2016/05/07

My definition of luxury travel

Sense of uniqueness

Luxury travel is no easy thing to describe. For me it is some kind of mindset. You are longing for some kind of exclusivity not anybody has access to it. Of course money is needed to reach it, but sufficient financial resources alone are not enough.

What you need in the first place is striving for uniqueness. You want to go to a place where not anybody has been there before, you want to have experiences that are not only new to you but also to many others, you want to stay at a trendy hotel that is not known to the great masses, you want to eat in a hip restaurant where only insiders go. For me, many things need to be right in order to allow a real luxury travel feeling.

Viewing wildlife in Botswana from private houseboat

Destination with positive image

First of all, there must be a destination of which I have a positive image. In the first case I have been there in the past and liked it there. In the other case I do not know it yet, but I am curious about it and want to know more, I feel something like a joy of discovery. But as I am a luxury traveler I have another approach as a backpacker or someone who is not averse to mass tourism. Some destinations are out of the question for me from the beginning because they do not fulfill certain conditions. On the one hand, there are destinations that are not developed enough for me to travel there. They lack the necessary infrastructure like adequate hotels and restaurants. On the other hand there are regions that have been overrun by mass tourism which implies the wrong infrastructure meaning too many hotels and restaurants that are simply not good enough. What remains are destinations that are enough developed but not overdeveloped.

Game viewing in Botswana from private houseboat

The right experience

When the destination is fixed, the objective is to find the right activities, hotels and restaurants. A somewhat regular traveler would probably invest a certain amount of time in finding suitable tours and accommodations. As dining is concerned, he most certainly will only decide where to go when being onsite. He probably will go to the next best restaurant nearby or at best he will ask the concierge for tips. For me, such a proceeding is unthinkable. Good food is essential while vacationing and in my view, it cannot be left to chance! I as a luxury traveler spend vast amounts of time on finding the most promising activities, the perfect hotels (upscale, in pristine condition, offering value for money) and restaurants ensuring culinary delights. This involves a lot of research as looking through travel sites as TripAdvisor, travel guides as Michelin and Gault-Millau, newspaper articles in the context of travel and guidebooks. Furthermore, the whole trip has to be planned and organized. When the time has come to start the trip, every activity, hotel and restaurant is booked. The only thing you have to do now is to fully enjoy the trip!

Arranging dishes in front of guests in Liberty Private Works/Hongkong

The luxury way

One last task is the definition of what constitutes luxury in terms of activities, hotels and restaurants. As far as the first point is concerned, I think it has a lot to do with experiences to which the access is somewhat limited, e.g. enjoying the wildlife in Botswana in the form of cruising along the Chobe River in a private houseboat. As to hotels it can be said that besides all the amenities discerning travelers take for granted there must be some surplus value. This can be an unexpected benefit such as a cake with your child’s name on it in your hotel room when you return to it one evening. With regard to restaurants it is important that they do not only offer quality food well prepared, but also astonish the guest, for example the possibility to attend how a dish that your are going to eat is elaborately arranged in front of your eyes. In sum, a luxury traveler strives for exclusivity and wants to be surprised and pampered.

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