“Travel Guru” Mary Gostelow – on Travel Week… and the true meaning of luxury

Last year, Mary Gostelow was handed the lifetime achievement award at ILTM Cannes. At Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, we asked her how she felt about that.

The award was an amazing honour. I knew that something was being given to me but I had absolutely no idea that I was going to be accolade in that way. Lifetime achievement generally means someone is about to go underground. But it was lovely.

This year at the Virtuoso Travel Week, especially in the keynotes, we saw important points put forward: the importance of nature and the way technology is affecting us. What do you think about these two things?

They both actually need each other. The video of a flower opening and closing would not have been possible without new technology. Nature is essential to me. The first thing I do when I arrive at my home in South-Western England after my travels is to go up in the woods behind my home; I emerge on the top of a hillside and I can’t see a single building anywhere. That is nature. But we can’t do without technology. I am advising a hotel owner who is in the soft opening stages of a beautiful new property, which unfortunately, due to government red tape, still does not have wi-fi connectivity. And that is just not possible in today’s world. So yes, we need nature but the travel world needs technology!


What’s luxury to you?

Luxury goes well beyond the simple commodities of a hotel or an aeroplane. Take the example of the new 777 jet that was unveiled here in Las Vegas. Getting on that plane, you could see that not only will it fly people from A to B, but you have the ambience of beautiful design around you. Last week I was on the new luxury train in Peru – the Belmont Andean Explorer… and it’s the best train I’ve ever been on in the world. The design is right, the bed is really comfortable; great toiletries, hot water, superb food, and the wines and any other beverages you want are all included, and lovely people. That’s luxury. There are two kinds of luxury travel. One is getting away from it all – whether that means going to the Brando or some other secluded island resort. But there are other who actually like being in an environment where they will meet interesting people who travel a lot and are always interested in learning more.

Photo : Mary Gostelow | Weekly columnist at HOTELS Magazine, Publisher of Gostelow Report market intelligence for the luxury hotel sector worldwide