Travel makes luxury accessible. Most can’t afford a multimillion dollar plane or house, but travel offers opportunities to experience the decadence and opulence of the highest rollers.
Villas, clubs, hotels, islands, destinations…these 19 utterly luxurious places are for those who dream of a winning lottery ticket. They’re also for people seeking to indulge and splash out on once in a lifetime experiences.
1. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai
Forget five stars. The iconic sails of the Burj Al Arab house the world’s first seven star hotel. Since opening in 2007, it’s where royalty usually stays in Dubai. Every suite is spread over two floors with astounding views over Dubai, there’s a chauffeured Rolls Royce service as standard, and a private helipad. And it’s not as expensive as you might imagine…
2. Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, Las Vegas
Staying at the Las Vegas Palms is one thing. But for the most outrageous Vegas party, stump up $40,000 a night for the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa. 250 people can party here, with the bachelor or bachelorette likely to have prime spot in the rooftop jacuzzi that hangs over the Vegas Strip. Hugh Hefner’s a man of indulgent tastes, so expect serious swank and swag at his villa.
Italian Tuscany isn’t flashy or ostentatious. It’s charming and romantic, a region of Renaissance beauty and rolling fields of ripening vines. One day in Tuscany and you immediately feel like royalty, nothing breaking the spell of sublime landscapes and elegant tradition. Most destinations can offer a few luxurious places, but a few special places offer uninterrupted luxury regardless of your budget.
4. The Centaurus, Islamabad – Pakistan
Pakistan isn’t just suicide bombings. Its hospitality is legendary and there are some surprising finds for luxury seeking travelers. Originally intended to be a seven star hotel, the Centaurus is a mass of pomp and razzmatazz usually reserved by the country’s corrupt politicians. In a country of strange looks and bad food, it’s a haven of tranquility and luxury. Just a shame it’s located in one of the world’s most dangerous cities.
5. Cavalli Island, New Zealand
Situated within its own private marine and wildlife sanctuary, the Cavilli Island Retreat and Spa accommodates just four guests. A private chef and butler does the work, there’s an amphibious craft for guests to travel around their exclusive island, and even a luxury yacht for taking snorkeling adventures. Popular with celebrities seeking anonymity, it’s one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most indulgent stops.
6. andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp
All-inclusive resorts are usually filled with sunburnt morons and booze that gives you hideous hangovers. Africa’s andBeyond all-inclusives have a slightly more exclusive style. Surrounded by wild elephants and lions, the Xaranna offers indulgent living in the heart of the bush. Think champagne breakfasts overlooking hippos, watching wild buffaloes as you get a massage, and some of the continent’s finest dining.
7. Monte Carlo Casino, Monaco
However hard the world tries, there are no casinos as lavish or opulent as the Monte Carlo. Decorated in a timeless classical style, even the one-armed bandits seem to have come straight from a royal palace. You’ll need to dress well; not just a suit, but a tailored designer one. And don’t be simply ordering whiskey. Sit down to the table and choose from the menu of $1000+ single malts.
8. The Queen Mary 2
With suites starting at $4000, this new vessel is the ultimate in luxury cruising. There’s ten different restaurants, the world’s largest marine ballroom, and six different swimming pools. It’s a palace at sea for those with the cash. However, there’s probably not been a more talked about cruise ship since the Titantic. And we all know how that ended…
9. Chateau le Camarguais, France
Screaming of medieval splendor, this vast chateau is a throwback to the time of knights and aristocracy. Costing a mere $60k a week, you can fit 32 guests and hang out in seemingly endless acres of surrounding parkland. Chefs and butlers come as standard, as does a cellar of champagne. Loved by wedding parties, it offers the kind of old-fashioned Europe that usually only exists in costume dramas.
10. The Maldives
Mix white sand with tax haven and you can imagine the exclusivity of the Maldives. With an outrageous natural setting, the resorts here are amongst the finest on the planet. Think infinity pools over the turquoise, private white sand beaches, and personal butlers delivering fresh oysters and lobster.
11. Moscow’s Clubs
Moscow is a divided city. Most people have nothing. Then the elite have everything. Putin’s posse of businessmen drive ludicrously expensive cars, live in the world’s most expensive apartments, and have a gaggle of prostitutes on their arm. To experience this luxury, hit some of Moscow’s clubs, like Jagger, Salyanka, and the Ritz-Carlton. Drinks start at $50, go-go dancers entertain the crowd, and there’s two ways to get past the doormen: be an insanely hot chick, or press $200+ into their palms.
12. Mardan Palace Hotel, Turkey
Constructed by a Russian billionaire, this decadent resort is liberally sprinkled with gold leaf, Italian marble, and over 9,000 tons of white sand imported from Egypt. Every suite has a 24 hours a day personal butler service and there’s sometimes more pools than there are guests. This is where gangsters and criminal business minds hang out when they’re on vacation in Europe.
13. Isla de sa Ferradura
Ibiza is an exclusive party island, home to $80 club entrance tickets and private villa after parties. It’s where celebrities go to get completely off their face and do things the paparazzi can’t get close enough to. At $230k a week, the private Isla de sa Ferradura is Ibiza’s hippest and hottest hang out. Marble tables are cleaned daily to remove evidence of white powder and there’s half a dozen pools for the never-ending after party.
14. Venice-Simplon-Orient Express
Recreating the world’s original luxury train journey, the refurbished Simplon-Orient travels overnight between Paris and Venice. It’s been decked out at the world’s most luxury train carriage, full of wooden fittings and odes to the grandeur of yesteryear. And the journey is yours for less than $2000.
15. The Plaza, New York
Indelibly gazing out over Manhattan, the Plaza does has what most luxury New York hotels don’t: class. Radiating old-world charm, the Plaza has been wowing guests since 1907. Their roll call of celebrities and politicians will make everyone swoon in envy, as will the crystal chandeliers that hang down from the presidential suites.
16. Musha Cay, Bahamas
Forget having your own white sand beach, or even your own island. Musha Cay encompasses 40 beaches, 11 islands, an airstrip, and over 700 acres of tropical greenery. You get it all for $37,500 a night, including the Fountain of Youth that owner David Copperfield claims to have found on the islands.
17. Zephyr Palace, Costa Rica
Central America’s most luxurious hotel, the Zephyr Palace occupies a stunning mountain top location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Flocks of scarlet macaws fly around, there’s two spas, and a private beach lapped by sapphire rollers. The top suites go for around $9000 a night. Just watch out for the wedding parties: Zephyr Palace is the emerging number one for peroxide plastic boobed US chicks marrying aging businessmen.
18. Banyan Tree Spa, Vietnam
Recently taking away the gong of best emerging luxury spa at the 2014 world spa awards, the Banyan Tree is a utopia in a country of spitting locals and polluted beaches. There’s personal therapists on 24 hour alert, a huge collection of private treatment rooms, and enough jacuzzi action for half a dozen playboy parties. There are some good bargains to be find here if you come in rainy season.
19. Hotel President Wilson, Switzerland
Switzerland survived two world wars without even firing a bullet. No army messes with Switzerland, because this is where the world leaders stash their corrupt money. Hotel President Wilson is where the world’s presidents stay when they’re in town checking on the gold deposits. The suites come at an outrageous price – $50,000+ a night – but that’s small change when you’ve fleeced the proletariat.