When barefoot is best
Wednesday 22 Aug 2018
It’s no longer simple to define the concept of luxury. There are as many varying interpretations of it as there are travellers. But for those who are looking for a simpler experience (without sacrificing service), barefoot luxury is the way to go.
Many modern travellers eschew the traditional trappings of luxury – marble bathrooms, white tablecloths and gloved butlers. This rigid formality has made way for a more relaxed sense of indulgence, creating properties where guests can switch off (literally and figuratively) and immerse themselves in the experience. At the same time, barefoot luxury offers high standards and exceptional quality – just not as we know it.
Barefoot luxury is strongly aligned with the push for sustainability and eco-friendly travel. Sustainability has become fashionable in its own right and savvy travellers know that it doesn’t mean going back to basics or sacrificing any comforts. The ideal new luxury resort is low impact on the environment but high impact on style, facilities and service.
Travellers can indulge themselves guilt free, knowing that they are minimising their impact on the destination while still enjoying a five-star experience. Barefoot luxury properties are helping to redefine how we think about high-end travel and encouraging guests to place real value on the world around them.
qualia opened its doors on Hamilton Island just over 10 years ago, redefining the concept of barefoot luxury for Australian resorts. A decade later, the six-star still at the forefront of the movement. It brings a distinctly Australian sensibility to the luxury hotel experience, a place where boardshorts are more appropriate than a suit.
It can be seen in the rise of genuinely five-star (and beyond) glamping properties, where a tent is more uniquely luxurious than a bricks and mortar hotel. Companies like Shinta Mani in Cambodia, The Ultimate Travelling Camp in India and Tasmania’s Truffle Lodge have changed how people think about sleeping under canvas.
It’s a trend that still evolving, as the mood of informality stretches from the accommodations to the service. “I believe the future of service will be based in informality. It has to be more relaxed, more instantaneous, more of a real-life contact with people,” said Dominic Gorham, guest relation manager at Oslo’s modern luxury hotel The Thief. “In luxury hospitality, informal does not mean thoughtless and when used correctly I believe informality actually plays an important role in cultivating a luxury experience,” explains Xavier Lablaude, general manager at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. It’s about creating a sense of family, of belonging and of welcoming that goes beyond the traditional staff-guest relationship.
PC: Bedarra Resort