Caca Palopa, Guatemala (Photo Al Argueta)

Casa Palopo, Guatemala (Photo Al Argueta)

Marketing guru and all-around smart guy Seth Godin has a great concise post on his blog about “luxury” vs. “premium.”

Luxury goods are needlessly expensive. By needlessly, I mean that the price is not related to performance. The price is related to scarcity, brand and storytelling.

Premium goods, on the other hand, are expensive variants of commodity goods. Pay more, get more.

We decided to call our site “Luxury Latin America” because it conveys the right feeling and it’s easy to understand in different cultures and contexts. Premium just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Sounds like something from a gas station.

But we talk a lot more about value in our honest hotel and tour reviews because we refuse to believe that luxury implies “overpriced.” In some cases yes, and we’ll say so, but in many other cases the guests would say the experience was worth every penny. Plus a hotel may be a commodity at the business chain level and many tours of Costa Rica or Patagonia could be considered commodities since they are so similar, this is certainly not the case at the true 5-star level.

So that’s why we leave out many hotels that Travel + Leisure would go all ga-ga over because we don’t have to care how it looks in a fold-out photo spread. We care more about how you’ll be treated by the staff and whether the amenities will exceed your expectations. Part of the reason we focus on Latin America is because overall, the hotels and tours are a great value, even at the very top end. When it is clear to us that guests feel like they are being ripped off, we’ll either leave that option out or—when it’s a prominent hotel that needs to be in here—we’ll note that the rates don’t necessarily reflect what you get for your money.

Some of the Brazil luxury hotel reviews we just posted fit into the latter case. Many would say the Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu does as well. Overall though, in each feature story or review we try to answer the question, “Will you get your money’s worth by booking with this company?” We’re not about the travel equivalent of a $50,000 handbag. We’re the travel equivalent of the custom-made suit.