Travel has always been the ultimate luxury. There’s nothing quite like being able to step out from your routine and try out life in another part of the world, even if for just a short while. And within that ultimate luxury, sophisticated, tailor-made travel has always reigned supreme. Yet in our fast-paced, ever-connected world, today’s luxury is evolving in a bold and unexpected new way. The luxury of today is a peeling away of the opulence and frills of the past and a slowing down of our constant pace. It’s a dive into living rather than just visiting. It’s the forming of a connection with a place, its people and its culture. The luxury of today is a voyage further into the unknown, past mere comfort zones and well-tread paths, and beyond cell service. It’s something far more pure, more solid, more true to our authentic selves. And what could be more luxurious than that?
As the writer Ann Lamott wrote, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you,” and today’s trending luxury hotels couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. In a world where the lines between work and life have blurred into nothingness, experiences that take us beyond the ball and chain of our inboxes are highly sought after. For travelers who can’t venture out of their urban confines and for whom disconnecting can be a hard plunge to take, luxury urban hotels are suggesting a solution. Even in the most urban of settings, hotels around the world are encouraging guests to take that leap and are curating experiences that transcend merely a few days away to become a portal to a newer, fresher, more relaxed version of themselves, even without leaving city centers.
More and more, luxury urban hotels are offering in-house experiences that take guests beyond the hustle and bustle outside their windows. Although cell service is available in most corners of the world’s cities (or the world for that matter), luxury hotels are creating spas that make guests feel like they are worlds away from the city outside. Catering to guests looking for a further remove from the quotidian, urban hotel spas are offering ancient treatments like thermal and temazcal baths that claims deep physical, mental, and spiritual benefits that go beyond that of the more traditional experience of massages and facials. Guests just may leave forgetting to turn their phones back on.
Proving that you can really take a trip of the lifetime without sacrificing style or comfort, Iberostar’s five-star cruise ship hotel, the Grand Amazon Hotel, offers the best of both worlds. While guests travel in five-star comfort, the ship makes multiples stops through the Amazon jungle allowing the passengers to dip their toes into true adventure with daily adventures such as small boat excursions.
Living Like A Local
At a time when no one wants to be a tourist, an increasing number of luxury properties are offering stays that are far more like living in a city than merely visiting. There’s no denying that sharing services have shaken up traditional stays with offerings ranging from penthouses in Paris, to villas on Australia’s Gold Coast, private yachts off the Costa Brava, and everything in between. Yet for discerning travelers who value all the amenities that only a truly luxurious hotel can provide, while simultaneously striving to experience a new country more like a citizen than a visitor, there’s a new crop of luxury guest houses that function as private homes yet run like only the best hotels.
These properties are offering their guests the luxury of erasing tourist from their self-description and trying on local for size. These luxury hotel/private home hybrids allow guests their own keys to some of the world’s loveliest homes to come and go as they please, undisturbed yet never more than an arm’s reach from the highest concierge services.
MADELINE WEINFIELD I 6/06/2017
Photography by Cordon Press and Getty Images