Sure. You can use your hard-earned vacation time abroad, visiting the nearest Benihana restaurant a quick Google search has yielded and return stuffed like a foie gras duck to your five-star hotel. You can retire to the crowded pool for bottomless mimosas, never leaving your comfort zone to fully experience a destination. You can treat yourself to a lavish shopping spree, spending your money on luxury goods like designer belts or maybe hats, jewels or watches available everywhere that could realistically have bought you a trip around the world – twice. You can buy those Gucci sandals. You can call this a “luxury” lifestyle – that’s what we’ve been trained to define it as – but you would be mistaken.
Luxury is about exclusivity, human connection, refinement and personalization; less is more and ‘being’ prevails over ‘having’
There are so many preconceptions about the word ‘luxury’ within today’s travel market, a consequence of our enduring mortal inability to define the term. Overused, misleading and outdated: it’s no wonder we’re confused. But what is true luxury travel really?
When it boils down to it, our memories of great times past are what remain when everything material fades. The pure bliss of a late afternoon sun perfectly settling on a lover’s face as a bottle of local wine chills beside the table, the thrill of learning a new craft from a producer whose family has perfected it over generations, the euphoria of making new friends in the most unlikely of places — snapshots in time that together create the richest photo album of a life where material goods fall by the wayside.
Recently, consumers have been spending more than ever before on emotionally engaging travel, shifting away from tangible goods to instead indulge on these special moments. I believe that to truly travel luxuriously we need to utilize humanity’s best connectors – namely nature, culture and cuisine – to gain a sincere human bond with our destinations and appreciate the reality of the native atmosphere. We should stoke our curiosity to attempt to comprehend the disparate filaments that comprise our world, because it is through understanding others that we can more fully understand ourselves.
The most luxurious way to reach a destination’s true heart, I have found, is by opening up your own.
To take the words out of Da Vinci’s notebooks, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
We tend to think that there is a need to overcomplicate the way we travel: to muddle and restructure destinations to the point where they become almost unrecognizable (or replicas of our home countries). We do too much at one time, thinking that the Earth in its original splendor is not enough, fervently searching for ways to add more layers to our cake when the sweetness lies at its base.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo Da Vinci
The reality is that the most incredible of experiences are those that humbly present what is natural, beautiful and classically noble. There very rarely is a better group to trust than your destination’s local population: groups of people who have long worked to extract and establish the heart of a region, a culture. There is no need to cloud your travels by overcomplicating. The best way to find the refinement of simplicity is in the most local of places.
Gone are the days of traveling in huge groups, adhering to a rigid schedule: quick photo-op here – 15-minute stressful leisure stroll there – don’t forget your souvenir – right – back to the bus. Seeing a destination completely through the eyes and direction of another is no way to travel.
When we spend most of our lives punching the metaphorical timecard day in and day out, why should we spend our leisure time continuing to follow rules and staying safe? Although we’re all members of a human family, as travelers we think differently and true luxury is freely engaging in those activities that make up our individual ideas of enjoyment, of taste, or of adventure. Always aim to open your eyes and your heart when planning your travels, but stay true to yourself and your deep-rooted values and interests.
As new-generation luxury facilitators our goal at Paladar y Tomar is working constantly on custom itineraries with a bucket list of high-caliber experiences executed by the most experienced of local hosts and experts to truly create unforgettable travel experiences, getting today’s travelers out of their all-too-common search-engine-induced travel ruts.
Despite its many definitions, luxury embodies an element of exclusivity.
Four thousand years ago, in a time where spices were highly prized and generated immense wealth for those who controlled them, a great trade arose. Vendors traveling along the Silk Road would chronicle elaborate stories of the rarity of their wares, perpetuating the age-old belief that luxury is limited. Fast-forward to today, where spices are so commonplace and inexpensive and in which technology has allowed us to explore almost all corners of the globe. Like spices, what was historically considered a rarity is now commonly a household good, and luxury-seekers – due to the lack of novelty in undiscovered goods – have awakened a new luxury trade: experiential luxury, favoring the rarity of a life-changing experience to something wholly material.
As new luxury travel professionals, we go beyond and have become today’s lifestyle sommeliers. We have the understanding and appreciation of the cultural fibers that at the same time differentiate and unite our world.
As travel designers, we use the fuel from an adventurous spirit to fully uncover the excitement, flavor and beauty of each destination; we are purveyors of underground authentic realities, but for the most sophisticated travelers. New dining experiences right at the chef’s table, private flight arrangements, and exclusive access to the most unexpected places or personalities are quickly emerging as today’s status symbols, and luxury is rapidly shifting from having to being.
Experiential luxury intertwines identity and self-expression, where gastronomical pursuits and culinary experiences around the world play a crucial role. Exactly this is our affair: building long-term relationships with food, wine, and destinations for those discerning individuals for whom this has become the sole vehicle left to do so with.