Worldwide, travel industry experts are predicting what the big trends will be once we can travel again. Several styles of vacationing are getting regular mentions, including exploring closer to home, multigenerational and RV travel.
But one which comes up again and again, is luxury travel.
Pre-COVID, it was a sector which was already booming, fuelled by well-heeled, discerning travellers and wealthy boomers for whom travel has become an integral part of life. A worldwide Expedia study in early 2021 revealed that two thirds of respondents have created a bucket list and are willing to spend more on their vacation than originally planned.
So, combine pent-up demand, piled up dollars (and maybe vacation time) plus an “Oh, do we ever deserve this” mindset, and you have a recipe for some of the most exquisite travel experiences on offer.
What kinds of luxury travel are people booking right now?
True luxury travel is not just about higher thread count or better-informed sommeliers. It’s about the experience, too.
“Silversea Cruises excel at serving spectacular meals and the knowledge of the guest speakers is second to none,” says Liz Fleming, a St. Catharines, Ontario-based travel expert who has cruised over 40 times. “But the real draw is the ability to experience something that hardly anyone else ever gets to see. That is the real luxury.” She cites her Silversea cruise to the Galapagos Islands as one of the most memorable experiences of her life.
Other exclusive experiences from cruise lines and tour companies may include private concerts and meeting the Lord of the Manor of a stately home–encounters you simply cannot buy “off the shelf.”
A train trip like no other
Steeped in elegance and tradition, Europe’s Orient Express train has been lovingly restored to its 1920s glory, including its legendary clubby ambience. Several itineraries are available, but by far the most popular is London-to-Venice (or vice versa) which is an overnight trip.
Most cabins have shared toilet facilities, but the Grand Suites, at $13,000 per person, have private bath and shower. And feel free to go over the top when you pack. Most passengers dress formally for dinner and as the website intones, “Jeans are not suitable at any time.” But who would dream of dressing down while experiencing a part of history?
Ultra-luxe airline amenities
“I think one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had was on board Emirates, having a shower at 40,000 feet,” says Toronto-based Stuart MacDonald. An airline expert (and self-confessed aviation nut) he has travelled the world, often in the business or first class cabin. “Several Middle East carriers–Emirates, Qatar and Etihad, for example–provide the ultimate in inflight service,” he adds.
Amenities can include well-stocked, stand-up bars and even pyjamas for passengers. “On Emirates, my wife Anna and I had a private enclosed ‘room’ with its own minibar and 40 inch TV”. And you don’t need to travel to the Middle East to experience the service. The majority of passengers on these carriers connect to flights to Asia, Africa or the South Pacific.
The perfect private escape for your luxury travel splurge
For some, privacy is an important component of a luxury vacation. If you love to travel with just your nearest and dearest, 80 acre Calivigny Island may fit the bill. Located adjacent to Grenada in the Caribbean, Calivigny boasts stylish, contemporary accommodations for up to 40 in a combination of villas and “cottages.”
There are two spectacular beaches, several pools, oodles of sports equipment and other toys and numerous dining options. Staff include Michelin-starred chefs and sports and wellness instructors. Prices start at US$132,000 per night for the whole island and all inclusions–and Calivigny will belong to you and yours alone.
Inclusions and details are subject to change when travel restrictions are lifted. For up-to-date details, please contact your travel advisor.
Want more post-pandemic travel inspiration? Check out Have Pod, Will Travel Safely: 4 Fun & Unique Ways to Vacation With Your Travel Pod.
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