Have perceptions of what makes travel luxurious changed?
They have changed and evolved. Previously, luxury was primarily defined as first-class travel and a 5-star hotel. Nowadays, luxury travel is about the entire experience. From the airport transfer to the arrival experience, dining, activities and personal touches by the staff, it’s much more all-encompassing.
What are the trends that reshape luxury travel in 2019?
Culinary travel – the desire to take cooking classes or experience new forms of dining as a focal point of your trip. Business to leisure (“bleisure”) – business travellers extending their stay to explore their destination. Solo travel – Hotels are making it more comfortable for solo travellers to have great experiences. Technology will also continue to enhance travel, making it easier to visit unexplored corners of the world or book experiences on the fly. AI and VR allow travellers to experience a destination before they arrive, which can make the decision to travel to more far-flung places much less intimidating.
Is five-star accommodation alone enough to provide a luxury experience?
Luxury travel goes beyond the hotel accommodations. However, there are many amazing properties like those in the Myconian Collection that are a destination in their own right. A guest could never leave the property without feeling like they had an authentic experience; they really feel the location and culture and have an amazing experience from wellness and spa to dining and shopping! But only very special properties can accomplish this.
What is the new definition of luxury travel for Preferred Hotels & Resorts?
It is all about experiences. The personalisation of travel to cater to your needs and passions. We travel differently for business versus with family or friends or for a special occasion. Providing tailored experiences to meet the needs of each type of travel is the new luxury: food & wine, adventure, family, art & culture, sustainable travel, spa & wellness. We have a collection of hotels that can curate the perfect stay around these desires and passions.
You know it is a memorable travel experience when you are emotional about leaving and can’t wait to come back.
Do today’s luxury travellers seek highly bespoke experiences and authenticity?
We all want to feel special, and the greatest gift nowadays is experiences that create memories and make you feel like time has stood still. The more bespoke the experience, the greater the memory – and the imprint on your heart and soul. It energises and renews our sense of purpose.
Personally, what is the “luxury” you choose when travelling?
Anything that can provide downtime and relaxation. I love amazing spas and think the greatest luxury is exceptional service, where the staff anticipate what you need before you even think about it – when they notice your habits and preferences. That makes me feel special and taken care of.
What has been your most memorable travel experience that you classify as true luxury?
Last year, I had the pleasure of staying at the Myconian Villa Collection, in Villa Paradise. It was beyond amazing, and I am already excited to share that I will be back to visit again this year. But I will share another memorable experience at The Leela Palace Udaipur. After you arrive via private boat, you are greeted with a shower of rose petals and checked in while receiving a foot treatment. A private butler helps you unpack and arrange any spa, dining or experiential needs. The hotel heard I was interested in learning to cook Indian so they arranged a private cooking experience with their head chef, and we were able to enjoy the food in a beautiful setting. They remembered every little detail, from how I liked my coffee to my preferred pool chair. You know it is a memorable travel experience when you are emotional about leaving and can’t wait to come back.
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