With many travellers’ post-pandemic bucket lists bursting at the seams, the idea of putting the simple joys of life over the world’s grand and iconic travel experiences seems a luxury avid jet-setters can’t afford. But the new Happiness Programme at Chablé Hotels is inviting holidaymakers to prioritise bliss and gratitude over ticking off attractions. It promises to take a step back – while making a giant leap forward.
If the sight of a well-organised list gets you anywhere as excited as it gets us, it’s safe to say you enjoy ticking things off. Bucket lists are among our favourites, for obvious reasons, and we’ve spent many a vacation chasing sights and imbibing all a destination has to offer. Travellers booking themselves into either of Chablé Hotels’ two ultra-luxe resorts on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, however, will soon be preoccupied with another kind of list during their stay.
The ‘Bliss List’ will be sent to guests prior to their arrival, asking them to reflect on the activities, people and things in their life that bring them joy. Think of it as a sort of manual to help you stay on track of what will really make your holiday the restorative retreat you’d want it to be. Although it’s not just a task for yourself: instead, both the Chablé Yucatan as well as its sister property, the seaside Maroma, will work towards creating a bespoke itinerary in line with guests’ personal felicity factors.
Activities include private cooking classes in a traditional palapa, visiting Yucatan’s famous cenotes, enjoying a custom wellness programme with a focus on feel-good treatments (floatation therapy, anyone?) and opportunities to give back and support the two resorts’ respective conservation efforts. But beyond the itinerary, we think the initiative makes a case for a different way to travel; one, which sees visitors put their well-being before their well-travelled-ness.
That’s not to say you can’t still fill your days with excursions, but the focus is a different one. In an oversaturated day and age, where it can often seem as though you’re just one vacation away from feeling fulfilled, we welcome the idea of swimming against the stream. In fact, you could argue what makes the idea so brilliant is just how simple it is – want to feel happy? Actively pursue happiness, then. Better yet, this approach to travel hardly requires any learning at all, but rather an unlearning of previous holiday habits. Mexico lends itself to this, of course, as the country’s take on how to live life is in many ways on the more easy-going and, some would say, wiser side (also, the Mezcal will no doubt help).
There’s something else happening here that had us prick up our ears. Chablé Hotels are known for their excellence – after all, they were joint winners of the Escapist Award during our first-ever Experientialist Awards earlier this year – but the arrival of the Bliss List signals a more proactive approach to high-end hospitality. Whereas previously, hotel-guest relations were limited mostly to one’s stay, filling out a list pre-departure feels like being accompanied and looked after by the resort the moment one’s booking has gone through. In a post-pandemic world, it might no longer be enough to cater to guests between check-in and check-out, but rather, to ‘pick them up’ in spirit before their journey, reassure them every step of the way and, crucially, recognise a need for happiness and ease not as something that will magically set in as travellers tick off attractions, but something that can be nurtured and actively worked towards. And because bliss goes hand in hand with appreciation, there’ll also be gratitude lists to fill out once you’re back home. We don’t know about you, but we might just ask for two upon departure.