The term luxury is used around the world to describe experiences and destinations. Luxury has changed over the years, however. What was luxury at one time can feel outdated and old-fashioned today.
Luxury has become a buzz word used by marketers to advertise places that are often not luxurious at all. It is difficult to tell the difference between buzzword marketing and truly unique destinations.
A new wave of travel destinations and companies are focusing on modern luxury and providing an unforgettable experience to those who can afford it. Luxury travel experiences no longer impress or inspire many of the movers and shakers who seek them out. More intimate experiences are now available as a market providing something more in-depth to travelers.
So, what intimate luxury travel experiences are changing the tourism and hospitality industry? More importantly, where should you be exploring on your next trip?
Located on the gorgeous Greek island of Zakynthos are the Porto Zante Villas and Spa. The intimate luxury villas overlook the sea and provide guests with the chance to end each night sipping Greek wines while sitting on a private patio.
Porto Zante was established in 2003, and rather than quickly building a gaudy luxury holiday resort, the villas grew organically. You won’t just find a great villa to stay in during a trip to Zakynthos. Port Zante has a fantastic spa with holistic treatments and daily yoga classes.
In-villa dining is also on tap for guests. Meals can be delivered to your dining room for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You won’t have to seek out a meal or cook during your trip.
You won’t be bored at this intimate luxury retreat either. The island’s fine sandy beaches are perfect for a day in the sun. You can also explore the Ionian Sea by yacht. If you prefer, however, you could just spend your days lounging on your personal villa patio taking the odd afternoon dip in your infinity swimming pool.
A deluxe spa villa starts at around $2,000 a night. There are seven different room types available to choose from.
Burj Al Arab Jumeriah
By 2020, Dubai will receive over 20 million travelers per year. The United Arab Emirates city is the shining light of Middle Eastern development. It attracts people from all over the world to move and travel there thanks to the big businesses in the region.
Part of Dubai’s appeal is the luxury dining and hotel experiences it offers travelers. There is something unique about Dubai’s intimate luxury experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Jumeriah hotel is a seven-star hotel that is fit for a king. The Burj Al Arab Jumeriah has a Royal Suite that is one of the most extravagant hotel rooms you will ever see. It also has a Presidential Suite that spans two floors. The venue has self-proclaimed itself as a seven-star hotel. Few, if any, guests who have stayed at the hotel would argue with its bold claims.
The Burj Al Arab Jumeriah is the symbol of Dubai thanks to its wind sail design and location on its very own man-made island. So, the hotel looks great, especially with its 30 different types of marble. But what makes it such a great luxury experience for guests?
The outdoor terrace is one reason alone to stay at the Burj Al Arab Jumeriah. Its two pools and 32 cabanas complete with butlers is a phenomenal way to spend the day in Dubai. The outdoor terrace, which stretches over 300 feet into the Persian Gulf, has 120 luxury day sunbeds. It isn’t difficult to soak up the sun in style here. If you fancy a dip in the sea rather than the pool, that’s no problem as a private beach is nearby.
There is an around the clock butler service at the hotel ready to wait on you hand and foot. For every suite at the Burj Al Arab Jumeriah, there are eight members of staff on hand. You will be taken great care of when staying at the Burj Al Arab Jumeriah.
One night in the royal suite at the Burj Al Arab will set you back $24,000.
Monte Carlo has long been associated with the super wealthy. The entire principality of Monaco was built on glitz and glamor, and a Hollywood actress was once its princess. You cannot get any more glamorous than that, right?
In May 2019, the ONE Monte-Carlo opened offering what has been described as an “exclusive and comprehensive luxury experience”. The ONE Monte-Carlo took four years to construct. Thirty-seven high-end apartments were constructed to provide an unparallel living experience for guests.
The fully pedestrianized area has luxury clothing boutiques owned by world-famous brands. Not only can you shop at the ONE Monte-Carlo’s exclusive shops, but it is a great place for anyone in town on business.
ONE Monte-Carlo was designed to be a “haven of peace and a superb place to live, work, or simply take a stroll”. While it is a bit different luxury travel experience, it still offers visitors a unique time in one of the world’s most exclusive cities.
The Beach Riviera Maya
Waking up at The Beach Riviera Maya is like waking up every morning in your own luxury beach bungalow. Once stepping out of bed you can walk straight outside into the glowing Mexican sunlight and either jump in your own private pool or sip coffee on the deck.
The boutique hotel is situated in Tulum on the Gulf of Mexico. The views across the Caribbean Sea are breath taking and evening walks along the beach will not only refresh you, but inspire you, too.
After enjoying breakfast, you can wander down to the complimentary yoga classes which take place each day. The hotel is laidback and you may just enjoy lounging about all day. If so, that is fine. The Beach Riviera Maya has two on-sight restaurants, a pool, and margaritas made with locally sourced ingredients.
If this sounds like heaven to you, then don’t hesitate to book a room. A stay at the The Beach Riviera Maya starts at around $500 a night. It is a great price considering the amazing experience provided by the boutique hotel.
Guests who feel like stepping out will find a number of bars and restaurants near The Beach Riviera Maya. There are also Mayan ruins to explore during the day. The hotel provides complimentary bicycles, so you can explore Tulum and get away from the pool.
Rooms are right on the beach. At night, you can go to sleep with the sound of waves crashing on the shore. The hotel bar is perfect for sipping cocktails no matter the time of day as you feel the sand between your toes.
The attentive service provides everything you need, but the atmosphere is completely laid back. The Beach Riviera Maya is beach chic. Its laid-back nature may not be everyone’s idea of luxury but that is the great thing about it. Nothing at The Beach Riviera Maya is in your face.
African intimate luxury safari experiences are the new black for holidays on the continent. Safari adventures have always been popular, but you have never seen a safari like the ones provided by Zarafa Camp.
Situated in the Selinda Reserve in Botswana, Zarafa Camp is a boutique camp that takes the safari excursion and makes it a five-star wonderland. The camp is extremely intimate. Rooms have floor to ceiling windows allowing you to lie in bed while watching the African wildlife outside wander by.
The camp is exclusive as it has just four large tented rooms. Each tent comes with its own private plunge pool allowing you to cool off after a hot African safari. The plunge pool overlooks the Zibadianja Lagoon, giving you the feeling of being alone in the African bush.
Rooms have wood finish, brass fittings, and plush brown leather chairs and sofas. You will feel like an African explorer from yesteryear while staying in the gorgeous tents that make up the camp. During the evening, you can relax on your own private deck to enjoy views of the local wildlife. Days are filled with private game drives taking you around the Botswanan savannah to view elephants, giraffes, and lions.
While you won’t have butlers waiting on you hand and foot, you will find this intimate luxury experience to be an escape like no other. It is like staying in your own private zoo.
The Selinda Reserve has been called the greatest game viewing area in Africa. You won’t find another place on Earth to see so many wonderful animals while living in a five-star camp. In fact, to call Zarafa a camp is a disservice, because it is one of the most splendid pieces of accommodation you will find anywhere.
Journalist and author. Contributor