On November 8th, while the world anxiously held its breath over the outcome of the American Presidential Election, another prestigious event was taking place in the somewhat less frenetic surroundings of Threadneedle Street in the heart of London’s square mile. Just down the road from the Bank of England, the Merchant Taylors Hall was hosting a gala dinner of The World Boutique Hotel Awards, the first and only international organisation exclusively dedicated to recognising unique excellence among boutique hotels. The Awards ceremony, now in its 6th year, honours the people behind these outstanding properties that between them cover an extraordinarily varied terrain:from Belize to Bali, Santorini to the Bahamas, County Clare to Tuscany.
The dinner brought together an array of boutique hotel owners, travel and lifestyle press and travel industry influencers from all four corners of the world, including representatives from CNN Travel, Elite Traveller, The Telegraph, Spear’s Magazine, Boat International, Time Out, The Financial Times along with assorted global hoteliers. From our point of view, the highlight of the evening was the fact that the award for The Best Beach and coastal Resort in Asia went toNeeleshwar Hermitage. This was in fact our sixth prestigious trophy in as many years, but given the quality of the whole event and the organisation behind it, this was really the icing on the cake.
So it was very appropriate that the person there to receive the coveted trophy was our Marketing Director Simon Jones, the creative dynamo behind so much of our recent success (see picture). Along with the dedicated staff at The Hermitage itself, Jones spearheads the philosophy that has informed the hotel from its beginnings. This can be summed up as an emphasis on 'experiential' value, creating a special environment that puts subtle refinement above obvious luxury. Thus our aim from the outset has been to offer our guests not only the usual high standard of physical amenities and comforts nowadays available in so many hotels around the world, but to include in our recipe for success some vital secret ingredients.
As we believe that quality is often achieved by omission rather than by mere accumulation, so these secret ingredients can be summarised as The Four S’s: silence in the midst of our increasingly unquiet world, settledness in the midst of constant interruption, stillness in the midst of hectic busy-ness and spaciousness in the midst of our routine restrictions.
“This ‘less is more’ approach is something millennial travelers and those privileged enough to be living through 'peak stuff' will increasingly appreciate” says marketing ace Jones. Our policies – such as no TV in rooms, no mobile phone usage in public areas, a sense of personal privacy while in the midst of an unobtrusively supportive community, on-hand and bespoke wellness treatments and therapies, genuine smiles from real people – all these whisper the suggestion that a holiday is not merely relocating routine activity to more congenial surroundings but taking a break from activity altogether. This allows the body's intelligence to repair and revitalise the system and the mind to rediscover some of its lost stability. And what better place to put this into practice than The Hermitage where everything is arranged for this to happen?