By Rui Ribeiro Africa & Indian Subcontinent Specialist

How do you define ‘luxury travel’? We’ve found that one person’s description is likely to be very different to another. In recent years, ‘luxury’ has become a well-worn phrase, too readily bandied about and applied to things that aren’t. That’s changing though; luxury travel is evolving and there’s a new interpretation for 2018 that takes note of the shifting ways that we like to explore the world.

Here at The Luxury Holiday Company we have our own view of luxury travel. We’ve taken it back to its roots, returning the idea to being about something precious, rare and invested in emotional value. That’s why our holiday outlines are now designed around a concept of smart luxury, of travelling with soul.

What is a luxury holiday?

To us, the idea of a luxury holiday is centred on the luxury of an unfiltered experience. The luxury of time and space and a true sense of place. We believe that it means experiencing destinations in inspirational, unprecedented ways, on your terms. To be truly luxurious, your trip should be about what you want, when you want it. Your own luxury could be a desert camp with no electricity, or a five-star river vessel with small skiffs for exploring the Amazon tributaries – just let us know. 

A luxurious safari camp deep inside Botswana? Now that's luxury

What is luxury travel in 2018?

Essentially, we believe that luxury travel in 2018 should be about experiencing things rather than acquiring them. To us, it involves unique opportunities to see and do things that can’t be readily replicated. Things that are representative and authentic. Like being introduced to the delights of kaiseiki cuisine in Japan by a local chef. Enjoying after-hours access to UNESCO-listed sites in Italy. Or swimming with whale sharks off Western Australia. Just imagine the tales you’ll return with.

In 2018, why not take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony?

Authentic experiences

Our smart luxury is defined by highly bespoke travel opportunities that focus more on your individual personality and less on expressing opulence. For us, it is not whether somewhere or something is necessarily ‘better’ but whether it is ‘best for you’. To that end, our experts provide insight, impartiality and flexibility. Arranging top-end travel is complicated and with all the information now circulating online, on apps, in magazines and newspapers, it can be very confusing to sift through all the opportunities the world offers. That’s why our dedicated travel planners like to get to know you first, so they can match you with experiences that are appropriate. They take time to understand how you define your luxury and then provide the knowledge and expertise to let you choose from experiences like blending your own wine in Argentina or a guided walking safari with an expert naturalist in Botswana. 

They also get an insight into the style of place you like to stay. Five-star hotels and upmarket properties are no longer rare and unusual. To complement our new concept of smart luxury comes a new definition of ‘luxury hotel’ that’s less about gold taps and thread count and more about location and authentic experience. It could be a grown-up treehouse or an ice hotel hidden in a wild landscape, a remote encampment under a vast starscape or an incredible luxury yacht masquerading as a traditional sailing vessel that plies a beat between the islands of the world’s great archipelagos.

and Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge dining under the stars

Dine under the stars in Sossusvlei, Namibia

Princess Junk ship and Halong Bay in Vietnam

Step aboard a traditional junk ship as you cruise Vietnam's Halong Bay

Wishing thinking suite at the ICEHOTEL 365 in Swedish Lapland

Scarcely believable: sleep in a room carved entirely from ice

Connecting with the place you're in

Comfort factors still count though and it could just as easily be a beautiful boutique hotel excelling in barefoot luxury or a blissfully secluded resort that understands the value of space and service. It is no longer enough for a place to simply meet or even exceed expectations though. The properties we recommend have to inspire a sense of wonder and awe while establishing a connection with the place that they are rooted in, usually through the immersive experiences that they offer. A luxury hotel is no longer just about pampering yourself, it’s about connecting. Of course, our experts also understand that luxury is about the little touches. An unexpected upgrade, a private table on the beach, a tip for a hot restaurant or a cool venue and an insightful recommendation for how to explore those must-see sites without the crowds.

Luxury travel in 2018 is smart. Bespoke. Authentic. And travelling with the Luxury Holiday Company is seriously special.

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