Luxury is personal. Jetsetters — like yourself — would know that there is always a huge demand for new hidden nooks and secluded getaways that’ll cater to our specific desires. As the managing director of The Luxury Signature, Sylvain Roullier is obviously a luxury villa guru who knows all the ins and outs of dream vacation spots. With an empire of luxury villas, spread across Koh Samui, Phuket and Bali, Sylvain tells us that each property is completed with an attentive concierge, in-villa staff and private chefs. We caught up with him recently in Bangkok to discuss his insights and experience in bespoke hospitality and luxury escapes.
How do you define luxury?
Luxury is about creating personalised services that truly cater to the needs of guests, creating a unique product and experience.
What are your must-haves when you travel?
I’m always travelling and I’m always working. So, my laptop and iPhone are a part of me. I have to be on call for my team constantly. It may sound like a dream job and it is but you have to work for your dreams too. My personal must-haves also include my Bose earphones. They cancel out all the noise so, they’re perfect on a plane, for appreciating the stunning views from our villa collection, and whenever I’m caught in a noisy environment on my travels.
the way to open your mind, to discover something new about a place and yourself, and ultimately, to relax. Even though I’m always on the move, I make sure I have enough downtime to unwind — especially if it’s one of our villas. Where you stay is a part of the travel experience, and it can actually become the pivotal point that defines how you spend your time whilst you’re away.
The best part of luxury villa stays…
are the state-of-the-art facilities, personalised services (as opposed to cookie-cutter experiences) sense of privacy, beautiful environment and incredible views.
What’s been your best luxury experience to date?
I was lucky enough to get the chance to live and work on the islands in Polynesia. I was able to explore and stay in luxury hotels located in spectacular destinations such as Bora Bora, Taha, Tikehau and Moorea.
What’s one of the ‘wow’ features at The Luxury Signature villas?
Every villa has a ‘wow’ element; otherwise, they really don’t get chosen. For instance, Villa Amarapura at Phuket has an indoor golf simulator. Whereas, Villa Katrani has its own nightclub with a DJ booth, right next to the villa tennis court. But what makes our guest generally say “wow” is the infinity pool, which offers unbelievable views of the sea and the stunning surrounds.
You travel to Phuket, Samui and Bali a lot so do you have a favourite spot?
I enjoy yachting around Phang Nga Bay in Phuket and visiting the Ang Thong National Marine Park in Koh Samui. If you love nature and a laidback artsy feel with your luxury stay, then I’d recommend Ubud in Bali, which is really creative and interesting.
What is the trend in travel in Southeast Asia?
People travel more than ever before and they want more privacy these days. They want to stay at places where friends and family can enjoy each other’s company without being bothered by other guests or strangers. It’s the main appeal of a villa rental, in comparison to luxury hotels and resorts. We often get couples renting a five-bedroom villa just for themselves because they don’t want to share the pool or other amenities with other guests.
Are the villas all about sun-kissed beaches and tropical beauty?
Actually no, we recently branched out into Japan, inviting guests to experience amazing chalets with forest and mountain views. They are situated in Niseko, which is a ski resort town famed for powdered snow. There are some great restaurants and bars there, too.
Are you exploring new destinations to add to your portfolio?
Yes, we are definitely exploring other destinations to add to our portfolio such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Vietnam is growing rapidly in terms of hospitality too, as well as the Philippines with amazing islands and white beaches. I’d like to think that I have a sense of adventure that takes me to seek out new places and amazing properties. I never lose that sense of wonder and interest in the world around me. And focusing on luxury means I get to discover innovative architecture, spectacular design and some of the region’s most special stays.