Lockdown luxuries and the future of travel
As we look tentatively to a post-lockdown Blighty, we ponder how COVID-19 has changed our perception of luxury, and how we'll travel in post-Coronavirus times.
Luxury has become such a hackneyed term in the travel industry that we're somewhat loathe to use it at Crabtree & Crabtree. It's not just that it's over-used (luxury loo roll anyone?) and has become synonymous with excessive wealth or expense, but that everyone's definition of luxury is different.
One person's luxury might be a weekend spent in blissful rural isolation, with no sounds other than birdsong and the lowing of cows to keep them company, while another's luxury might be the very antithesis: a vibrant city buzzing with shops, bars and restaurants and a contemporary pied à terre from which to explore it all.
Over recent weeks, as the bizarre bubble of lockdown life has become our new normal, our perceptions of luxury have changed dramatically. Everyday activities such as chatting with friends at the school gates, going to a yoga class and afternoons at the playground have become forbidden fruit. For the vulnerable amongst us who are facing isolation alone, the greatest and most unattainable luxury of all has become the reassuring touch of a fellow human being.
In a world where a hug from a loved one has become the height of luxury, we have been compelled to reassess our perception of "essential", and are all likely to emerge from lockdown with a new set of priorities. What we're noticing here at C&C is a shift in our way of thinking that's taken us from "Where shall we travel to once this is all over?" to "Why do we want to travel?"
As we've lurched from the highs to the lows of lockdown's emotional "coronacoaster", we've learned that what we really seek from our holidays is quality time spent with our extended family and friends, staying healthy and indulging in the small pleasures we now recognise to be luxuries. A secluded exclusive-use house with all the service and facilities of a hotel, easily accessible by car or train, sounds rather perfect.
Fortunately, seeking out such tucked-away and - dare we say it - luxurious properties is precisely what Crabtree & Crabtree does best. And, while it's no secret that we believe that the expansive beaches, lush wildflower meadows, shaded woodlands, spectacular castles and buzzing towns of Northumberland, the Scottish Borders and East Lothian are amongst the finest on the planet, we're no longer suggesting you come here for the natural beauty that is our doorstep.
We invite you instead to revel in life's simple pleasures: a safe, comfortable and beautiful home (that you don't have to clean), with enough space, nooks, crannies and toys for all your family to roam freely, both indoors and outdoors. Home delivery of delicious local foods - without having to place an online order at precisely 3.21am to bag a slot one month later with more "substitutes" than items you actually wanted. And the provision of carefully vetted staff to alleviate all the lockdown drudgery of cleaning and cooking, as well as qualified nannies, fitness instructors, beauticians, photographers and dog sitters should you wish for them.
We can't tell you whether the current trends for baking bread, growing vegetables and eschewing materialism will continue in a post-lockdown world, or whether packed commercial flights and a day at the races will be things of the past. But we can tell you exactly where to find the perfect home for your long-overdue reunion with family and friends, complete with as much pasta and loo roll as you could possibly need.