by John O'Ceallaigh and Luxury Travel Editor, The Telegraph, August 23, 2018
If you’ve just splashed out on a luxury holiday at one of the world’s best hotels, it’s unlikely you’re keen to bookend the experience with interminable queues at immigration or battling through the crowds at customs, which is perhaps why an increasing number of hotel groups are now conveying their most valued customers from property to property by private jet. The latest company to join the fold is Anantara Hotel, Resorts & Spas, which has just launched the Anantara Private Jet Experience.
Developed in collaboration with private-jet company MJets, which like Anantara is part of the Bangkok-based Minor International, trips commence in the Thai capital. From here guests either a Gulfstream V or Cessna Citation X and fly to Sri Lanka. For larger groups of up to approximately 19 passengers, the Gulfstream V features a three-zone cabin with shower facilities, beds and top-notch entertainment systems; passengers are attended to by two cabin crew. One of the fastest business jets in the world, the Cessna Citation X accommodates up to eight passengers and features fully reclining seats and advanced entertainment systems. One flight attendant will take care of guests’ requirements.
After touching down at Colombo International Airport those guests will be met by a limousine at the runway and taken directly to their premium villa at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle on the country’s southern coast. Here they’ll have the opportunity to enjoy private dining experiences and the resort team will be on hand to arrange visits to the ancient rock temples of Mulkirigala and potential whale-watching excursions.
From Sri Lanka, their jet will continue to Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas where the typical Maldivian indulgences - superlative snorkelling and diving; barefoot dining on the beach; indulgent spa treatments - await. More unusually, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a private stargazing session at the resort's observatory. There they can look at the night skies through the most powerful telescope in the Maldives as a “sky guru” elaborates on the constellations and the cosmos.
The Anantara Private Jet Experience can be modified to cater precisely to clients’ tastes, but standard packages will include two nights’ accommodation in Sri Lanka and three nights’ in the Maldives. For a group of eight flying on a Cessna Citation X, packages start at $19,745 per person. Couples travelling alone will pay from $47,307 per person. Trips can be booked via mjets.com.
Among the other companies to provide ambitious mutli-property itineraries are Germany’s Oetker Collection. Launched in 2016, its European Odyssey itinerary included a private audience at the home of designer and collector Axel Vervoordt in Belgium and wine tours in France complemented by a stay at Le Bristol in Paris. Over the coming months, guests of Oetker’s Brenners Park Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden can arrange contemporary art tours in Berlin with transit a Luxaviation private jet. The day out will include a private view of the Sammlung Boros gallery, housed in a converted bunker.
Between April and May 2019, meanwhile, Aman Resorts will offer a 22-day round-the-world for up to 16 guests aboard an Airbus ACJ 318, incorporating stays in resorts including Aman Tokyo, Amanpuri in the Philippines and Aman Venice. Guests will enjoy experiences such as a tour of Shanghai’s French Concession by side car and a helicopter tour over the hundreds of limestone karst peaks that perforate Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay. The journey costs $126,888 per person and is followed by a 17-day pan-Asia tour in October 2019 (price currently unconfirmed).
Four Seasons, meanwhile, introduced the hotel industry’s first fully branded private jet in 2015; the refurbished Boeing 757 accommodates just 52 guests rather than the 233 that would ordinarily be seated on the plane if used by a commercial airline. Those on board will be attended to by a crew of eight and can enjoy a succession of special experiences as they travel from one Four Seasons resort to another. Next year’s itineraries include the 23-day World of Adventures tour (October 23 to November 15), which will incorporate a three-night cruise in the Galapagos and gorilla viewing in Rwanda. It costs from $143,000 per person.
For more intimate trips, Four Seasons has also partnered with NetJets to offer more customisable packages. A sample tour of Paris, Florence and Cap-Ferrat might include a private cruise along the Cote d’Azur and a dinner to remember forever, served on a fourth-floor terrace of Florence’s iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge.
And it would seem the hotel groups' ingenuity has rubbed off on other sectors of the luxury-travel industry too. Last year Crystal Cruises, which had until that point focused on offering luxurious experiences at sea, launched Crystal Skye, the world's largest private charter jet. The refurbished Boeing 777 accommodates just 88 passengers rather than the 300 or so who would usually be expected aboard such a plane commercially, and costs from £43,000 an hour to charter.
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This article was written by John O'Ceallaigh and Luxury Travel Editor from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].