What is Luxury: Can you Feel it? Can You Touch it?

I have always felt that that luxury is a state-of-mind that is enhanced by being surrounded by the most chic brick and mortar. But it can also be an experience like no other. I love staying in luxurious properties like those offered by Belmond Hotels and Resorts. But even Belmond would agree that beyond the silky soft linens and manicured gardens, there lies an intangible element of the experience that is momentary and is just as important as anything else. Bespoke personal experiences are as essential a part of the luxury experience as the physical manifestation of a gorgeous building, fine wine, spa, or delicious food.

Of course, with a positive mindset even the simplest pleasure can be perceived as luxurious. Likewise, with a critical attitude, nothing will ever be good enough or luxurious enough. But that is a discussion for another article.

During the height of the pandemic in October, I had the good fortune to visit Tahiti and stay at the exclusive Brando Resort. Then recently, I flew to the Maldives and stayed at some of the country’s most amazing island properties like Joali, The Four Seasons Kuda Hura, Four Seasons Landaa, Soneva Fushi and Gili Lankanfushi. Each delivered a level of accommodation, service and food that was luxurious and presented with an individual flair.

I also traveled with a small group to Puerto Rico to show them the things I love most about Puerto Rico. It was this juxtaposing of destinations that reminded me how relative luxury can be. One moment I was in French Polynesia or the Maldives surrounded by the most elegant furnishings in a spacious beach and overwater villa, then a few weeks later I was surrounded by a small group of Zoom Vacations in the bohemian beachside resort town of Rincon where a Zoom alum from Puerto Rico invited the entire group over for an evening of camaraderie, drinks, seafood and lobster, in his private home. “What can be more luxurious than that fabulous personal Puerto Rican hospitality?” I asked myself?

Our trip to Puerto Rico left me with memories of the people we met along the way and the way they made me feel. Both are luxury but in a different way. One I would see and touch, the other I could only feel. One thing is for sure, when we started Zoom Vacations 20 years ago we always envisioned creating experiences and creating a Zoom family. Corona may have one positive effect; the feeling that more than ever life is about relationships and appreciating the experiences we share as we travel.

For my own tastes, the concept of luxury has expanded far beyond 1000 thread count linens or the finest champagne. Perhaps it was Corona that made certain things matter more to me, but I find myself appreciating more and more:

The luxury of dining in the beautiful home of a good friend in Puerto Rico.
The luxury of a waiter showing up at the perfect time with a tray full of drinks, and the accompanying applause of our travelers.
The luxury of seamless travel in the Maldives, where seaplanes and high-speed boats coordinate with incredible precision.
The luxury of enjoying environmentally respectful, accommodations and experiences, knowing your carbon footprint is minimized.
The luxury of getting to have a real conversation (about things that matter) with staff from around the world at

It’s the personal touches and respect for the local environment and culture that are more an essential part of the luxury travel experience than ever. While these things have always been important to us at Zoom Vacations, Corona gave us all the opportunity to step back, take a break, and see with luxury travel world with fresh eyes.

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