Hedonism – I hope you enjoy it!

November 8, 2019 Nilla Spark 0 Comments

Dear john,

Do you think I should I lighten up?

I ask because I’ve just re-read some of the emails I’ve sent you, and they are a bit, well serious.

Sorry about that. I just get a bit intense about travel. Even when I’m talking about how to be blissfully happy while you’re away.

So, for this email at least, let’s have a bit of fun. Let’s talk about hedonists.

Do you consider yourself to be one?

Now before you answer, I should say that hedonists often get a bad press. Indeed, the mere mention of the word can conjure up images of Manhattan’s Studio 54 at its debauched worst (best?).

But what I am talking about here is simply someone who puts a premium upon pleasure.

Is that you? If so, then don’t feel guilty. Taking pleasure is good for you.

And has been since time immemorial.

In the original Old Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, written soon after the invention of writing, you get the following advice: “Fill your belly. Day and night make merry. Let days be full of joy. Dance and make music day and night. These things alone are the concern of men.”

And fast forward (but not too fast) we come to the ancient Greeks who actually had a school of thought dedicated to hedonism. And these chaps (and, alas, they were all chaps) elevated pleasure to the highest good – and concluded that its pursuit should be man’s sole aim.

I must say, we’ve had one or two followers of that school come to us over the years. And we’ve tried to ensure that the pleasures they’ve enjoyed have been as extraordinary as they have been exquisite.

For example, one gentleman takes his pleasure driving hypercars. The Pagani Zonda, to be precise. And when he travels with us, he likes us to have one waiting for him upon his arrival.

Now, this vehicle is no longer being made, but you’ll get a rare sighting at Sotheby’s Abu Dhabi on November 30th where it is estimated to fetch at least £3.7 million.

Suffice to say, getting our hands on one of the most sought after cars in the world was difficult – but not impossible. Likewise satisfying our client’s wish to pick up the car keys on his trips with us to first Dubai and then Auckland.

We do a similar kind of thing for a wine aficionado who travels with us. He is particularly fond of the 1982 Chateau Petrus and is fascinated to discover how its character changes from location to location. He also orders it to savour particularly memorable experiences, and on one occasion we secured 25 – 35 bottles for him to enjoy with friends whilst watching the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti.

We’ve just touched upon indulging the sensations of speed and taste – and how much pleasure they can bring. Now for the sense of smell:

One female client loved the scent of the roses that grew in a part of Morocco so much that her husband asked us to secretly arrange for a perfumer to create a one-off scent for her. (She was so enchanted, he bought the field upon which the roses grow, so she and she alone would have that perfume.)

Can you see a pattern forming here? We find the things that bring our clients joy, and then we enhance those experiences to the nth degree.

For example, the tennis nut who gets on the court one morning whilst away, and finds Rafael Nadal on the other side of the net.

Or the couple whose passion is cycling who hit the road in Colombia with Tour de France Champion, Egan Bernal, leading the way.

In short, our clients don’t necessarily find pleasure in “things”, but in “experiences”. And the hedonistic buzz comes simply from having that experience accentuated beyond reasonable expectation.

Of course, for some people that buzz comes from sharing the pleasurable experience with others. And this is what brought joy to a couple who were visiting South Africa with us. Of all the things, places and people they wanted to see whilst there, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was their priority.

So they were doubly delighted when first we arranged an audience with the great man – and then gave them the opportunity to contribute to his charitable Foundation.

Now you can’t get much further away from Studio 45 in the early 1980s than that, can you!

Indeed, I hope I’ve rescued hedonism from the vulgar, self indulgence with which it is often bracketed.

I also hope, I’ve set you thinking about what gives you pleasure – and how we might be able to help you achieve it next time you travel.

If so, please let me know by calling +44 203 358 0110 or email me on philippe.brown@brownandhudson.com

It’ll be my pleasure to hear from you.

All the best

Philippe Brown