484 What is luxury? This is a question more and more people in the business of travel are pondering today as the needs of discerning travellers change and evolve along with current trends. As the founder and director of a luxury holiday villa rental company, I spend a lot of time discussing our clients’ needs with them so that they can choose the perfect holiday retreat that best suits their requirements. 18-holes private golf course at Chalet San Lorenzo. Luxury travel is no longer about taking a break in a five-star hotel with an infinity pool and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Many of our clients spend a lot of time on the road travelling for work and business, staying in generic hotels which offer a high level of comfort and all the luxury amenities, but often lack character and personality. When planning a holiday, they want to have a unique experience in a unique environment. This is why well-heeled but time-strapped clients like ours are increasingly looking for holiday properties which can offer them not only an exceptional setting but also authentic experiences. One of the pools at Villa La Borghese The new trends in luxury travel are things that money cannot buy. Here are a few: Complete privacy. Complete privacy is a high priority for many of our clients who spend a lot of time in the media spotlight. For them, the ultimate luxury escape is to retreat from the world and have a relaxing holiday in complete seclusion and with no possibility of their privacy being intruded on. Private holiday villas can offer the seclusion and privacy they require. Our luxury properties located on private islands or in remote locations are always in high demand for this reason. Many of these locations are not accessible by GPS and can only be reached by being guided by someone who knows its exact location. Silence. In a world where we are constantly assaulted by noise, silence now comes at a premium. When city dwellers look for a holiday break, they want to get away from the auditory overload of the big city and move as far away as possible from the stresses of modern life. Peace and quiet is the recipe for a relaxing holiday, with only the sound of the ocean or crickets chirping during the night as the only soundtrack. Authenticity. In a world of chain stores, chain hotels and chain restaurants, what many luxury travellers are looking for is not the familiarity of a known brand, but authenticity. A hotel suite will not do, they want to stay far off the typical tourist trail in a hillside villa on a Greek island, a traditional countryside masseria in Puglia, or a mountain farm in the Rhodope mountains of southern Bulgaria. The 10-meter in-door swimming pool at Villa Gella Priceless experiences. The owner of one of our exclusive properties in the Italian Dolomite Mountains offers his guests priceless experiences that money can’t buy. For example, he invites them to come and chop wood in the forest, or takes them mushroom hunting. It’s these simple ‘back-to-the-earth’ experiences that they appreciate most and very often have never had the opportunity to experience before. No gadgets. Thanks to laptops, smartphones and tablets we are connected and available almost 24 hours a day. Our increasingly overwired and wireless world is causing an information overload and a desire to move away from distracting gadgets. The ideal holiday is an escape from the incessant emails and text messages, where you can truly disconnect and retreat, and not be reachable at all. For more information on our luxury holiday accommodation and experiences visit us here. By Isabel Putinja, Travel Writer by Isabel PutinjaLuxury experiencesluxury holiday villasLuxury TravelPassepartout Homes.