Ad­ven­ture and com­fort go hand-in-hand for top-end trav­ellers

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - BEST OF LUXURY - AN­DREA BLACK

Lux­ury travel is get­ting an over­haul. No longer is it about the thread count and sil­ver ser­vice, it’s now de­fined by unique ex­pe­ri­ences.

“While it still in­cor­po­rates the best ac­com­mo­da­tion, ser­vice and ameni­ties, lux­ury travel in 2018 is also about unique ex­pe­ri­ences which can’t be eas­ily repli­cated else­where,” says Lucy Jack­son from Light­foot Travel. “It’s less about fa­cil­i­ties, and more about the au­then­tic­ity of the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Chris Austin, Se­abourn’s se­nior vice-pres­i­dent, global sales and mar­ket­ing, says lux­ury trav­ellers are mov­ing away from os­ten­ta­tious lux­ury to­ward more re­fined of­fer­ings.

“Trends come and go but lux­ury trav­ellers will never tire of per­son­alised ser­vice and trav­el­ling to unique des­ti­na­tions around the world,” he says.

Here’s what lux­ury trav­ellers need to get ex­cited about in 2018.


Not sure which des­ti­na­tion, tour or re­sort to choose for 2018? You may get the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence it be­fore you make the big de­ci­sion.

“Tech­nol­ogy (such as vir­tual re­al­ity) will en­able cus­tomers to get an even greater op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with the hol­i­day that suits them best,” says GET LUXE founder Ran­dall Deer.

Ac­cord­ing to Lucy Jack­son from Light­foot Travel, tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments will con­tinue to play a piv­otal role in re­shap­ing the travel in­dus­try. “Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence will at some point take over. I’m not sure whether the in­dus­try will have ad­vanced so much next year that clients can see their ho­tel room through a VR head­set be­fore book­ing it, but it’s cer­tainly com­ing!”


Sa­faris have al­ways been pop­u­lar with those seek­ing a unique ex­pe­ri­ence and 2018 will see more choice, and more des­ti­na­tions.

Sabi Sabi in South Africa is renowned for the phi­los­o­phy of wel­com­ing guests to their lux­ury home in the bush. “Aus­tralians love the re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment we of­fer and re­ally get stuck into the sa­fari ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Jac­ques Smit, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for Sabi Sabi Pri­vate Game Re­serve in South Africa. They are up­grad­ing their seven-suite Se­lati Camp and have fin­ished re­vamp­ing the Bush Lodge.

Mean­while, and Be­yond will be re­open­ing the new Bateleur Camp in the Ma­sai Mara in 2018.

“We ex­pect Kenya to be fully on the travel radar in the com­ing year. Af­ter a few years of hard­ship, the fu­ture looks bright as the home of clas­si­cal sa­fari rein­vents it­self,” says Joss Kent, CEO of and Be­yond.

Oth­ers to note in­clude the Hala Sun­set Desert Drive & BBQ in Abu Dhabi as well as the new Eti­had Desert Camp fea­tur­ing cater­ing from Eti­had Air­ways with grill-to-plate pro­teins and a bar with wine and beer. No por­taloos here; bath­rooms are mod­ern with air­con­di­tion­ing.


There are even more five-star of­fer­ings in our re­gion with the re­cent open­ing of Sof­i­tel Dar­ling Harbour and next year’s grand open­ing of Sof­i­tel Ade­laide and Sof­i­tel SO Auck­land. Sof­i­tel is now the largest lux­ury ho­tel brand in the Pa­cific. And Fair­mont fans take note, there are plans to grow the Fair­mont brand in Aus­tralia.

Far­ther afield, it’s all about adding a dash of ex­pe­ri­en­tial lux­ury to re­sorts. “Many of the ad­ven­tur­ous back­pack­ers from the sev­en­ties (to the) nineties are still look­ing for that ul­ti­mate travel ad­ven­ture, but they also want to come home at night and stay some­where lux­u­ri­ous,” says Mark Thom­son, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for Mi­nor Ho­tels, which in­cludes Anan­tara and Avani.

“Five-star ul­ti­mate ad­ven­tures now go hand in hand with five-star ac­com­mo­da­tion and, of course, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns.”

Ex­pect two new One & Only Na­ture Re­sorts to open in Rwanda. “Our new One & Only Nyungwe House is set in a work­ing tea plan­ta­tion, on the edge of the Nyungwe Na­tional Park, one of the old­est forests in Africa, with over 13 dif­fer­ent species of pri­mates,” says James Wyn­d­ham, gen­eral man­ager of Emi­rates One & Only Wol­gan Val­ley. “And our next Na­ture Re­sort, One & Only Go­rilla’s Nest is not too far away.”


Ex­pect new des­ti­na­tions on lux­ury tours in 2018. “Fol­low­ing ex­ten­sive re­search, our 2018 col­lec­tion now in­cludes nine new lux­ury jour­neys, in­clud­ing Ja­pan, Costa Rica, Croa­tia and Mon­tene­gro and South Africa,” says Ulla He­fel Böh­ler, Lux­ury Gold CEO.

Sri Lanka will also be a pop­u­lar choice, es­pe­cially with new di­rect flights from Mel­bourne to Colombo on SriLankan Airlines.

“We’re find­ing that the pop­u­lar­ity of Sri Lanka is in­creas­ing year on year, with a growth this year of 95 per cent,” says Lucy Jack­son from Light­foot Travel.

Mean­while, Canada will con­tinue to ap­pear highly on the lux­ury radar next year. “With seven Relais & Chateaux prop­er­ties in West­ern Canada these travel of­fer­ings in a safe and healthy en­vi­ron­ment pro­vide many op­tions for the lux­ury trav­eller in 2018; all with their very own unique ex­pe­ri­ences,” says Charles McDiarmid, gen­eral man­ager of the Wick­anin­nish Inn in Tofino on Vancouver Is­land.


On ocean or river cruises, lux­ury is about be­spoke ex­pe­ri­ences.

“We’ve found them to be very im­por­tant, which is why we in­tro­duced our per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence con­cept for our river cruise and tour­ing prod­ucts,” says Liz Glover, Scenic na­tional mar­ket­ing man­ager. “With Scenic Free­choice and our GPS self-guided tool, Scenic Tailor­made, our guests can cus­tomise their ex­cur­sions to suit their in­ter­ests, en­ergy lev­els and pace.” They’ll launch the new Scenic

Eclipse – the world’s first dis­cov­ery yacht, in the Mediter­ranean on Au­gust 31, 2018. “The cruise in­dus­try has never seen such lux­ury, dis­cov­ery and engi­neer­ing in­no­va­tion,” says Glover. Aza­mara will in­tro­duce the

Aza­mara Pur­suit in March 2018. “We’re also ex­cited about next year’s new World Jour­ney cruise – an epic voy­age of 102 days, which be­gins in Syd­ney on March 7 and ends in Lon­don, call­ing at 60 ports along the way – the def­i­ni­tion of lux­ury travel,” says Adam Arm­strong, Aza­mara Club Cruises man­ag­ing di­rec­tor.

Se­abourn will in­tro­duce the fifth in their fleet, Se­abourn Ova­tion, in May 2018. Sil­versea’s Sil­ver Cloud re­fur­bish­ment has just been com­pleted and Sil­ver Wind and

Sil­ver Whis­per will both un­dergo re­fur­bish­ment in De­cem­ber 2017.

Mean­while, Po­nant will de­liver two new ships in 2018, Le Lapérouse and Le Cham­plain. Each will fea­ture a world-first un­der­wa­ter lounge, called Blue Eye. Re­gent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Mariner is sched­uled to com­plete an ex­ten­sive re­fur­bish­ment in April.


When first class is sim­ply not enough, you can choose to char­ter your own flight. “We’re see­ing a ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity in trav­ellers look­ing for the bucket list ideas, such as pri­vate jet char­ters,” says Mark Thom­son.

“Mi­nor Ho­tels has its own pri­vate jet com­pany, MJets, where guests can hire a pri­vate jet to fly them­selves and their fam­ily and friends to ex­otic lo­ca­tions for hol­i­days.”

Cap­tain’s Choice has a 21-day Equa­to­rial Ex­plo­ration by pri­vate jet de­part­ing Lon­don July 7, travers­ing un­tamed jun­gles, colo­nial towns as well as a trop­i­cal par­adise.

Con­stel­la­tion Jour­neys is of­fer­ing a 21-day ex­pe­di­tion as well. Their jour­neys take guests to ex­plore seven des­ti­na­tions fly­ing by pri­vately char­tered 747 from Aus­tralia to Hanoi, India, The Serengeti, Mar­rakech, New York, Ha­vana and Tahiti, says man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dan Kotz­mann.



In­ter­est in ex­otic des­ti­na­tions such as Morocco (main pic­ture) and Sri Lanka is in­creas­ing.

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