If it’s bling you’re after this experience will deliver in spades. The aptly named Want the World experience will set you back a cool A$665,000, and see you arrive in Las Vegas via private jet where your presidential suite at the Venetian Resort awaits. Along with a private butler and fully stocked bar, you’ll also find a magnum of Moët & Chandon encrusted in red Swarovski crystals. Oh, and a replica of the resort’s signature armillary sphere, handcrafted from artisan chocolate, atop a cake adorned with a 2.5-carat ruby and diamond necklace and matching 2.47-carat Burma ruby and diamond ring. There’s also a two-tiered red velvet cake topped with a 5.5-carat diamond bracelet from Bellusso Jewellers and an in-suite four-course dinner prepared by the chef. Even your food and drinks will be precious, with gold-flecked cocktails and gold-dusted chicken and waffles being served.
With the Casino de Monte-Carlo used in two James Bond movies, it’s only fitting the almost neighbouring ultra-luxurious Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo would create a luxury travel package, including a private tour of the casino. The hotel’s aptly named ‘GoldenEye’ Experience begins by taking to the sky in a helicopter before lunch at the hotel’s Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Yoshi. After lunch, cruise in an Aston Martin along the French Riviera before a couples in-room massage. In the evening a butler delivers a complimentary tuxedo and evening gown, and you’ll dine on the terrace of the Suite Carré d’Or on the top floor of the hotel. When you’re ready to retire for the night (after your personalised tour of the casino), your suite awaits scattered in petals with a bottle of Bollinger on ice.
Fancy sitting in an oversized jacuzzi cruising the Mediterranean on a luxury superyacht that has never been chartered? Samurai is a two-year-old 60-metre luxury yacht built by premium yacht builder Alia in Turkey. Onboard is all sleek, stylish interiors, reminiscent of a five-star boutique hotel. There are six cabins, including the owner’s suite that has floor-to-ceiling windows, a huge ‘beach club’ with fold-down swim platform and a gym. There’s also a 12.5-metre chase boat with barbecue on board, and 15 crew to tend to your every need.
Can you picture yourself in a Ferrari cruising the streets of Catalonia? Drive Me Barcelona offers luxury driving experiences in supercars (there are Porsches and Lamborghinis too) led by professional instructors. Zoom from zero to a hundred in a flash, driving hairpin bends and fast straights. Three available routes could see you hugging the Mediterranean to the small town of Sitges; driving the historic Penedès region, which is famous for its vineyards; or travelling the twisting roads of the inland hills to the Monserrat mountain range, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of Spain’s northeast.
If you can’t ‘bear’ to wait for a close wildlife encounter, you’re in luck in the remote Tofino district on Vancouver Island, off Canada’s west coast, which has the highest density of black bears in North America. Stay in one of the 25 luxury tents at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, a five-star eco-safari property named after the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound it sits on. The entire area is a biosphere reserve with some of the world’s last remaining ancient temperate rainforest. Head out on a short boat trip during low tide when black bears can almost always be seen flipping rocks along remote foreshore in search of food. You’ll also find cougars, American minks and grey wolves. Access is only by seaplane, chopper or boat.
There’s something magnificent and humbling about swimming with whales, and the South Pacific has to be one of the best places to do it. Majestic Whale Encounters will take care of everything, from flights to accommodation, so you can focus on getting up close with the marine mammals in Tonga and Tahiti. In Tonga, it’s all about beach bungalows overlooking whale nurseries, while in Tahiti the focus is on luxury catamarans and liveaboard boats to increase your humpback interaction. In this part of the world, the whale season lasts from August to October.
If this isn’t one to tick off the bucket list, then we don’t know what is. A stay at the Three Glaciers Retreat, based in the Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica, includes a night sleeping at the South Pole. During your stay at the southernmost point on earth there’ll be a champagne toast and a special celebration meal, as well as a certificate commemorating your trip. If staff members from the United States Antarctic Program are available, guests can tour inside the Amundsen–Scott station. Outside the station, take photos at the Ceremonial South Pole – a mirror ball surrounded by the flags of the Antarctic Treaty nations – and the Geographic South Pole. Back at Three Glaciers Retreat, days can be spent skiing endless expanses of untracked powder, riding snowmobiles below stunning cliffs and into secluded valleys, and crossing glaciers to ice falls aboard Tucker Sno-Cats. At night, curl up in your double-walled, heated tent, pull all the shades to block out the 24-hour sunshine and dream of endless white.
These luxury tents in India’s north are the epitome of glamping. The ten soaring structures at Aman-i-Khas are set amongst dhok trees and brushwood on the fringes of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. All have king-size or twin beds, daybeds, twin writing desks, dressing and living areas, and a dedicated personal butler. Head out on the daily jeep safaris in search of the elusive Bengal tiger or stay at the resort and have an Ayurveda treatment in the spa tent, drawing on India’s 5,000-year-old ancient healing system.
Alaska’s Ultima Thule Lodge has launched an exclusive experience for 2020 that gives you access to its bush airplanes and pilots for bespoke trips across the wilderness of the vast Wrangell–St Elias National Park. Want to go glacier hiking in areas only accessible by air? No problem. Land in a place so remote it’s unnamed? Sure.
If you’ve ever been in a hot air balloon you’ll know it’s an experience that can be a bit of a ‘procession in the sky’. At Inle Lake, Myanmar, however, it’s a far more intimate affair, where you’ll find you’re likely to be the only ones in the air! Rather than a sweeping view of a vast landscape like many trips, you’ll experience a day in the life of the locals watching Inthar fisherman row canoes with one leg, boats laden with produce make their way to the markets through a maze of green canals, and see the many little villages on the edges of the lake. Your journey with Balloons over Bagan ends with breakfast with the Shan people in a traditional village.
Discover more incredible trips inside Luxury Escapes Magazine (Issue #5), including a five-course lunch atop a mountain peak in New Zealand’s South Island and a VIP Experience at Hollywood’s Universal Studios, and subscribe here.
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