Top 6 trends in luxury travel
Planes, trains, helicopters (and submarines!) for the super-swish set.
First class takes second place after a flight in a private Singapore Airlines Suite. Recline your leather seat or, better yet, stretch out on the bed and admire the hallmarks of five-star luxury (pyjamas by Givenchy, toiletries by Ferragamo, champagne by Dom Pérignon) that really elevate the experience.
The bottom line $8,940 for a round trip from
to Singapore for travel in April (singaporeair.com).
Dressing for dinner gets a little extra frisson on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: The four-course meal is served in the
circa 1929 Côte d’Azur dining car, decorated by René Lalique. Linger over dessert—cocoa wafers layered with white-chocolate custard—then take your digestif in the Bar Car, which belies its frank name with luxe art-nouveau touches, including a baby grand piano.
The bottom line $2,680 for one night from Venice to
A 15-minute ride in L’Hélicoptère par Hermès is enough to make you feel like you’re flying inside one of the French fashion house’s famed handbags. Swooping down from the sky, it looks like a regular helicopter until you notice the swirl of orange running from tail to tip. With the propeller rotating just above my head, I climb inside the $10-million flying machine and sink into the calfleather seats for the fastest (and most fabulous) connection between central Tokyo and Narita International Airport. The cabin, which is big enough for four, is covered in Toile H, one of the brand’s signature canvases for travel goods. The safety instructions are stylish too, printed on customized jacquard. For looks, small zippered pockets have been placed just beneath the tinted windows (more fashion than function) and there’s an “H” punched out of small holes in the plastic that separates the pilot from the passengers. But while the bespoke beauty of the interior is impressive (and quiet—no hair-messing helicopter headphones required here), the sight of Tokyo’s measureless metropolis is equally stunning.
The bottom line $538 one way, $896 round trip (mcas.co.jp)
Text: C. JAMES DALE (Helicopter)
Leave it to Sir Richard Branson to commission the world’s only “underwater aircraft.” The sleek and streamlined
Necker Nymph looks like a Jet Ski with three seats: two for you and a guest and one for a pilot, who leads the vessel 30 metres below the surface of the ocean. For the next two hours, marvel at the marine life—from barracudas to spotted butterfly fish—in the British Virgin Islands.
Das Boot? Hardly.
The bottom line $2,500 per day (neckerisland.virgin.com).
Originally a wedding gift from Aristotle Onassis to Princess Grace of Monaco, the
M/Y Grace recently underwent a pricey facelift to restore it to its original elegance. Now, the boutique vessel is a travelling eco-tourism
hot spot, offering week-long excursions to explore the Galapagos Islands. Hike through lava fields, snorkel with marine iguanas and debate the late princess’ greatest role (
Rear Window? To Catch a Thief?) over bubbly on the chic sundeck.
The bottom line $5,913 per person for seven nights and eight days (galapagosexpeditions.com.
A surefire way to enhance Sunday lunch in the English countryside? Arrive in headturning style, courtesy of Holders, a luxury-car-rental company based in Reading, England. The latest Aston Martins and Lamborghinis are on offer, but the number one pulse-racer is the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, the most expensive—and fastest—car in the world.
The bottom line A Bugatti rental starts at $25,433 per day (holdersvc.co.uk).