Luxury travel experiences a revival

Luxury travel experiences a revival
By admin

Luxury travel is experiencing a comeback, better than Britney Spears or harem pants. Whether it be a lavish getaway in remote wilderness, or introducing the family to a whole new level of style, there are many ways you can add a touch of luxury to your jetsetting. 

1. Experiential 

While it can be argued that all travel is experiential, the term is one of the buzzwords for luxury travel. Lynne Ireland, CEO and founder of Inspired Luxury says her clients are focused on true life experiences to create lifelong memories.

“Whether in a city or a remote location, the authenticity of the experience is essential and engagement with the local community is far stronger than ever before,” Ireland said. 

Peregrine Reserve taps into this trend with local encounters, the cream of the crop being a dinner with Indian nobility, a prince who is a direct relative of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, on the terrace of their palace in Nimaj.

They are also tapping into the foodie demand with activities such as a paella cooking class with a Michelin-starred chef or sampling champagne vintages in Taittinger’s cellars.

“Travellers at the Reserve end of the scale want all their senses to be enlivened,” Peregrine Reserve general manager Steve Wroe said.  

2. Digital Detox 

Travellers can be split into two camps: those who desire wi-fi for their social media brags and those who want to switch off and find peace.

Nokia recently found that almost half of 4000 travellers surveyed took two or more gadgets, not including a smartphone, on holiday with them. But for the half that doesn’t, there are destinations off-the-grid enough to not have wi-fi as an option. 

“We know people are wanting to relax and technology doesn’t always make that possible so Belmond has identified the Orcaella cruise or Road to Mandalay in Myanmar as a true digital detox, with no or limited wi-fi access,” Orient Express Hotels PR director Australia Caitlin O’Loan said. 

3. Set-Jetting 

Luxury bespoke travel operator Carrier predicted this trend for 2014.

“Memories matter and hotels are creating new types of immersive or themed experiences so you can relive the place or time of your favourite artist,” a company spokesperson said.  

From Lord of the Rings odysseys in New Zealand and Romeo and Juliet homages in Verona, art is inspiring travel.

“Renowned hotels that have served as inspiration for a literary or cinema classic are inviting guests to live and breath their fictional pedigree as part of their overall experience,” the spokesperson added. 

4. Intimacy 

This is all about staff knowing your name, your preferences and tailoring the experience accordingly.

“The trend in luxury is toward smaller, more personal and more unique experiences,” Alila Hotels and Resorts president Mark Edleson said, with the hotel responding with new intimate properties such as the Alila Jabal Akhdar set to open this year in Oman’s remote mountains. 

Private jet tours are coming to the fore as travellers seek the exclusive and the elite. Abercrombie and Kent recently launched Australia’s Last Frontier by private jet, a first of its kind adventure onboard a Fokker aircraft, travelling across the Pilbara, the Bungle Bungles and the Kimberley.

There’s also the Captain’s Choice Tour’s private air voyages with the next one taking off in October this year destined to visit Sri Lanka, Morocco, Israel, Uzbekistan, the Azores, Guatemala and the US. 

5. Sustainability 

The feel good travel factor is more important than ever nowadays. Whether it’s voluntourism, charity donations, carbon-neutral travel or eco-friendly lodges, people are getting involved.

“Luxury travel will become more focused on the environment with people visiting vanishing ecosystems like pristine mountain lakes, whales migrations and walks through meadows in bloom,” Alila Hotels and Resorts president Mark Edleson predicts. 

In October this year the Eastern and Oriental Express will run a special Save the Wild Tigers journey with a contribution from each booking donated to the tiger charity. Travelling from Singapore to Malaysia and Thailand, there will be onboard lectures from tiger experts as well as a charity auction and gala event.

“With only ten years left to save this iconic species from extinction, the clock really is ticking. All profits from our fundraising will go to global and local targeted tiger conservation projects,” Save Wild Tigers CEO Simon Clinton said.  

6. All-inclusive 

Luxury can be travelling without worrying about doling out cash. Club Med reports that in the past five years the demand for all-inclusive luxury has risen.

In response they have developed 5T Luxury Spaces and recently added luxury private villa and chalet concepts with highly customised service at Plantation D’Albion in Mauritius and Valmorel in the French Alps. 

“Guests seek an exceptional experience where every detail of their holiday is taken care of, and the knowledge that they are getting a great value package,” Club Med general manager Australia and New Zealand Madeleine Clow said.

Elements of all-inclusive luxury include architect-designed villas with private gardens, spas and pools as well as a dedicated butler and book pampering sessions or excursions.  

7. Remoteness 

When we say remote, the meaning is two-fold. First of all, there’s the remoteness of wilderness properties hours away from the nearest towns, surrounded by nature. They include Amangiri in the Utah Desert or closer to home the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa. 

Then there are destinations off the beaten path, for an added brag factor. “Increasingly clients are seeking more remote locations such as The Maldives, Mexico, South America and Africa,” Ireland said. 

8. Family time 

Kids will no longer be relegated to the full-time nanny service of the luxury resort’s kid’s club – unless you want them to be. The trend is leaning toward parents being involved in hands-on activities such as making pizza dough for their own wood-fired pizza at Hotel Caruso on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

La Residencia in Majorca, meanwhile, has an adult and kid-friendly donkey ride that ends with a hillside gourmet lunch at a shepherd’s hut.   

“Quality of time is an overriding luxury and we are seeing far more travel with groups of friends and multi-generation families. Villas or exclusive use of smaller properties are popular with these groups,” Ireland said.  

9. Shorter trips 

Australia is increasingly popular as a short break luxury holiday. Ireland reports that Inspired Luxury’s clientele will take four or five domestic breaks each year in addition to international travel.

“There is a move back to Australian destination travel for short trips during the year to alleviate stress and gain balance in life,” Ireland said. 

Peregrine Reserve have introduced a Short Journeys range from three to seven days to cater for time-poor travellers.

“For luxury travellers, time is money. We try to keep trips fairly short, but they can be joined together if the travellers want longer trips,” Peregrine Reserve general manager Steve Wroe said.

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