As the editorial and creative director of a Canadian men’s magazine, Michael LaFave puts in long days at the office and finds it hard to get away. But when he can, he opts for exotic locales, and he isn’t afraid to spend to ensure an exceptional experience.
As it turns out, he’s not alone. “A lot of guys who make big money in business take very little vacation,” says John DiScala, founder and editor-in-chief of JohnnyJet.com, a travel website based in Los Angeles. “They’re workaholics, but when they do go on vacation, it’s no holds barred.”
The numbers back him up. According to a World Tourism Association report released last summer, male travellers spent $1.2-billion in local economies in 2013.
In response, an increasing number of hotels are adding luxury services specifically designed for men to their offerings. Among them is the recently refurbished five-star Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, centrally located in the Austrian capital.
Originally built for the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873, the modernized hotel has a glassed-in cigar lounge where guests can purchase and smoke a variety of stogies – from Bolivar to Partagas – savour aromatic cognacs and rare whiskies, and listen to vintage rock ’n’ roll while reclining on jewel-toned velvet sofas. In short, it’s the ultimate man cave.
In England, The American Bar at The Stafford, one of London’s premiere hotels, offers a man-focused menu: It’s Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea features slow-cooked sirloin and mini wagu burgers in place of cakes and tea sandwiches. The tea itself is supplanted by draft beer, artisanal gins and micro-brewed scotches that arrive on a trolley. The cost is roughly $72 a person and the cigars at the end of the meal are extra.
The trend to pampering the male is also driving business at a number of international spas at properties such as Italy’s Waldorf Rome Cavalieri, Coworth Park Hotel in Ascot, Eng., and the Hotel Le Meurice in Paris, which have added men’s services from back treatments to anti-fatigue facials to their menus.
Luggage makers, too, are catering to male travels who are on the hunt for a singular experience. Take Rimowa, who enlisted artist Neville Wakefield to design a $7,500 limited-edition polished aluminum suitcase for the brand. Durable high-end luggage is nothing new, but the Wakefield case offer travellers something else, too: cachet. “People are always looking for something that distinguishes them from the crowd,” says Wakefield, formerly the senior curatorial adviser for the MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York City. “And with only 40 sets in existence in the world, you can be pretty confident that you won’t ever be seeing another one on the luggage carousel.”
Among LaFave’s favourite indulgences when he travels is landing at the Frankfurt airport, where an entire terminal has been created for the exclusive use of its primo flyers. The Lufthansa First Class Terminal offers fine dining, a rest area with leather daybeds, a cigar lounge, sandstone and white marble bathrooms with monsoon showers, and chauffeured limousine service directly to the aircraft. “I think the car is a Porsche,” says LaFave. “It’s definitely the way to travel.”
This Internet-connected luggage from Bluesmart in Silicon Valley will appeal to fans of James Bond. It features a digital lock that can controlled from the owner’s phone, a battery charger, a location tracker and even a built-in scale. (And it’s good-looking, too.) From $500 through www.bluesmart.com. (Coming in August; discounted pre-orders available from $299.)
Prada Nylon Double-Buckle Backpack
This sophisticated knapsack lets the jet-setting man go hands-free. It comes with a top carry handle, adjustable back shoulder straps and front zip pockets, and the double-buckle flap secures a drawcord top, making it as practical and secure as it is stylish. $1,030 at Holt Renfrew (www.holtrenfrew.com).
Globetrotters will appreciate the latest tech toy from Apple. With up to 18 hours of battery life, the watch automatically adjusts to local time, and enables its wearer to pay for hotel rooms, check in and even gain room entry at participating properties. (It also functions as a boarding pass and can be used with the Uber app to secure a taxi.) From $349 at Apple stores (www.apple.com) starting April 24.
The HyBridge Lite Hoody
The slim-fitting, down-insulated HyBridge Lite Hoody from Canada Goose’s newly launched spring collection weighs less than a pound and is compact enough to be rolled into a pillow during long flights. $550 at retailers across Canada (see www.canadagoose.com for locations.)
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