The White Lotus heads to Thailand, psychedelic wellness retreats gain popularity, and the James Beard Foundation names restaurant and chef semifinalists. All that and more in this week’s Five on Friday.
James Beard Awards announces its 2024 semifinalists
The James Beard Foundation revealed its 2024 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists. The awards program, first established in 1990, spans 22 categories including outstanding restaurateur, outstanding hospitality, emerging chef, and best chef (by region). Nods on this year’s list include Fariyal Abdullahi of Hav & Mar (emerging chef semifinalist); Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi (best new restaurant semifinalist); Chez Noir (best new restaurant semifinalist); among many others. Nominees will be announced on April 3rd and winners will announced on June 10th during a ceremony in Chicago.
The White Lotus to travel to multiple luxury resorts in Thailand
Fans of HBO hit show The White Lotus have been speculating about where the show’s much-anticipated third season would be filmed ever since the final episode of last season aired. And now they have answers. Set in Thailand, the upcoming season will differ from seasons past, with the cast visiting more than one hotel, according to Bloomberg. Anonymous sources confirmed that the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui and Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas are two properties that will be showcased. A Bangkok location is also expected to be featured, while Amanpuri in Phuket (part of Aman Resorts) declined an offer to participate in the show. The White Lotus season three is expected to be released in 2025.
Demand for psychedelic retreats is on the rise
A recent Vogue article details writer Michaela Trimble’s experience at the Tandava Retreat Center in Tepoztlán, Mexico. The four-night wellness retreat, offered monthly, includes a 5-MeO-DMT psychedelic ceremony, as well as other activities expected of a wellbeing-focused destination: yoga, meditation, farm-to-table meals, and more. Trimble also delves into the overall increase in demand for psychedelic tourism—why travelers are seeking experiences that intersect mental health, travel, and wellness, and what some of the different options look like. “These medicines help us see who we actually are by allowing us to release the conditioning of who we were told we should be,” says Lena Franklin, cofounder of the EAST Institute, which will host immersions in Peru, Belize, and Vietnam over the next year. “There’s a deep collective desire for wholeness.”
An in-depth look at the state of China’s travel economy
Following three years of Covid restrictions, China reopened its borders last year to an increase in both domestic and high-speed rail travel, The New York Times reports. However, international trips in and out of the country have not regained pre-Covid momentum, and many analysts believe it won’t fully recover until 2025. It’s also noted that geopolitical tensions, like China’s current trade disputes with the U.S. and Europe, are having a negative impact on the travel sector.
Our 2024 Hotel Hot List is here!
Hospitality Design has dropped its list of the most-anticipated hotel openings slated to open this year. The 2024 roundup comprises dozens of properties—from urban retreats and chic getaways to historic renovations, and more—from every corner of the globe. From veteran brands to independents and everything in between, our comprehensive list is sure to inspire. Check it out online and in print in our soon-to-be-released January issue.