What does luxury mean to you?

Up until a few years ago I was a sucker for ‘luxury’ hotels. Back in India, I spent a small fortune checking myself into the most desirable 5-star hotels in every city I chanced to visit. I loved the opulent lighting, the super-expensive food, plush carpeting… well just about everything about such hotels. Entering one, I would be instantly transported to a different world away from the mundane, away from the ordinary humdrum of life.

All that changed a few years ago, when I noticed (with some astonishment) that the memory of that luxurious and expensive stay was as mundane as any other; there was no particular pleasure recalling that memory, and it tended to fade as any other. I could eat only so much gourmet food, and my sleep was as bad on a hotel bed as it was at home. I realized luxury did not matter much to me, and that the desire to experience it was just an impulse of the moment.

I am not saying I would not seek a comfortable way to travel or stay, just that I am done seeking to experience luxury for its own sake. The glitter does not appeal any more. I am growing older, perhaps wiser.

My quiet reading corner and my favorite couch in the bedroom are the best places in the world - customized the way I like them, these spaces comfort the body and calm the mind. I can lose myself in them.

Perhaps that is the definition of luxury.

I guess one can argue it’s some kind of luxury, but I think of what you describe more as simple comfort or coziness. I’ve never been one for luxury hotels – to me, it’s a bed and room to stay in and I feel like I’m wasting money if I’m spending more than I really need to on a room. For me, if I’m in my room during a vacation, I’m doing it wrong. There’s not a single hotel stay I can remember. (Actually, the stays I do remember are when I letted out somebody’s apartment, like via HomeAway or staying at a friend of a friend’s that’s been out of town. I like “normal” living quarters.)

But, man, the first class section on some airlines on trans-Atlantic flights look positively luxurious to me. If someone else were fronting the bill, I’m pretty sure I could get used to that kind of luxury.

My definition of luxury requires comfort, but also requires extravagance of some sort. But not everyone finds luxury intrinsically desirable. I don’t feel I ever have.

I agree with pulykamell. Nothing beats first-class air travel over an ocean compared to flying economy. Even business-class in most cases is luxurious compared to economy. Having the extra space and being pampered with alcohol and food in first-class for 12 hours can’t be beat. I can sleep soundly on a first-class seat.

As far as 5-star hotels go, I don’t care about the fancy restaurants and swimming pools so much as the spacious suite with separate sleeping areas. I can be sound asleep while my wife is watching a movie in another part of the hotel room. Compared to a regular hotel room it’s a cut above that I am sometimes willing to pay for.

Here’s a reddit comment from a few years ago that discusses some privileges of the ultra wealthy:

It was linked from this also interesting thread:

I remember reading decorating magazines where they talk about the spring/fall furniture and decoration. I realized there are people like that who change out the rugs, artwork, couches, chairs and tables to suit the season. Maybe even repaint the walls. Wonder if Martha Stewart does this?

In hotels, it’s nice to be able to get your luggage from the car to the room without going out in the rain. It’s nicer to have a bellman to take the luggage there for you. It’s nice to be able to comb my hair in front of the room mirror without having to stoop down (I’m tall.)

If I won the lottery and I could afford anything I wanted, I wouldn’t go out and get a Bugatti Veyron or some other million-dollar supercar. I can’t see myself doing that sort of over-the-top opulence. You won’t find a bar in my house with stools upholstered in whale foreskins.

Luxury, for me, is time and space. Time for myself, daydreaming, reading, drawing or simply doing nothing constructive (i.e.: surfing the web). No hurry. In a comfortable, generous place, which is mostly at my place, because that is designed for me to my taste. Nice food and drink is great too. Silence is a must, except when listening to music or having a conversation. With goldilocks lightning, neither too bright nor too dim. In an environement free of pollen and mosquitoes.
And Barça wins.

Speaking strictly hotel-wise, to be luxurious you need both aesthetics and services. By services I mostly mean room service and an on-site restaurant. If you’re beautiful but don’t have those then you’re mid-scale. If you do have them but feel like a regular hotel otherwise you’re also midscale (or worse, depending on the quality.)

I guess you also need a decently-capacious and functional room, but I’ve never run across a great-looking hotel with services that had a small room. The closest was a Hilton that used to be here in Mayfair https://goo.gl/maps/aiboCdpYA9pYQC2h9
which had a great restaurant but a room so small I could barely walk in it as a single occupant! But it was so tiny a hotel that it didn’t have room to show off aesthetically.

But aesthetics doesn’t have to be architectural looks. The most luxurious places I’ve stayed at are the Contemporary at Disney and the Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando. The latter isn’t much to look at from the outside, but when I was there they piped in tasteful trip-hop on the PA and had lots of good-looking artwork strewn around.

I don’t think I’m very much into big luxuries. I do think we’ll fly first or business class from now on, but really both Mr. Middon and I would prefer to not fly at all. And spending $100k+ on a car just seems silly. Ditto spending hundreds on shoes or handbags.

But I’m a big believer in little luxuries – those things that aren’t much more in price but make life somehow nicer. A coffeemaker with a timer function costs more than one without (I’m not at all into those single-serve pod coffeemakers), but it’s a luxury to get up in the morning to coffee all ready to pour. A dead-tree, delivered to my front door newspaper is a lot more expensive than the online version, but it’s a much better reading experience. Cloth napkins require more a bit more care than just-throw-it-away paper napkins, but they are so much nicer to use.

We have never managed 1st class, but after flying to Istanbul business class, a few years back, my wife and I have no wish to ever have to turn right at the top of the ramp again.

In general, to me “luxury” means being able to afford to hire people to do stuff I can’t or don’t want to do (as I get older, it’s more often “can’t”). Like in the thread about what I would have in a fancy big house, what I would have is servants – a cook to make very healthy but delicious means, a housekeeper to keep it clean (with whatever additional help is needed), someone to do laundry and keep my clothes spiffy. There are other servants I don’t want, like valet, chauffeur or butler. What’s even more luxurious is to be able to afford to pay these servants above what is normal, so they are the best in their field.

For travel, 1st class flight is usually luxurious, I’ve only done it a couple of times through upgrades that I didn’t have to pay for. Also some of those legendary train trips like the Orient Express – in fact, maybe it would be great to travel around the world (mostly) by luxury trains. A personal trainer at my own gym (in my big fancy house) whenever I’m at home would also be very self-indulgent. Yes, I guess I equate luxury with self-indulgence.

For me, a hydraulic lift in the garage. I’ve known a few guys with them, and it’s one of those things that strikes me as most can do without but is totally worth splurging on.

I don’t know about the veracity of the Reddit post. Their price points for various luxuries and lifestyles seem a bit arbitrary. A private show by Blink-182 costs about $750k. Certainly you don’t need to be Elon Musk. Any regular deca-millionaire could afford that. Still, it is amazing what you can do with a few magnitudes more income than regular folk.

I particularly like the reference in the other link to superyachts that have a secondary “shadow yacht” that acts as a sort of tender for jet skis and other toys.

The 10,000:1 comment is thought provoking. That $750k private Blink 182 is equivalent to $75 for a regular Joe Punchclock like me.

I like some of the ‘little’ things like:

A drawer installed in the kitchen to specifically keep doughnuts warm.

Individually wrapped ice cubes, 40 for $325

Those pills you take with food that have gold in them, so when you go to the bathroom it sparkles.

Client of mine had a custom upholstered leather cushion built into the wall above the man cave urinal. This way when he is blind drunk he can rest his head against it to pee …

Tight pussy, loose shoes and warm place to shit.

I heard that many years ago from some racist asshole who was complaining about “them damn niggroes.” It always seemed reasonable to me.

ETA: I had a quick look online before posting and I see that unfortunate line is attributed to Earl Butz.

Yeah, a good friend retired in “luxury”: built a second oceanfront home nicer than his first; doesn’t think about the price of fine art or clothes; and bought an expensive Italian sports car… in Italy.

But to do that he had to marry a rich woman and spend his whole working life making her company successful, working evenings and weekends.

I married a not-rich woman, quit my well-paying but soulless job, and just retired from a not-well-paying teaching career.

I’d bet my teacher’s pension is 1/100 what he makes from his pension/stock options. Oh, and he’s still on corporate boards and has to go to meetings and galas. BUT… I have “time for myself, daydreaming, reading, drawing or simply doing nothing constructive…”

Today, I biked to a park, stared out over a lake of sailboats while I read and drew and drank a beer, without ever checking the time or my phone. THAT is luxury.

I suppose every person is different.

What’s luxury? In pretty much any context, it’s having more than you need. For a hotel room, it’s more space, nicer fixtures, a bigger bed, a better location. For a flight, it’s more leg room, better food, a seat closer to the front of the plane (so you can get off sooner after arrival). For a car, it’s having more power, more comfortable seats, more soundproofing, a better sound system.

My wife is from Japan, so we’ve been vacationing there for years now for family and tourism reasons. During one of our earlier trips, we had a tiny hotel room with a queen-size bed. One suitcase had to go on the desk, because there wasn’t room for both on the floor. Our room was on the seventh floor, and the window looked out across a narrow alley into an office packed with salarymen (we kept our curtains closed a lot). Plenty of city noise penetrating the glass. It was memorable for being not-luxurious.

During a more recent trip, we stayed at somewhere else. Our hotel was literally on top of the train station. We had a corner room on the 50th floor with wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor windows that afforded a beautiful view of Osaka, including an epic sunset over the bay (actually over the mountains many miles on the far side of the bay, such was the view). Double-pane glass combined with the height meant virtually no city noise coming in. No other buildings in the area more than ~15 floors tall, so no worries about keeping your curtains open. Some space in the room to spread out without tripping on things. A Japanese-style bath with the same city view as the main room. It was a lovely place to unwind after a long day on your feet, and a great place to wake up in. It made for a memorable stay, and we’ve been back several times.

For earlier trips we flew economy class, but for several years now we’ve upgraded to Delta’s “Comfort Plus,” which seats you near the front of the economy class section and gives you a few extra inches of leg room. It costs a few hundred bucks extra for each of us, but feels worth it for such a long flight (we don’t bother with this on domestic flights). But we still can’t justify the extra expense of flying in first class, which costs a few thousand more each. Maybe someday…

When I travel, I only stay in suites. Unlike the OP, the actual act of staying in something much closer to an apartment than a box with a bathroom does, in fact, make the memories better because the entire experience was better. My week in Vegas was spent in a suite at the Mandarin Oriental, and I absolutely loved it. It significantly enhanced the entire experience.

Even so, I don’t classify that as true LUXURY, which I believe is the realm of the truly rich. Paying half a million dollars for a car, or 30 million dollars for a home, or wearing a million dollars worth of jewelry is, to me, true luxury because it is opulence at the level of Roman decadence.

To me, luxury is going home to visit my parents and having my mom make my favorite childhood meal. I probably only have about 5-10 years of being able to do this.

I’m willing to bet your mom’s favorite luxury is having Omar come home so she can make his favorite meal.