At BoutiqueHomes, when we use the word 'luxury', we aren’t talking about homes with every conceivable convenience and a conspicuous display of wealth. We mean something a little simpler.
Traditionally, the term luxury was used to denote superior quality available in small quantities. Then, in the 20th century, the idea of mass-market luxury took off. With the rise of super labels like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel, high-end products became logo-driven brands, available at every mall.
In 2007, writer Dana Thomas penned a book entitled Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. The luxury industry, she said, “has become part of our social fabric. To achieve this, it has sacrificed its integrity, undermined its products, tarnished its history and hoodwinked its customers.” In other words, the idea of luxury really isn't all that luxurious any more. It's ubiquitous.
Thomas noted that a backlash was beginning—a search for real luxury and traditional quality. She cited French shoe designer Christian Louboutin as saying, “Luxury is the possibility to stay close to your customers, and do things that you know they will love.”
Some say this backlash has been spurred on by millennials. They’re young, starting to earn big money, and have ideas about how they’d like to dispose of it. And it’s not necessarily on status symbols. A 2014 survey by Harris Poll found that 78 percent of millennials would rather pay for an experience than for so-called luxury goods.
So, what is luxury?
In our opinion, it’s simple. It's a combination of the traditional quality of ateliers and the authentic experience sought by millennials.
We find luxury in a perfectly-constructed A-frame cabin in Yosemite. We find it in a geometrical eco-cabin in Colorado, and in the futuristic cool of a tiny Palm Springs hotel designed by John Lautner.
Our luxury villas can be carefully restored farmhouses or characterfully converted convents. The luxury is in the personal, the owner’s eye for design and the care that they take to produce the highest quality.
When we travel, we want our senses stimulated, not over-stimulated. We don’t travel to be waited upon (although that has its moments). We travel to experience how other people see the world, to view their worlds through their eyes.
Our idea of luxury is simple—elegant destinations with a feeling of intimacy and inspiration. And if you can make them eco-friendly, even better. In line with millennial thinking, the tourism sector is increasingly offering travel based on the concept of eco-luxury. What good is your week of self-indulgence if it’s destroying the world around it?
We don’t make shoes, but we agree with Christian Louboutin. We want to get to know the owners of our properties when we stay in their homes. And, like all good millennials, we value the importance of experience, creativity and individuality.
That’s true style. That's simple luxury.