Fabulous five-star fancies
Our team of stylish travellers recall their most unexpected luxury experiences
Prancing Horse Ferrari, NSW:
Slipping into the driver’s seat of a top-of-the-range Ferrari is an opportunity not to be missed. Driving four models of the famed Italian stallion on the same day is enough to send even the most casual car enthusiast into a spin. It’s almost four years since my husband and I took part in a Ferrari road trip to the NSWsouth coast, and it’s still the subject of dinner party bragging.
Sydney-based Prancing Horse Ferrari Drive Experiences offers personalised excursions for those who want to own the road, if just for a day. Small groups travel in a sleek, red convoy, swapping cars along the way for the full Ferrari experience (our group of eight novices put a 328 GTS, a F355 Spider, a 360 Spider and an F430 Spider through their paces). Prancing Horse plans to launch overnight tours to Victoria’s Balgownie Estate in September. Wannabe Michael Schumachers can buckle up for the ride of a lifetime through the Yarra Ranges, including the dramatic Black Spur Drive, in the new 458 Italia, the California and the F430 Spider (see P10). More: prancinghorse.com.au.
Aprivate island is the ultimate luxury. Richard Branson has one. Marlon Brando did, too. And, for a few days, so do I, arriving at Dolphin’s smart jetty to be greeted by Dawn Simpson and her crew bearing leis and a wheelbarrow for my luggage. ‘‘Welcome home,’’ Dawn says. And she means it. You’re staying in a Crusoe-chic suite, with freshly caught fish for lunch, and can snooze on an immaculate lawn or white-sand beach (both swept and primped at first light). I read three 700-page books, snorkel off the jetty and have long baths gazing up at the rain trees. All the while a large but almost invisible staff is beavering away in the background like the cast from Fantasy Island, daubing rooms with apricot hibiscus flowers and lighting hurricane lanterns after sunset. I love the evenings best, with the sound of Dawn’s laughter drifting from the kitchen as she whips up a curry feast and Siliva rustles up cocktails for our small house party. And we have heard not a peep from the outside world in a week. Now, that is luxury. More: dolphinislandfiji.com.
Arrival at Moyo is by seaplane or sail, so the first sight of this j ungle- covered speck in the Flores Sea is guaranteed to be unforgettable. What distinguishes Moyo from the 18,000 or so other islands of the Indonesian archipelago is Amanwana, an intimate resort of 22 tents in an oceanfront clearing. Guests fall asleep to the rhythm of the waves in drifts of white linen and wake to the cries of macaque monkeys in the surrounding nature reserve. Contrasts between the wild setting and jet-set retreat are what make Amanwana so special, particularly at night. Guests stroll beneath archways of woven palm, hung with glowing paper lanterns, to reach white-clothed tables on the lawn and feast on flaky roti with deliciously fiery chicken or Thai beef soup heady with lemongrass. Then you retire to the candle-lit chill-out lounge for nightcaps under the stars, with sand beneath the toes. It’s the last word in barefoot luxury. More: amanresorts.com.
I couldn’t understand why our hotel driver
Flight of the condors, Peru:
Clockwise fro the exclusive Dolphin Islan Fiji; avoid the on a private v of the Sistine Prancing Ho Ferrari excur in Victoria; a pop-up meer in Botswana