From space travel to James Bond-inspired trips, demand for one-of-a-kind travel experiences is at an all-time high. Mayfair Times explores the luxury companies curating dream trips
Words: Antonia Windsor
It used to be that an overwater bungalow in the Maldives or a suite in the Seychelles would be enough to satisfy the affluent traveller. But those were the days of fly and flop, when a holiday was just about finding a picture-postcard beach then lying on it for a week. However, these days the discerning traveller is looking for an emotional connection in their travel; they want adventures that give them anecdotes to relay to their friends at home.
“Our clients want to make their time count,” says Gregory Patrick, founder and chief creative officer of The House of Dreammaker, which has been designing experiential luxury travel for individuals and families for three decades. “The proverbial bucket-list gives way in their quest to tell a story their peers find unique.”
If you can dream it, then House of Dreammaker can make it come true. How about a private jet trip around the world spending 20 days in 20 different cities? Passport to 50 is the most extravagant private jet trip ever imagined. One billionaire (with a price tag of $13,875,000, mere millionaires might struggle) travels with up to 50 friends on a private Boeing 767 business jet along with 50 handpicked staff (including a hypnotherapist to ease jet lag). They will stop in places such as Koh Samui, Cannes, London, Barcelona and Ibiza. Along the way, high-end experiences include a charity poker tournament with the world’s top-ranked poker player and diamond-encrusted 18-carat gold swizzle sticks to stir your cocktails.
Access to interesting people and places is one of the things that make House of Dreammaker trips unique. In London, you might be taken into the House of Commons by an Earl, in Rome you can be dressed by a member of the Gucci family or taught to cook by the exiled Princess of Burma. In Paris you can be among one of the very few people to see inside the private chambers of Marie Antoinette.
London-based luxury travel agency Black Tomato has also been busy creating multi-country itineraries. It recently announced a series of official 007 adventures to mark the 60th anniversary of James Bond. “We’re incredibly honoured to be working with the James Bond team in this first-of-its-kind travel partnership for the brand,” says co-founder Tom Marchant.
Working with location scouts from the films – they were handpicked by EON Productions as the first ever official 007 partner – they’ve created an inaugural adventure set in Europe, which will pay homage to Bond’s suave style, while also taking in memorable scenes from the films. For example in Lake Como, referencing Licence To Kill (1989), you’ll water ski along the Moltrasio shoreline, before jumping aboard a private seaplane to fly over agent Mr White’s infamous lakeside home, Villa La Gaeta from Spectre (2015). While in Monaco you’ll go to Casino de Monte-Carlo, as featured in GoldenEye (1995). This immersive adventure, with only 60 limited-edition bookable private trips, will be available for purchase later this year.
“To work with arguably the biggest film franchise of all time is a huge privilege and special milestone for the company. We can’t wait to introduce this initial bold and breathtaking new itinerary to clients and discerning fans,” says Marchant.
While these trips might sound out of this world, there’s only one company that specialises in actual out-of-this world experiences; Space Perspective, the world’s first luxury and zero-emissions spaceflight company. Once something of sci-fi fantasy, for $125,000 you can make a six-hour journey above 99 per cent of Earth’s atmosphere to the very edge of space, all without any training or space suits.
Trips are already booked up until 2025, so for a $1,000 refundable deposit you get to enjoy a couple of years of anticipation.
For once-in-a-lifetime expedition-style adventures, Rat Race creates global challenges that are mentally and physically tough. This year’s trips include a one-way crossing of the Namib Desert in Namibia to reach the most famous shipwreck on Earth, and a 100-mile journey across a frozen lake in Outer Mongolia.
The bespoke travel and yachting experiences created by Pelorus are less physically challenging but just as imaginative. In May, you can discover the Arctic wilderness and glide across the Svalbard Archipelago by snowmobile spotting polar bears, foxes, puffins and reindeer under the midnight sun. Or, in summer, sail aboard a luxury yacht in Ecuador and help scientists tag and monitor manta rays.
Experiential travel isn’t all about once-in-a-lifetime trips. EnVogue Travel, founded by entrepreneur and adventure travel expert Emma Higgins for high net worth and ultra high net worth clients, recently announced a gastronomic ski weekend (£8,000 per person) where you’ll ski-in, ski-out to a private lunch and enjoy a tasting menu prepared by Michelin-starred chef Alex Dilling (of Hotel Café Royal) served on a table handcrafted fromsnow and dressed in plush blankets and furs.