See the Planet . . . And How to Plan It

Written by | Travel

Reethi Rah

When money is no object, you can do some truly grand globetrotting. Prepare to be awed by these six over-the-top trips you can take in the coming year.

There’s an old saying: “Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.” As new luxury resorts open around the world and airlines bling out their first class cabins with intentionally ostentatious amenities, there are more ways than ever to gift yourself an extravagant vacation. But which splurges are worth the expense? We went in search of once-in-a-lifetime trips you could take this coming year and discovered itineraries that include jaunts through world capitals, reservations at renowned restaurants and opportunities to lay your eyes on rarely seen animals or closely guarded works of art. The price tags may be steep, but you’re sure to come home from trips like these feeling truly enriched.

Celebrate Human Ingenuity

National Geographic is renowned for covering destinations and cultures in the farthest reaches of the world, and this time, you can come, too. Just a year from now (October 22-November 9, 2017), join them for a one-time only traveling celebration of human creativity, history and technology.

The journey begins in Silicon Valley with a welcome reception hosted by the Editors-in-Chief of both National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal, where you can hobnob with leaders from the tech industry. The next day, jet to Kyoto, which you’ll explore with a WSJ editor who‘ll offer a wealth of knowledge about the historic city before heading to accommodations in its fabulous new Ritz-Carlton.

Photo Courtesy And Beyond.

Photo Courtesy And Beyond.

In Singapore, you’ll stay at the historic Fullerton Hotel and spend quality time with National GeographicTraveler ‘s Editor-in-Chief. Get his perspective on the city’s cutting edge “Smart Nation” development program and savor a smart cocktail at the decadent Marina Bay Sands.

There’s more in store in Jaipur — as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence (yes, that’s a real job) and WSJ ‘s India Bureau Chief will show off the city’s treasures — including the awe-inspiring Palace of the Winds and massive Amber Fort.

You’ll see the Seychelles with another Explorer-in-Residence who will lead you on a guided dive — and also explain how conservationists are using satellite imaging to help restore the environment there. Then it’s on to Rwanda and rare mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.

Now, a choice — to experience the beauty of Jerusalem or Dubai — before reconvening for a final stop in Barcelona, where more luminaries from National Geographic and WSJ will enlighten you about the city’s storied past and current status as a hub for tech startups, and share a gala farewell dinner at El Palace Hotel featuring performances from local artists. ($81,950 per person,

Courtesy Of The Four Seasons Culinary

Courtesy Of The Four Seasons Culinary

Culinary Discoveries

For those with adventurous palates, Four Seasons Private Jet Journeys has recruited Danish Chef René Redzepi to curate a 2017 journey of Culinary Discoveries. During this foodie foray, you’ll fly aboard the Four Seasons’ private Boeing 757, where the staff includes a concierge, an executive chef, a private physician and a photographer.
The first destination is Seoul, South Korea, for a private dinner at the home of Chef Jong Kuk Lee, where you’ll get to sample his fresh, farm-to-table cuisine. From there, it’s off to Tokyo, where Chef Namae Shinobu will lead a day of foraging in the nearby countryside before a private dinner at his restaurant, Michelin-starred L’Effervescence. Your visit to the Hong Kong will include trips to local markets, cooking classes with hotel chefs and a sumptuous meal at its two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Caprice.
Next up: explore the flavors of Thailand in Chiang Mai, where you’ll meet up with Redzepi’s culinary colleague Chef Garima Arora, explore a sustainable farm known as “the Royal Project,” take an elephant trek to a local village, and experience unique Thai flavors in a “Not Your Average Curry” dinner. In India, you’ll make a brief stop in Mumbai, where Arora will offer hands-on lessons in preparing Indian street food delicacies so you can bring the exotic flavors back to your own kitchen.
From there, it’s on to Florence for a stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze — plus a visit to a wine estate, private tours of the city’s spectacular museums, and dinner at Damiano Donati in Lucca. Then it’s off to Lisbon’s Hotel Ritz, where Chef Nuno Mendes will take guests on a culinary journey through the city and an evening on the town — along with dinner at chef José Avillez’s two-Michelin-star restaurant, Belcanto.
You’ll head to Redzepi’s home turf, Copenhagen, where the chef will lead a foraging walk, prepare aperitifs on the beach and you’ll enjoy the new Nordic cuisine at his much-buzzed-over restaurant Noma. The final few days will be spent at Paris’s Hotel George V, with tours of markets and food-halls, cooking classes, and a dinner at newly minted Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Cinq. The deliciousness commences May 27 – June 14, 2017. ($135,000 per person,

Photo Courtesy Ker & Downey.

Photo Courtesy Ker & Downey.

Island Escape

Looking to really get away from it all? The luxury outfitters Ker & Downey offer 11 days to recharge at some of the Indian Ocean’s most exclusive Island Resorts. Your first escape destination is the Maldives, where a private speedboat will ferry you to the One&Only Reethi Rah Resort, which is on its own island overlooking an aquamarine lagoon with a vibrant coral reef. Head underwater in their state-of-the-art dive center, relax in the spa, lounge on a dozen beaches and then head back to your overwater villa, where you can take a dip any time of the day or night.

The pampering continues in Dubai at the One&Only The Palm, an Andalusian-inspired resort on a private peninsula. If you care to take a break from utter relaxation, you can enjoy a day exploring the city before embarking on a picturesque evening cruise along the Dubai Creek.

You’ll make like royalty on North Island in the Seychelles — where Prince William and Kate honeymooned. The tiny island resort has just 11 villas. Inside each villa, you’ll find a private plunge pool, Balinese-inspired baths, and billowing white cotton canopy beds. Head outside the explore the island (each villa comes with a pair of mountain bikes and an ATV to get you going) or enjoy sailing, kayaking, or deep-sea fishing. You can even toast your getaway for two with a romantic private picnic on one of several nearby islands. (Price available by request,

Asian Art

Even fine art enthusiasts who have visited each gallery and meandered through every museum known to man will find something new February 19 – March 5, 2017 — on a very special tour of Asia’s Contemporary Art Capitals with Remote Lands and the Peninsula Hotel group.

You’ll begin in Bangkok with a visit to the YenakArt Villa, where you will be treated to a private lunch with some of the city’s leading contemporary art gallery owners and tour the city from above by helicopter. Move on to Hong Kong to see the private studio of Portuguese artist João Vasco Paiva before an exclusive visit to the private collection of award-winning architect and artist William Lim. Shanghai’s surprises will include a singular opportunity to see the private art collection of world-renowned art dealer and collector Pearl Lam — in her own apartment.

In Beijing, your artistic encounters will include spending a morning with goundbreaking Chinese street artist Zhang Dali, followed by lunch with the founding family of the legendary Guardian Auction House. You can also take a break from art — to hike a section of the Great Wall or participate in Tai Chi classes at the Temple of Heaven. The final stop is Tokyo, where you’ll get an insider’s look at the Mori Art Museum from its director, Funion Nagjo, and a rare chance to view the private collection of renowned collector Takeo Obayashi before saying sayonara. (Starts at at $26,888 per person,

Photo Courtesy Black Tomato.

Photo Courtesy Black Tomato.

Antarctic Adventure

Sometimes indulgence means roughing it — just to be able to claim that you’ve left tracks where few human feet have ever fallen. For the most fearless of adventurers, Black Tomato has assembled an unprecedented 18-day expedition to the coldest continent.

First, you fly into Chile (in January or February for ideal weather conditions). From there, the sojourn continues to Antarctica, where you’ll land on an ice runway just 10 degrees from the South Pole. Enjoy a scenic flight to view the continent’s majestic mountain ranges, but remain alert when it comes time for your guides to provide survival instruction, including crevasse-crossing, supply sled-hauling, and cross-country skiing. You’ll need them because you’re in for several days of trekking past dramatic ice fields and towering rock formations — even high-speed snow-kiting across ice caps.

At night, you’ll bed down in specially carved ice dens and doze off to the panorama of the Aurora Australis glowing in the southern sky. The trip ends with a few more days of hunting for fossils and meteorites while making the final push back to the Patriot Hills Base Camp. (Starts at $102,000 per person,

Private Jet Safari

If you’ve always wanted to experience the excitement of going on safari, but it seemed too lacking in luxury, andBeyond is launching a new series of private jet expeditions across the continent this year. Its most expansive — Africa and Beyond — includes stops in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

Photo This Page Courtesy Of And Beyond

Photo This Page Courtesy Of And Beyond

Along the way, you’ll be treated to a private gorilla-trekking experience and photography tutorial in Rwanda. In Tanzania, the host of the BBC’s Big Cat Diaries, Jonathan Scott, will lead you on safari through Serengeti National Park. You’ll head to the ultra-luxurious Matesi River Lodge to enjoy the Zambezi river by day and a special stargazing expedition after nightfall.

Botswana brings a helicopter excursion over the animal-dense Okavango Delta. In South Africa, you’ll join conservationists to track rare rhinos while staying at the Phinda Private Game Reserve. The final stop is Cape Town, where you’ll get a private tour of Robben Island, with its profusion of seals and penguins. And — if you dare — you can go Great White shark cage diving with noted documentarian and shark expert Chris Fallows. ($116,500 per person,

Last modified: January 30, 2018