First off, let me admit that I LOVE Luxe guides. After a bad experience in Hoi An, Vietnam last year, where we were wrongly lured by the Lonely Planet to expect a charming, un-ruined-by-tourists town and were instead faced with throngs of tourists each clutching LP (lets just say a ratio of 20 westerners to locals, most of whom were bad tailors), I vowed that I’d never buy a bloody guide book again.
So when I discovered the joys of Luxe through my father-in-law’s decorator Sahran (of Amazing Race Asia fame), I was in heaven. Its design, in my opinion, is not just attractive (no cheesy postcard pics to be had), but small enough to actually take around with you without your looking like a… dare I say… tourist. Its all about style, taste and best of all, takes you far away from the sort of crowd that like cheap beer and haggle mercilessly for naff t-shirts priced at a dollar.
Last month, my husband and I went for an all-out Luxe long weekend in Hong Kong and dilligently followed the guide’s tips. On the upside, we had a wonderfully “luxe” time, found lots of treasures we would never had found (like a ceramic factory in an obscure Kowloon warehouse where we ordered a fabulous dinner service personalized with our own design), BUT, by the end of the trip our credit card had taken a severe beating.
Having said that, Luxe does give a warning that if you’re on a budget in HK you might as well cry (or something to that effect). It makes me feel like I’m talking to a gay friend – an ultra stylish, very pinickety, rather bitchy and spoiled (but in an amusing way), and brutally frank – or as the guide’s tagline says, “frankly, brutal”.
We’re on our way to Bali next week, and you know what little green book I’ll be using.