SPECIAL REPORT

Travel Like The One Percent

by Sophie Kalkreuth
02 Jun 2017

As personalization takes hold in everything, from fashion to real estate, it’s not surprising that affluent travelers want experiences that are tailored and one-of-a-kind

“My overall observation after 20 years working in the high-end travel business is high-end travelers become more self-centered or self-focused every single year,” says Charlie Scott, founder of travel consultancy Trufflepig. “They want what they want and they’ll pay for what they want and they just want someone to figure it out."

To satisfy their clients, bespoke travel agencies have to pull more than a few strings. A private viewing of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus? Sure. Meeting the cast of Downton Abbey? No problem.

And then there’s the adventure quotient. From hot air balloon racing in Texas to dogsledding in Lapland, today’s travel itineraries are about everything but tagging along.

 

  • TRAVEL LIKE AN INSIDER
  • LIVE LIKE ROYALTY
  • HUNT FOR TREASURE
  • GET BACK TO NATURE (SORT OF)
  • FLY PRIVATE
  • ESCAPE GRAVITY

Travel Like An Insider

 The specialist Italian travel company, Bellini Travel, is so exclusive that it only caters to a carefully selected list of 150 clients a year. “Each trip is completely unique and different and we get to know [the clients] well during the planning process,” says Emily Fitzroy, who started the company 17 years ago.

A recent itinerary for a Singaporean family spanned 40 days over Christmas and Chinese New Year and included a private visit to the Sistine Chapel, a private dinner in a palazzo in Venice created by Osteria Francescana — widely considered the best restaurant in the world — as well as some “less glamorous, but equally special sides of Italy,” such as a stop in a back alley pizzeria in Naples that only locals know about.

Find out more about Bellini Travel here

  • TRAVEL LIKE AN INSIDER
  • LIVE LIKE ROYALTY
  • HUNT FOR TREASURE
  • GET BACK TO NATURE (SORT OF)
  • FLY PRIVATE
  • ESCAPE GRAVITY

Live Like Royalty

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Luxury lifestyle website VeryFirstTo was founded by Marcel Knobil in 2012 to cater to what he calls ‘early adopters of luxury’ who strive for far more than a luxury holiday or an expensive watch. “They're a very special breed of people for whom having it first matters,” Knobil says. Offers only stay live for 59 days. A recently listed 17-day journey dubbed ‘The Royal India Tour’, includes royal receptions at palaces throughout India, transport atop elephants and horse-drawn carriages, and blessings from priests. The maharaja-style experience, which was designed in partnership with Epic India Travel, costs US$ 81,400 per person.

  • TRAVEL LIKE AN INSIDER
  • LIVE LIKE ROYALTY
  • HUNT FOR TREASURE
  • GET BACK TO NATURE (SORT OF)
  • FLY PRIVATE
  • ESCAPE GRAVITY

Hunt For Treasure

Brown & Hudson, a London-based bespoke luxury travel company has long used its vast global network to pull strings for unique experiences: want to meet a writer or director or politician you’ve always admired? Or play the grand piano in one of the world’s great concert halls? The company’s latest travel creation, The Great Game, is travel adventure intended to foster family bonding. “It’s a cross between a board game, a role playing game, a treasure hunt, and a reality challenge,” says Laura Mitchell, the company’s marketing manager. The immersive game is designed to promote engagement and promises to engross even the most jaded of teenagers.

Find out more about Brown & Hudson here

  • TRAVEL LIKE AN INSIDER
  • LIVE LIKE ROYALTY
  • HUNT FOR TREASURE
  • GET BACK TO NATURE (SORT OF)
  • FLY PRIVATE
  • ESCAPE GRAVITY

Get Back To Nature (Sort Of)

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Known for dramatic expeditions to places like Antarctica, the Galápagos, and the Kalahari with archaeologists in tow, National Geographic Expeditions also organizes around-the-world trips by private jet. “One of the common links among our travelers is they’re curious, passionate and they’re looking for unique and authentic experiences,” says Lynn Cutter, executive vice president for travel and licensing at National Geographic Society.

A 20-day Africa trip includes visits to six countries accompanied by National Geographic experts. While day trips may take you through dense jungles and arid deserts, nights are spent at plush accommodations. Prices start at US $81,550.

Find out more about National Geographic Expeditions here

  • TRAVEL LIKE AN INSIDER
  • LIVE LIKE ROYALTY
  • HUNT FOR TREASURE
  • GET BACK TO NATURE (SORT OF)
  • FLY PRIVATE
  • ESCAPE GRAVITY

Fly Private

For those more interested in being pampered than talking bird migration in Madagascar, the Four Seasons private jet transports travelers among its worldwide resorts. An upcoming 24-day around-the-world trip will stop in a range of cultural capitals including Kyoto, Budapest, St. Petersburg and Marrakech, as well as tropical havens like the Maldives. “Itineraries are carefully designed to avoid overnight or long haul flights,” says Vivian Koh, director of PR at Four Seasons Asia Pacific. A Four Seasons team that includes a concierge, an executive chef and a physician also travel onboard. The trip costs US$ 135,000 per person.

Find out more about the Four Seasons private jet here

  • TRAVEL LIKE AN INSIDER
  • LIVE LIKE ROYALTY
  • HUNT FOR TREASURE
  • GET BACK TO NATURE (SORT OF)
  • FLY PRIVATE
  • ESCAPE GRAVITY

Escape Gravity

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It’s hard to top being one of the first civilians to travel to outer space. More than 700 people have already bought tickets for Virgin Galactic, the company Richard Branson hopes will be the first commercial spaceline. US$250,000 gets you a 20-minute space flight. But Branson isn’t alone in the new space race. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and owner of Blue Origin, is also testing its rockets to take six tourists up for suborbital 10- to 11-minute rides as early as 2018. The company has not released a ticket cost, but it’s safe to say the experience will be priceless.

Find out more about Virgin Galactic here and Blue Origin here