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5 reasons travellers choose simple luxury


The term ‘luxury’ is frequently associated with opulence. This is especially the case when we’re on holiday and in the mood to spoil ourselves after a long grind. We seek out dazzling hotels, are gluttonous on decadent food, consume lashings of fine spirits and wedge our itinerary full of Facebook-worthy activities.

It certainly sounds spectacular, but we can quickly become bogged-down by too much. Ever heard someone returning from holiday saying, “I think I need a holiday after the holiday I just took?” It may even have been you.

Leonardo Da Vinci once famously said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” When it comes to holidays, he may have been on to something. According to the ABTA Travel Trends Report for 2014, affluent travellers are seeking out less conspicuous holiday experiences; opting for treehouse escapes, farm stays, volunteering opportunities and adventure hikes instead. It would seem more and more luxury travellers are taking Da Vinci’s advice, trading in the Egyptian Cotton for a sleeping bag and the concierge for a bush-smart guide.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean these travellers are abandoning the five-star experience altogether. The growing popularity of glamping and the luxury adventure holidays are proof that simpler holiday experiences can still be as elegant, and often more so, because they indulge our senses and soothe our minds in entirely different ways.

The result? An actual holiday. Travelers who ditch the blatant indulgence and opt for simple luxury instead say it offers them a real escape from the bustle of our city lives and a chance to truly indulge their senses by not overwhelming them with the frimfram of resorts or the confining setting of hotels. They get an experience that is both more authentic and ethical.

Here are top five reasons why Beyond Bespoke, a luxury online guide’s clients choose simple luxury holidays:


Complete immersion

A holiday of simple luxury offers a chance to experience an environment as completely as possible.

A safari might sound like a colonial overhang, but the modern safari experience can be a luxurious rekindling with nature. Luxury safari experts like Natural High have mobile safari camps with a small staff complement serving simple but first-class food, which means you’ll get all the comfort of a luxury hotel without the usual trappings of excess and modernity standing in your way of appreciating the setting.

And if camping sounds a bit too uncultured, there are always cosy cottages, luxury yurts and glammed-up shepherds cottages that come with all the comforts you’d expect from a hotel but still offer complete privacy, spectacular views and close encounters with nature.


True rest for your senses

Opting for low-key luxury almost always means there are fewer people, less noise and more nature.

During holiday season even destinations, which are considered well-kept secrets in luxury, travel can become a bit cramped. For those who seek out social engagement, this is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you are looking to use your holiday to really switch off and reconnect only with those closest and dearest to you, the close proximity of guests who do not fit that description is likely to present an unwelcome intrusion on your down-time.

With no humming of hotel staff or chatter from other guests, a luxury holiday escape to the outdoors allows you to delight in birdsong, get carried away by the sound of the wind in the trees and enjoy the simple pleasure of long, private walks without running in to anyone other than the wildlife.


Experience real exclusivity

Hotels, cruise ships and member-only resorts all may appear elite, but they are in fact frequented by thousands of visitors every season, making them far less exclusive than they seem.

Going off the beaten track on the other hand can provide truly unmatched experiences. It will also give you the opportunity to tailor experiences exactly to your taste. A tented night in the Namib Desert will reveal unrivalled views of starry skies. Staying in a village in Ladakh will offer up rare and precious insight into the local life and culture of a fascinating people, and a privately guided hike in Zambia will give you privileged access to the big five.


A chance to indulge in quality over quantity

Just because you’re opting for simplicity doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. By their very nature, simpler holiday experiences offer immense value of experience. Specialist travel operator Red Savannah assembles custom trips that offer a wholly unique experience on every holiday. What’s more, stripping your holiday down to the essentials gives you a chance to declutter your own mental space.

Often you will also get more freedom. Opting for a simple farmhouse rental above a hotel, for instance will usually allow you to bring your pet or your roving and energetic two-year-old. Baby-Friendly Boltholes is one such specialist in simple but luxurious child-friendly getaways that will spare parents the chaos of a traditional family resort.


Holidays that take less and give more

With excess consumption usually comes excess waste from hotel food gone uneaten to the thousands of gallons of water used to ensure towels and linens are cleaned daily. As a result, even those travellers still seeking five-star experiences are increasingly making eco conscious holiday choices. Because of their natural setting and comparatively low environmental impact, paired-down luxury holidays like adventure hikes and country cottage escapes are growing in demand. In most cases luxury adventure tourism directly benefits the local community. You may even be able to experience some of these benefits first-hand. On a tour with Natural High, travellers are given the opportunity to visit the local community, participate in cultural festivals and even stay over in their villages. It might not be consistent with the traditional idea of a luxury holiday, but the authenticity and spiritual reward of these experiences makes them all first-class.

Melissa Byleveld writes for Beyond Bespoke, an online guide to the best of British talent, design and lifestyle. Her best travel memories are of desert camping trips in her native Namibia.

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Image courtesy of Beyond Bespoke, Red Savannah, Natural High and Baby-Friendly Boltholes

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June 26, 2014 | Travel | View comments

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