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Luxury

Two policemen converse inside the 'Anubhuti' coach, at Chennai. 'Anubhuti' is a luxury coach added to Chennai Central - Mysuru - Chennai Central Shatabdi Express train ahead of Pongal.

PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar

Interior view of upgraded saloon of 'Royal Rajasthan on Wheels', a tourist train of Rajasthan Tourism which was flagged off from Safdarjung railway station in New Delhi.

PTI Photo

Bordeaux Prestige Tour French Wine Explorers’ best bouquet for the nosy features not just the best of the best French wine country, but accommodations well paired with the plonk. Private residences on world-renowned estates will be your bedroom for the six nights, while by day you savour VIP tastings of first growths and the prized dessert wines of Chateau d’Yquem. Meals are prepared by private chefs at ‘home’, served with Grand Cru or even library vintages, or ordered at Michelin-starred eateries. $6,200 per person, wine-tours-france.com/bordeaux.asp

Around the World with Four Seasons You have to stay at the Four Seasons sometime in your lifetime...if only to say you did. But to outdo the been-there-done-that tribe, stay at ten Four Seasons across the world and do some sightseeing on a private jet while you’re at it. For instance, stay in Mumbai—and see the Taj Mahal. Also visit Los Angeles, Hualalai (Hawaii), Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, Chiang Mai, Istanbul and London. $87,950 per person, on double occupancy; fourseasons.com

Titilaka Sitting astride the world’s highest navigable lake in Peru, Titicaca, the country’s first and foremost luxury lodge is feted for its architecture, but its outdoors are even more impressive. There are the chullpas of Silustani and Molloco to wonder at, stout towers of a pre-Incan civilisation, thought to symbolise life and birth. The ruins of Inca Anatwai and the interdimensional portal (per local shamans) of Amaru Muro are complemented by the more modern churches of Juli and Pomata. You could visit the Uros Floating Islands, whose residents call themselves the kot-suña or ‘people of the lake’, and consider themselves stewards of the lake, immune to its cold by virtue of their ‘black’ blood. The lodge itself has lake views from every room, most enjoying either sunrise (Dawn rooms) or sunsets (Dusk rooms). $910 per night for the comprehensive package, including all meals and most excursions; titilaka.com

Wildlife of the World by Private Jet Our bad: You missed the 24-day 125th anniversary special from Nat Geo. But this enduring jewel among its private jet journeys is worth a wild whoop! The 23-day ‘expedition’ covers Rwanda, Madagascar, Borneo, even Nepal, to meet the ‘big five’, the giant panda, the mountain gorilla and more—all with National Geographic’s team of co nservationists to guide you. $69,950 per person, nationalgeographicexpeditions.com
 

Camping out at AKA Central Park The main reason to book into the AKA Central Park serviced residences in New York rather than a hotel is the view from its penthouses. The 1,500sq ft wraparound terraces of the two penthouses on the private 17th floor are important not only for the outdoor dining area, but because they can be turned into bedrooms under the stars complete with metal-clad wood-burning fireplaces. Yes, you’re camping in Central Park, but there is no slumming it. Instead, you have Sony LCD screens, an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair, a spa shower for two, secret kitchen with Miele appliances a stone’s throw away in the 900sq ft apartment. Oh and a kingsized bed with Frette sheets inside in case it rains. $2,000 a night, stayaka.com

Kasbah du Toubkal Move over, Marrakech. The true Moroccan delight is a Berber-style castle high in the High Atlas mountains. The Kasbah du Toubkal in Imlil sits at the foot of the highest peak in northern Africa, Jbel Toubkal in the Toubkal National Park, yet is just 90 minutes from Marrakech—you can ride a mule over, or arrive on shank’s mare; vehicles can’t make it. A ruined kasbah was renovated by a pair of British brothers in an ecological, community-friendly way. There is no room service, nor a wine list. The ‘welcome drink’ is milk with dates. The menu is set. Rooms are basic, ranging from a three-bedroom house to shared dorms—with walnut furniture and big soaking baths, and often spectacular views. We give it A for authenticity, altruism and atmosphere. From € 498 for a 5N trip with stays in Marrakech and Imlil; kasbahdutoubkal.com

The Ultimate Dinner Party, NZ Exclusively New Zealand’s foodie flight makes the most of Nature’s own ‘outdoor pantry’. This nine-day epicurean tour de force has celebrity chefs and local experts making your meals a surprise and a discovery as you eat local, chasing down course after course by DC3 airplane, helicopter or boat. You visit iconic destinations, from Auckland to Hawkes Bay to Marlborough to Queensland. Some days you may even find yourself engaged in competitive foraging for your food! NZ$36,000 per person (double occupancy); exclusivelynz.com

World-Beating 3- Michelin Star Holiday You’ll have to enquire within for this bespoke experience. The ultimate foodie fantasy takes you to all the 107-odd Michelin 3-star restaurants in the world, across 12 different countries. You get to enjoy the locale as well as play locavore for a night, staying at one of the finest hotels in each area for your 2N pitstop before catching a business-class flight to your next meal. Ballpark cost £182,000 per person (including wine), 0845-365-65-65, holidaysplease.co.uk

Six Senses Zighy Bay A beach holiday…in Oman? A spa resort so hidden away you paraglide into it? (Don’t panic, there are alternatives, if you must.) Whale sharks to swim with while you wait for your massage? Check, check and check. Two hours from Dubai on the Musandam Peninsula, this Six Senses ‘village’ has mountains on one side, beach on the other. You can drive down from the mountains, speedboat it across the bay—or just drop in out of the sky. The whale sharks are in residence January to March. Go dare—the worst that can happen is you will have done it before you die! From $1,061 per night; sixsenses.com

Lebua India circuit Royal Rajasthan doesn’t get much more luxurious than these three properties managed by the iconic lebua of Bangkok. From Devi Garh by lebua, Udaipur, out to lebua Lodge, Amer, and back to lebua Resort, Jaipur, the triangle encompasses horseback safaris, campfire dinners and heritage walks, and L’Occitane spa treatments in outdoor cabanas. There’s authenticity here, the frisson of adventure, extravagance—and local colour. Tariffs from Rs 26,500 (Devi Garh), Rs 15,500 (Lodge) and Rs 30,000 (Resort); lebua.com

Canyons and Cowboys in the Wild West Never mind Disney World, this is the way to follow your American Dream once you’re all grown-up. Luxury operator Black Tomato’s 12-night all-American adventure begins at the top of the Strip in glitzy Las Vegas, before you try your gumption at being a real cowboy. A 21st-century cowboy, though, exploring the Grand Canyon by bike and helicopter, riding a bucking raft on white water. Move on to Indian country and to the stunning Amangiri, on the border of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, for some fish-wrangling. Down to Sedona’s red rock country for cowboy lessons. Round up with horseback rides and a barbecue under the stars while you make yourself at home—on the Tanque Verde Ranch. $4,600 per person ex New York, blacktomato.com

Amankora Journey This circular pilgrimage (kora) is the happiest circuit of Bhutan there is. The Amankora series of lodges covers all the valleys you have to see: Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang. Traditional wood-burning bukhari will warm up your luxurious wood-panelled lodgings with the fabulous views. It will be hard to give up reading on that window seat to go trekking. But you must. If only for the photographs. We recommend the Druk Path trek especially, including the Jili Dzong, a 16th-century fortress built for travellers, the Jimi Langtso alpine lake and the view off 14,000ft of Phume La. 11N itinerary $17,050 (double occupancy), amanresorts.com

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort Near the village of Tofino, Vancouver Island, there is a wild glamping retreat in the middle of nowhere. Accessible only by seaplane (from Vancouver) or boat (from Tofino), Clayoquot is an all-in-one soft adventure/pampering/wildlife watching revelation on the Bedwell River. Go out for a picnic in a horsedrawn carriage, to a beach or a meadow. Let the resort staff surprise you on honeymoon with wild strawberries and champagne, or a tandem massage by the river. From CAD 6,050 for 2 nights, per person, all-inclusive, in the luxury ensuite tents with flush toilets and private showers; from $4,750 for deluxe tents with separate showerhouse and composting toilets; wildretreat.com

Horseback Safaris and the Big Five Conservation-led ‘luxury experiential travel’ company &Beyond scorns just driving you around in a jeep by way of a ‘safari’. No, you will be trotting around the African bush the old-fashioned way, on horseback. Your 8-day exploration begins in Nairobi, with the Giraffe Centre, the Karen Blixen Museum and the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage followed by the volcanic landscape of Chyulu Hills National Park, with views of Kilimanjaro, herds of wildebeest and other animals, and birdwatching at Lake Jipe. Then the finale at Masai Mara National Reserve to meet the Big Five and, if you time it right, the Great Migration. $7,185–9,591 (not including accommodation, transfers, park fees and extras), andbeyond.com

An inside view of modern coach 'Anubhuti' at a railway coach care centre, in New Delhi. The coach, to be introduced soon, will provide higher travel comforts to passengers.

PTI Photo by Vijay Verma

Westin Hyderabad Mindspace’s: An exterior view

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel is a city landmark

The hotel's reception area.