Stylish Journeys Around The World Worth Every Centby | August 29, 2019
You’re flying in the First Class Suite of an Airbus A380. You’re welcomed on board with a flute of Dom Pérignon and you slide the door shut for its promised privacy. Sometime after the takeoff, your cabin host makes the bed for you, and you take a shower on the plane and change into the designer pyjamas--a gift from the airline. The chef has an eight-course tasting menu, inspired by local cuisines, complemented with wines and freshly baked breads. You watch the telly in your suite and later go to the lounge to have a drink with other passengers in the First Class.
The definition of luxury has changed over the past few decades. The white glove service at a five-star hotel no longer makes a high flyer’s heart flutter with excitement. So, the travel and hospitality industry is making its experiences more intimate and transformative. No one wants to be lost in the crowd of 4.5 million posts on #LuxuryTravel, after all.
To make your journeys more authentic, more local, more socially conscious and more personal, check out this list of luxury travel experiences that are worth every penny you spend on them.
A Helicopter Tour Of The Grand Canyon (With Champagne, Of Course)
Las Vegas is intoxicating—the posh hotels, the neon signs, the high rollers’ clubs, and the rocketing stakes. But where the city ends, nature takes charge. Buckle yourself up because the other side of life, the Grand Canyon, will sober you up in a few minutes.
Some trek, some drive, but you will be hovering over the Hoover Dam, landing at the feet of the boulders at 4,000 feet, and sipping a glass of bubbly on its rim—the Grand Canyon Vegas style!
It’s a grand scheme of nature that has formed over billions of years, where the Colorado River and its tributaries have cut through layers and layers of rock. From the wraparound windows of your chopper, look down at the serpentine Lake Mead, fuelling life into the rugged landscape. The Strip also comes into view. Lost in the propelling sounds of the engine, you reflect on the stark difference, a man’s city and nature’s parish. This is the experience that you bring home with you.
Price: Starts at INR 85,000 for two people; includes transfers in a limo, refreshments and a private helicopter and guide
Book on Papillon
11 Nights, 11 Journeys At Capella Ubud
Your idea of tented accommodation will get an upgrade at Capella Ubud, Bali. Here, the luxury tents come with private saltwater pools, copper baths, and organic amenities. The views of the paddy fields and lush terraces set amidst a designed Balinese rainforest are other-worldly. Dining experiences take you to a Danish spice trader-inspired restaurant that serves locally-farmed and seasonal ingredients. Here, a campfire setup includes the screening of a silent black and white film.
Wait, that isn’t all. It also offers 11 immersive experiences, over 11 nights. From mountain biking and a Balinese spiritual healing ritual to a romantic barbeque on the deck and helicopter transfers, these varied journeys are thoughtful escapes.
Price: Starts at INR 7.8 lakhs
Book on Capella Ubud, Bali
Aman Hotels’ 22-Day Around The World Private Jet Journey
In this ultimate Phileas Fogg expedition, an Airbus ACJ 319—outfitted for 16 passengers—replaces the hot air balloon. You circle around the world in just 22 days and touchdown in nine countries, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Bhutan, India, Greece, Montenegro, and Italy. The most exclusive Aman properties become your hosts, offering a myriad of local experiences that will reintroduce the destinations to you.
The expedition routes through bustling cities of Asia to secluded islands in discrete locations and historic cities in the European continent. Get into a sumo suit and learn the technique of wrestling from a retired wrestler; go on a guided tour to see the influence of Sino-European Art Deco architecture in Shanghai; trek through the forests to reach the expansive Hanging Lake in Vinh Hy Bay; photograph the turquoise waters and limestone karst peaks of Phang Nga Bay from the skies; chant the Gayatri mantra during a hawan to align all 24 body’s chakras; watch the highs and the lows of the Aegean Sea from your beachside cabana; stay in the 16th-century museum-like intimate hotel on the Grand Canal.
Price: Starts at INR 90 lakhs per person
Book on Aman Hotels
Endangered Eight Impact Journey With &Beyond
Are you thinking of your carbon footprint and the impact of your travel on nature? Begin the dialogue of wildlife conservation at home. &Beyond’s carefully curated Small Group Journey traipses through India’s national parks (Gir, Kaziranga, and Kanha) in search of the Endangered Eight. With a wildlife expert and naturalist leading the way, you will spot the endangered species including the Royal Bengal tiger, wild buffalo, Asiatic lion, and the greater one-horned rhino.
The untamed world will crack wide open as you engage with the local communities, have a conversation on tiger conservation with author Dr Raghu Chandawat, and visit the rehabilitation centre for injured animals.
Price: Starts at INR 5.4 lakhs per person
Book on &Beyond
Barefoot Luxury At Necker Island
Former US President Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama went on a much talked about holiday in the Caribbean shortly after leaving the White House in 2017. Their location of choice? Billionaire Richard Branson’s 74-acre Necker Island.
Unspoilt white sand beaches, gleaming turquoise waters, and swaying palms—the private island in the British Virgin Islands transfixes you with its utopian setting. Add to it the endless luxuries: Balinese-style villas that open up to 360-degree views of the Caribbean; chefs that can whip up your favourite meals on any corner of the island (including on a kayak in the Beach Pool); and a plethora of activities and experiences on offer (spa, water sports, island hopping). A resort for just 34 guests, it employs about 100 people, plus a personal chef, and works with the local communities on various conservation programmes.
The island has been a playground for the world’s elite travellers including Kate Moss, Google co-founder Larry Page, and Princess Diana.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma wrecked the resort. It shut down for a year for repairs and reopened last year with two new rooms and a new Balinese-style house.
Price: Starts at INR 55 lakhs a day for the entire island and INR 3 lakhs per night for one room
Book on Necker Island
Black Tomato’s Escape To Bolivia
There is no end to the undulated, cracked, and desert-like land of the Salar de Uyuni. These polygonal salt flats are the shattered legacy of the prehistoric lakes that drifted here a long time ago, and have now evaporated. At your dome-shaped suite at the Kachi Lodge, you will fall asleep under the star-lit sky while watching the impregnable, white terrain and musing over Nature’s contrasting gifts. As the rising sun peeks inside the transparent panels of your camp, you will be reminded of the otherworldly experience that only a few come to taste.
Black Tomato starts this journey 3,640 metres above sea level, at the world’s highest capital city, La Paz. You will also go on a culinary exploration of Latin America, see the Tunupa Volcano, and enjoy private astronomy sessions on this trip.
Price: Starts at INR 5 lakhs per person (excluding flights)
Book on Black Tomato
Wonders At Swedish Lapland With Panache World
Imagine taking a soak in an outdoor Jacuzzi, surrounded by the snow, with a glass of champagne in hand. At an unexpected moment, the sky bursts in a spectrum of greens, reds, and blues—no travel experience will ever compare to this.
The phenomenon, Aurora Borealis, is unpredictable and its hunt brings intrepid travellers (all apple-cheeked and covered in layers and layers of clothes) to the freezing countries in Northern Europe. At this edge of luxury, Panache World takes you to the Swedish Lapland in the Arctic Circle. On this journey, you will meet the indigenous Sami people, enjoy a meal cooked with locally sourced ingredients from the forests and the lake, stay at a hotel made entirely out of ice, and watch the pristine snow-white landscape go by in a flash on a sledge. All eyes on the skies—at any moment, the magical dance of the Northern Lights will make this adventure in the Arctic worth braving the cold.
Price: INR 2.5 lakhs per person for seven days
Book on Panache World
Featured Image: Necker Island