Private Pads for Your Pod: Properties Perfect for Buyouts

As we ease into travel as the pandemic is (hopefully) winding down, the trend for buyouts is heating up. Luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent tells Luxury Travel Advisor it has seen a sharp increase in demand for small bubble groups over the last few months, particularly for their Tailor Made experiences. 

In the spirit of buying out a space to travel with your travel pod, we’ve rounded up some options around the globe that offer private and semi-private for travel bubbles of various sizes.

For a warm climate and eco-friendly vibes, Cielo Lodge in Costa Rica is a luxury property that just opened in January 2021 and can take a private group of up to 24 people. Located on a 380-acre private reserve of primary and secondary rainforest, overlooking the beautiful and serene waters of the Golfo Dulce in Southern Costa Rica, Cielo Lodge was designed for maximum privacy, space, open-air living and natural social distancing. Here, you can take over the whole property, which includes six suites that sleep up to 24 people in total. For peace of mind, cancellations made 14-plus days prior to arrival to Cielo Lodge will receive a full refund. 

Las Alamandas

In Mexico, ultra-private Las Alamandas just finished an extensive renovation, bringing the inventory to 18 suites in eight villas, accommodating up to 42 people. Situated on 2,000 acres along the Pacific Coast of Mexico, known as the Costalegre, the intimate luxury retreat is considered one of the world’s most romantic hotels (hello, intimate destination wedding, anyone?) The resort has always been a favorite of celebrities (the very first guest was Robert De Niro when the property opened in 1990!). We love the new villa, Casa Bougainvillea, which has a contemporary vibe, featuring two bright, spacious suites with white polished cement floors, Mexican arts and crafts accents, and stunning bathrooms with generous, sexy double showers featuring shades of hot pink hand-painted tiles. For complete takeovers, owner Isabel Goldsmith-Patino will personally make sure everything is perfect and the property has its own landing strip for private planes.

For a more rustic feel, try the new Green O, which is slated to open June 1, as a private and separate part of The Resort at Paws Up in Montana. Designed for maximum privacy and seclusion, The Green O will offer exclusive experiences in 12 design-forward accommodations—from the elevated Tree Haus and the Green Haus with a rooftop deck perfect for stargazing, to the Round Haus with a sunken living room or the Light Haus with a glass-enclosed bedroom. Each "Haus" has floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the Montana wilderness. With the ability to host up to 24 guests, this new forest hideaway will celebrate the heritage of Montana with architecture, cuisine and curated guest experiences inspired by the land. Each Haus comes equipped with a personal Lexus luxury SUV to explore the 37,000-acre Paws Up property.

The Green O at The Resort at Paws Up

For an urban and international experience, put London’s Carlton Tower Jumeirah on the list. The hotel has just finished a £100 million (approximately $139 million) transformation, which includes a private floor! Take over the Royal Suite on the 10th floor and you have a private elevator and up to five bedrooms easily sleeping 10 to 12 people. Located in the center of Knightsbridge, overlooking and with keyed access to the private Cadogan Gardens, you’d be hard pressed to find a more central spot for exploring the best of London’s shopping and culture. (Tip: Luxury Travel Advisor was the first team on site to get a first-hand look at the renovation.)

Luxury travel operator Abercrombie & Kent has seen a boom in private group bookings and is upping their pod-style offerings. “We are seeing a strong trend of extended families traveling together this summer and into fall in the U.S. with groups of 8 to 14 to 24. In 2022, bookings are more international, everything from chartering yachts in the Galapagos, to safaris with private planes and exclusive camp buyouts—even a family of 24 traveling around Europe by private jet," says Stephanie Papaioannou, vice president, Tailor Made and Private Travel.

A group of travelers boarding a seaplane // Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Other examples of recent bookings from Tailor Made and Private Travel department of Abercrombie & Kent:

  • Eight friends traveling with their “pod” in the Pacific Northwest wine country with exclusive vineyard openings, small private winemaker dinners in unique private venues, buyout of accommodations and traveling by private air
  • Grandparents, two children and their families traveling in the Pacific Northwest
  • Two close families traveling together on a modified National Parks by Private Air this month
  • A family of 14, ages six to 80, traveling to Alaska in June, arriving by private jet and using charter planes to fly point to point

For more options to consider, travel advisors can contact  Stephanie Papaioannou [email protected] 630-725-3400 ext.109.

Crafted Ireland, a boutique destination management company based in Dublin, that recently launched a new perks-program for travel advisors, has suggested two options perfect for small groups that need privacy. The first is The Cliff Beach House, a modern, architect-designed home with views of the Atlantic from every room, perched along the water in one of Ireland’s prettiest fishing villages.The Cliff Beach House offers space to come together, as well as plenty of room to relax in peace and quiet. Surrounded by an outdoor playground, visitors can enjoy exploring on foot, taking to activities in the Atlantic, or indulging in one of many holistic wellness treatments at nearby spas. For larger groups, Crafted offers the 20-room Ballyfin, located in the heart of Ireland. This luxury country house hotel feels like a step back in time. Each of the 20 bedrooms in the house are beautifully appointed, yet all individually designed to mirror the style of the original house. Every dining experience at Ballyfin is a gastronomic affair, with the chef sourcing the fresh produce direct from their gardens or local providers. This property is available for a complete takeover, allowing fully-staffed service and complete privacy. With plenty of on-site activities and grounds to explore, guests get a feel for Irish country life. 

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