Luxperience. Sounds like the sort of experience we would love at ThisMagnificentLife. And we did. Luxperience is 4 days and 3 nights of events, thousands of meetings, countless exchanged business cards and endless cups of coffee. There might have been the occasional glass of premium bubbles too.
As an invitation only forum Luxperience brings together travel agents, luxury hoteliers, airlines, tourism bureaus and media from around the world. These are the people who influence today’s elite traveller. In its fifth year, Australia’s leading luxury and experiential travel trade exhibition featured 300 exhibitors and 450 buyers.
Experiential travel has evolved in the last few years; family travel is less kids clubs and more expedition cruises or safari camps. The well-heeled traveller is searching for experiences further off the beaten track with authentic still the buzz word. Social Responsibility is a key factor in choosing precious vacation time. From giving back and supporting destinations where locals are benefiting most or green experiences where a traveller’s impact on the environment is minimal. Travel Futurist Caroline Childs says the elite traveller wants discreet luxury – the wow factor with a balance of discretion. Also paramount – their expectations must be exceeded at every step. www.mytravelresearch.com
The Luxperience press conference featured some of the most dynamic movers and shakers in luxury travel today. Lang Walker owner of Kokomo Island Resort Fiji thought it would take one year and $10 million to create his Kokomo. Instead, it has been more like 10 years and $130 million to make his 6-star vision a reality. The resort is growing its own fruit and vegetables, it is 10 minutes to the coral reef for diving and some of the best snorkelling in Fiji can be had just off the jetty. http://www.kokomoislandfiji.com/
The environmental imperative for 21st century luxury travellers was also canvassed. Koray Edemen spoke of his Ariana Sustainable Lodge in Cappadocia that stands on a gently sloping hilltop amongst two thousand year-old caves. The property focuses on sustainability producing 22% of its own electricity, rainwater is harvested and food from the hotel’s restaurant is donated to the local community. The previous owner cannily started hot air ballooning in the region. Ariana has the most breathtaking views of this daily spectacle. www.arianalodge.com
Mark Leslie of Vomo island Fiji detailed how just after a $17 million renovation Tropical Cyclone Winston destroyed the resort. Another $17 million later, the resort is so popular (84% repeat business) it re-opened recently fully booked. With a new 5-star Kids Village and Turtle Club program school holidays are booked out a year in advance. www.vomofiji.com
Australian high-end lodges and resorts were also well represented at Luxperience with Baillie Lodges, Luxury Lodges of Australia and a newcomer Alkina Lodge. Alkina Lodge is situated just 20 minutes from the world-renown Twelve Apostles on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Each of the 4-bedroom Glen Murcutt and Wendy Lewin designed lodges are appointed with Gaggenau kitchens, Bose sound and Villeroy & Boch tubs positioned for star-gazing. (Alkina is an indigenous word for ‘the moon’).
The owner Michael Minshall said that located just 400m from the Great Ocean Walk, Alkina lives up to the Pritzker award-winning architect’s mission to ‘touch the earth lightly’ and are passively cooled and warmed. Guests can savour exclusive personal chef one-lodge only dinners by Chef Cindy Leveillee-Goulet, choose from gourmet food hampers or enjoy a pre-prepared two-course dinner with wine ready won arrival. http://www.alkinalodge.com.au
Luxperience will do it all again in 2017 at Carriageworks, Sydney from 17 to 20 September 2017. http://www.luxperience.com.au/