLH uses the tagline, ‘Independently Minded’. The collection of over 500 hotels in more than 80 countries includes cutting edge design hotels and city centre sanctuaries to historic country mansions and remote private islands.

Properties need to meet the high standards of which there are 730 requirements inspected and approved by SLH.   

Boyen told Travel Industry Today overall guest satisfaction is a priority.

“We want people to feel well when they are in a hotel. It’s not so much about ticking boxes and how many minutes you are being served a coffee,” he said, adding that over the past three years, SLH has withdrawn many hotels that couldn’t meet their strict standards. “That’s important to have the trust and credibility.”

SLH and Canada

SLH has acquired the services of industry veteran Larry Mogelonsky who founded LMA Communications and is current owner of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited, to expand the brand, which was lacking in Canadian representation of small luxury hotels.

Canada is the second largest source market for Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and agents specializing in luxury travel can look forward to future growth.  “We really are a match made in heaven,” Boyen concluded.

While SLH hotels are unique, the common themes each shares are the best locations, the highest quality, personalized service and authentic experiences of a destination.   

Here’s a small hotel sampling:

Casa Velas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This adults-only boutique hotel/ocean club in Puerto Vallarta is offering a new seasonal craft beer tasting experience. Guests can opt to tour the vibrant downtown art scene, take a guided visit to the adjacent Marina’s weekly culinary and craft market, or enjoy golf at select golf courses in Vallarta-Nayarit. Or they can take an Instagrammable-worthy cooking class combining food photography. www.slh.com

Hotel Regency, Florence
This 32 room-jewel decorated in classic Florentine style is located in the Piazza D'Azeglio, one of the most exclusive squares in the city centre. Highlights: the grand 19th century Florentine villa boasts antique furnishings and original period features. The concierge arranges private tours and special experiences to enhance stays. It is pet-friendly with a leafy park for a dog lover’s getaway. www.slh.com

Hotel Lord Byron, Rome

You had me at Lord Byron. The landmark property is named after the legendary British poet who left the drab harsh grey winters of Britain in the 1800s for the sunny climes of Rome. This finely decorated 28-room boutique property with its nod to Art-Decò is located in the posh and trendy Parioli neighbourhood a few steps from the Villa Borghese. Expect only the finest bespoke service with special attention to Italian cuisine. www.slh.com

Hotel D’Inghilterra, Rome

Okay, you had me at Hotel D’Inghilterra. Anyone who has seen the Spanish Steps in Rome has likely seen the adjacent historic property. This former palazzo has been around since 1845 and was once ‘the’ home to poet John Keats and other notable Englishmen and English roses who enjoyed la dolce vita.

Mornings could start with a frothy cappuccino with the beverage theme carrying over in the late afternoon with sips of Prosecco or other fine vinifera of which Italy is duly recognized. For entry room levels, guests get Prosecco naturalmente and for the other room categories it’s Champagne of various French labels. The building dates back to the mid 16th century when it was used as an aristocratic residence for visitors of Palazzo Torlonia located across the street. www.slh.com

Magna Pars Suites Milano, Milan

Steps away from the Duomo in Milan’s stylish Tortona District, is this family-owned city-centre property. The owners have added an artisanal perfume laboratory to its 5-star boutique hotel. The 39-room luxe hotel is housed in a former perfume factory that has been transformed into a modern architectural gem, with every room named and styled after a scented flowering shrub or tree. www.slh.com

Correntoso Lake & River Hotel, Villa La Angostura, Argentina 

Nestled in the shadows of the Andes, Correntoso Lake & River Hotel has a spectacular setting on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, in Argentina’s Lake District.  Since 1917, adventure and nature lovers have arrived to this historic retreat where nature meets nurture. The hotel provides an inviting spa and intimate evenings in the wine bar with gourmet cuisine and Argentinian wines in the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant. www.slh.com

Flemings Mayfair, London

This British gem that is considered London’s second oldest hotel and has significant provenance. The grand opening of Flemings Hotel was in 1851, the year London hosted the Great Exhibition. Originally a terrace of Georgian townhouses, the beautifully restored 129-room property is situated on Half Moon Street. “The whole street has a literary history,” smiles Colin Exton, director of sales and marketing for Flemings Mayfair who rhymes off Samuel Johnson, Oscar Wilde and Agatha Christie as guests.

Highlights: Bespoke service. Each room has a gin cabinet. Michelin-awarded chef Shaun Rankin helms the kitchen at the Ormer Mayfair, the new flagship restaurant. The restaurant has been ranked London’s 5th best restaurant and the 14th in the UK in the Harden’s 100 Best UK Restaurants list. www.slh.com

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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