Thursday 7 December 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 7/12/2023

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

The Belmond Orient Express: luxury travel is back on track

Image: James Mollison

Business / Tom Webb

Slow and steady

More than 2,000 exhibitors representing 330 brands are taking part in this year’s International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), which wraps up today in Cannes at the Palais des Festivals. But there is a calmness amid the hustle and bustle – a sense of tranquility in the soft swishing of woollen coats and rolling of Rimowa cases. This in itself is the embodiment of the luxury market for 2024: slow travel.

“Luxury in 2024 will be about soaking up an experience for longer, not rushing it,” says Paul Charles, founder and CEO of global-travel consultancy The PC Agency. “Being pampered on a luxury train, spending more time in a revamped airport lounge and extending hotel check-out times,” he adds, gesturing past the packed stalls promoting charter yachts, safaris and Belmond’s growing portfolio. Slow travel is about making the most of memorable moments and younger travellers are driving this change of pace, prioritising experiences over material possessions. The luxury travel market is expected to rise in value from €1.2bn in 2023 to more than €2.8bn in the next 10 years.

Climate change is also playing a big part in the rapid expansion of hotel groups – out in force in Cannes – that are determined to grow their market share by looking to cooler climes. “Norway is here for the first time,” Alison Gilmore, portfolio director of the ILTM, tells The Monocle Minute. “Iceland has always been with us but it’s back with more property than ever.” The takeaway from Cannes? People want to travel more slowly – and the industry is getting ready to shift up a gear.

Tom Webb is Monocle’s deputy head of radio. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.


Culture / Austria

Talk of the town

After a painstaking three-and-a-half-year refurbishment, Vienna’s Wien Museum reopened its doors to visitors last night. The original 1950s building – the final work of celebrated Austrian architect Oswald Haerdtl – is now encased in new cladding and has been enlarged by two extra floors. A long open terrace offers views of the nearby baroque Church of St Charles, or Karlskirche, and the expanse of the Karlsplatz below, which is an enchanting sight this month thanks to the vast Christmas market.

Image: Lisa Rastl
Image: Lisa Rastl

The reviews are glowing: Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung has called the revamped building, by architects Ferdinand Certov and Winkler + Ruck Architekten, “a miracle”, while Austria’s own Der Standard described it as “ideal fulfilment of the image of a municipal museum”. As a bonus, the museum, including its permanent exhibition, Vienna: My History, which tells the city’s story in 1,700 objects, is free to visit. A first for an Austrian museum.

Environment / Global

Going green

Corporations and nation states taking part in Cop 28 have been trying to increase their efforts to combat climate change. Luxury conglomerate LVMH has pledged to step up its environmental initiatives, including protecting biodiversity in Brazil, supporting sustainable supply chains and investing in educational programmes. LVMH director of image and environment, Antoine Arnault, has also signed an agreement with top UAE real-estate developers, such as Chalhoub Group and Emaar Malls, to limit the effect of shopping centres on the environment. The company has pledged to improve waste management and increase its use of renewable energy. The move reflects the urgent need for private corporations to address climate change. With some 200,000 employees across 81 countries and a valuation of up to €454bn, LVMH could set the agenda for other global corporations.

Illustration: Karin Kellner

Advent gift guide / Global

Pots of gold

Looking for the perfect present this holiday season? Then let us inspire you with our Advent gift guide. Every day until Christmas, we are showcasing one item featured in our Alpino newspaper, which is out now in kiosks and on our online shop.

Pots and pans by Vermicular
Japanese brand Vermicular has been perfecting its cast iron pots and pans for more than 80 years. These pieces will endure many dinner parties to come.

Beyond the Headlines

Q&A / Martha Dalton

On the hoof

Martha Dalton is the co-founder of Never Say Die, an award-winning bourbon brand distilled in Kentucky with a British twist, and named after a legendary racehorse. Dalton sat down with Monocle to discuss the story behind the brand’s unique name and what makes her bourbon special.

Can you tell us more about the name behind the brand?
An American friend of my business associate invited us to the Kentucky Derby for their 50th birthday. While we were at the back of a bus on our way there, people were talking about how they had invested in various bourbon brands. It was on that trip to see the races that we learned about the story of a horse called Never Say Die and we were inspired to start a bourbon company with that name. We wanted to follow in the hoof steps of the horse, so we started distilling it in Kentucky with a plan to ship it to the UK.

What makes Never Say Die stand out?
In terms of tradition, this is absolutely a Kentucky straight bourbon. We make sure that it meets all of the quite stringent requirements. But what we do – which I believe makes us stand out – is that we are shipping it across the ocean in the original virgin oak barrels. The bourbon matures within those barrels and then rests further in the UK before we bottle it. This ties into our brand story but there’s also some science behind it. It is the reason why our bourbon has this beautiful colour.

How would you recommend drinking Never Say Die bourbon this holiday season?
We have come up with a winter-themed old fashioned cocktail. It includes mixing a small batch of Never Say Die with a winter syrup and two dashes of Angostura bitters. It is nice and simple and includes stuff that people probably have at home. It is a nice post-dinner drink as well.

For our full interview with Martha Dalton, tune in to the latest ‘Eureka’ episode of ‘The Entrepreneurs’ on Monocle Radio.

Image: Shutterstock

Monocle Radio / Monocle on Design

British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards

Monocle’s fashion editor, Natalie Theodosi, joins Nic Monisse in the studio for a special round-up of the 2023 Fashion Awards in London, with commentary and interviews from Carla Mercer, Julie Liu and Alice and Charlie Casely-Hayford, who discusses the legacy of his father, Joe (pictured, on right, with Charlie).


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