THE SIX FIGURE HOLIDAY
The rise of London as a hub for the global super-rich has led to a burgeoning market for tailor-made trips that top the six-digit mark. Luxury tour operators are reporting a sharp increase in bookings of elite packages to the far flung regions of the globe; after all, once you’ve invested in the obligatory property empire, a fleet of supercars and a Picasso or two, experience becomes the most valuable currency.
“We’re seeing massive growth in the number of these high-value trips being booked,” says Kerry Golds from luxury holiday firm Abercrombie & Kent. “Clients are looking for unique experiences; they know exactly what they want and are prepared to pay for it.”
So how do you spend six-figures on a holiday and what would it look like? Well, with those sums, the sky’s the limit... Do you have a hankering to be cooked for by a Michelin-starred chef at the top of a mountain? Can you only find peace of mind on a totally deserted island? Want to feel the blood rush through your veins as you look a great white shark in the eye? All this and more can be yours, for a price. We present a taster of the breaks that will set you back as much as a supercar.
Travel from South Africa to the southernmost polar region. To get there you’ll board a private charter Illuyshin 76 intercontinental jet from Cape Town, landing in Antarctica on a specially prepared ice runway. Members of the White Desert team will greet you on landing as one of the few who have ever set foot on the frozen continent. Guests are transferred in 4x4s to Whichaway Camp, a fusion of old world glamour and high-tech, solar powered modernity, perched on the edge of a frozen lake that overlooks a 200ft ice wall. From this base, adventurers can embark upon gentle treks, or dive into kite-skiing and ice climbing. Braver travellers will attempt a giant abseil off Nunatak Mountain, exploring icy crevasses along the way.
The highlight of this chilling adventure is a twohour flight across the tundra to visit an Emperor penguin colony, where you can witness one of the most extreme breeding migrations on earth. Hearty breakfasts, champagne rewards and three course dinners keep you going in the icy conditions.
The end of the trip is in altogether more clement climes: the sun-drenched vineyards of South Africa. Following a private charter back to Cape Town, your remaining three days are spent by the oceanfront in the privacy of Ellerman House Suites or flying between Durbanville, Stellenbosch and Constantia, eating and drinking the region’s produce. A shark cage dive beneath the crystal waters offers one last thrill.
Abercrombie & Kent offers this package including private charter and UK business flights through British Airways, including all food and accommodation from £95,540 for two people for 12 days; excursions extra; abercrombieandkent.co.uk
FOODIE TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND
This five-week trip to New Zealand is worth the gruelling 27-hour journey. From its famous wine to its fresh seafood to the home-grown lamb, this holiday is a foodie’s dream. Starting on North Island in Eagles Nest, the sun-drenched Rahimoana villa is your home for a week. It sits on a 44-acre private headland with panoramic views of the Bay of Islands. The accommodation comes with a butler and private chef who specialises in delectable seafood. Guests are then transported to Cape Kidnappers Lodge to spend five nights surrounded by 6,000 acres of idyllic farmland and rolling hills. Days are spent quad and mountain biking, trout fishing, hot air ballooning and white water rafting. After a helicopter ride for two over this vast and untouched wilderness, it’s onwards for five nights in Huka Lodge’s Alan Pye cottage for a scenic helicopter flight over the Kaimanawa Ranges and a boat cruise along Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Another way to see the spectacular waterways is on a private yacht for two from American Cups Charters.
The scale is reduced dramatically for the next three nights spent in Boat Shed, a cosy boutique hotel perched above the white, sandy beaches of Oneroa, before you head down to explore the South Island, known for its winemakers, artists and cerulean bays. Nestled among the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, the location is an adventurer’s paradise; this is the place to brave a bungee jump, paraglide or heliski. The final three nights will be spent under canvas in the Kiwi wilderness at Minaret Station, hidden deep in the mountains. Only accessible by helicopter, each tented suite is furnished with wall-to-wall sheepskin, king-size beds, and a private deck with a hot tub. A first class chef resides in the Mountain Kitchen to keep you strong for the hiking trails, farming experiences, wild game hunts and fly-fishing.
Original Travel (originaltravel.co.uk; 020 3582 4990) offers the five-week luxury tour from £100,000 for two people. The price includes stays at the above lodges, yacht charter, and all helicopter tours and transfers
VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND – MALDIVES
After a 10-hour flight to Malé in the heart of the Indian Ocean, a private seaplane will pick you up to whisk you onwards to Velaa Private Residences. Only two of these hyper-luxurious detached homes exist in this isolated paradise. Four bedrooms are spread across these twostorey, contemporary-style 1,349sqm residences. Secluded on a private beach with white sand leading down to crystalline waters, every aspect of the house is designed with privacy in mind. There are two gazebos for entertaining, a pool and a garden courtyard for lounging when the beach gets tiresome. Plumb the depths of its extensive champagne and private wine cellar and you’ll find a 1978 Domaine de la Romaniée- Conti bottle of red priced at £32,000.
The entire island is yours to explore and there are even some beach clubs if you want to get back to civilisation. Alternatively, you could explore the ice-blue expanse that surrounds you in a luxury yacht; yours alone to fish in for £2,400. On your travels around Velaa, you’ll also discover The Spa, home to the only “snow room” in the Maldives, where cloud-shaped pods cradle their inhabitants into a dreamy state of relaxation. For those who find themselves pining for a green and pleasant land, head for the hills and enrol in the Troon Short Game Golf Academy. Designed by former Ryder Cup captain and twice Masters champion Jose Maria Olazábal, a tutor will give you one-to-one lessons on how to putt with the best of them from £174 per hour.
Two adults can fly business class with British Airways to Malé from approximately £8,900. The private seaplane is from £8,400. Velaa Private Residences are available from £13,455 per night from velaaprivateisland.com
CHALET ZERMATT PEAK, SWITZERLAND
Located in Zermatt, Switzerland, on the highest mountain range in Europe, this picturesque cabin embedded in a mountain can comfortably sleep 10 people. After flying first class to Geneva, hop into a helicopter for a return fee of £7,000 and weave through the valleys high above snow-topped peaks before landing on the resort’s private helipad. Once there, you’ll be greeted with champagne before you walk out on to one of the private balconies to take in your first view of the iconic Matterhorn. Usual cold weather comforts such as open fireplaces and bubbling jacuzzis are present but with added, luxurious twists. Why call room service for a bottle of wine when you can simply grab one from your walk-in wine cellar? Relax with a good book in the fullystocked library or watch a film in the cinema. The chalet comes fully staffed with a concierge, butler, personal chef and sous chef, and a housekeeper to keep things in order during your stay.
When creature comforts become a bore, head for the slopes with a private guide in tow after a helicopter has dropped you at the top of the Monte-Rosa descent. At 4,250 metres, with a vertical run of 2,500 metres, it is one of the continent’s highest summits and promises plenty of adrenaline-pumping moments. The ski guides are not only there to help you navigate the sometimes-perilous peaks; they’re also available to show you some of the finest cuisine around. Gourmet Ski Guiding will pair you with a culinary expert with 20 years’ experience of the peaks of Zermatt and the nearby restaurants.
Four adults staying fully-catered at Chalet Zermatt Peak costs from £45,500 to £122,500 per week from akvillas.com. A three day Gourmet Guide is available from £800 and the Monte-Rosa guided heli drop is priced from £1,000 per day
BRANSON’S YACHT, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Take a trip on Sir Richard Branson’s very own super yacht, the Necker Belle, moored on his clutch of private islands off the Atlantic coast of Puerto Rico. This 32- metre catamaran is one of the largest all-carbon, multihull yachts of its kind, and can be found careering around the Caribbean at the impressive speed of 20 knots. Guests have four cabins to choose from, all with en-suite bathrooms and it comes fully staffed. Unlike many yachts, those who climb aboard the Necker Belle are free to draw up their own itinerary within 40 miles. A week may include trips between the islands by jet ski, high-adrenaline game fishing and diving.
Original Diving (originaldiving.com; 020 7978 0505) offers a seven night full charter of Necker Belle from £97,300 for two people including, transfers, fuel and international flights