Luxury Travel changes every single year, with more and more eccentric habits coming alive. Nowadays, a fancy hotel isn’t enough to be cool or have an exclusive experience. Today, luxury comes in the form of time, experiences, and access. Here, Design Limited Edition take a look back at the 5 best luxury trends from the long and luxurious history of traveling!
Perhaps the penultimate travel experience, private-island resorts have flooded the market in the past 20 years. Richard Branson set the standard in 1979 when he opened Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. Offering Balinese-style villas, tennis courts, swimming pools, and a staff of more than 100, the resort normally rents to just one party at a time for $78,000 per night. In 1995, Soneva Fushi kicked off the Maldivian private-island resort boom that continues today. And by 2009, illusionist David Copperfield made the private-island experience even more magical with his Musha Cay and the Islands at Copperfield Bay.
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A five-star hotel without a famous chef at the helm of its fine dining restaurant may seem circumspect these days, but before the 1990s, the trend was essentially nonexistent. However, when, Wolfgang Puck launched a satellite of his Beverly Hills mainstay, Spago, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in 1992, hotel dining was forever changed. By 1997, Jean-Georges Vongerichten was building his empire with the opening of Jean-Georges at New York’s Trump International Hotel. Today, luxury hotels are magnets for top-rated chefs, from Nobu Matsuhisa to José Andrés.
Back when pools were boring old rectangles—perhaps with a small waterfall or maybe even a mini grotto—the experience of swimming was fun but largely functional. Enter the infinity-edge pool in the 1990s and suddenly, a swim in a hotel pool was a decadent dip into a seemingly never-ending vista of tranquil blue. Since then, the hotels have been pushing their pools farther and farther into the horizon, from the over-the-top tiered “pond” at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan to the heart-stopping cantilevered rooftop pool at the Joule, a Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel in Dallas.
Private Jet Tours
In 1995, TCS World Travel launched a 24-day, around-the-world itinerary to remote destinations like Mongolia, Easter Island, and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. At the time, no other company was offering anything like it. But the turn of the century saw the trend explode, as competing options from Four Seasons, National Geographic Expeditions, Abercrombie & Kent, and others hit the market.
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Luxury Adventure Travel
Before the 1980s, luxury travel and adventure travel were mutually exclusive notions. In 1983, however, the Botswana-based safari outfitter Wilderness Safaris set out to change that, offering luxury tents that more closely resembled private villas at their wildlife camps. A decade later, Singita cemented the trend with its first safari lodge, located in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Reserve.
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