Travel Trend: Adults-Only Luxury Resort Vacations
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Travel Trend: Adults-Only Luxury Resort Vacations

These six luxury resorts all cater to grown-ups and offer serene, sophisticated diversions.

By Janet O’Grady
Thu, Jul 29, 2021 10:00amGrey Clock 3 min

THE PANDEMIC BROUGHT many families closer together, but even the tightest clans can squabble over Scrabble matches after one too many game nights. A surfeit of together-time is triggering a rise in demand for kid-free vacations, said Jack Ezon, founder of travel company Embark Beyond. Sixty-one percent of the summer trips that Embark Beyond booked this year were for adults only, compared with 48% in 2019. These grown-up escapes aren’t just for couples. Some are booked by groups of friends who want to travel together after many months of Zoom-only contact or individuals seeking solo sojourns. To help you plan your own immersion in maturity we’ve selected five resorts that offer decidedly grown-up diversions, from wining and dining to flopping down on a beach with a thick page-turner and uninterrupted nap time.

Sun, Sea, Spritz

One of the Amalfi coast’s most iconic hideaways, Il San Pietro (which welcomes ages 10 and up) is perched dramatically on a cliff edge. The rooms, carved into rocky hillsides, almost blend into the landscape, while the décor marries old-world elegance with Mediterranean chic. All 56 rooms open onto balconies with sea views. An elevator whisks guests down the cliff to the only private beach associated with a hotel in Positano. With an Aperol spritz in hand, stare at the sunset from the grand terrace. Its Michelin star Zass restaurant prepares local Mediterranean dishes like scampi tartare, with ingredients from its on-site organic gardens. From about $1150 a night, ilsanpietro.com

Big Sur’s Big Little Skies

The Post Ranch Inn stands 1,200 feet above the Pacific on the cliffs of Big Sur. Like the home at Green O, the inn’s 39 guest rooms bring to mind lavish treehouses, most built for two (no guests under age 18 allowed). The spa offers massages and private yoga and meditation classes. You can also book an astrology or shaman session. Or commune with the celestial spirits yourself by taking in the night sky—far from city lights, the hotel is a sublime place to stargaze. From approx. $1934 a night, postranchinn.com

Greek Squad

Canaves Oia Suites sit on top of a cliff on the Greek island of Santorini. A kid-free enclave (only ages 13 and up allowed) of Canaves Oia Resorts, the suites are housed in a whitewashed building facing the Santorini Caldera and the Aegean Sea. Verandas come with private pools and if you feel like mingling with the wider world, book a sailing tour or wander around the mazelike village of Oia admiring the Cycladic architecture. From about $1126 a night, canaves.com/canaves-oia-suites

A Glass Home on the Range

Dude ranches typically attract fidgety families but Montana’s Green O, a secluded part of the sprawling Paws Up Ranch, is a more grown-up approach to the great outdoors. Guests (ages 21 and up) stay in 12 sleekly modern, glass-walled homes. One of them, the Tree Haus, elevated at least 23 feet above ground, makes a sophisticated perch to spy on wildlife. Guests can indulge in spa treatments or more active pursuits, including fly-fishing and biking. From about $3787 a night, thegreeno.com

Bottle Up in Wine Country

South of France meets California at Napa Valley’s Auberge du Soleil resort, which only accepts guests age 16 and over. Sandstone-coloured buildings are set in groves of heritage olive and oak trees in the Rutherford hills, just off the winery-lined Silverado Trail. Fifty earth-tone rooms and suites offer cozy luxury, with gas fireplaces, soaking tubs and private terraces with valley or hillside views. Linger in the resort’s sculpture garden and dive into scallops and the extensive wine menu at the hotel’s Michelin-star restaurant. From approx $1690 a night, aubergeresorts.com

Well Versed

Need to shed some pandemic pounds or reboot your fitness routine? Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons resort and wellness retreat on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, offers a range of personalized packages with different goals and tools. Sensei, which only permits guests age 16 and older, was founded by Oracle tech mogul Larry Ellison (owner of 98% of Lanai), with Dr. David Agus, a prominent cancer researcher. At the spa, slow down for meditation, or self-compassion sessions. Get active snorkelling, hiking or biking. At its Sensei by Nobu restaurant, the menu includes dishes created by the celebrity chef in collaboration with its nutritionists, such as desserts using monk fruit instead of sugar. Many ingredients are from an on-island sustainable farm. If your budget is especially vital, revitalize your life with its 30-day sabbatical program. Standard room rates from approx. $882 a night, fourseasons.com/sensei



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Why Prices of the World’s Most Expensive Handbags Keep Rising

Designers are charging more for their most recognisable bags to maintain the appearance of exclusivity as the industry balloons

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Tue, Mar 5, 2024 3 min

The price of a basic Hermès Birkin handbag has jumped $1,000. This first-world problem for fashionistas is a sign that luxury brands are playing harder to get with their most sought-after products.

Hermès recently raised the cost of a basic Birkin 25-centimeter handbag in its U.S. stores by 10% to $11,400 before sales tax, according to data from luxury handbag forum PurseBop. Rarer Birkins made with exotic skins such as crocodile have jumped more than 20%. The Paris brand says it only increases prices to offset higher manufacturing costs, but this year’s increase is its largest in at least a decade.

The brand may feel under pressure to defend its reputation as the maker of the world’s most expensive handbags. The “Birkin premium”—the price difference between the Hermès bag and its closest competitor , the Chanel Classic Flap in medium—shrank from 70% in 2019 to 2% last year, according to PurseBop founder Monika Arora. Privately owned Chanel has jacked up the price of its most popular handbag by 75% since before the pandemic.

Eye-watering price increases on luxury brands’ benchmark products are a wider trend. Prada ’s Galleria bag will set shoppers back a cool $4,600—85% more than in 2019, according to the Wayback Machine internet archive. Christian Dior ’s Lady Dior bag and the Louis Vuitton Neverfull are both 45% more expensive, PurseBop data show.

With the U.S. consumer-price index up a fifth since 2019, luxury brands do need to offset higher wage and materials costs. But the inflation-beating increases are also a way to manage the challenge presented by their own success: how to maintain an aura of exclusivity at the same time as strong sales.

Luxury brands have grown enormously in recent years, helped by the Covid-19 lockdowns, when consumers had fewer outlets for spending. LVMH ’s fashion and leather goods division alone has almost doubled in size since 2019, with €42.2 billion in sales last year, equivalent to $45.8 billion at current exchange rates. Gucci, Chanel and Hermès all make more than $10 billion in sales a year. One way to avoid overexposure is to sell fewer items at much higher prices.

Many aspirational shoppers can no longer afford the handbags, but luxury brands can’t risk alienating them altogether. This may explain why labels such as Hermès and Prada have launched makeup lines and Gucci’s owner Kering is pushing deeper into eyewear. These cheaper categories can be a kind of consolation prize. They can also be sold in the tens of millions without saturating the market.

“Cosmetics are invisible—unless you catch someone applying lipstick and see the logo, you can’t tell the brand,” says Luca Solca, luxury analyst at Bernstein.

Most of the luxury industry’s growth in 2024 will come from price increases. Sales are expected to rise by 7% this year, according to Bernstein estimates, even as brands only sell 1% to 2% more stuff.

Limiting volume growth this way only works if a brand is so popular that shoppers won’t balk at climbing prices and defect to another label. Some companies may have pushed prices beyond what consumers think they are worth. Sales of Prada’s handbags rose a meagre 1% in its last quarter and the group’s cheaper sister label Miu Miu is growing faster.

Ramping up prices can invite unflattering comparisons. At more than $2,000, Burberry ’s small Lola bag is around 40% more expensive today than it was a few years ago. Luxury shoppers may decide that tried and tested styles such as Louis Vuitton’s Neverfull bag, which is now a little cheaper than the Burberry bag, are a better buy—especially as Louis Vuitton bags hold their value better in the resale market.

Aggressive price increases can also drive shoppers to secondhand websites. If a barely used Prada Galleria bag in excellent condition can be picked up for $1,500 on luxury resale website The Real Real, it is less appealing to pay three times that amount for the bag brand new.

The strategy won’t help everyone, but for the best luxury brands, stretching the price spectrum can keep the risks of growth in check.

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