Travelling bestows immeasurable riches. From opening the eyes to new experiences, locations and cultures, to aiding relaxation and gaining a new perspective, it’s an elixir for both the body and the mind, and a necessity in the modern world. At Red Carnation Hotels, we’re committed to helping guests get the most out of their itineraries, either by crafting new experiences or introducing some of the world’s most mesmerising destinations. Here we explore the benefits of travelling and how you enjoy them while staying with us.

Broadening the mind

Mark Twain wrote that 'travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.' Exploring new destinations broadens the mind so effectively because it consistently allows us to re-examine our own experiences, thoughts and assumptions. Observing the variegations in cultures, even those as minute as between a city’s neighbourhoods or towns in a district, helps us to situate our own behaviours in a wider context. When abroad, surrounded by the less familiar, every interaction and every new site reveals new cultural phenomena that we otherwise might not have paused to consider.

This is especially true in today’s age of readily available information, where our opinions and impressions can be quickly swayed by short-format articles, social media posts, images and short videos. Bombarded by small snippets of online information, the illusion that we are able to comprehend the complexities of a different country’s culture and landscape without having physically been there becomes all the more convincing. Without the full and immediate immersion of travel, we cannot possibly comprehend a place that we have never visited. By travelling however, we can form our own authentic impressions based on real experience.

There is a danger that, despite the act of going abroad, we don’t actually embrace all the benefits of travelling. The essayist Pico Iyer wrote that “travel is not really about leaving our homes, but leaving our habits.” His words ring true for those who, while travelling, embrace a home-away-from-home style of itinerary and return to familiar enclaves. While this certainly has its place, there is true benefit in venturing further afield into uncharted territory.

Exploring world history

Each of our properties communicates as widely as possible with its surrounding community, allowing our guests to fully embrace and immerse themselves in the local area and traditions, especially with regard to history. By understanding the history of a country or region, especially through that country’s own lens, we can better acknowledge our own learnings and situate them in a global conversation.

In London, we have partnered with a number of tour operators and local museums so our guests may acquaint themselves with the capital’s rich heritage. Through our partnership with Historic Royal Palaces, guests may enjoy members’ access and discounted souvenirs at the city’s portfolio of royal palaces. Meanwhile, we have created packages so that guests may enjoy the exhibitions of London’s great museums, be that The V&A or the British Museum.

In South Africa, we introduce guests staying at Bushmans Kloof to the property’s unmatched collection of rock art. While cave paintings are often generalised, grouped together and overlooked in much of the world, our curators have studied the art at each of our 130 sites in-depth to unlock their intricate secrets and explain them to our guests. Our rock art sites were recently awarded with South Africa’s highest level of National Heritage Site designation, given their pristine, well-preserved quality.

And in Ireland, we have fully committed to restoring the heritage site of Ashford Castle. Dating back almost 800 years, it’s one of Ireland’s most beloved cultural landmarks and was formerly home to the Guinness family. To preserve its illustrious history in the present day, we have painstakingly recreated its interiors and its expansive gardens, thereby restoring the prized destination to its aristocratic zenith.

Extraordinary experiences

Travel allows you to escape the monotony of everyday routine. By doing so, it helps to unwind and refresh. While touring new destinations is an exciting pastime in and of itself, experiences create unforgettable stories. From exhilarating aerial joyrides to picturesque hikes, behind-the-scenes museum visits to cooking masterclasses with local chefs, experiences awaken the traveller’s senses, enabling them to further connect with local culture.

Our properties are made as much by their experiences as by their sublime locations. In Cape Town we bring to life South Africa’s coastal wildlife, making use of The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa’s cliffside perch. The coasts of Africa’s southernmost country have featured in numerous acclaimed wildlife documentaries, including the ground-breaking 2013 Africa.

Here, we take guests into the heart of the aquatic wilds in silent kayaks, paddling through Simon’s Town, the Naval Harbour and then onto world famous Boulders Beach. Along the trip, Cape Fur seals and even whales will come up and play with the kayaks. And just off Boulders Beach, the resident penguins are on full display. Our kayak experience paints a poignant, close and personal picture of South Africa’s beloved wildlife, one not even wildlife documentaries can conjure. Set against the background of the Twelve Apostles mountain range, kayaking amongst the marine life captures Cape Town’s wild, rugged charm in a way few can hope to experience.

At Hotel d'Angleterre we’ve partnered with the city’s foremost timepiece masters, including field specialists and current watchmakers. Geneva has been a paragon of watchmaking for more than 200 years, and its foremost brands are the biggest players on the international scene. For guests seeking to purchase a unique Genevan masterpiece, we’ve put together a suite of experiences to make your very own watch—all the more special an heirloom. Take a look at how the canton evolved the timepiece and pioneered the wristwatch with a private tour of the Patek Philippe Museum. Or discover centuries-old Genevan watchmaking secrets by building your very own custom watch with our partner Initium, before showing it off at The Leopard Bar.

The moments we experience while travelling are a source of joy throughout our lives, treasured as memories, photographs or souvenirs. For many, the recollection of the past is chaptered by the unforgettable endeavours we enjoy while far from home. Through travel, we are able to pass on our stories and connect with like-minded wanderers across the globe, in turn benefitting from their experiences and recommendations.

Blissful relaxation

One of the greatest benefits of travelling is its unsurpassable ability to destress. Even before the trip begins, the anticipation of a new place, fresh experiences and a break from the familiar, has a positive effect on psychology and emotions. While abroad, the heady cocktail of exploration and relaxation refreshes and revitalises the body and mind, helping to combat lethargy and improve sleep quality. At the same time, the independence and temporary break from established obligations that travel brings is proven to boost social confidence and creativity.

With all these associated benefits, holiday is the best time to indulge in comprehensive wellness therapies. Put simply, the total mileage of either a workout or a spa treatment is vastly increased given the stress-free, relaxing setting. At The Milestone Hotel & Residences, our well-equipped gym includes a resistance plunge pool that is designed for cardiovascular endurance training, the best workout for improving fitness and energy levels. 

Some destinations capitalise on the wellness benefits travel brings by devoting themselves exclusively to eudemonia. By combining outdoors activities, daily full-body treatments, health-conscious dining and serene locations, Bushmans Kloof is able to provide long-lasting health. The utter immersion in the gorgeous, natural Cederberg landscape eliminates residual stress, helping you to better cope with workload or complicated decision-making upon your return. Few places on the continent are as serene as the wellness retreat’s open-air gazebo, where the gentle murmur of wind-swept shrubbery forms a concerto with animated birdsong and the occasional trot of passing zebra.

Helping local communities

Travel benefits not just the explorer but also the local community with which they interact. The rise of ecotourism, for example, has ushered in a new appreciation and respect for local wildlife, thus helping to preserve endangered species and protect wild areas. In Botswana’s Okavango Delta, our upcoming Xigera Safari Lodge sits on a private government concession, helping to fund the country’s anti-poaching and sustainability initiatives. Meanwhile, at The Oyster Box, we have partnered with Rhinos Without Borders, assisting the charity in their mission to transport white rhinos to Botswana, where they are under reduced threat from poaching. And, at Bushmans Kloof, we have partnered with the Cape Leopard Trust to reduce human-wildlife conflict between local shepherds and mountain-dwelling big cats.

It’s not just the wildlife that benefits. In our mission to #MakeTravelMatter, we have partnered with several charities and local groups to both reduce our waste and make a lasting positive impact on several lives. Through our partnership with Clean Conscience, we have redistributed our London guests’ unused hygiene products to those in need of them. 

As we move into 2020, the travel industry is set to become increasingly sustainable and more charitable, helping to support the communities across the world. We look forward to being at the forefront of ethical travel next year, helping both travellers and locals to experience travel’s extraordinary array of benefits.

Stay at any one of Red Carnation Hotels’ sublime properties to experience all the many benefits that travelling has to offer.