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36 extravagant escapes to make up for time spent in lockdown

Signature Luxury Travel & Style’s Black Book is filled with OTT bucket list ideas for post-pandemic extravagance.

We’re calling it the Roaring 2020s. After years of plague and isolation, Australians are ready to break free into a decade of hedonistic excess.

Now is the time to plan your ultimate travel indulgence, revelling in the finer details and forgetting about the cost.

Our Black Book of bucket list ideas is filled with the most OTT experiences and adventures around the world. You could choose one… or tick them all off.

See the heart of Australia

Platinum Aircraft Charter’s new Airtours-branded 14-day ‘Insider’s Kimberley’ itinerary is set to showcase the heart of the outback.

Departing in June 2022, charters are on board an executive B200 Super King Air, allowing for access to some of the country’s most out of the way landscapes, from the red sands of Uluru to the waterfall-and gorge-laden Kimberley.

1. Mitchell Falls 2. Kimberley Coastal Camp © Air Tours

Jet-set Australia

Join Latitude 33 and 14 other guests for its inaugural private jet and helicopter tour in May 2022. Taking in three of the most far-flung resorts in Australia. Commencing with a welcome dinner at Park Hyatt Sydney, followed by a treehouse stay at the new-look Silky Oaks Lodge, exclusive use of Kakadu’s Bamurru Plains and glamping at Longitude 131°, the 12-night affair starts from $25,799.

© Images courtesy of Latitude 33

Be your own VIP

The most exclusive way to travel is by your own Pilatus private jet – which can access up to 10,650 airports worldwide. The PC-24 has been dubbed ‘The World’s First Super Versatile Jet’, and it certainly lives up to the name. Crafted in Switzerland, it is the only aircraft combining the versatility of a turboprop, the cabin size of a medium-light jet and the performance of a light jet.

Board a balloon to space

After completing a successful test flight this year, Space Perspective is now taking bookings for the planned 2024 launch of what will be its first passenger-ready balloon to space. Customers can reserve a solo seat for US$125,000, or charter the entire capsule for eight.

Sit in plush reclining seats with bar and bathroom access while you to soar approximately 30,500 metres into the skies for over six hours. Revel in 360-degree views of the Earth’s atmosphere through the football-sized Neptune One’s floor-to-ceiling windows.

© Michaela Zamloot (Button Collective)

Visit three continents on one hybrid-powered ship

Why embark on one Hurtigruten voyage, when you can do four back to back? Starting with 19 days in Antarctica and Patagonia – before an 18-day round-trip exploring the Latin American countries of Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica and 14 days spent beach hopping along Central America’s Pacific Coast, stopping in at El Salvador, Nicaragua and Mexico – the epic undertaking finishes with a cruise between San Diego and Vancouver. The entire price-on-request crossing is aboard the wonderful, world-first hybrid-powered MS Roald Amundsen, with many of the top suites still available.

Sleep in a Croatian monastery

Escaping the summer crowds in Croatia is now a reality – between April and October, travellers with a spare $15,000 can rent a 15th-century monastery located on the car-free island of Lopud, once the home of Franciscan monks, for exclusive use.

Accessed by ferry from Dubrovnik or speedboat from Brsecine, LOPUD 1483 has been restored over the past 20 years by art collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemsza. The property was renovated under the direction of Zagreb-based architect Rujana Markovic and Italian designer Paula Lenti, with the 12 former monk cells now converted into five stonewalled bedrooms, enveloped by expansive gardens and affording incredible views over the Adriatic.

Spend mornings practising yoga on the large wooden deck before indulging in a personal wellness program, touring the surrounding Renaissance villas and chapels, or unwinding on one of the island’s sandy beaches. On the rooftop, a Sunset Terrace offers direct sea access via a secret underground cave, as well as vistas of the neighbouring islands of Sipan, Mljet and, on a clear day, Korcula.

Heli-ski Russia’s remote volcanoes

There are few places in the world that can rival the dramatic beauty of Kamchatka in Russia’s far east. While getting here takes time and effort, a vast volcanic peninsula of charging rivers and snow-dusted peaks awaits.

Between the months of March and May, and for the price tag of €125,000, adventure enthusiasts (in a group of up to 12) can spend six days heli-skiing from the summit of smoking volcanoes down to the beach. A private chopper and expert guides will help you reach remote peaks. You’ll feast on barbecues beside rivers of molten lava and soak ski-weary limbs in hot springs along the way, and then return to base to defrost in an exclusive nine-room lodge.

Fly between the luxury lodges of New Zealand

Operating since 1994, Australian-owned Captain’s Choice was one of the first in the world to introduce private jet journeys across the globe. They’ve recently expanded their portfolio closer to home, introducing an itinerary to three luxury lodges across New Zealand. Visit The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Huka Lodge and Matakauri Lodge for a slew of money-can’t-buy experiences, from a sumptuous five-course dinner prepared by chef Paul Froggatt to fly fishing at Tongariro River.

There are two departures from Sydney in 2022 starting from $31,450 per person. The business-class private jet adventure will head across the Tasman to the sub-tropical Bay of Islands in the north, then on to the shimmering waters of Lake Taupo and adventure hotspot Queenstown in the South Island, before stopping at Norfolk Island on the way home.

Break ice with Ponant

Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first LNG electric hybrid Polar Class 2 polar explorer, has itineraries that stretch the globe. In 2022, the 135-stateroom ship will be in the northern hemisphere for two sailings starting from $40,310 per person, twin share, with return flights from Paris included.

The voyages depart Spitsbergen on a 15-night round-trip, pushing deep into Arctic pack ice on the way to the geographic North Pole, sailing through the Hinlopen Strait and Northeast Svalbard Nature Reserve en route.  

© Ponant

Take over an entire Maldivian private island

Velaa Private Island is the epitome of exclusivity. The resort is located within the Noonu Atoll in the Maldives – a 45-minute seaplane ride north of the capital of Male.

The retreat was conceptualised by architect Petr Kolar using wood from Borneo, stone from Jordan and artisan patio furniture from Italy. The island is surrounded by the white-sand beaches and azure waters the archipelago is known for.

In addition to a dreamy spa offering opulent treatments – think a chardonnay body scrub or a green caviar facial – there’s a golf academy with 170 metres of greens, plus every water activity imaginable on your doorstep, from semi-submersible submarines to hoverboards.

You can dive straight into the ocean from your villa, or splash about in your pool – every accommodation has their own. This can all be yours for a mere US$1 million a night.

Escape to Indonesia

Aqua Expeditions and Nihi Sumba have joined forces to create a new odyssey encompassing the breathtaking islands and seas of east Indonesia.

Over a week, a maximum of 30 passengers will depart from Benoa, Bali, aboard superyacht Aqua Blu. The tailor-made journey combines a four-night exclusive charter to the famed Komodo National Park and three nights at Nihi Sumba, an eco-villa hideaway known for its epic surf beaches and wild horses that canter through the waves.

Running between February and September 2022, the tour’s rates start from US$280,552.

Asia cruise of a lifetime

Cruisers wanting to see the very best of Asia’s coastline on one impressive voyage are in luck. On 26 January 2023, Regent’s elegant Seven Seas Explorer departs Sydney on a 61-night ‘Grand Asia Exploration’, setting course northwards up Australia’s east coast to Papua New Guinea and Darwin before visiting the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Lombok, Bali and Java, and continuing on to Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.

Alongside this remarkable roll-call, 173 free shore excursions, port overnights and land programs allow for cultural immersion. All-inclusive fares start from $53,590 per person, and while the palatial Regent Suite is already booked out, Concierge Suites (complete with balconies, mini-bar, 24-hour room service and L’Occitane amenities) remain available, starting from $61,350 per person, twin share.  

Go glamping in Antarctica

Travel to the seventh continent in style with a stay at White Desert’s Whichaway Camp. The camp was founded by record-breaking polar explorer Patrick Woodhead and is the first and only luxury accommodation on Antarctica.

You reach the camp’s heated, fibreglass igloo-like sleeping pods via transfers by private Gulfstream jet from Cape Town. Experiences include visiting emperor penguin colonies (priced from US$96,000), learning essential polar skills from explorer Ben Saunders (priced from US$45,000), and ‘Ultimate Antarctica’, which includes standing at the South Pole, cross-country skiing and hiking ice tunnels (priced from over $5 million for 12 people).

Bask in Bawah Reserve’s nature

For those seeking solace among nature, the far-flung Bawah Reserve in Indonesia’s Anambas archipelago is the last word. Arriving by private seaplane to one of the resort’s six islands (there are also three lagoons and 13 beaches) is one of the most luxurious arrival experiences you’ll ever have.

Days can be spent hiking through butterfly-filled primary rainforest, gliding over pink, purple and electric-blue corals in see-through kayaks, snorkelling with clownfish, triggerfish, parrotfish and, if you’re lucky, green turtles. In addition to its current 36 lodges, Bawah is launching six cliffside lodges on a previously untouched island named Elang, which can be booked out exclusively for up to 14 guests for US$21,000 per night.

Read: 9 incredible camping experiences around the world

Cruise the Mediterranean in a superyacht

Launched in 2015 as the world’s first hybrid superyacht, Savannah swept the boards at the 2016 World Superyacht Awards.

It’s not hard to see why. Step aboard and enjoy blissful days cooling off in the 10-metre pool, sunning yourself at the full beach club, soaking in the Moroccon hammam, enjoying pampering in the spa, sipping cocktails in the underwater observation lounge or playing with the huge selection of water toys, from jet skis to wave runners.

There’s space to sleep 12, with the Owner’s Suite the crowning jewel: complete with an enormous marbled bathroom, walk-in dressing room and custom-built pantograph doors leading out onto the private upper deck area. The gleaming metallic beauty can be chartered during the summer season throughout the Western regions of the Mediterranean, starting from $1.5 million a week.

The jewels of India

For the ultimate Indian journey, destination specialist Banyan Tours has designed an incredible 14-day adventure taking in the highlights of Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur.

The tour ends with a private air journey to the Himalayas and a four-night stay at secluded four-bedroom lodge Shakti 360 Leti, which enjoys mesmerising views of the snow-capped mountain range.

From $29,500 per person, twin-share, guests stay at a selection of India’s most opulent hotels and are accompanied by expert private guides every step of the way.

Linger longer in Africa

For those who wish to spot Africa’s Big Five in absolute privacy, Singita has partnered with ROAR AFRICA to whisk guests by private jet between two of its most isolated properties over a wildlife-rich 12 nights.

First stop is Tanzania’s Serengeti House. Here, safari goers will have exclusive use of the villas, in addition to twice-daily game drives, yoga sessions and tailor-made wellness treatments. This is followed by five nights at Kataza House in Rwanda, for private gorilla and golden monkey treks in the spellbinding Volcanoes National Park, as well as cooking lessons with expert chefs. Rates for the ‘Long Stay’ packages start from US$209,339 for eight people.

© Kataza House, Rwanda

Find private shores in Fiji

When it comes to seclusion, the privately-owned Vomo Island Fiji might be the ultimate destination. Vomo is set on a petite, crocodile-shaped isle in the Mamanucas – accessed via a scenic helicopter ride from Nadi. The resort’s villas and private residences are just steps from powdery shores, gin-clear waters and reefs teeming with marine life.

The ultimate stay is in the spectacular Reef House, spanning 200 metres of absolute beachfront across two blocks. The Reef House starts from $55,000 per week for up to 12 guests. Snorkel, play the par-three golf course, hike the slopes of Mount Vomo, circumnavigate the whole island (it only takes two hours), or rent your own private island, Vomo Lailai, for the day.

Embark on Lapland’s coolest ice drive

Situated at the very edge of the Swedish Arctic Circle, Arjeplog is a surreal sub-zero wilderness as enchanting as it is extreme. Between January and March, the region’s Lake Udjaur crystalises and is transformed into a drifting area for the world’s most thrilling supercars.

Beginners all the way to professional drivers can take the wheel of a Porsche or Ferrari and reach speeds of more than 200 kilometres an hour on the frozen F1 replica track. A number of packages are available, with the ‘Prestige’ the creme de la creme, including eight daily driving sessions, chalet dinners, and a guided snowmobile tour for approximately $18,000 a head.

A Wild West road trip

Thanks to the romance of Route 66, taking an all-American road trip is a rite of passage. With Black Tomato, you can discover the heart of the USA over 13 nights from approximately $22,000 per person, staying in lush lodgings along the way, such as Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, Amangiri and Dunton Hot Springs.

Highlights include buggying across the sand dunes of the Mojave Desert, flying over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter, taking to the waters of Lake Powell on speedboat and walking in the footprints of Navajo Indians in Monument Valley.

Visit Bhutan, Jordan, Sicily and Dubai by private jet

Abercrombie & Kent is pulling out all the stops for culture lovers in 2022 on the 23-day ‘Cultural Treasures’ journey. Take in some of the world’s most fascinating destinations via private jet that is exclusively chartered for just 48 guests, from $200,000 a person, twin-share.

Hike to the legendary Tiger’s Nest monastery overlooking Bhutan’s sacred Paro Valley, take a helicopter flight over Mount Everest, enjoy a torchlight dinner at Little Petra in Jordan, self-drive an Alfa Romeo in Sicily, and saddle up for a polo match in Dubai followed by dinner in the desert.

Mount Everest
Mount Everest

Find the Northern Hemispheres best snow

Ski around the world in 35 days with a bespoke journey designed specifically for Australian ski aficionados by Scott Dunn.

Fly from Australia to some of the world’s most coveted winter resort destinations, sampling the famous powder of Japan’s Niseko, Whistler in the Canadian Rockies, the wilderness of British Columbia near the Alaskan border, the glamorous slopes of Colorado’s Aspen, Iceland’s dramatic Troll Peninsula and, finally, the legendary village of Zermatt in Switzerland.

Priced (for two) from $195,000, including return first-class flights from Sydney, with stays at Aman Tokyo, The Little Nell in Aspen, Four Seasons Whistler and Deplar Farm in northern Iceland.

Read: The 4 best ski resorts for luxury in Japan

Colorado’s Aspen Snowmass

Globetrotting in serious style

Four Seasons may be best known for its effortlessly stylish hotels, but it matches this class in the skies on its ‘World of Adventures’ private jet journey in May 2022.

This tour of eight countries over 24 days is an around-the-world journey like no other; starting from US$180,000 per person, the global tour kicks off in Seattle before moving to Japan, Bali, East Africa, Marrakech, Colombia, the Galapagos Islands and, finally, Miami.

Highlights include a hike through Rwanda’s lush bamboo forests where mountain gorillas roam free, as well as a calming sunset meditation in Seychelles with the stunning Anse Bay as the backdrop. From the air, all is seen in utmost style, of course: handcrafted Italian leather seats, 78 inches of personal space and the signature Four Seasons service complete with an onboard concierge and Dom Pérignon at your beck and call.

Rwanda's mighty mountain gorillas
Rwanda's mighty mountain gorillas

Off-grid extremes in Iceland

For the epitome of off-grid, head to northern Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, where a sublime Nordic-inspired lodge sits. Available for exclusive use, Eleven Experience’s Deplar Farm offers bespoke action-packed winter and summer programs of multi-sport expeditions, ranging from surfing some of the country’s best swells from the town of Ólafsfjörður to heli-skiing the surrounding mountains.

Stand at the ends of the earth

When it comes to going off-grid, it’s hard to look past Fogo Island Inn. Located in a traditional fishing village off the northern coast of Canada’s Newfoundland. The province is renowned for its icebergs, wild storms, whales and Northern Lights.

The resort is an architectural marvel: starkly minimalist yet rising from the rugged island landscape like it’s always belonged there. Designed by Saunders Architecture, the on-site ‘Shed’ is housed in a simple timber building with no electricity and lit by kerosene lamps – reminiscent of the cabins occupied by the majority of the islanders until very recently – and is centred around the notion of ‘slow eating’: taking the time to socialise and bask in the tastes, sounds and smells alongside the chefs themselves. With 80 per cent of the produce sourced locally, from fresh seafood to 20 kinds of berries, it’s truly a treat for the tastebuds

Read: 16 of the world’s most remote hotels

© Fogo Island Inn

Fly, stay and cruise Tahiti

Sometimes, one island is not enough. With Windstar Cruises’ seven-night ‘Dreams of Tahiti’ round-trip from Papeete to Papeete, sun-seekers fly, stay and cruise on board the graceful Sea Breeze yacht between Moorea, Raiatea, Motu Mahaea, Bora Bora and Huahine.

Starting from $7,415 per person, twin share, and with multiple departures throughout 2021 and 2022, overnights allow for plenty of time to snorkel the cerulean lagoons, meander through dense rainforest, stop by the open bridge to learn to sail with the captain and learn about the fascinating Polynesian culture, from tikis to tiare flowers.

Canoeing in Tahiti
© Tahiti Tourism

Adventure with Aman

Hop between the always magnificent Aman properties in far-flung destinations with the exceptional convenience of the Aman Private Jet. The jet takes up to 12 passengers on personally tailored journeys, arranged by a Private Aviation Concierge.

Or join one of Aman’s super-luxe Jet Expeditions in 2022, such as ‘The Grandest Tour’, whisking guests between Aman Tokyo, Amansara in Cambodia, Amanoi in Vietnam, Amanpuri in Phuket, Amankora in Bhutan, Amanbagh in India, Amanzoe in Greece and Aman Venice over a fabulous 21 nights, from US$147,888 per person, twin-share.

© ​Amanzoe, Greece

Skydive Mount Everest

Those looking for an alternative way to experience the world’s tallest mountain – and $25,000 to spend – should consider hurtling through the skies at 130 kilometres per hour. With nothing but the air at your feet, an oxygen mask across your face and the snow-capped Himalayas enveloping you on all sides.

Every November, the Everest Skydive expedition offers one of the highest commercial freefalls in the world. Following a guided 11-day trek through Nepal, adrenaline junkies are strapped in for two tandem skydives from more than 23,000 feet (7,600 metres) above sea level.

Grand tour of Italy

Curating holidays for the likes of Jude Law and Stella McCartney, Merrion Charles has launched the ultimate grand tour of Italy. Allowing guests to have a four-in-one-trip, the 15-night itinerary visits some of the country’s most fabled landscapes, from the majestic Dolomites and the rolling hills of Tuscany to the magical Pontine Islands and cultural landmarks of Rome.

Featuring a stay at the Conti di San Bonifacio wine and wellness retreat in Tuscany, and island hopping aboard the Blue Deer catamaran, prices start from $200,000 for six people. Private jet transfers can be arranged upon request.


Take the Solandge helm

With a reported asking price of $163,417,275, the Lürssen-built Solandge might just be the superyacht to top all superyachts.

Not many can boast a timeless Espen Oeino exterior design, interiors by Aileen Rodriguez, a full spa (complete with a sauna, steam room and beauty salon), a bar with a piano, nightclub with DJ station and a glass-edged infinity pool.

The requisite oversized tender garage houses a full dive centre, and a full complement of water toys. If the purchase price is too high, the 10-stateroom stunner is available for charter for approximately $1,075,000 per week in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Indian Ocean and Caribbean, depending on the season.

Delight in a suite with an incredible view of Paris

Nothing says romance like watching the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower from the comfort of your bed. Alongside views of the city’s most famous icon, InterContinental Paris Le Grand’s Suite La Parisienne is as opulent as the building it is housed in.

Envisioned by interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, the 100-square-metre Parisian-style apartment is trimmed in shades of ivory and powder pinks, and features plush armchairs and sofas by Counot Blandin and Collinet and House of Pierre Frey, respectively. All of these details complement the drop-dead-gorgeous centrepiece: wallpaper designed by Manuel Canovas as an ode to the fashion and glamour of La Ville Lumièr.

Start the day by joining executive chef Laurent André at the Batignolles market to handpick organic produce, before returning to Café de la Paix – once frequented by the likes of Victor Hugo and Oscar Wilde – for a private cooking lesson.

Read: A hopeless romantic’s guide to Paris

Hideaway in Seychelles

North Island is much more than a beautiful destination. Reached by private helicopter, this exclusive, car-free private island resort is about the same size as Monaco. but certainly large enough for weeks of leisure.

The resort is home to four beaches covered in the softest sand in Seychelles and neighbours a marine park ideal for diving and snorkelling. A stay at one of the 11 villas will set you back around $10,000 a night. The rate is inclusive of an on-hand attendant to guide your experience, whether you wish to go hiking with a conservationist or practice yoga with the sunrise.

The retreat’s Environmental Team are, however, perhaps the real stars of this show, happy to share the ins and outs of their dreamy island’s expansive wildlife rehabilitation program.

Yacht between the undiscovered islands of Italy

Perched above the pedigreed Ludovisi quarter with wraparound views of Rome, Dorchester Collection’s Hotel Eden has long been considered the Eternal City’s premier hotel. Private gardens encircling the exquisite building serve as a buffer from the hustle and bustle of the city. But within minutes guests can find themselves at the Spanish Steps or the boutiques and restaurants surrounding the gorgeous Piazza di Spagna.

As if a stay here wasn’t already pure indulgence, you can now book the hotel’s ‘Summer Yachting Experience’ for a day trip like no other. Created in partnership with Access Italy, guests are whisked away by helicopter for a day of yachting (complete with champagne) around two little islands off the coast of Lazio: Ponza and Palmarola.

A personal guide takes care of all the details. The offer includes five-star accommodation for two and a three-course rooftop lunch or dinner at Il Giardino Ristorante.

Relax at Richard Branson’s Moskito Island

If you fancy the idea of vacationing like a billionaire, Richard Branson has opened his second private island to the public for the very first time. For a cool $32,000 a night, Moskito Island can be yours, sleeping a total of 22 across three villas.

Moskito is a hotspot for kitesurfing and mountain biking. The private island features several swimming pools and hot tubs, personal chefs, tennis courts and gyms.

Richard Branson’s Moskito Island
Richard Branson’s Moskito Island

The Land of Fire and Ice by air

There are few destinations in the world that excite the imagination quite like the Land of Fire and Ice. Explore Iceland from south to north by private air with TCS World Travel, experiencing its vast and varied natural wonders with just nine other guests over a jam-packed 10 days. Taking in five incredible destinations – cosmopolitan Reykjavik, the famed Golden Circle, the stunning landscapes of South Iceland, the lush Troll Peninsula and ending with some R&R at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon – adventure awaits atop glaciers, beside volcanoes and behind waterfalls for $65,000 per person.

TCS Travel, Iceland
A golden sunset with Vestrahorn mountain in the background © TCS World Travel

Dine with David Walsh

Hobart’s groundbreaking Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) offers the chance to have a rare private dinner with the gallery’s creator, David Walsh. As part of a wider tourism program by Cultural Attractions of Australia, which aims to promote the country’s iconic arts and cultural heritage scene, the experience includes a meal with Walsh at Source Restaurant accompanied by wine from the collector’s private collection.

You’ll reach the Tasmanian capital via private jet transfers from anywhere in Australia, stay in five-star accommodation on site, enjoy a guided tour of the museum by the head curator, and end your weekend with a VIP tour of the Moorilla Winery, vintner in your company – all for $50,00 per person.

The Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart
The Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart

This article originally appeared in volume 39 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.