My three sim­ple steps lead­ing to hol­i­day luxe

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Front Page -

Iwon’t deny that part of my role as

lux­ury travel ed­i­tor in­volves as­sess­ing amuse­bouche and stay­ing in pent­house suites, but there are more mun­dane as­pects to the job. One is ab­sorb­ing re­ports com­mis­sioned by op­er­a­tors and ho­tel groups keen to gain in­sights into the needs of lux­ury trav­ellers.

The lat­est to hit my in­box, cour­tesy of strate­gic con­sult­ing part­ner OgilvyRED, is about the habits of younger, in­creas­ingly wealthy con­sumers in Asia. The re­port uses the phrase “blux­ury travel” – a clunky port­man­teau of busi­ness and lux­ury – and says th­ese clients want holidays that are “as­pi­ra­tional, en­vi­able – and, above all, In­sta­grammable”. It adds that young trav­ellers share “opin­ions through the in­ter­net, par­tic­u­larly on so­cial me­dia sites”. How rev­e­la­tory!

It seems that some busi­nesses are miss­ing in­sights that you and I might as­sume are blind­ingly ob­vi­ous. In that spirit, I’d like to share with them three easy ways in which to give all their trips and tours a lux­u­ri­ous spin – and I won’t charge them a penny. Some trav­ellers may want their holidays to be In­sta­gram-wor­thy, but only when other ba­sic re­quire­ments are met. Ex­cel­lent ser­vice is one of them. With­out it, the ini­tial al­lure of ev­ery other pos­i­tive will evap­o­rate.

That was my ex­pe­ri­ence at The Edi­tion ho­tel in New York and Six Senses Zil Pasyon in the Sey­chelles, where beau­ti­ful de­sign couldn’t com­pen­sate for bad man­age­ment and ap­a­thetic staff. Con­versely, the ser­vice at The Reverie Saigon was so ex­cep­tional that I de­vel­oped an af­fec­tion even for its gar­ish colour scheme and gaudy fur­nish­ings (in­clud­ing a 16ft ro­coco-baroque sofa cov­ered in pur­ple os­trich leather).

We’re all aware of the blight of sin­gle-use plas­tics, so I’m de­lighted that Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional is to re­move dis­pos­able straws from more than 6,500 prop­er­ties. That this could re­sult in a sav­ing of more than one bil­lion straws per year is a shock­ing in­dict­ment of the ex­treme lev­els of waste in the travel in­dus­try.

Com­pa­nies need to do more, quickly. Serv­ing New Zealand lamb and Ja­panese beef in a Mal­di­vian re­sort now smacks of ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity rather than lux­ury; the plas­tic bot­tles of im­ported Fiji Wa­ter in my suite were a very bad look when I stayed at Lon­don’s im­age-con­scious Bulgari Ho­tel. A more pos­i­tive im­pres­sion was made at North Is­land in the Sey­chelles, where en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives have erad­i­cated in­va­sive species so that en­demic flora and fauna can again flour­ish. Eco-minded tour op­er­a­tor Steppes Travel, mean­while, of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties for fam­i­lies to aid rhino con­ser­va­tion in Africa – hope­fully in­spir­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of wildlife ad­vo­cates.

When I vis­ited the Faroe Is­lands last Au­gust, tour op­er­a­tor Black Tomato had the fore­sight to sug­gest I sam­ple

or home hos­pi­tal­ity, as well as din­ner at Miche­lin-starred restau­rant Koks. Sim­ple, tra­di­tional and in­nately Faroese, that con­vivial home-cooked meal in an is­lan­der’s

Nat­u­ral beauty: North Is­land, Sey­chelles

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