Elite Traveler Launches The Explorer Newsletter

New weekly newsletter covers the latest in luxury travel, from hotel openings to in-depth city guides.

By Alex Martin

Scottish Highlands

A global pandemic, politcal conflicts and the hottest year since records began – far from its roaring predecessor, the 2020s is hardly shaping itself as a vintage decade. But while the first four years have kept us on our toes, they have also taught us not to take our freedoms for granted.

During the early days of the pandemic, we took great pride in providing people with a level of escapism, bringing you the best virtual art galleries and even Netflix recommendations . Once restrictions were lifted, we saw our travel content become more popular than ever. We had lost the best part of a year and were hungry for adventure .

Even today, the pandemic’s ripple continues to effect our travel decisions. Travel habits have changed noticeably with once-in-a-lifetime adventures and multi-generational trips still enjoying record levels of interest. In turn, our travel content, from exclusive itineraries to in-depth guides, has gone from strength to strength.

[See also: TCS World Travel Launches Cold Plunge Private Jet Expedition]

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We now feel the time is right to bring you a newsletter dedicated to our best travel content: The Explorer. Dropping into inboxes every Monday from February 5, The Explorer will bring you the biggest and best news from the world of luxury travel, from hotel openings to trending destinations.

Our Latest in Luxury newsletter, covering watches, jewelry, private aviation and many other aspects of luxury lifestyle, will still be delivered to your inbox every Wednesday as usual. But if you would like to continue to read our latest travel content, you will have to sign up for The Explorer.

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21 of the World’s Ultimate Luxury Vacations

Sometimes the journey really is about the destination. Secluded beach bungalows, glamorous mountain retreats, inns tucked into remote unspoiled landscapes, and romantic lodges in the heart of the bush are extraordinary experiences in and of themselves. Travel + Leisure consulted with travel advisors across the world—including many from our own A-List of power agents—to find these special places: the world’s ultimate luxury escapes . These 21 properties are so spectacular that you might never want to leave your private villa—and you definitely don’t have to leave, either. Spend your days on your own private beach on a Polynesian island whose charms wooed a Hollywood legend (The Brando). Explore Chile’s prized Torres del Paine National Park from an “adventure spa” retreat right in the park itself (Tierra Patagonia). Charm your loved one at a Mexican resort where the amenities include helping you leave love messages in a bottle on the beach (Las Ventanas al Paraiso). Channel the sweeping romance of Out of Africa at the Kenyan game reserve where it was filmed (Angama Mara). And experience the Canadian wilderness firsthand from the comfort of a luxurious tented suite (Clayoquot). Even that barely covers the splendor you’ll find across the world from the Swiss Alps to the Indonesian jungle, to the private islands of the Maldives, Seychelles, and the Caribbean. Many thanks to travel experts who contributed advice, including Kristen Korey Pike, founder and CEO of KK Travel Worldwide ; Andrea Malis with Camelback Odyssey Travel ; Bobby Zur, founder of Travel Artistry ; Valerie Ann Wilson, co-owner of Valerie Wilson Travel ; Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited ; Ginny Caragol, executive director of leisure for Valerie Wilson Travel ; Kate Corey, founder of The Nomadic Souls ; Stacy H. Small, president and founder of Elite Travel International ; Jessica Maxwell with Currie & Co Travels Unlimited ; and Julie Falconer of A Lady in London .

Hollywood legend Marlon Brando bought the French Polynesian private island of Tetiaroa in the 1960s with an aim to preserve the beauty and biodiversity that he’d fallen in love with while filming Mutiny on the Bounty . Carrying on that legacy now is The Brando , a resort offering 35 luxury villas. Each lies on its own private beach with a plunge pool, outdoor dining area, and modern media room, while the property includes a spa, two restaurants, an organic garden, a tennis court, a library and cultural center, and an environmental research station. The Brando’s commitment to sustainability is one of the many reasons Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited recommends it, writing, “Not only does it hit all the marks for luxury... it is also cooling the villas with seawater and making compost from leftovers, which then fertilize the gardens. And they have a foundation on the island to protect the cultural history and future of the area—especially important in a society without a written language.”

Pikaia Lodge

Explore the Galapagos from the comfort of the luxury Pikaia Lodge , which sits atop an extinct volcano with views out across the savannah, a mountain range, and the Pacific Ocean. “One of our guests put it best when he reviewed the property by saying, ‘This place is better than Jurassic Park,’” writes Andrea Malis of Camelback Odyssey Travel . Pikaia Lodge offers land-based eco-adventure tours—choose from packages ranging from three to seven nights—that might involve traversing lava tunnels, visiting organic coffee farms, or stretching out on pristine beaches. Each package includes a yacht trip where you’ll get to hike, kayak, snorkel or otherwise enjoy the more remote islands of the Galapagos. For those nights when you’re staying at the Lodge, you can take advantage of the infinity pool, Sumaq spa, 3.5 kilometers of trails for walking, biking, and jogging. There’s also a private tortoise reserve on the property so guests have an excellent chance of spotting iconic giant tortoises during their stay.

Laucala Island

“A treasure in the South Pacific, Laucala Island, Fiji , is set amidst 3,500 acres of turquoise lagoons, powder-sand beaches and lush green mountains,” writes Kristen Korey Pike, founder and CEO of KK Travel Worldwide . Lavish villas are designed to mimic traditional Fijian homes with thatched roofs, natural materials, and private gardens lit by tiki torches—and are also updated with modern luxuries like infinity pools, personal chefs, hot tubs, and your own golf buggy for getting around the coconut-grove-dotted island. “With five dining options, a hilltop spa, an organic farm, and an 18-hole golf course, Laucala offers the ultimate in luxury for those seeking privacy and seclusion in an authentic destination,” Pike adds. Laucala offers all kinds of outdoor activities from horseback riding to kitesurfing; both Pike and Andrea Malis of Camelback Odyssey Travel recommend an excursion on the resort’s new DeepFlight Super Falcon personal submarine.

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

“This hidden gem in the Canadian Rockies gives clients the opportunity to escape in the rugged wilderness without compromising any element of luxury,” writes Andrea Malis of Camelback Odyssey Travel . “Clayoquot fills a void that Alaska does not: the soul-restoring wild of nature with five-star cuisine and exceptional ‘glamping’ accommodations.” This British Columbia resort boasts 20 luxury tents furnished with antique dressers, heirloom china, oil lamps, rich carpeting, and Thermostat-controlled propane wood stoves. Fifteen of these tents include ensuite bathrooms with heated floors and indoor/outdoor showers as well. From there, guests can customize their own adventures like river kayaking and wildlife-watching from bears to whales. There are also equestrian adventures, a zip line, clay shooting, and mountain biking, in addition to hot springs and an on-site spa.

Velaa Private Island

Founded on the vision of a “beyond luxury” hideaway, Velaa Private Island is truly an ultimate escape. Bobby Zur, founder of Travel Artistry , writes that Velaa is “truly a destination unto itself, with equal parts contemporary wow-factor, secluded natural beauty and state-of-the-art facilities.” Choose between a beachfront villa or a floating villa stretched out across the ocean, each with their own private pools and terraces. Though Velaa Private Island is tucked away in the Maldives, there are countless things to do right there at the resort, including indulging in a therapy at the spa, taking up water sports, conquering the climbing wall, reenergizing with a beach side meditation session, relaxing in the library, or sipping from the highly curated wine selection available in the tower that is Velaa’s wine cellar. Zur writes that Velaa is especially notable for having its own miniature submarine as well as the only golf academy in the Maldives, designed by Jose Maria Olazabel.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso

Las Ventanas al Paraiso is such an epic couples’ escape it has an 11-page menu of romantic amenities including an evening of cinema on the beach for two, sensory baths drawn in your suite while you’re at dinner, a carriage ride to the Los Cabos desert, cabanas with private plunge pools and Jacuzzis, butlers who will hide your love note in a bottle buried in sand for your lover to discover, couples’ cooking lessons, and “an ultra-dramatic” package involving a filmed wedding proposal screened on the beach. With all that glamour in the air, there’s hardly any reason to leave your spacious suite or villa—though you might want to venture out to learn about Mexican gastronomy through the resort’s barbacoa dinner, indulge in a one-on-one blind tasting with a tequila master, or take advantage of one of the resort’s seasonal once-in-a-lifetime experiences like embarking on a whale safari. “It all adds up to a luxury resort that tempts guests to stay on property the entire time they are there,” says Bobby Zur, founder of Travel Artistry .

Set on a 37,000-acre cattle ranch in picturesque western Montana, Paws Up is where the wilderness meets sophistication. Stay in an expansive ranch estate (featuring amenities like jetted tubs, a private deck with a hot tub, and even a vehicle to use during your stay) or go the full-on “glamping” route by booking a luxury tent with heated floors in its ensuite bathrooms and a camp butler. Bobby Zur, founder of Travel Artistry , describes Paws Up as a completely unique experience, writing that, “From the best horses, to the ultimate ‘glamping’ luxury tented suites, to every activity imaginable on the land and in the river, this is special.” And those activities really are endless. Among the pastimes available at Paws Up, there’s archery, ATV tours, horseback riding, fly fishing, hot air ballooning, geocaching, clay shooting, mountain biking, waterskiing, downhill skiing, dogsledding, sleigh rides, and more.

The Chedi Andermatt

“Tucked away in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Andermatt has always been known as a sleepy, traditional ski town,” writes Kristen Korey Pike, founder and CEO of top travel agency KK Travel Worldwide . But that has begun to change in recent years with the opening of The Chedi Andermatt . “With 105 rooms, a 9,000-square-foot spa, cigar library, walk-in cheese humidor, and personal ‘ski butlers,’” Pike adds, “the Chedi ... helped make Andermatt one of the latest and greatest ski destinations in Switzerland.” Here, the guest rooms and suites are furnished with leather chairs and wood floors with warm hearths and murals inspired by the 17th century painter Peter Paul Rubens. The property also offers a spa complete with Finnish saunas and hydrothermal baths, a ski-in living room, a courtyard ice rink, a fitness center, and access to excellent skiing, hiking, and gourmet dining.

Little Kulala

“ Little Kulala in Namibia’s Sossusvlei is the pinnacle of luxury in the desert dunes,” writes Julie Falconer of A Lady in London . “With private villas and the chance to sleep on the roof under the stars, it offers a great mix of style and comfort.” Little Kulala is composed of 11 climate-controlled thatched lodges, each boasting a plunge pool, indoor/outdoor showers, and minimalist interiors that blend in perfectly with the desert atmosphere. The wine cellar offers tastings, while dinner is served out on the dunes of Sossusvlei. Beyond the dunes, guests can take advantage of nature drives for spotting local wildlife, guided quad-biking, scorpion night walks, balloon safaris with a champagne breakfast, and horse riding safaris that culminate with cocktails at sunset.

Villa Manzu

Villa Manzu is an exclusive resort set on a peninsula on Costa Rica’s north Pacific coast and jutting out into the Gulf of Papagayo. Kate Corey, founder of The Nomadic Souls , reports that the eight suites of Villa Manzu are set into the cliffs of the peninsula, with 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean beyond. Each suite is uniquely furnished, boasting local hardwood detailing, floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious bathrooms, and walk-in closets. Villa Manzu is known for its especially solicitous staff and all-inclusive rates that calculate in all meals as well as access to the resort’s wine room, selection of cigars, and team of bartenders. Amenities also include a spa, a yoga platform, a heated infinity pool, a gym, and sports equipment as well as the resort’s three vehicles for excursions. As Corey writes, “It’s in a league of its own.”

Angama Mara

Set on the crest of a Kenyan kopje so romantic that Out of Africa was filmed there, Angama Mara is a luxury camp offering magnificent views of the Maasai Mara. It is so much a part of the landscape, says Valerie Ann Wilson, co-owner of Valerie Wilson Travel , that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see wild animals up close in the game reserve just below the crest. Each summer, elephants, buffalo, black rhinos, lions, leopards, and cheetahs hole up in this region as part of the Great Migration. Stay in tented suites outfitted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the Rift Valley with wooden decks, a butler’s lobby for discreet delivery of tea and coffee, and the option for families to connect tents. There’s also a swimming pool, fitness room, and chefs whipping up perfect safari meals whether that’s a family-style bush barbecue, cocktails and small bites, or luxe picnics out in the elements.

Ponta Dos Ganchos

“Ponta Dos Ganchos is one of the most romantic and special beach resorts in the world,” writes Stacy H. Small, president and founder of Elite Travel International . She recommends taking a helicopter from the airport to get a proper overview of the gorgeous southern Brazilian coast before checking into one of 25 bungalow-style suites . These offer private decks, ocean-view pools, over-sized showers, and in-room Jacuzzis, as well as elaborate meals served whenever and wherever you like whether that’s a beachside barbecue or a cozy beachside dinner. Small describes it as the perfect honeymoon destination , thanks to its expansive property, casual atmosphere, and a staff that “treats you like family.” Small recommends jumping on a boat with local fishermen for a champagne/oyster cruise to the local towns—or not since, as she says, “You may not even want to leave your bungalow.”

Royal Malewane

“If you’re going on safari, you can’t get better than this,” says Valerie Ann Wilson, co-owner of Valerie Wilson Travel . Royal Malewane is so close to the wild that you might walk out on your deck to find elephants drinking from your private pool. Suites boast colonial design and thatched gazebos, as well as elevated walkways to the main lodge. Meanwhile, families and large groups can create their own villa out of the luxurious rooms of the Africa House, which each feature four-poster beds, antique furniture, private decks and outdoor showers. Set on the Thornybush Private Game Reserve, game drives depart at dawn and dusk, and you can explore by vehicle or by foot if you’d like to get a little closer to the wildlife. To unwind from a day out in the bush, the Royal Malewane also offers a Safari Spa with a full menu of massage and hydrotherapy treatments, a lap pool, hot and cold African baths, and even a hair salon on its premises.

Song Saa Private Island

Song Saa —Khmer for “the sweethearts”—is a duo of islands that lie in Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago. This upscale resort connects the two islands by footbridge over a marine reserve, ultimately creating an atmosphere that Jessica Maxwell, a luxury travel advisor with Currie & Co Travels Unlimited , describes as “dreamy.” Villas are set on private beaches, in the jungle, and even hanging over the water where you can jump into the ocean from your private balcony. They all include private pools and unparalleled views; rates also include a variety of adventures such as sea kayaking, snorkeling, sunrise yoga, an in-villa movie screening, tours of the rainforest or the islands guided by a member of Song Saa’s conservation team, trips by buffalo cart to see a local farm in action, and even traditional blessings ceremonies performed by Buddhist monks at a nearby pagoda.

Fogo Island Inn

If you’re looking, Fogo Island can be found off the coast of Newfoundland. But rarely is anyone looking for this remote island whose position on the pathway of the Labrador Current brings both wildflowers and berries in verdant pastures and icebergs and frozen ponds in subarctic terrain. Those who do, says Valerie Ann Wilson of Valerie Wilson Travel , find that the passing of each season brings a vastly different experience to your stay at the Fogo Island Inn. And the inn— which Wilson describes as “an upside-down L on a cliff”—is an experience in itself with a 37-seat cinema, private library with a wood-burning fireplace, contemporary “white cube” art gallery, saunas, hot tubs, and a spacious, airy dining room with a vaulted ceiling stacked to the top with windows that feel almost like you’re floating in the ocean beyond. Through its community host program, Fogo Island Inn also matches each guest up with a member of the local community, who will dish intel on the best way to enjoy the island’s unique wilderness.

Tierra Patagonia

Set on the edge of the glorious Torres del Paine National Park—and with astounding floor-to-ceiling glass walls and walkways looking down on Lake Sarmiento— Tierra Patagonia offers a deluxe entry point to the park that has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Jessica Maxwell, a luxury travel advisor with Currie & Co Travels Unlimited , recommends the Tierra Patagonia, which describes itself as having “an adventure spa philosophy.” Daily excursions into the park are part of your stay, whether you prefer to travel by foot, bicycle, boat or on horseback. These all-inclusive rates also cover all meals, an open bar, and access to the Uma Spa and its outdoor Jacuzzi, steam bath, indoor swimming pool with jets.

Aman resorts are known for their enduring luxury and Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited recommends the Amanwana as an ultimate escape. Hidden on Indonesia’s Moyo Island, just east of Bali, the Amanwana features tented suites both in the jungle and on the island’s unspoilt beaches. Outfitted with hardwood flooring and Indonesian artwork on their walls, these air-conditioned suites also boast hardwood decks where you might see monkeys or deer run past as you look out across the ocean or jungle. Explore the local reefs and coral cays with the Amanwana dive team; hike through the jungle to cascading limestone pools; then choose from an array of relaxing therapies at Amanwana’s beachfront Jungle Cove Spa. The hotel has plenty of options for dining as well, from a romantic meal surrounded by lanterns on the beach to a bonfire barbecue with your own personal chef and butler.

Six Senses Samui

Spend your days gazing out over the pristine waters of the Gulf of Thailand from your airy villa at the Six Senses Samui . This laidback resort, recommended by Andrea Malis of Camelback Odyssey Travel , offers all you need to stay relaxed: landscaped gardens, ocean views, private pools, sun decks with loungers, outdoor showers, and butler service to make your stay just how you like it. Book a treatment at the spa where you can also arrange private hatha yoga lessons and partake in a yogic sleep program that retrains your body to find its deepest level of relaxation (and a better night’s sleep). Dine anywhere you like, whether that be in your own villa, the signature Dining on the Rocks restaurant with its fabulous ocean views, or literally anywhere else that you like with the help of the resort’s culinary team. If you must leave the resort, there are a variety of excursions to explore the island of Samui by temple tour, sunset cruise, Thai cooking classes, and more.

Necker Island

If Necker Island is luxurious enough for Sir Richard Branson, it is luxurious enough for anyone. The billionaire founder of the Virgin Group owns this private Caribbean island, which he describes as an “idyllic island paradise.” Valerie Ann Wilson of Valerie Wilson Travel agrees, recommending these Balinese-style private houses and rooms for your ultimate escape. From Lover’s Cove to Windy Point, this 74-acre island is traced with footpaths and lakes and white beaches and wildlife from tortoises to flamingoes. Swing tranquilly on a hammock along the palm-lined Turtle Beach, or venture out to the main beach for water activities, a spa treatment, or a dip in an expansive infinity pool—which also features a swim-up bar and a floating sushi restaurant manned by the island’s chefs. Dine in the extravagant Great House dining room or indulge in an ultra-romantic meal at Bali Hi Beach, surrounded by candlelight, a roaring bonfire, and a sparklingly lit lounge bed.

North Island

“Unbelievable,” writes Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited . North Island is a Seychelles getaway that teems with beauty and biodiversity. These 11 villas boast hardwood floors, textured and organic furnishings, open floor plans, decks with private pools, and direct access to the beach. Each villa comes with an electric golf buggy, perfect for exploring the island and reaching its farther-flung beaches. Take to the waters of North Island for stand-up paddling, kayaking, scuba diving and fishing, or you can head out for a full-day ocean excursion aboard the resort’s guest boats to dive among wrecked ships or explore nearby islands. Learn how to better appreciate the abundant beauty and wildlife of North Island with the Noah’s Ark conservation team, which has been working for years to rehabilitate what was once an exploited island and transform it into this paradise.

Vana Malsi Estate

One of the most striking entries on Travel + Leisure ’s It List 2015, the Vana Malsi Estate is a luxury wellness retreat spread across 21 acres of land in the Himalayas. Living spaces are simple with bamboo flooring, organic linen, and a calming atmosphere. Some of these suites are situated within the forest with enormous windows looking out into the trees, while others offer their own private treatment or meditation rooms. But with more than 50 individual treatment and consultation rooms across the property—from the Ayurveda center to the Tibetan healing center and beyond—wellness is easily accessible for everyone. Seek your own sense of inner peace at Vana Malsi Estate’s spa and salon, indulge in some aquatic therapy in the Watsu pool, or work out your stress at the gym or in one of the property’s yoga studios. Vana Malsi Estate also offers a temperature-controlled outdoor pool and a heated indoor pool for good measure.

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Reality Distortion in Travel: When Luxury Isn’t What it Seems – And How to Fix it

Colin Nagy, Skift

April 29th, 2024 at 3:26 PM EDT

Follow the writers doing good work. Support brands that are carving out unique spaces. Celebrate the poetry when you see it.

Series: On Experience

On Experience

Colin Nagy, a marketing strategist, writes this opinion column for Skift on hospitality and business travel. On Experience dissects customer-centric experiences and innovation across the luxury sector, hotels, aviation, and beyond. He also covers the convergence of conservation and hospitality.

You can read all of his writing here .

Luxury hospitality has always been image-based. But recent trends have created jarring distortions that make it hard for guests to understand reality. 

This is made worse by the surge in new properties and their marketing budgets: Great properties don’t get the attention they deserve, and others serve up superficial goods but fail to deliver.

I’ve broken down these reality distortion fields into a few main areas:

The Pervasiveness of the Age-Old Influencer Strategy:

It may seem surprising, but the 2010-era influencer strategy is alive and well. Communications teams invite people with large social followings to show up, get comped, and chomp shrimp cocktails without really caring about the brand they are aligning with. 

There is a danger in this. You want people associated with your brand who share your values. But when you cater only to the volume of followers, you’re outsourcing to hired guns who may easily show up at competitors tomorrow. 

Additionally, brands should note that the next generation of luxury consumers, Gen Z and Alpha, are not interested in hyper-stylized, performative image-making of old. Much of their social usage is deliberately de-polished, and perfect postings are increasingly seen as millennial cringe.

The Fix: Foster fewer, better relationships with creators based on shared cultural and aesthetic vision and a deep understanding of your audience. Internalize the nuances and codes of the new generations that will be spending money on your properties.

The Decline of Objective Travel Media:

I love and support great travel writing and always will. But many formerly great publications have vanished – like Departures – and many other travel publications fall victim to chasing page views. (If you see an article promising 5 ways to dress for a free upgrade, trust me, it’s not happening.)  

“Contributor network” articles in a brand name business publication are often the dirty little secret of the industry. What was once a prestigious name in publishing now houses PR friendly reviews. Thoughtful commentary on hotels (that aren’t regurgitated releases) and longer-form narrative journalism are disappearing. Good writing is in crisis. 

The Fix: Support and follow the writers, regardless of the publication, who are doing good work. Names I follow and trust: Chris Lord , Mary Holland , and Chris Wallace . 

Understand the new spheres of influence where good travel writing is happening. Much of it is occurring in bottom-up media on platforms like Substack. Publications such as Yolo Intel and Happy Hoteling provide valuable insights without the page view pressures and broken economic model of traditional media.

The Sea of Sameness in Brand Positioning and Codes:

Some of the problems with the reality distortion field in travel stem from within the industry itself. The killer is calling from inside the house! 

There is an undifferentiated mass of value propositions hiding behind images that look the same, and interiors that are rinse and repeat. Too many of these brands feel like they were created as a result of focus group PowerPoint presentations vomited into the world.

The Fix: Support brands that are carving out unique spaces. You can tell when there is still some creative or entrepreneurial soul in the mix, and the brand isn’t entirely run by number crunchers or those most concerned with scale and upside. Celebrate the poetry when you see it. 

An Obsession with Lists:

This is perhaps the most uncomfortable truth for the industry. The obsession with lists has gone too far. While it feels good for people to share on LinkedIn when their property is recognized, the sheer volume of lists, the pay-for-play behind them, and the outright bad information have reached a boiling point. 

I recently visited a property I won’t name, which placed at the top end of the American version on a prominent version of the Top 50 lists. This was not even close to a “Top 5” experience. 

Another unintended consequence of this obsession is that guests have unreasonable expectations, and frontline staff can’t live up to them. It’s possible to become crushed under the weight of these expectations.

The Fix: Ideally, there would be fewer lists. However, it seems that more credibility, objective transparency behind the criteria, and more editorial rigor are vital. Michelin has the potential to build on what it has done for restaurants with its new “key” awards for hotels.

The craft of luxury hospitality is a special one. By definition, at its best, it creates rare experiences. However, in the increasing commodification, the resulting reality distortion fields harm both consumers and the long-term health of the brands themselves. The entire ecosystem needs a few nips and tucks to avoid veering into outright deception.

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Packed with Imperial palaces, domed cathedrals and superb museum collections, the historic cities of Russia cast a seductive spell.

East Russia offers the perfect off-the-beaten-path escape, particularly for nature-lovers hoping to catch sight of the famous black bears.

The pull of its fascinating history is what draws visitors to Russia, lured by the grand architecture, modern cities, luxury hotels, bucolic countryside and the stoic pride of its people. Moscow is the economic, cultural and political powerhouse, and the capital city since the 15th century. Beginning with the famous Red Square, you run the gamut of incredible architecture masterpieces and iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Kremlin and its cathedrals have come to be the visual cue of the nation’s image, as has Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Private luxury tours will take you down pedestrianized Arbat Street with its shops, restaurants and street performers and along Tverskaya Street for some upmarket shopping. The Tretyakov Gallery – the most visited in Moscow – is the supreme spot for absorbing classical Russian art. Many visitors to Moscow also manage the Golden Ring, a route through nine ancient towns in the northeast that have managed to hold onto their 14th-century flavour. Sites here are mainly religious – UNESCO-listed cathedrals and monuments. The cities include Ivanovo, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Rostov, Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Uglich, Yaroslavl and Vladimir. St. Petersburg – founded by Peter the Great and commemorated by countless artists and writers – is a seaside paradise. It was only founded in the early 1700s – fairly young compared to some of Eurasia’s other significant cities. Thrillingly, it is Russia’s cultural heart, filled with art museums, opera houses and ballet stages. The State Hermitage Museum is the largest in the world at more than 700,000 square feet, its 120 rooms visited by one million people every year. A visit to Russia isn’t complete without a taste of the fresh air. The Russian countryside is primarily made up of rolling, treeless plains called Steppes. Four climates zones make for an interesting melange of plant and animal species, not to mention the various sporting activities: skiing in Rosa Khutor, mountain climbing in Caucasus, white-water rafting Altai Republic and hiking around Lake Baikal.

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What is your approach to planning bespoke luxury travel? Every client is looking for something unique. I like to develop a great relationship with our clients so that I am able to customize a trip to their exact preferences. It’s incredibly rewarding to plan and deliver someone's dream trip.

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If you’re considering bespoke luxury private travel to Russia, let our expert Travel Designers make your vacation truly customized from start to finish. Having spent the last three decades travelling and experiencing the best luxury offerings first-hand, Tully Luxury Travel has an exceptional understanding of Russia. We have the contacts and the relationships in place to ensure your travel needs are met – milestone celebrations, romantic dinners, private tours, dietary requirements, special room-service requests – all the details curated in step with your every wish. In Russia, our Private Travel Designers have the insider information that will elevate your experience that much more. Skip-the-line tickets for fine-art museums and the Bolshoi Ballet are easy to procure, and the grand balconies of Russia’s finest hotels are your box seats to watching this fascinating world go by. The time to start planning your next luxury vacation is now. Our private luxury travel service also allows us to secure the best amenities and VIP extras at no additional cost. That’s the Tully Difference. Talk with a Private Travel Designer and start planning your bespoke luxury Russian vacation today.

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How luxury travel in New York evolved under Fred Dixon

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LATTE - Luxury Australian Travel Trade E-news

LATTE chats exclusively with NYC Tourism + Conventions President & CEO

Go back to the e-newsletter

New York City’s luxury offering for international visitors has broadened vastly over the past 10 years, from a “very narrow segment” to a wider, more accessible market. That’s the view of  Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC Tourism + Conventions who has headed the office since 2014.

Dixon joined NYC Tourism in 2005, initially as Vice President of Tourism, so he’s witnessed firsthand the evolution of travel and all its intricacies in the Big Apple for nearly 20 years. He’ll soon be moving on to the role of President and CEO of Brand USA, commencing in that gig in mid-July. LATTE sat down with Dixon at the IPW conference this week in Los Angeles to gain insight on New York’s high-end offering for visitors.

“The notion of luxury has expanded in so many over the years,” Dixon said. “It isn’t just fine china, Egyptian thread count sheets, white-glove service and so on. It’s very much about experiences and that’s what we’ve witnessed in New York.”

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“Luxury is all about access. It’s always been about access. Can you get into something hot that’s sold out? Something exclusive… and that’s still the case.”

“The thing that we’ve seen in New York – and what’s exciting for us – is the expansion of the experiences.”

“You can now go and watch a private practice session of a basketball team – like the Brooklyn Nets. You can also pay to have one-to-one practice with a player. These unique, one-off experiences that money can now buy,” he explained.

“Yes you can do the private helicopter tours of the city and the luxury yacht experience, but one of the things to me

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that is most interesting is this notion of aspirational luxury. This ‘upgrading’ yourself. Even if you’re not a million-dollar household, a lot of folk choose to come to New York and treat themselves.”

“So does that mean upgrading to a Junior Suite, will you splurge and do a private tour of the Met or Moma where you pay to have a makeover experience with a notable hairdresser or a makeup artist?

“These kinds of things are attainable now. They’re accessible in a way that they weren’t before.”

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“The traditional scope of luxury which was a very narrow segment now is much wider and accessible to many more people. And when you have a destination like New York that is so associated with luxury…It’s diamonds, the Met Gala (which was last night), it’s glamour… everyone can have a bit of a taste of that.”

Dixon said that for NYC tourism members and partners it’s been interesting to watch the segment evolve.

“We see that as a huge opportunity, especially as our hotel product has grown, our shopping and retail and culinary product has grown, chefs’ tables are now more common than they were before and much more accessible. Yet we still maintain that allure and that draw and aspiration for the ultra-rich that are looking to come, whether it’s for health care – that’s certainly a big part of travel now as well, especially in New York.

“If you have an issue, whatever it is, if you’re looking for the best talent, the best doctors, the best science – our hotel products now cater for that as well. Whatever treatment you’re coming for, New York has the product for you.

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Equity in travel

Dixon drilled down on NYC’s strategy in broadening the visitor mindset to look outside and beyond Manhattan and making sure tourists understand the distinction between the five boroughs and their personalities.

“We’ve been committed to the notion of building equity in travel for a very long time.”

“We knew coming in that Midtown Manhattan is what you saw in every product in every brochure. Obviously, it’s the iconic – Radio City, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Empire State Building, theatre, Broadway, Times Square… but we’ve grown the product over the last 19 years deeper into the five boroughs.”

“People are exploring all parts of New York City in a way than they never were before.”

He said a program NYC Tourism + Conventions developed is assisting small businesses quickly advance their awareness, “to make sure they have an opportunity to grow in that space as well.”

“Underrepresented communities and voices are in the story and at the table now.”

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A program called Tourism Ready offers a free academy for small businesses to learn about the industry from the ground up.

“What is FIT, what is a tour operator, what does a contract look like, what is freesale, how do I get my product in front of trade in Australia?

“It’s gone a long way in educating our community and bringing them up to speed, giving them opportunities, plugging them into the system in a way that now makes product available, its promoted, and it has helped expand the destination.

“It’s made our capacity bigger, and it’s also made New York, I think, more attractive.”

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Dixon highlighted that 80% of visitors that came to New York City last year only came to NYC. They didn’t go to any other destination, due to the variety and scope of things to do and explore.”

“Now you’re seeing travellers that are coming to New York and staying in Brooklyn, and perhaps not even going into Manhattan because there is so many rich products and experiences there.”

“I’m very proud how we’ve expanded the destination. We’ve included under-represented communities, we’ve levelled the playing field in a way, made the destination even more attractive. Over 13 million international travellers will come into NYC this year. If you combined visitor arrivals to LA and Miami it still doesn’t equal New York.

“Coincidentally, it could be a cool playbook for the country,” Dixon said, maybe suggesting the strategy could be initiated under his leadership at Brand USA.

“So the luxury space is more expansive today than what it ever has been before. And I’m confident that will only continue,” Dixon concluded.

More exclusive commentary from Dixon in LATTE next week.

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Gotokuji temple near Tokyo, surrounded by many trees and bushes. A woman is walking towards the temple to enter.

10 of the best hotels in Tokyo, from charming ryokans to Japanese onsen retreats

Japan’s capital is one of the most diverse and thrilling cities on Earth — but its sheer size can make choosing a hotel daunting. Here are 10 places to stay in Tokyo to make your trip all the more memorable.

With its glinting skyscrapers, narrow alleyways, lantern-festooned temples and neon-clad arcades, Tokyo is one of the most diverse and thrilling cities on Earth — but its sheer size can make choosing a hotel daunting. Over the past decade, accommodation options have broadened to include trendy ryokans (traditional inns) and indie hotels. Because there’s no single city ‘centre’ in the Japanese capital, you’ll almost certainly have to do some travelling — likely on the efficient metro system — to see its highlights, so don’t get overly hung up on location. Instead, think about what’s more important after a day’s sightseeing: an al fresco pool or a cool in-house bar.

1. Hoshinoya Tokyo

Best for: cultural immersion Leave the city, and your shoes, behind as you step onto the tatami floors of this skyscraper ryokan. It’s a low-lit retreat of shoji screen doors and incense-scented air, with a second-floor lobby that includes a little salon for tea ceremonies. The 84 rooms are spread across the next 14 floors, with each level centred around a traditional ochanoma lounge serving teas, sake and house-made snacks. The rooms themselves are plush, with raised-platform futon beds, deep-soak tubs and jersey kimono-style pyjamas. An immense 17th-floor onsen-spa has hot spring waters pumped in from 5,000ft below the city streets, with a vaulted roof that leaves it part-open to the elements. The 10-table basement restaurant serves exquisite French-Japanese tasting menus and the in-room bento box breakfasts are highly recommended. Rooms: From ¥112,000 (£589), two-night minimum stay.

Low-lit lobby with shoji screen doors in Hoshinoya, Tokyo.

2. OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka

Best for: budgeting In a skyscraper-cluttered metropolis, a hotel with an intimate, neighbourhood vibe can be a rare thing. Yet this branch of cool, affordable chain Omo, by Hoshino Resorts, has just that, packaged up in a modern building in the northern district of Otsuka. Cleverly designed rooms make the most of every square inch, with loft-style beds suspended above tatami mat seating areas and storage space integrated into walls and stairs. There’s also a laundry room on the fifth floor, where guests can wash and dry clothes for just a few quid, and an all-day cafe that transitions from breakfast space to coffeeshop to bar as the day progresses. Sign up for a local tour with one of the dedicated ‘Omo Rangers’, who will take you around the excellent local tempura and ramen shops — or even on an Otsuka bar crawl. Rooms: From ¥16,000 (£84).

3. TRUNK (Hotel) Cat Street

Best for: loft-style cool This felt like an entirely new concept in Tokyo when it first opened in 2017: a design-forward boutique hotel with universally appealing NYC-style coolness. Seven years on, the concept has now been copied many times in the city, but it’s still hard to top the original in the shopping area of Shibuya, just off Cat Street. Its lounge, restaurants and shop attract fashionable Tokyoites as much as hotel guests, and its bedrooms come with a breezy, minimalist aesthetic. Some have balconies with hammocks while larger options, like the Dining Suite, include spaces such as a kitchen area or terrace. Don’t be surprised to see dapper couples heading for the rooftop; it’s a popular venue for city weddings. Rooms: From ¥51,774 (£273).

A balcony junior room at Trunk Hotel, with dimmed lights, a wooden interior and large double beds.

4. Palace Hotel Tokyo

Best for: royal luxury This elegant hotel in Otemachi has long been a favourite with well-heeled Tokyoites who come for the dining options and spa. It helps that it’s mere steps away from the Imperial Palace, the city’s most exclusive address, and close to the swish shops of the upmarket Ginza district. Good-sized rooms — some of them featuring balconies — overlook an expanse of moat-carved gardens. An extensive breakfast buffet has princely appeal thanks to elegant platings of grilled fish, pickled plums, rice and miso soup; if that’s not to your taste, there’s eggs benedict and croissants, too. The in-house restaurants also have the wow factor, with two Michelin-starred options: French-inspired Esterre, in partnership with Ducasse Paris, and Chinese-focused Amber Palace. Rooms: From ¥91,800 (£483).

5. ONE@Tokyo

Best for: solo travellers In the east of the city, a 10-minute walk from the Tokyo Skytree observatory tower, One@Tokyo has a high-profile pedigree for a budget hotel, having been designed by Japanese starchitect Kengo Kuma. Functional yet not austere, its communal spaces — from the open lobby to the greenery-dotted rooftop — fuse industrial metallics with warm woods and a palette of unfussy greys. With their friendly price point and compact footprint, the lead-in standard semi-double rooms are perfect for solo travellers who want a step up in comfort and privacy from one of the city’s legendary capsule hotels. Long-stay discounts apply when booking for five nights, making it a perfect base if you’re planning day trips out of the city, too. Rooms: From ¥15,000 (£79).

6. Hotel New Otani Tokyo

Best for: amenities More urban resort than hotel, this vast property — once a filming location for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice — occupies a verdant location between multiple parks in the central Chiyoda ward. The hotel is fringed by 10 acres of 400-year-old Japanese gardens and, unusually for Tokyo, also has an al fresco swimming pool. The 1,474 rooms are spread across three wings, and there are more than three-dozen dining options, plus a lounge with free nibbles and drinks for Executive House Zen guests. Rooms: From ¥36,000 (£189).

7. Shiba Park Hotel

Best for: bookworms The printed page takes centre stage from the moment you walk in to this hotel, which houses a collection of around 1,500 books. As well as a double-height atrium lined with wooden shelves of books, there’s also a fireside library lounge and book corners on every floor, each themed around different aspects of Japanese culture. The rooms are comfy, contemporary retreats in which to curl up in with a good read — and the views of Tokyo Tower, lit up like a beacon at night, aren’t half bad either. Rooms: From ¥21,870 (£115).

8. Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo

Best for: families With reasonable prices, a prime location near Shinjuku station and views out to Mount Fuji on a clear day, this option ticks a lot of boxes. Rooms are a bit bland (unless you plump for a suite with tatami mats and shoji screen doors), but for families, the spacious four-bed options more than make up for the uninspiring decor. On-site experiences such as tea ceremonies make getting a culture fix easy if you’re wrangling kids. The seventh-floor outdoor pool, 11 restaurants and laundromat also help. Rooms: From ¥35,200 (£185).

9. Hotel Groove Shinjuku, A Parkroyal Hotel

Best for: nightlife-lovers For years, Shinjuku’s red-light district Kabukicho was rather sordid, the kind of place you’d head to for late-night karaoke and beers but not for a respectable hotel. All that’s changed with this recent opening, which reflects the fun of the city’s party heart but also has style and class. Set across floors 18 to 38 in the new Tokyu Kabukicho Tower, the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the neon bustle below, as well as electric-hued carpets and the occasional pop art wall mural. On the building’s lower floors, a retro-styled arcade, cinema, live music space and food hall with regional dishes keep the entertainment flowing around the clock. Rooms: From ¥31,000 (£163).

DJ performing in a hotel lounge in Tokyo.

10. Tokyo Station Hotel

Best for: European-style elegance Opened in 1915, and set within the original 20th-century Tokyo Station, this grand hotel could have been lifted from London or Paris. Red bricks and soaring domes characterise the exterior; chandeliers, marble and button-back headboards are part of the old-world European opulence inside. Take tea in the high-ceilinged lobby lounge, ringing with live piano music and the clink of fine silverware, and end the day at the venerable Bar Oak, which serves up an array of Japanese whiskies in moody, wood-lined environs. If you’re planning to adventure beyond the capital, the location is unbeatable. Tokyo Station is the main Shinkansen (bullet train) terminal, serving popular destinations such as Kyoto and Osaka, and you can go from bed to boarding in mere minutes. Rooms: From ¥135,332 (£711).  

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More From Forbes

Luxury rvs and plush campers transform van life.

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Luxury RVs have come a long way since the early 1900s and some now have built-in garages

RVs have come a long way since they first emerged in the early 1900s, and while consumers are increasingly choosing RVs to travel, it is the luxury RV landscape that is changing the travel market. Now, adventurers can escape to the most deserted place on the planet (if accessible by road) with everything they need, from a rooftop disco to a concierge service.

What Is The History Of The RV?

The history of the RV is as old as the car, inspired possibly by the idea of the Roma caravans that traveled Europe in the 1800s. Although camping became more common from the mid 1800s onwards, it was the birth of the car that encouraged more campers and the first RV was tacked onto a car in 1904—it could sleep four adults on bunks and had lighting, an icebox and a radio.

Car owners continued to add on larger and larger contraptions, but it wasn't until 1910 that the first commercial RV, Pierce-Arrow's Touring Landau, appeared at Madison Square Garden—fitted with a chamber pot toilet, a foldable back seat that turned into a bed and a telephone to connect the driver with the passengers.

From then on, auto campers, as they were called , were rolling off several company's production lines and by the roaring twenties they were quite big—think REO’s 'Speed wagon bungalow' and Hudson-Essex’s 'Pullman Coach.'

It's a trend that grew as people began visiting National Parks more and many of the leading entrepreneurs rolling out RVs were keen users themselves—think Henry Ford and Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream, whose brand became ubiquitous in the RV world in the 1990s/2000s.

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A Pierce-Arrow motor home in October 1926.

After the Great Depression and the lean years after World War II, many RVs were used as inexpensive homes and/or cheap ways to travel. With the launch of the Winnebago in 1967 and increasing stretches of interstate highways, RVs gained a mass-market appeal.

Can RVs Be Luxury?

RVs had a similar trajectory to houses and have always followed modern technology—as something new came on the market, it was always added to a new make or model of an RV, whether that was a fridge, an oven, a microwave, garbage disposal, washers, dryers, showers or a satellite dish.

It makes sense because the reason people use RVs is because they want to travel but taking all the modern conveniences they have at home; as houses became more luxurious, so did RVs.

How Is Luxury RV Travel Different From Typical RV Travel?

One of the main differences in how luxury RVs differ from normal RV travel is in how luxury RVs are built and how they allow their residents to move around, without struggling for space. Imagine state-of-the-art technology and devices, well-designed floor plans (meaning everyone feels like they have enough space) and a sleeping area that is well-removed from other parts of the RV.

It's all about how someone feels inside too—meaning passive underfloor heating, lots of hot water, large refrigerators, walk-in showers, and handcrafted solid countertops.

Luxury RVs traditionally think about how its owners interact with the outdoors they are seeking to experience, so there's likely large panoramic windows that let travelers feel closer to nature. They might also allow off-grid living and merge sustainable-living features like off-grid energy production, LED lights, fresh water treatment, and indoor air quality purifiers. It's common for luxury RVs to come with solar panels on the roof.

Mobile connectivity is of the utmost importance too—luxury RVs will always be connected to the internet in any location, unless they choose not to be, with wifi boosters to use around the outside of the RV too. Some luxury RV owners might also pay for a monthly subscription for a concierge service to help out when travel plans go awry.

A 40' luxury RV offers the comforts of home.

What Does Luxury RV Travel Look Like?

Luxury RV travel is elegant, having everything to hand that one could want, including the ability to be able to block out everything that a traveler might not want—people, noise, light, and crowds.

Luxury RVs come with a price tag though—ranging from anywhere from $40,000 to $1 million, depending on your view of luxury—although some luxury RVs can cost much, much more. The two-storey, 732 square-feet EleMMent Palazzo Superior, for instance, is one of the most luxurious RVs available. It has adjustable sun protection that darkens the glass as necessary and a 68-foot, automated rooftop Sky Lounge with a sound system to match any night club. Only a handful exist and no one knows the exact cost, but it is estimated to be around €3 million.

Other very luxury RVs may be a little more reasonable. The $2.5 million Featherlite Vantare Platinum Plus has an in-built treadmill and gym and the $1.6 million Newell Coach p50 has a Porsche-designed interior.

What Are Luxury RV Destinations?

In the early 1900s, drivers would take their RVs to places that had everything typically associated with a holiday—a golf course, restaurants, the sea. Since the pandemic, many RV travelers now choose to spend time in places that are far from crowds, cities and amenities and clearly, luxury RV travelers have the large kitchens required to cook in and entertain.

The bigger the RV, though, the harder it might be to find somewhere to park it overnight or over several days. Lonely Planet has a list of wonderful national parks for RVs across the U.S., chosen for the quantity and quality of RV campsites within the parks but also because they offer RVs a lot of access to tour the parks on large, paved roads and where it's easy to see the park attractions from the roadside.

How Many People Participate In RV Luxury Travel?

Since the pandemic and the rise of remote working, normal RV use has exploded as it allows digital nomads to travel for bleisure. During the pandemic, there was a 16% increase in RVs shipped out to new owners across the U.S. and it's believed that 11 million households have a normal RV in the U.S.

Since Covid, luxury RV sales have also increased by a staggering 143%, as travelers effectively paid to distance themselves from large resorts and crowds of people.

Is The Number Of Luxury RV Travelers Expected To Increase?

The number of people using RVs is increasing generally across the market. According to the RV Industry Association, RV ownership has been increasing steadily for the past decade with 18-to-34-year-olds making up 22% of the market. In 2022, the median age of a first time RV buyer was 32, down from 41 just a few years earlier—a trend driven by an increase in remote working. The RV market has also been driven by babyboomers entering retirement and wanting to travel in an RV. Both of these trends suggest that the RV market is likely to increase, plus there are more places welcoming RVs now, across the U.S.

It also fits with Pinterest's Pinterest Summer 2024 Travel report where amongst a staggering one billion travel-related searches and over 10 billion travel saves between February 2023 and February 2024, the site saw searches for a 'quiet life' increasing by 530% over the same time period, underpinning a need for simplicity and calm, two other popular and increasing search terms on Pinterest.

Alex Ledsom

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Hotels Above Par - Boutique Hotels & Travel

These Are the Top Travel Trends of 2024, According to Experts

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The saying, “The only constant in life is change,” couldn’t be more true than when it comes to travel trends. Each year, the tourism industry morphs and evolves to keep up with the new desires and dreams of globetrotters worldwide. Over the last few years, the industry has seen all kinds of trends emerge, from glamping in national parks to international solo travel to wellness tourism and even voluntourism. However, 2024 is proving to be vastly different than ever before. This year, travelers are rewriting their itineraries and adding all-new destinations, travel styles, and more to their agendas. Ahead, learn more about what to expect from this year’s top travel trends with knowledge from industry experts.

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Trend 1: Less Solo Travelers

Solo traveling became popular in recent years as travelers took their vacations into their own hands. However, following a rise, the fall is already coming. “After COVID-19, there was a massive surge in solo travel throughout 2023,” Peter Strebel , President of the Americas region of RateGain (a global provider of travel and hospitality data), tells HAP. “We are now seeing couples or duos surpassing the proportion of solo travelers,” he explains. “The desire for shared experiences and connection is shaping travel preferences toward more intimate and culturally immersive journeys for couples or pairs of travelers. In fact, the trend of ‘friendcations’ is on the rise, with travelers coming from different origins to stay together at a destination.” This goes to show that people are now more interested in creating shared memories and experiences as opposed to independent ones.

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Trend 2: TV-Inspired Travel, Also Known as Set Jetting

Thanks to movies, TV, and social media, a new trend has appeared. ‘Set jetting,’ as it has come to be known, describes how people are now traveling to different locations that have been the backdrop for movies and TV shows. “In line with this trend, it is anticipated that Thailand (featured in The White Lotus season three), Malta (setting for Gladiator 2 ), the Scottish Highlands (as seen in Outlander ), South Korea (anticipated for Squid Games season two), and Greece (spotlighted in Argylle ) will emerge as prominent tourist destinations in 2024,” says Strebel.

luxury travel newsletter

Trend 3: More Last-Minute Travel

According to Willie Fernandez , Chief Marketing Officer of Rental Escapes , 2024 is proving to have an increase in last-minute travel plans. “Typically, we would see a strong percentage of guests booking six to nine months out, but that lead time is shifting, with guests looking to travel within 90 days,” he explains. The main reason for this is the flexibility of work, with remote work and flexible scheduling now found at most companies. Additionally, new online travel sites and apps have made it easier than ever to find and book last-minute accommodations, flights, and activities, often at discounted rates. 

luxury travel newsletter

Trend 4: Entertainment Traveling

This year, more people are traveling for something – such as concerts, shows, and events. (Just think about Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and how many people trekked across the world to see her perform.) “ Traveling to watch favorite artists, performers, and sports teams live has become a prominent trend in the travel industry,” says luxury travel expert Stephanie De Santi-Davis . “Whether it’s traveling across continents to catch an iconic performance or across the country to see a once-in-a-lifetime sporting event, people are seizing the opportunity to combine their passion with a bespoke travel experience.” Being able to pack an event into a trip is essentially like killing two birds with one stone.

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Trend 5: Luxury Travel

If there’s one thing we love, it’s luxury travel, and it looks like we aren’t the only ones. According to De Santi-Davis, “Luxury travel has surged in popularity as people are drawn to the allure of stunning accommodations and experiences they see showcased across social media and the internet. Travelers are motivated by the captivating content and videos they see online and seek out these experiences to make their dream vacation a reality.” What’s more, luxury travel is more accessible to people these days. 

“What was once thought of as something only the wealthy could afford, people are learning to leverage various strategies to make luxury travel accessible,” she says. “Whether it’s through credit card points, or airline and hotel loyalty programs, travelers can accumulate points to offset the cost of their vacations and experience luxury without breaking the bank.”

luxury travel newsletter

Trend 6: More Global Business Travel

Following the global pandemic, when people were unable to travel for business ( or pleasure), it makes sense that business travel has seen an uptick in recent years. In 2024 specifically, there has been an increase in global business travel bookings, with the main reason for this being the increasing interconnectedness in the global economy. As businesses work to expand their reach and tap into new markets, the need for face-to-face interactions with others can’t be ignored. And, despite advancements in technology and communication methods, it’s true that nothing quite replaces connections with those face-to-face.

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Inside Antigua’s New Adults-Only All-Inclusive Hotel, Complete With Overwater Bungalows

The highly anticipated royalton chic antigua on dickenson bay features swim-out suites, seven restaurants, beachfront pools, and a spa. , abby montanez, abby montanez's most recent stories.

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royalton chic antigua opening

A brand-new hotel in Antigua just opened its doors, and it’s not too late to book your summer getaway. 

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royalton chic antigua

“Our resort offers a fresh and contemporary take on luxury hospitality, where guests can indulge in the finer things in life while enjoying a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere,” added Pelfort. “We look forward to welcoming guests to experience all that Royalton CHIC Antigua has to offer.” 

Abigail Montanez is a staff writer at Robb Report. She has worked in both print and digital publishing for over half a decade, covering everything from real estate, entertainment, dining, travel to…

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We’re incredibly excited that destinations around the world are beginning to open up for tourism. For travelers who are ready to venture overseas soon, there are great options for this summer and autumn. We’ve been busy planning last-minute tours to destinations that are currently open, including Greece , Croatia , Egypt , Morocco , Italy , Mexico , Dubai , Turkey and Iceland . Everyone is eagerly anticipating the summer reopening of favorite destinations across Europe, such as Spain , France , England , Germany , Switzerland and Portugal . Other travelers are planning ahead for tours of Japan , Austria , Ireland , Scotland , Israel , Peru , South Africa , Thailand and the Galapagos . Contact one of our travel specialists for more information and to start planning.

private Morocco tours

Morocco is one of our most popular tour destinations at the moment. Perfect for travel any time of year, it offers incredible luxury, fascinating cultural touring, beautiful landscapes and delicious food. We love this feedback from travelers who just returned from an Artisans of Leisure tour in Morocco:

“Our trip to Morocco with Artisans of Leisure delivered what every enthusiastic traveler hopes for: a carefully crafted itinerary, exquisite accommodations and life impacting experiences delivered by a wonderful guide. You got everything right!” ~ L.O. & P.O., Greenville, SC

View our private Morocco tours , and contact us to start planning!

private France tours

France is reopening soon, and we’re excited about Airelles Chateau de Versailles, Le Grand Controle , a new luxury hotel set on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. The hotel is in a 17th-century building designed by Louis XIV’s favorite architect and features guest suites with views of the Orangery Garden, a spa, an Alain Ducasse restaurant, and exclusive after-hours access to the beautiful palace and grounds of Versailles. Le Grand Controle is sure to be one of the most in-demand hotels in France , so we recommend booking far in advance. Versailles combines perfectly with private touring elsewhere in France, including Paris, Normandy, Champagne, the Loire Valley, Provence and the Cote d’Azur. View our private France tours , and contact us to start planning a customized France tour based on your interests.

private luxury tours

We’re excited to announce that several Artisans of Leisure travel experts— Ashley Isaacs Ganz , Maria Merrill , Mike Korn and Stephanie Dosch —were named 2021 Top Travel Specialists by Conde Nast Traveler magazine! Each year, Conde Nast Traveler selects the top travel specialists in the country. According to the magazine, these are the experts who will “ pull off the impossible and spare you the logistics .” This is a wonderful honor and reflects the expertise, connections and attention to detail that our entire team is known for, including our amazing Tour Designers, our Creative team and our Operations team. Read more about our travel experts .

private Egypt tours

Egypt is one of our most in-demand family travel destinations. It’s an enduring, bucket-list favorite for travelers of all ages. We customize our private Egypt tours to include insider access to the best of the country’s iconic sites and incredible history and culture. Here are our top 10 favorite family experiences and attractions in Egypt:

  • Private touring of the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx
  • Learning hieroglyphics , making papyrus and other hands-on lessons
  • A luxury cruise on the legendary Nile River
  • Shopping in souks (markets) with an expert guide
  • Getting to know our amazing Egyptologist guides
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of ancient tombs, the Egyptian Museum and other attractions
  • Private touring in Aswan , such as visiting a local home, getting a henna tattoo and enjoying a private felucca ride
  • Special meals and favorite restaurants
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Our Egypt tours include the very best luxury Nile River cruises and a private escort Egyptologist guide throughout each tour, providing our travelers with the highest level of insight, service and personalization. View our luxury Egypt tours .

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Turkey is glorious in the summer and offers something for everyone, including incredible historical sites, excellent cuisine, and over-the-top luxury hotels such as the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul and Amanruya. A few of our favorite Turkey tours include:

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Contact one of our Turkey specialists to begin planning a trip to this beautiful, fascinating country. View our luxury Turkey tours .

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Our blog features our insider tips and experiences, travel news and inspiring ideas for future tours. Recent posts include:

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Visit our blog , and follow us on Instagram to see more of our featured articles.

private Italy tours

Everyone is ready for la dolce vita in Italy ! We can’t wait to return to the Amalfi Coast to enjoy the stunning views, luxury hotels, great restaurants and private beach clubs. We also love visiting the region's local wineries, seeing ancient ruins, hiking among hillside lemon and olive groves, and relaxing on private yacht excursions along the coast or to Capri and other islands. View our private Italy tours , and contact us to start planning your own Italian dream vacation.

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Moscow Bears softball team heading to state tournament as district champions

May 10—MOSCOW — The Moscow softball team downed the Lakeland Hawks of Rathdrum 7-1 in an Idaho Class 4A district championship game Thursday at the Moscow Community Playfields and clinched a state tournament berth.

The Bears' baseball and softball teams posed for a spontaneous photo-op with their respective district championship trophies after the game.

"We knew Lakeland wasn't going to roll over," Moscow coach Eric Kiblen said. "They're a good hitting team and we knew they were going to come out swinging the bats. They were hitting the ball hard right at people. But our defense stepped up today and bailed us out."

The Bears held the lead for most of the game, but the team had to display some patience before running away with the score at the end.

Lakeland starts ahead, Moscow bounces back

Moscow (16-10) came into the game with the expectation that Lakeland (10-14) would be strong at the plate.

The Hawks proved the Bears right — especially in the beginning.

Lakeland had no problem getting players on the basepaths, but bringing them home was another story.

The visitors left 10 runners stranded over the course of the game. The Hawks lone run was in the first inning courtesy of an RBI single from Ada Blakemore. Lakeland ended up leaving three more potential scores on base in the first.

The Bears immediately responded in their half of the frame. Junior Kaci Kiblen scored on a throwing error and senior catcher Megan Highfill had one of her four RBI for the game to bring Moscow up 2-1 through the first inning.

"I think everyone was just so excited to come out and play at the beginning," Highfill said. "And it took us those first few innings to settle down a little bit and realize, 'Hey, you got time in your count. You got time at the plate.' So we just relaxed a bit and saw those good pitches. Lakeland's a good team. You can't just hit the ball right to them."

Stodick sticks the Hawks

Highfill knocked in her second and third RBI with a two-run single in the fifth to bolster the Bears' lead to 4-1.

Moscow's ace, senior pitcher Kelly Stodick, held the Hawks' in check after the first inning. Stodick walked four batters and let up five hits for the game. She struck out four and didn't allow another run after the opening inning.

Stodick's win on Thursday gave her a record of 7-0 on the year.

Bears secure the hardware

The two players who started off the scoring for the Bears also capped it off. Kaci Kiblen and Highfill had an RBI single apiece in the bottom of the sixth inning to bring Moscow's advantage to the eventual final of 7-1.

Ella McCallie scored before her teammates courtesy of an RBI sacrifice grounder from Sadie Newlan.

Moscow's district title win added another accolade to the best two-year stretch the team has had in over a decade.

"I think it's special to see both the softball and baseball programs playing well and competing," Eric Kiblen said. "It's been a lot of years since we had some winning programs. So it's good that we're putting the programs on the map."

Last year was the breakthrough year for the team — a winning season, district championship and state tournament berth.

This year, those accolades weren't breakthroughs for the Bears. They were expectations.

Another expectation is to go down there and win some games.

Moscow has gone 5-3 in the regular season against southern Idaho opponents the last two years. It's not a question of whether the team can win against bigger-city teams, it's simply a matter of doing it when it counts in the state tournament.

"I think last year we were just super, super nervous and didn't know what to expect when we went to State," Highfill said. "And I think now, having a little bit of experience and knowing what's going to be there, we won't have as much nerves. And if we do have those nerves, we've practiced how to calm them down. Our coaches have been great with addressing pregame routines and really just calming yourself before stepping onto the field and into the box and I think that'll help us."

The Idaho Class 4A state softball tournament begins May 16 at Lake City and Coeur d'Alene high schools in Coeur d'Alene.

Lakeland 100 000 0—1 5 3

Moscow 200 023 x—7 9 1

Abigial Helmholz, Mia Kesner (6) and Payton Sterling; Kelly Stodick and Megan Highfill.

Lakeland hits — Delilah Zimmerman 2, Sterling, Kiersten Drake, Ada Blakemore.

Moscow hits — Highfill 2, Hannah Robertson 2, Kaci Kiblen 2, Stodick, Addi Branen, Ella McCallie.

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, [email protected] or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.

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