What is Luxury Travel all about these days?

Statistics show that with a 48 percent increase in the last five years, luxury travel has grown twice as fast as all other types of foreign trips, which grew by 24 percent. According to the IPK International's World Travel Monitor® a total of 172 billion euros was spent on international luxury travel in 2014. This means that for foreign travel every eighth euro was spent on luxury products. In Europe, most luxury trips are undertaken by the British, with 1.5 million, ahead of the French and the Germans.

Astrid Oberhummer has been working in the luxury travel segment for over 25 years. She is a true expert and owner of Germanys number one luxury travel consultancy Lobster Experience. She comments for Cityroom.com: "Many travelers define luxury totally different today. There has been a paradigm change in established luxury markets, moving from the so-called 'bling-bling' to once in a lifetime experiences including important modern values such as self–discovery, simplicity, authenticity and slow movements combined with the highest levels of comfort and individual services. The era of an opulent demonstration of wealth has definitely passed.

Lobster Experience ranked top five criteria of luxury travelers:

1. Special and emotional experiences

For example: Balloons over Bagan in Myanmar

A Balloon over Bagan adventure starts with a journey in a romantic vintage bus to one of the dedicated launch sites. The growing light reveals a dedicated team busy at work preparing the balloon against the backdrop of ancient temples shrouded in mist. There is time for tea, coffee and refreshments before the all-important safety briefing. With the balloons standing upright, it is then time to climb on board. The balloon is guided by gentle winds not exceeding 15 mph, allowing passengers a serene and peaceful bird's-eye view of ancient temples drifting by. The friendly and experienced Balloons over Bagan team welcomes passengers after a gentle landing with fruits, fresh pastries and a glass of champagne to complete the post flight celebration. A highlight of this unique premium service is a guided interactive tour around the balloon during inflation from the pilot just prior take off. A special parting gift provides a lasting memory of this special experience.

2. Top Service

For example: Losinj Hotels & Villas/Villa Hortensia in Croatia

Available for exclusive hire, the elegant Villa Hortensia of the luxury hotel group Lošinj Hotels & Villas is nestled in the magnificent ?ikat Bay on the unspoiled Croatian island Lošinj – a must-visit destination for discerning travelers looking for an idyllic scenery, tranquility, comfort, delicious food, superb weather, warm crystal-clear sea and an incomparable holiday experience. Beautifully restored to its former glory, this lavish retreat offers guests ten ensuite bedrooms with a unique flair and an outstanding and supreme service, including a private concierge, chef and butler, tailor-made excursions and sightseeing tours, as well as private airport transfers. Villa Hortensia is surrounded by a gorgeous garden with a sunbathing area and outdoor swimming pool with heated seawater.

3. Food experiences

For example: Babylonstoren in South Africa

Babylonstoren, named after the small hill on the farm, dates back to 1692 and is located just 60kms from Cape Town in the Groot Drakenstein Valley in South Africa. The 8-acre formal French kitchen garden at Babylonstoren, inspired by Cape Town's famous 17th-century Company Gardens of the Dutch East India Company, is the central focus of the farm. Today, cultivation of the freshest fruit, herbs and vegetables is paramount and the menu at the farm's restaurant, Babel, is driven by the seasons and what nature dictates. With over 300 fruits, vegetables and herbs to choose from, there is always something fresh and surprising. Overlooking the vineyards and garden with the historic farm buildings forming a backdrop, Babylonstoren's 12 country guest suites echo Cape Dutch farm buildings.

4. Unique Location

For example: Dunton Hot Springs in USA

Dunton Hot Springs is a small and exclusive resort nestled deep in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies, not far away from Telluride. This adoring and perfectly restored ghost town offers twelve log cabins exquisitely furnished, an old saloon serving food of best local and regional ingredients, sensuous hot springs beneath a star-studded sky and a perfect network of hiking and mountain bike trails accompanied by a wild and romantic scenery, nearby rivers, tumbling waterfalls and shimmering snow banks. Free of cell phones Dunton Hot Springs still provides high speed wireless internet but most of all gentle tranquility. It's the perfect place to experience stunning nature and wilderness without sacrificing modern comforts.

5. Unusual Designs

For example: Almdorf Seinerzeit in Austria

The exclusive Carinthian hotel village Almdorf Seinerzeit is a combination of traditional cottages, unique chalets and rustic inns, an Alm Spa that is matched to the seasons, a bathhouse and natural ponds, and the host's special service. All cabins were built by centuries-old tradition with only natural materials which give them their unique design and authentic style. When you arrive at the sunny plateau, a deep inner peace will become stronger as the view sweeps across the beautiful valley and what is essential becomes visible – the daily ballast loses weight and a certain lightness spreads.

March 13, 2017 Living photo: Balloons over Myanmar

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