Birch (Selsdon) is nailing 2023 travel trends from wellness to sustainability
A 'wellness wave' has taken over travel trends this year, with Expedia reporting in 2023 that 49 per cent of travellers are motivated to travel for physical and mental health benefits.
American Express also published a survey's findings where 72 per cent of respondents say they are more focused on self-care than they were a year ago.
And there's one hotel in England that has hit the nail on the head.
Birch (Selsdon) is the new sister hotel to award-winning Birch (Chestnut) that opened earlier this year, and describes itself as "more than just a hotel", and after spending time there, I'm inclined to agree.
What Birch has managed to pull off is an impressive feat, just 30 minutes from Central London, it has found the perfect balance between play and rest. Offering guests a stay centred around wellness and self-care, much is on offer.
In a less-than-24-hour stay I managed to participate in a pottery workshop, take a dip in the lido, have some drinks on the terrace, and finish the day with a delicious 8 course meal courtesy of Michelin Star chef Lee Westcott. Not forgetting of course a relaxing night's sleep in a room overlooking the 200-acre grounds, followed by a buffet breakfast fit for kings, with every food imaginable laid out in front of you.
During my 2-hour pottery workshop I was met with the friendly instructor who helped me produce an entire tableware set by the end of the session! It was a friendly, relaxing environment that allowed me to switch off from the world outside whilst getting creative.
The plethora of experiences and stays on offer at Birch is all part of the hotel's philosophy, according to managing director Ayo Akinsete: "We need a reminder of the best things in life. Birch (Selsdon) is a place to pause, to try new things, to reconnect with yourself and others, and to have fun."
Aside from wellness trends taking off in the world of travel, there's another trend that has risen in popularity in recent years, and one that Birch perhaps takes most seriously of all: sustainability.
In a project that has been labelled "rewilding", Birch (Selsdon) hopes to "[revive] the land and local biodiversity" in what was previously a golf course. They hope, eventually, "endangered species native to this part of England such as nightingales, nightjars and dormice will return in abundance." But their commitment to the local environment doesn't stop there. No, in fact, it impacts every aspect of the hotel.
Each room is furnished with bedside tables crated using wood from the estate. Lampshades are made from recycled glass, and fabrics from recycled textiles.
Recycled glass lampshades in the roomsInna Kostukovsky
During the 8 course tasting menu, chefs and sommeliers came up to the table to explain the reason behind each meal, and where the ingredients came from, often being the estate itself. Freshly foraged ingredients were at the heart of each meal, helping reduce the carbon footprint of food imports, and the menu changed in line with seasonal produce.
My stay at Birch (Selsdon) was refreshing and not like something I have truly experienced. There were solo guests, families, as well as couples of all ages, it truly was a place for all, offering something everyone could enjoy. As buzz around wellness and sustainable travel trends continues, Birch (Selsdon) is paving the way for tuning in to what guests want.
Rooms at Birch (Selsdon) start from £180 per night. Find out more here.