Everyone has a different vision of luxury: some like beautiful suites in elegant hotels, with fine linens and top quality amenities; others like personal service with butlers on call 24/7; others like privacy, with no intrusions into their reverie; perhaps everyone likes good food and wine as a symbol of “the good life”.
I suppose I like, and occasionally enjoy, this kind of experience, and always feel privileged to be able to be there, but occasionally also feel that there is such a thing as “excess”! Well perhaps that’s because for me the price of “luxury” is more than I can afford : going from economy to business class on a flight often costs three or four times more, going from 4 star hotel comfort to a top class villa can cost 20 times as much!
But how much does beauty cost? What price is a magnificent view? Who can’t afford to go to a Balinese dance in a mysterious palace courtyard? Is there is price on a coral reef with crystal clear water and millions of fish? What does a walk through a traditional village cost? Apparently not enough, since the developers now have taken over to make sure our free view becomes a pay-for-the-privilege, and that piece of nature has become a piece of history as the fields are converted to concrete and the villages to villas.
Why has this happened? Sadly because of lack of education, lack of appreciation of culture and of course corruption. Everyone in the world would know if the Colleseum or for that matter the Borobudur was leveled to make a five star hotel but here we don’t even notice if an equally valuable piece of nature, or culture, or history, is converted to private profit. It’s whitewashed as “progress” but don’t believe it : luxury is every bit about nature and culture as about foisgras, champagne and butlers.
So while you are enjoying the man-made luxury that the hospitality industry does so well, also try to enjoy some of the ‘luxury’ that nature has given us: fields, forests and mountains; reefs, rivers and oceans; art and architecture.
Enjoy luxury as only Bali can provide it.
Alistair G. Speirs, OBE