Want to rent an island for your honeymoon? How about flying around the world on your own private jet, stopping only for the best restaurants along the way? Or what about a three-day stay at a hotel where a round of golf with Jack Nicklaus is included in the bill--the $8.4 million bill, that is? Those are all real possibilities. "Luxury is the most overused word in the travel business," says Teddie Chapman, a.k.a. "The Travel Goddess" (thetravelgoddess.com), a California-based travel agent who specializes in ultraluxury trips starting at $10,000 per person. "But I can do anything, as long as you've got the money." Some of the over-the-top holidays we fantasize about:
The hottest ticket in superluxury travel is a round-the-world trip aboard your own private jetliner. Two companies, TCS Expeditions (tcs-expeditions.com) and Starquest Expeditions (starquestexpeditions.com), offer voyages aboard their own 757s, equipped with private doctors, expedition guides and expert lecturers. TCS's "Seven Seas Odyssey," for example--a $38,950, three-week jaunt across the globe--stops in the great Roman city of Laptis Magna and the ruins of Sabratha in Libya, open to the outside only since that country rejoined the world last year. Starquest offers what it calls "completely customized trips" for people who want to plan their own itineraries.
How about an island of one's own? Little Palm Island lies in the Florida Keys five kilometers off the U.S. coast (littlepalmisland. com). The 28 bungalows perched on crystal white sands have attracted such celebrities as Sandra Bullock and U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry. A grand suite retails for $2,345 a night. Or go for the three-night, everything-included million-dollar weekend, complete with use of a 30-meter yacht for unlimited fishing, a painting from the Wyland Galleries and a Tag watch. You'll also find rose petals on your bed, massage oils and books of love poems, says Terry Bechtold, the general manager. "The island itself is an aphrodisiac."
If you have $8.4 million to blow, and six months to wait, the Marquis Los Cabos (marquisloscabos. com) at the tip of Mexico's Baja peninsula will cater to your every whim. This "millionaire package" includes 18 holes of golf with Jack Nicklaus, a personalized concert by Santana and a year's use of a private five-stateroom yacht anchored off the coast. "We want to make sure we meet every single need you have," says Ella Messerli, the general manager. So far no one has bought the package, but the hotel has had several serious inquiries.
Beaches aren't the only luxury spots. How about a plush South African safari vacation in world-class Kruger Park? At the Royal Malewane Luxury Safari Lodge, you'll get your own suite and deck with a view of the Thornybush Private Game Reserve, an 11,500-hectare range with lions, leopards and more. At night, relax in your own private plunge pool, or take advantage of the gym, spa, private butler, chef or masseuse services. Prefer to travel incognito? The resort will ferry you in on a private jet or helicopter ($17,000 per day for a 16-person suite; www.krugerpark.org).
Even cruise ships are getting in on the act. Take the Antarctica cruise offered by Travel Dynamics International. For $15,395, you can spend two weeks aboard the Corinthian II in a 36-square-meter penthouse suite with a marble bathroom and balcony. You'll tour the Antarctic shelf with a panel of world-class lecturers and naturalists, and enjoy the fully stocked library and 24-hour private butler service. Best of all, it's daylight all the time (travel dynamicsinternational.com).