ELEMENTAL LUXE

Opu­lence has no limit. Busi­ness Trav­eler iden­ti­fies four es­capades com­ple­ment­ing the four ba­sic el­e­ments of life

Business Traveler (USA) - - CONTENTS -

Es­capes drawn from the four el­e­ments of life

BFIRE usi­ness trav­el­ers, even Mil­len­ni­als, are de­vel­op­ing a taste for lux­ury travel. Tour op­er­a­tors, hos­pi­tal­ity groups, avi­a­tion com­pa­nies and other ser­vice providers in the realm of travel now go the ex­tra mile to cater to the ris­ing num­ber of tourists want­ing elu­sive and ex­clu­sive ex­pe­ri­ences. Be­low are four such es­capades com­ple­ment­ing the ba­sic el­e­ments of life that the dis­cern­ing ones may find in­ter­est­ing. The ex­pe­ri­ence be­gins with a char­tered he­li­copter ride over Ice­land’s beau­ti­ful wa­ter­falls, gey­sers, black lava beaches and the Jokul­sar­lon ice la­goon. If we’re lucky, we may even get a glimpse of the aurora bo­re­alis. Once atop the Thri­h­nuk­agigur vol­cano, walk on a car­pet of lava rocks that are around four thou­sand years old and into the cave-like magma cham­ber. This “room” is the heart of the moun­tain through which the lava erupts. Of course, the vol­cano is dor­mant now, so no need to worry. Din­ing guests are seated at wooden ta­bles at­tached to benches, cov­ered in crisp white sheets. The ta­ble is ar­ranged lux­u­ri­ously with crys­tal glasses, chi­naware and stain­less steel cut­lery. Meals are cus­tom­ized to one’s pref­er­ences and al­ler­gies. Try a glass of ice cold Reyka, con­sid­ered to be the world’s best vodka.

The ex­pe­ri­ence starts at about $14,000 per cou­ple and in­cludes lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion, as well as a guided hike on the vol­cano’s slopes. Check with the ho­tel concierge or a lo­cal tour op­er­a­tor for de­tails.

AIR

A va­ca­tion needn’t nec­es­sar­ily wait un­til we ar­rive at our des­ti­na­tion to start. If we’re fly­ing the Eti­had Res­i­dence, our re­lax­ation be­gins from the time we board the air­craft. Tak­ing lux­ury up many notches would be the 14-hour jour­ney in the A380 from Abu Dhabi to New York. The “seat” in­cludes a per­sonal liv­ing room, sep­a­rate bed­room and en suite shower room. The dou­ble seat leather sofa faces a 32-inch flat screen tele­vi­sion in the liv­ing room. We can share a meal with our part­ner at the fold­able din­ing ta­ble here or re­quest for it to be served in the bed­room. The six-foot ten-inch dou­ble bed is dressed in de­signer Ital­ian linen. An­other 27-inch flat screen tele­vi­sion is avail­able in the bed­room. The en suite shower is equipped with bathrobes, lux­ury ameni­ties and a van­ity unit. A but­ler waits on us through­out the flight, the in-flight chef per­son­al­izes our meals and the lifestyle concierge helps plan our days at our port of call. He or she goes as far as mak­ing restau­rant reser­va­tions and book­ing tick­ets for shows and events too.

The Res­i­dence ac­com­mo­dates two pas­sen­gers at a time. Air­fare for a roundtrip flight from Abu Dhabi to New York starts from AED126,945 ($34,560) for one pas­sen­ger. eti­had.com.

EARTH

There comes a time when we wish to va­ca­tion, but can’t be both­ered with the many book­ings in­volved — air­line, ho­tel and tours. This is where Oberoi Ex­otic Va­ca­tions steps in. The short­est jour­ney of­fered is the eight-day pack­age. At Delhi, check into The Oberoi Gur­gaon. Tour the her­itage and cul­tural sites of the cap­i­tal. Fly to Jaipur and check into The Oberoi Ra­jvi­las. Visit the an­cient palaces of the city and meet its peo­ple—en­roll in a yoga ses­sion at the prop­erty, shop for gem­stones, sil­ver jew­elry and hand-painted tex­tiles, for which the city is well known. Drive to Agra on the morn­ing of the fifth day and check into The Oberoi Amar­vi­las. Here, you will get an­other dose of his­tory with an en­gross­ing tour of In­dia’s past be­fore fly­ing back to Delhi for a guided tour of the lo­cal mar­kets.

Prices start at 23,000 ($325) per night per room, and in­clude air­port trans­fers, break­fast, ac­com­mo­da­tion in a Pre­mier room, yoga ses­sions and 25 per­cent off on spa ther­a­pies. Pack­age prices vary de­pend­ing on the cus­tom­ized itin­er­ary and the num­ber of guided city tours booked. oberoi­ho­tels.com/spe­cial-of­fers/ex­otic-va­ca­tions.

WA­TER

A cruise ship, even a lux­u­ri­ous one, can be too crowded for some of us who are yearn­ing for a real sense of calm. Char­ter­ing a su­pery­acht (over 80 feet in length) gives us the best of both – a cruis­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with a path that is cus­tom­ized to match our in­ter­ests. All we need to do is nar­row down on the month of our get­away and de­cide on the group size. Cam­per and Ni­chol­sons does the rest, from sug­gest­ing a suit­able des­ti­na­tion and ves­sel, even match­ing the crew to our va­ca­tion style. The level of lux­ury can be upped by adding a yoga teacher, dive in­struc­tor and a masseuse to the crew that al­ready in­cludes a chef. All of them sail with us for the en­tire the cruise. The most con­ve­nient fac­tor here is that we can visit mul­ti­ple coastal cities in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, with­out hav­ing to change ho­tels.

Char­ters start from ap­prox­i­mately €20,000 ($23,200) per week; camperand­ni­chol­sons.com.

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