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Forget about that penthouse hotel room with the champagne turn-down service. Luxury travellers these days are looking for something less tangible than material extravagance. According to the Skift Trends Report, the top three luxury travel trends for 2017 were “meaningfulness, simplicity and transformation”.
Leaders in today’s luxury hospitality have their fingers on that pulse. These companies offer bespoke packages that customise the balance between comfort and challenge. From adventure travel to cultural immersion to far-flung destinations, the key to cutting-edge luxury is rarity – utterly unique experiences never to be repeated by the average traveller.
With only eleven rooms, Sarang by the Brook in Malaysia combines exclusivity with both the micro-hotel trend and the tiny house trend. The result, a modest cluster of bright blue “container rooms” nestled in the jungle along with monkeys and tropical birds. The amenities are about what you’d find in an average setup of vacation cottages, but the customizable activities, such as night jungle trekking, river trekking and rafting, and the eco-friendly experience of living in the real jungle entices families with an eye for personalized adventure.
When it comes to cultural exploration, access is everything. Jacada Travel has a staff of experienced travellers who will work with clients to design the trip of their dreams. Offering custom tours with “heart and personality,” Jacada partners with local guides to help clients “experience a new country as the locals experience it, getting insider information and behind the scenes access that only someone who knows a place well can offer. Accommodations can be booked with varying degrees of luxury, but CEO Alex Malcolm says their tours also give travellers the confidence to step outside their comfort zones, in such a way that they are primed for spur-of-the-moment, one-of-a-kind adventures. And the company’s commitment to conservation, sustainability and supporting local economies packs in a feel-good punch for clients interested in ethical travel.
The client wants Frette linens on a Hästens bed, or perhaps some furs or a hanging tapestry for a bubble tent in the Chilean desert? No problem.
For the pinnacle in transitory pleasure, Blink by Black Tomato takes pop-up to the extreme. With Blink, guests can design their own accommodation wherever they wish, usually in “locations so private and untouched that no one else will have stayed there before and never will again in the same way.” After choosing a destination – say the salt flats of Bolivia or the wild sand dunes of Morocco – clients select their accommodation from a menu of temporary structures like dome tents or yurts. Activities are then designed to precisely fit the guests’ every whim.
Don’t be fooled by the remoteness or the tent-like sleeping quarters that are Blink’s mainstays. There’s still room for luxury with a capital “L”. Trips start around $10,000 per person for three nights, and travellers can tailor almost every detail. The client wants Frette linens on a Hästens bed, or perhaps some furs or a hanging tapestry for a bubble tent in the Chilean desert? No problem.
Blink (as in “blink and you’ll miss it”) has upped the ante for its competitors by combining customisation, immersion and sustainability with the ultimate in exclusivity- an utterly unrepeatable experience that leaves no trace of itself after it has come to an end. These aren’t fancy rooms to be cleaned and readied for the next guest like an ordinary hotel, or pricey tours that will repeat the next day with the same script and the same sights. This is an intensity of living that is meant to be lost to the sands of time, even as it stays in the memory forever.
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