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Traveling in luxury while on vacations.
From spectacular views to wonderful meals and from marbles tubs and a penthouse in the sky, enjoy a unique opulant experience.
Strolling indoors after enjoying the magnificent view from the teak wood veranda, Betty Bishop relaxed in the Italian marbled bathroom while her husband Don made meal arrangements with their butler. After considering the attractive alternatives, Don asked the valet to make a dinner reservation at an elegant, white-glove service French restaurant and plan for breakfast the following morning to be served on their private porch.
If this doesn’t sound like your typical night at home – or mine – the fact is, it didn’t unfold at any residence. This taste of opulence occurred aboard a Silversea Cruises ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean en route to one of more than 900 destinations the company’s fleet sails.
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Silversea is one of several passenger cruise lines that offer the ultimate in lavish accommodations, memorable meals, and other top-drawer amenities to those interested in enjoying and willing and able to pay for them. Similar upscale travel experiences are available on land and in the air. Those who conclude that the cost of such extravagance exceeds the reach of their wallet or pocketbook at least may wish to share the pleasure of reading about them.
Luxury at sea
Silversea’s vessels range in size up to 364 suites, which is large enough to offer
the variety of selections found on massive mega-ships combined with the intimacy of smaller boats. That’s among the reasons why the company has been honored with the “Ultra-Luxury Cruise Line” title for four of the past six years.
Of course, such sumptuousness comes at a price. While fares can change, a recent scan of Silversea's charges ranged from $3,150 to a budget-busting $113,600.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has led upscale ocean voyages for over 30 years and works hard to live up to its claim that it operates “The World’s Most Luxurious Fleet.” Exemplifying this boast is the Regent Suite on the Seven Seas Splendor, a 3,000-plus square-foot palace-like setting with an in-suite spa with a personal sauna and steam room, an expansive wrap-around veranda and a glass-enclosed solarium.
The Regent Seven Seas’ activity list ranges from bocce and paddle tennis to practice golf to state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Kitchens. The line’s private suite balconies are among the largest at sea, and extras like complimentary shore excursions and round-trip business class airfares from the U.S. and Canada to embarkation ports add to the experience.
Flying Etihad for a penthouse in the sky
Those who prefer to travel by air also have a choice of alternatives far beyond what the Wright Brothers could have envisioned. Little could they have dreamed of a three-room cabin, dubbed “penthouse in the sky,” with a double bed, private bathroom, shower, and plush bathrobes.
Other perks for this New York to Abu Dhabi flight by Etihad Airlines include pre-flight arrangements made by a VIP concierge, services of a private butler in the air, and gourmet chef-prepared meals.
Another alternative for those with deep pockets is “private jet journeys” offered by Abercrombie & Kent, which boasts to being “the world’s premier luxury travel company.” While these tours aren’t truly private, the number of guests is limited, and the perks are top-of-the-line in every respect. A cross-continent African journey costs participants $134,500 per person, while an around-the-world tour lasting 24 days costs a cool $153,900.
Riding the rails for the rich in sumptuous luxury
Travelers interested in observing heritage sites, palaces, and forts throughout India from ground level may pay close to $24,000 aboard the Maharajas’ Express, named “World’s Leading Luxury Train” three times. Two lavishly decorated restaurants serve epicurean meals with gold- or silver-plated cutlery and hand-cut crystal glasses. Larger cabins have spacious living room and roll-top baths.
If you prefer a paved road rather than a railroad, a high-end dream car may be more to your liking. Spiffy exotic vehicles, including Maserati, Porsche, and Lamborghini models, are available from Turo, a car-sharing marketplace. It operates in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. One recent rental listing offered a Maserati for $103 a day. (turo.com)
San Francisco has spectacular views from luxury lodging.
Staying put rather than moving takes top billing at the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel’s selection of special rooms. Among suite accommodations are the Golden Gate, which offers spectacular views of the city’s signature sites, and Buckingham Balcony, replicating an English country manor.
Kings and presidents have opted for the Penthouse Suite, a sprawling 6,000-square-foot setting outfitted with custom furnishings, hand-carved woods, and original artworks. There are three expansive bedrooms, a library with a two-story-high domed ceiling, and a billiard room. This splendid space is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The ultimate tea experience
While afternoon tea has been a tradition at the Fairmont San Francisco since its opening in 1907, that custom is challenged by the Ultimate Afternoon Tea Experience served at the Baccarat Hotel New York. Among the ingredients included during that elegant occasion are caviar, lobster, truffles, and Kobe beef, accompanied by champagne. Adding to the elegance, Baccarat crystal three-tier serving pieces and the glamorous setting of the Grand Salon.
If tea for two priced at $3,000 is above your pay grade, you at least can enjoy reading about that extravagance, and others, which tempt wealthy wanderers. And think about all of the money you will save.
After gallivanting throughout the United States and to more than 75 other countries worldwide and writing about what he sees, does, and learns, Victor Block retains the travel bug. He believes that travel is the best possible education and claims he still has much to learn. He loves to explore new destinations and cultures, and his stories about them have won many writing awards.