The currency exchange worked in our favour and it wasn’t the obscene black hole of expense as in years gone by. And while any holiday with the family in Australia is never cheap, it wasn’t too bad. So why not this month look at the holidays you could take if money was no object? First class, unique experiences? Look right this way.
Ampersand Travel is offering those with the funds the chance to reign over three of India’s most fabled, fit-for-royalty estates: the Lake Palace in Udaipur, Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur and Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. The trip includes three nights at every palace, with exclusive use of each. The King of the Castle package costs from US$1,670,200 (VND36.4 billion).
The Aman Group owns some of the most decadent hotels in the world and it doesn’t get more lavish than spending a year sleeping at all of them. There are 31 hotels in total, meaning around 12 nights at each; but guests can tailor their trip. So if you want to spend longer looking at temples in Bhutan or within Sri Lanka’s Galle Fort, not an issue. The Year at Aman package costs from US$286,000 (VND6.23 billion) a person.
Most ski towns are no strangers to super chalets, with real-estate prices for these traditional alpine homes regularly reaching the several-million mark. So it’s no surprise that renting them for just a week can cost a lot. In Gstaad, Chalet Lottie has its own cinema and sauna, as well as the requisite dedicated personal chauffeur and chef; Chalet N in Austria’s Oberlech has all that and even more, from US$55,000 (VND1.2 billion) a week.
Butch Cassidy once rolled into the mining town of Dunton Hot Springs, in a valley just across a mountain from Telluride in Colorado. He etched his name into the bar for posterity. As well as checking out the famous former patron’s signature, guests of this restored ghost town can enjoy the thermal waters, original saloon and stand-alone wood cabins. Exclusive hire of Dunton Hot Springs costs from US$147,000 (VND3.2 billion) a week and sleeps 44.
For a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the South Pole, sign up for a tour to Whichaway Camp in Antarctica. Fly to Cape Town, where your expedition will begin, then be guided by expert polar explorers across the world’s southernmost continent. The camp only has six sleeping pods and the trip runs just three times a year, during November and December. From US$71,000 (VND1.5 billion) a person for nine days.
The magnate who owns Red Bull is also behind Laucala, a luxury retreat in Fiji accessible only by private plane. It may be exclusive (for those who have just shy of US$154,000 or VND3.4 billion a night going spare), but it’s also eco-friendly: the estate refuses to import meat and produce, choosing instead to rear and grow its own. It even bottles its own mineral water. From US$1,068,790 (VND23.3 billion) a week exclusive hire for up to 72 guests.
The magician David Copperfield is the owner of Musha Cay, a string of islands in the Bahamas, available for loan for eye-watering nightly rates. The sandbar picnics, secluded beach houses and the chance to play billiards on Houdini’s old table might just make it worth it. Seven nights, from about US$402,000 (VND8.8 billion) exclusive hire for 12 guests.
The price may seem staggering, but let’s break it down: the Journey to Nature’s Edge by Natural World Safaris lasts 111 days in total, covers 12 countries, offers a chance to see 18 of the world’s most vulnerable species and US$100,000 (VND2.2 billion) per booking is donated to a conservation fund. Spot white rhinos by helicopter in Kenya, search for tigers in India, see polar bears in the Arctic and track down giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands.
Hop on and off a private jet as a pilot navigates you around the world in 28 days. The itinerary will take in all of the iconic major sights, from Machu Picchu in Peru to Easter Island’s unforgettable stone statues, via the Sydney Opera House and Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia. A 28-day tour costs from US$108,500 (VND2.4 billion) a person.