Boutique Travel - November 16, 2020

Simple Luxury

By Roshan McArthur

At BoutiqueHomes, when we use the word 'luxury', we aren’t talking about homes with all the bells and whistles and some bling thrown in. We mean something a little simpler.

Traditionally, the term 'luxury' has been used to denote superior quality and pampering available in small quantities to an elite group. But in the 20th century, the idea of luxury for the masses took off. With the rise of super labels like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel, high-end products became mass-market, logo-driven brands, available at every mall.

In 2007, writer Dana Thomas penned a book entitled Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. The luxury industry, she said, “has become part of our social fabric. To achieve this, it has sacrificed its integrity, undermined its products, tarnished its history and hoodwinked its customers.” In other words, luxury really isn't very luxurious any more.

She noted that a backlash was beginning – a search for real luxury and traditional quality. She cited French shoe designer Christian Louboutin as saying, “Luxury is the possibility to stay close to your customers, and do things that you know they will love.”

Some say this backlash has been spurred on by millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000. They’re young, starting to earn big money, and have ideas about how they’d like to dispose of it. And it’s not on status symbols and bling. A 2014 survey by Harris Poll found that 78% of millennials would rather pay for an experience than for luxury goods.

So, what is luxury?

In our opinion, it’s simple. It's a combination of traditional quality and authentic experience. 

We like to leave the excess to the likes of Marie Antoinette, and the bling to the Kardashians. Instead, we find luxury in a perfectly-constructed A-frame cabin in Yosemite. We find it in a geometrical eco-cabin on Easter Island, and in the futuristic cool of a tiny Palm Springs hotel designed by John Lautner. 

Our luxury villas can be carefully restored farmhouses or characterful converted convents. The luxury is in the personal, the owner’s eye for design and the care that they take to produce the very best quality. 

When we travel, we want our senses stimulated, not over-stimulated. We don’t travel to be waited upon (although that can be fun). We travel to experience how other people see the world, to view their worlds through their eyes.

Our idea of luxury is simple – private, elegant destinations with a feeling of intimacy and inspiration. And yes, if you can make them eco-friendly, even better. In line with millennial thinking, the tourism sector has increasingly been offering opportunities based on the concept of eco-luxury. What good is your week of self-indulgence if it’s destroying the world around it?

We don’t make shoes, but we agree with Christian Louboutin. We want to get to know the owners of our properties when we stay in their homes. We want to find rentals we know our customers will love. And, like all good millennials, we value the importance of experience, creativity and individuality.

That’s true style. That's simple luxury.