The Rise of Heritage Luxury

The term ‘heritage luxury’ may appear somewhat ambiguous, yet this is more than just another idiom. In an age of rapidly changing technologies, styles and tastes, it means a return to a time when traditional craftsmanship ensured quality and value for money. It is about taking the best of the past and fusing this with modern amenities that have minimal impact on the historic integrity.  

To the historic hotel which hopes to reach a new audience, the link to its heritage is obvious. What is not so obvious is just how that heritage and the emotion that it evokes can be used to enhance the visitor’s experience. How do you ‘codify’ that heritage, to give it meaning, to give it soul?

It is not enough to expect that a potted history and a few artefacts will do the job for you; genuine heritage is about authenticity. A build upon philosophy that is handed down from father to son, from patron to patron and from master to apprentice. It is this that gives the links to the past their meaning, assures quality in the present and provides a solid foundation on which to look to the future.

To see heritage is one thing but to feel it and to sense it is a different experience entirely. Take for example, Abbotsford in the Scottish Borders, former home of Sir Walter Scott the great Scottish writer. The history of the Scottish lowlands is evident wherever one cares to look and it is easy to imagine the Reivers riding through the green rolling hills. Then there is the place itself, still largely as it would have been when Sir Walter was in residence. Finally, the cast of celebrities, former US Presidents and esteemed guests which visitors feel they become part of when they spend a night here. How could one not sense the heritage around them when they are sleeping in a room once graced by Wordsworth, Dickens or Ulysses S. Grant?

To be relevant, historic hotels must adapt to embrace the changing world around them and as such there is always a need to innovate and install modern luxuries which todays guests come to expect. When looking for heritage luxury, guests aren’t looking for total reboots however, just for the authenticity to shine through.

Some exquisite historic hotels have modernised too much, making the sense of place impossible to feel, while others have not quite reached the level of luxury that guests are willing to pay a little bit more for. Heritage luxury requires a careful balance and one we believe every hotel we feature has managed to get just right!

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