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Megayachts, glamorous high-end hotels, and Michelin-star dining may be the first things you think of when it comes to truly luxurious vacations, and while those can all be extravagant experiences, there’s a lot more for those who have money to spend. Not all require getting dressed to the nines as exotic adventures can be a true luxury, bringing rare insight that provides new perspectives and the chance to take part in unforgettable activities that few others are ever able to enjoy.
Whatever you’re looking for, from the chance to feel like a king or queen to embarking on an Antarctic expedition, you’re likely to find it on this list.
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Richard Branson and Johnny Depp aren’t the only ones who can enjoy their own private island, you can too with a stay in this vacation rental. Just you, your group, and the on-site staff who stay in detached housing will be here on Little Harvest Caye, a 1.5-acre island. It includes five suites, each of which has spacious, open-air thatched roof bathrooms and are positioned to take in the cool trade winds along with spectacular sea and mountain views. It’s just a 5-minute boat ride to Placencia Village and you’ll have a chef to prepare all your meals, daily housekeeping, and a boat with a captain at your disposal when you want to dine out, shop, or take in other attractions.
Located in southeast Ireland, just a short drive from the coast, by booking this castellated residence you can be the king or queen of your own castle. Wilton offers seven bedrooms, all of which are en-suite, and you can rent the entire place. Enjoy a romantic couple’s stay or bring a group of up to 14. It has a huge gourmet kitchen and a dining room with a fireplace, ideal for entertaining. Adding to the tranquil setting among lush hills, it sits along the banks of the Boro River and the spectacular grounds even include medieval ruins and dungeons.
A sunset catamaran cruise is one of the most popular things to do while visiting Santorini, but a private cruise takes the luxury factor up at least a notch or two. You’ll be picked up from your accommodation for transfer to the port and as it’s a customized trip, you can choose which attractions you want to visit, like the famous Red Beach with its fiery sands, the volcanic hot springs, Venetian lighthouse, and more. Along the way, take advantage of the snorkel gear to discover the underwater world or just enjoy an unforgettable swim. A BBQ with freshly prepared foods, unlimited beer and wine, and onboard Wi-Fi are all included. Plus, at the end of the cruise, you can toast to one of the world’s most stunning sunsets.
Amangiri is a renowned resort that tends to attract celebrities seeking privacy, seclusion, and luxury. It’s a 25-minute drive from Page, Arizona, the nearest town, and sits on an over 600-acre property. For an especially decadent treat book the all-day desert journey hosted by the Aman Spa known for its treatments that are focused around fire, earth, and water. It includes a yoga session, guided meditation, a 3.5-hour guided tour of the natural landscape, a 90-minute massage, and hot-stone meals.
Chef Jean-Yves, the winner of the 2012-edition of Masterchef France, will take you on a culinary journey from France to Asia with his 4-course dinner with wine pairings. Enjoyed in a former wine cellar near the Marais, it includes a welcome glass of champagne and French wine that accompanies each dish. The chef will share the stories and secrets behind them all so that you can learn how each ingredient was carefully chosen to create the mouthwatering results, a “harmony of taste, colors, and smells.”
Vatican City is a must-visit while in Rome, with so much to see that one could easily spend an entire day here exploring the Vatican Museums which hold the most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. This luxury tour offers the chance to experience it all to yourself alongside your professional, private guide. You’ll get a VIP private tour of the museums, see the Raphael Rooms, Gallery of Maps, and the Sistine Chapel. Admire the gorgeous frescoes and paintings, with no one else to get in the way.
This luxury helicopter tour is a private experience that includes a gourmet lunch and wine. But what makes it really luxurious is the scenery itself. You’ll get a jaw-dropping aerial view of Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound which Rudyard Kipling called the “Eighth wonder of the world.” It’s a place of astounding scenery, including gem-like lakes, lush rainforest, and immense waterfalls.
Embark on an enchanting desert safari, a magical, mysterious experience in the Arabian desert. You’ll head out through the towering sand dunes in an ATV, stopping at the highest dune to take in a sunset before continuing to a private campsite that’s been set up for you in the heart of the desert. You can dress in local costumes and enjoy a variety of refreshments. A ride on a camel, a shisha pipe, and a belly dancer are all included followed by a private barbecue buffet dinner under the starry night’s sky.
The travel adventure to beat all, enjoy a 35-day adventure on the National Geographic Endurance to Antarctica. The Epic Antarctica Voyage: The Peninsula to the Ross Sea has sailings that depart in late December 2022 and January 2023, and will bring you to rarely seen places that include West Antarctica and subantarctic isles. Wildlife sightings are abundant, including some 150,000 pairs of king penguins on a single beach, royal penguins, whales, and a variety of seals. Heading out in Zodiacs and kayaks, you’ll enjoy close encounters with icebergs too.
India is known for its fantastic rail transportation, but the luxury Maharajas Express takes train rides to a whole new level. Guests typically travel on four- or eight-night excursions from Delhi to Mumbai, enjoying an over-the-top interior that brings the railroad to life in India. You’ll enjoy stops in between that include cities like Mysore and Goa and all 14 guest cabins include panoramic windows. If you book the Presidential Suite, you’ll get an entire carriage for the ultimate in luxuries.
Why not jet over to London for one of the world’s most expensive and delicious dinners? Hélène Darroze at the Connaught is one of just five three-starred Michelin restaurants in the city, run by acclaimed French Chef Hélène Darroze who creates dishes based on seasonal produce sourced from carefully chosen makers, growers, and farmers. The menu is customized to your personal tastes, with the chefs transforming ingredients you selected into original works of culinary art. An exclusive truffle-based menu, priced at over $500 US has been offered along with many other decadent options.
The beauty of Kauai is something that has to be seen in person to be believed, and a bird’s-eye view enjoyed on a flightseeing tour is arguably the best way to do it. Look down at its wealth of natural wonders, including lush gardens, waterfalls with hidden pools, dramatic cliffs and canyons, idyllic beaches, and the colorful Na Pali coast. You’ll soar over Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of Hawaii” and more. While most of these tours are short and sweet, this one takes place over 90 minutes and includes flying over the tiny private island of Ni’ihau too.
Pebble Beach is one of the most picturesque and one of the most expensive golf courses in the world. For golf enthusiasts, it’s a bucket-list experience and non-members pay between $575 and $595 per round plus an additional $45 cart fee. The course, which has hosted the PGA Championship and US Open, looks over the Pacific, in fact, it was designed to take golfers right onto a peninsula that juts into the ocean, so you’ll get a jaw-dropping view with your game.