'Luxury' boutique hotel

What’s your idea of luxury?

A hotel suite with big fluffy towels, a dedicated butler and a private infinity pool?  Or is it a few moments alone in the quiet, with a good book and a bar of chocolate?  Or maybe someone else offering to do the washing up?

We probably all have out own idea and it will change with our circumstances, but it will be a moment of pleasure, of something out of the ordinary that makes us feel pampered, something enjoyable that is not essential.  But if we get used to it, its status as luxurious may tarnish and it may be demoted to the ordinary.

I vividly recall the first time I travelled in business class on a trans-atlantic flight.  As I was rolling up my coat to put it in the overhead locker a crew member rushed over and offered to hang it in the wardrobe for me.  My profuse thanks clearly amused her.  By the time I had been furnished with a newspaper, a glass of champagne and a hot towel I was nearly beside myself with the enjoyment of it all, before they’d even done the safety briefing.

After six monthly trips to Newark I had become so habituated to the pre flight routine that if my coat wasn’t taken from me within a few moments of arriving at my seat I would be standing, sometimes rather impatiently, holding it out hanging from one finger, willing someone to come and relieve me of it.

One woman’s luxury might be another’s torture.  Sleeping in a hotel bed with crisp white sheets, ironed and straightened by someone else, might be my idea of heaven, but you may prefer the comfort of your own bed.  I might like a long leisurely cup of coffee in the morning, you might be antsy if  you can’t get up and out straight away.

What started me thinking about this word was reading a billboard advertising the building of yet more ‘luxury apartments’.  Does anyone build flats that aren’t ‘luxury’ these days?  And why do we use ‘luxury’ as the adjective, rather than ‘luxurious’?

The dictionary offers the definition ‘choice or costly food, dress, furniture, etc; things that one enjoys, thing desirable for comfort or enjoyment but not indispensable; comfortable and expensive.’

‘Expensive’ being the key, I suspect, to all those ‘luxury flats’!

Our own definition may rely mainly, on what, for us, is our scarce resource at any given time.  When I had little money, an extra little comfort I didn’t have to pay for was something to luxuriate in; when I was working, a morning when I didn’t have to get dressed up to be somewhere on time, was the ultimate self indulgence.

It’s not an objective standard, then; and today I’ll try to think of everything as just that little bit enjoyable.

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