The World’s Most Luxurious Holidays

The Daily Mail recently published an article about a £1 million cruise. The holiday involved a helicopter, a private jet, a Bentley, a Michelin starred chef and the suite of suites onboard a 6* cruise.

The cruise costs £1 million per couple, and at over £8,000 per day for the 124 day über luxury experience, it is the most expensive holiday I’ve ever come across. Though the trip sounds amazing — I’ll go into more details shortly — it got me thinking, what are the most luxurious holidays in the world?

Silver Whisper

Whether it’s a trip to Sir Richard Branson’s private island, 5* luxury in the world renowned resort of Courchevel, or heading to the Monaco Grand Prix, if money is no object, what would be your ultimate holiday? Whether you are on a footballer’s salary, you’ve just picked up your banker’s bonus, or you’ve got this weekend’s winning lottery ticket, here are a few ways to burn some cash in luxurious surroundings.

The Million Pound Cruise:

Naturally the £1 million cruise has to be the benchmark for this list, so what does £8,000 a day get you? At 124 days long, the £1 million cruise is the most expensive holiday in the list, though not necessarily the most ridiculous.

This cruise excretes luxury and decadence in every direction, from the second you leave home to your eventual return. The bulk of this cruise is spent onboard the luxury 6*, Silver Whisper, one of Silversea’s ships, in the Royal Suite — the 1,000 sq ft suite consists of two bedrooms, two marbled bathrooms, a separate dining space and bar, along with two private verandas. So, you are looking at one of the most comfortable suites at sea, onboard an all inclusive, über luxury cruise line.

But that’s not the reason this cruise costs £1 million. The accommodation, cruising and experience of the cruise may be second to none and the most luxurious way of spending 124 days at sea I can think of, but it’s how you get there, which is completely over-the-top, but quite fabulous part of this holiday. You will be picked up from you home in a Sikorsky helicopter, where you will enjoy Beluga Caviar (this stuff is £4,000 a kilo) while sipping on Da Hong Pao Tea, made from 1,000 year old plants, and, of course, before enjoying a glass or three of Dom Perignon Rose.

Once arriving at a London airport, you will be whisked away to a privately chartered Boeing Business Jet. The luxury jet includes mahogany panelling and gold-plated fixtures, while boasting a lounge area and bedroom — yes a lounge and bedroom on a plane! While enjoying the flight, both to LA and on the way home, you will be personally served a 10 course tasting menu from a Michelin starred chef. On arrival in the US, you will be collected by a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce Phantom. And if all that wasn’t enough, there are four nights in the Beverley Wilshire Hotel in Beverley Hills before the cruise, you will also spend four nights in a £7,300 per night apartment in Miami after the cruise, before embarking on an equally decadent return trip.

Rent A Village

Fancy a few days in the Alps during the summer, surrounded by family and friends, but not tourists? Well, why not hire a village for a week? Yes, I said hire a village.

This may not shout luxury to you, as you’re not surrounded by 5* hotels, there is no butler service and there will be a serious lack of caviar, but you do get an entire alpine resort to yourself. Of the villages on offer, you can take over the Austrian resort of Alpach, or Switzerland’s ski village of Engleberg.

Engelberg

As part of the package, you are not only given exclusive use of the accommodation, but you’ll also have the local villages looking after your every need. Your party will have free reign over the village bakery, the restaurants and the local bars — though you may find the villagers hard to remove from the bar.

So a week of gorgeous mountain scenery, wonderful surroundings and great local fare, all without having to interact with tourists. Ideal for a family retreat, Alpine wedding, or just the desire to have free run over a village in the mountains for a few days.

The Ultimate Ski Trip

Now, this trip has to be my favourite, this is completely fictitious, so there is no price, but it doesn’t mean you couldn’t attempt it.

Skiing is often seen as an exclusive sport to outsiders, full of fur coasts, quaffing Brits and extortionate costs. Some resorts do little to dispel this rumour, hence Meribel’s nickname as Surrey-on-Ski. So, what would be the most luxurious and decent ski holiday?

Luxury skiing means exclusive resorts, luxury hotels and highly unnecessarily expensive skis. So here is the ultimate luxury ski holiday.

Obviously this trip begins with a chauffeur driven trip to the airport, where you’ll head straight to the BA First Class lounge and enjoy a glass of champagne or two, while they fill the plane. After a short flight to Geneva in Switzerland you’ll be met by the concierge, who will escort you to your helicopter, for the short flight the Courchevel in the Three Valleys.

Your first week will be spent in the Hotel des charmes Les Airelles, the Palace class hotel, from where you can enjoy a wonderful week in the world’s largest ski area. While in Courchevel you will pick up a pair of Volant Platinum ski at £1250 a pair, as well as dining in a variety of Michelin-starred and AAA rosette restaurants, both on the mountain and in resort.

After enjoying a week in France’s premier resort, it’s back on the helicopter and a short flight to Switzerland, and one of the world’s oldest and most exclusive resorts, St. Moritz. When staying in St. Moritz, it would be rude not to stay in Badrutt’s Palace, the resort’s oldest hotel and still among its most luxurious. Badrutt’s Palace lays claim to being the original ski resort hotel and this 5* hotel offer understated glamour and elegance.

To finish this holiday off, you will then take another helicopter ride, this time to Austria’s most exclusive resort, Lech. Think champagne ice-bars, on sun-blushed terraces and luxury dwellings in every direction, while residing in the hotel …. Lech is where those with money, who don’t need to shout about it go skiing. The ski area, linked with St. Anton, isn’t bad either!

So, there you have it, three completely over the top holidays, that would cost thousands, but all of which would be pretty cool. Question is which one would you go for?

Barcelona v Southampton

The Battle of the European Cruise Ports

Traditionally Southampton has been the main port for UK cruisers and has been the main port in Europe for English-speaking ships. Home to the world’s most famous cruise line Cunard and the quintessentially British P&O Cruises.

Barcelona is now making an impact on Southampton’s crown, with low cost airlines growth, fly cruises have become more popular and cruises to the Med are attracting some of the world’s top cruise ships.

With Mark Hughes and cruising being the main links between the cities, would comparing ports be like comparing their great football clubs, or more akin to comparing Matt Le Tissier with André Iniesta?

Port v Port

Barcelona and Southampton offer two very different options as cruise terminals. Cruises from Southampton offer easy access, cruise only holidays. Okay so parking can be a pain, but it’s much easier than having to worry about the luggage restrictions of flying. Instead of spending your morning in an airport lounge you can stroll straight onto your ship in time for lunch.

Cruises from Barcelona are an ideal way of enjoying a variety of Med Cruises. You can add a few nights in one of Europe’s finest cities and there are itineraries from 7 to 11 nights on a variety of ships.

The two ports are really quite different. Barcelona is similar to its football club. The capital of Catalonia is full of culture, vibrancy and flair. Steeped in history and enjoying a diverse and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Southampton is a city full of history and legend, but no longer lives up to its former glory days. Plus it rains more in Southampton!

Ships Ahoy

The two destinations boast a superb variety of ships, from some of the largest at sea to six star über liners.

Southampton is the home of British cruising and throughout the year you can choose from the luxurious Cunard Fleet, such as the much awaited Queen Elizabeth, P&O’s full selection of stunning ships, including their newest and largest ships the Ventura and Azura, and the traditional and smaller understated Fred. Olsen ships. There is also the glitz and glamour of one of the largest ships to be based in Europe, the Independence of the Seas, the American-style luxury of the Celebrity Eclipse and two of Princess’ favourites the Crown Princess and Grand Princess. Throw in the high-end, ultimate luxury of Regent Seven Seas Voyager and the Italian-style, more causal fun of the MSC Opera and you have something for everyone.

Barcelona in return offers a selections of some of the finest four & five star ships to grace the European seas. Sister ship of the Independence, Liberty of the Seas and NCL’s latest offering, the Norwegian Epic are the other two of Europe’s three largest ships. The much anticipated Celebrity flagship Celebrity Solstice and Holland America’s newest luxury liner, the Nieuw Amsterdam are top of the 5 star luxury list. The Ruby Princess offers a more understated answer to American-style cruising and Disney Magic is perfect for families. For a real Med feel MSC’s top ships the MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia are both cruising from Barcelona. And to top it all off the two six star, all-inclusive, and rather elegant ships that are the icing on the cake are Silver Seas’ Silver Wind and the Regent Seven Seas Mariner.

The Winner Is…

To sum up the cruise ships on offer Southampton has a great selection of British-style ships, and can offer more variety in destinations, with the Med, the Canaries, the Baltics and Transatlantic all regular offerings. The port is easier to get to for most of us and accounts for the vast majority of British cruisers.

Barcelona on the other hand offers more ships with American and Italian-style glamour, some of the newest ships to escape the Caribbean and fantastic year round weather. To top it off they also have a better football team, that even Le Tissier would struggle to get in!

British elegance, a variety of destinations and the lack of need for flights definitely has its benefits, but a few days of Catalan culture, a trip to the Camp Nou and the wonderful weather of the Med definitely sways me. You can check out both these ports with this cruise deals widget. Only problem now is which cruise deals choose!