Gone are the days where ‘luxury travel’ only meant spending the big bucks. Today, it’s all about boarding and lodging in unimaginable places that will indulge, enthuse and stun the senses, discovers Behnaz Sanjana.
Be One with the Marine World
A trip to the Maldives is on the bucket list of even the least intrepid traveller, but how about falling asleep under a 180-degree curved acrylic dome submerged five metres below sea level that allows you to watch marine life glide by? It’s possible, if you stay at The Muraka, an uber-luxurious part of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. Guests enjoy plush accommodation and amenities on the upper level of this first-of-its-kind, luxury two-level residence, and can make their way to their private underwater master bedroom in the Indian Ocean with floor-to-ceiling windows and a dedicated tunnel viewing theater.
Glamp In The Rockies
Glamping is the glamourous take on regular camping, and what better place to experience it than in a luxury tented safari on the edge of the world, in the heart of the Great North’s wild? Take a short flight over the Pacific Ocean to Canada’s Vancouver Island and stay in five-star tenting accommodation. Then board a helicopter to a secluded peak overlooking a peaceful lake at a staggering height of over 1,300 metres to drink in the glorious wilderness for a few nights. This extravagant glamping set-up offers heli-hiking the surrounding trails, exploring the lake in well-appointed kayaks and dining al fresco under the stars with a personal chef and butler, for an out-of-this-world travel experience.
Wear Your Crown
Transport yourself to the era of the Maharajas and be treated like royalty as you experience palace living at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. Located in Rajasthan, India, it is touted to be one of the most romantic destinations ever, set on Lake Pichola with all-round views of the stately city. The former summer escape of the royals of Mewar, it was built in 1743, and converted into a hotel in the 1960s. Stroll by the original fountains and fretwork, admire the delicately latticed windows, and reside in a room that is, well, fit for a king. Dine on the rich cuisine of the region and pamper yourself at the world-class spa. This is true opulence exemplified!
Into The Dormant Dragon
Date night in Iceland can’t get more other-worldly than dining in the interior of the Thrihnukagigur Volcano - the only place on earth where one can explore a magma chamber on the inside of a volcano. A guided tour takes you inside a dormant volcano, through the top crater and to the bottom of its magma chamber, once filled with steaming hot lava. It has not erupted for 4,000 years and shows no signs of coming to life again anytime soon. Its bottle-shaped dome is so massive that the Statue of Liberty could stand inside it. A London-based tour operator can facilitate a private banquet inside the volcano starting at $14,000. Credit card, please!
An Enigmatic Engine
Travel in ultimate style through the evocative beauty of the southern island of Kyushu, Japan aboard the Seven Stars. This glistening, burgundy train has a timeless elegance characterised by quintessential Japanese style. The interiors showcase the best in Japanese craftsmanship -rosewood and maple walls, walnut floors, shoji paper screens for window coverings and elegant glass doors etched with Oriental flora and fauna. The train makes a round trip from Hakatato, cruising at a leisurely pace over the striking landscapes of Kyushu island, renowned for a stunning volcanic landscape of national parks and hot springs.
This exclusive, 21st century rail marvel is made up of seven cars with a total capacity of only 28 passengers.