You have had years of experience in real estate development and the leisure industry, what do you think is the next big luxury travel trend?
It is hard to describe the next 'big' luxury travel trend because the trend in luxury is toward smaller, more personal and more unique experiences. People with the resources want to do things that are not accessible to others. They want larger yachts to access remote places or private coves. Luxury travel will become more focused on environment with people visiting vanishing ecosystems like the forests, pristine mountain lakes, watching whales migrate and walks through meadows in bloom. Time, space and rarity are where travel is trending.
You co-founded the Odyssey Club (Now merged with Exclusive Resorts) tell us about the trend towards destination clubs?
Destination clubs are a way for people to vary their holidays in desirable destinations by staying in stylish dwellings with the feel of private residences without having to return time and again to the same time share unit or privately owned vacation home. It provides exclusivity, luxury and personalized service not available in hotels. The travel niche is likely to continue to grow.
Tell us about Alila villas?
Alila Villas is the new up-market Alila product which is carefully crafted from the design to the guest experience with careful attention to the physical and cultural environment. By integrating these elements we aim to engage the heart, mind and senses of each of our guests. We create space and time that feels private, where every moment and interaction feels intimately personal. We opened the first three Alila Villas resorts last year. Alila Villas Uluwatu and Alila Villas Soori each showcase and give access to different facets of Bali while Alila Villas Hadahaa is located on a small island in an unspoiled atoll in southern Maldives.
What is your own personal litmus test for whether a hotel is worthy of the "luxury" tag?
My personal test of luxury is the confidence of the staff in interacting with me and the unique elegance, definition and functionality of the designed space assigned to me. If it is a luxury city hotel, it must have easy access to culture and food. If it is a luxury resort, it should have access to a magnificent natural setting.