By Jenny Hewett
Jun 26, 2019
“ONCE I GET YOU UP THERE, where the air is rarefied, we’ll just glide, starry-eyed,” croons Frank Sinatra in his 1958 hit Come Fly With Me. Those lyrics may have heralded the so-called golden age of air travel, but they still speak to the way the journey is often as important as the destination. Today, a new era of aviation has emerged that’s reigniting the spirit of flying. Personalized, multi-stop, private-jet adventures are now the epitome of luxury travel, with some of the world’s most exclusive hotels offering around-the-world tours in gorgeously outfitted planes. “We’re focused on elevating travel above the ordinary,” says Javier Loureiro, director of guest experience at Four Seasons Private Jet. “We tap into our rich network of local contacts in each destination to provide insider access to exclusive excursions that are customized and authentic.” Here are five you’ll want to pack your bags (and maybe liquidate your assets) for.
1. Aman Asian Cradles of Civilisation
WHEELS UP: October 2019
WHERE: China to Sri Lanka.
One of the world’s most exclusive luxury hotel brands takes Amanjunkies sky-high on an immersive 12-day cultural and spiritual adventure through China, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka. This hotel-hopping private-jet tour unlocks some of Asia’s most remote areas and historic sites, with mind-blowing stays at a marathon eight Aman properties. After departing from Shanghai, the second stop is hilltop hideaway Amandayan in the ancient Yunnan city of Lijiang for cocktails and a calligraphy lesson. In Bhutan, guests are treated to a private blessing by a monk and then take in the scenic landscape on a full-day hike to Tiger’s Nest. Bedding down in luxury tents at wilderness camp Aman-i-khas in tiger sanctuary Ranthambore, guests also have the chance to spot crocodiles, leopards and jackals on an open-top Jeep safari. The 19-seater jet accommodates 16 people and features luxe leather seating and lounge areas.
aman.com/expeditions/private-jet/pan-asia-october; contact Aman for pricing.
2. Four Seasons Timeless Encounters
WHEELS UP: March 13 to April 5, 2020.
WHERE: Kona to London.
Tick some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, including the Taj Mahal and Sydney Opera House, off your bucket list on this 24-day, nine-destination voyage with Four Seasons Private Jet. Starting in Hawaii, this once-in-a-lifetime tour mixes in tropical frolics on Bora Bora and Bali with urban experiences in some of the cosmopolitan centers of the universe. Enjoy a spine-tingling private concert at the theater where Mozart performed in Prague, cruise down the Thames in London at twilight, and get a bird’s-eye view of Dubai from a seaplane. Between destinations, guests kick back on the 52-person luxury jet, which is staffed with an eight cabin crew, three pilots, a guest experience director, a doctor and an executive chef. Menus, inspired by the destinations, come complete with wine pairings and seats lie fully flat, with custom-made Mongolian blankets, mattress toppers, duvets, crisp linens and goose-down pillows ensuring plenty of shut-eye.
fourseasons.com/privatejet/journeys/timeless-encounters-2020; from US$147,000 per person based on double occupancy.
3. Seamlessly by Touring Treasures
WHEELS UP: October 2019
WHERE: Around Australia.
With its luxury Dassault Falcon 900XE jet limited to just eight guests, this 21-day tour is one of the most inspiring ways to see Oz. Pairing pinch-yourself experiences with stays at the country’s top-end hotels, such as Saffire Freycinet in Tasmania and Southern Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island, the itinerary succinctly captures the soul and spirit of the land Down Under. “We combine helicopters, superyachts and private jets to cover a vast area in an exciting and luxurious way,” says Suzy Mercien-Ferol, co-founder of Touring Treasures. “Guests will have a bragging list for multiple opportunities that few rarely see, such as the Paspaley Pearl farms, which are accessible only by seaplane.” Enjoy five-star meals and spa treatments, and don’t even think about touching your luggage. “Our tours offer opportunity to spend more time on experiences and less time in queues.”
touringtreasures.com; from US$85,772 per person.
4. National Geographic Around the World by Private Jet
WHEELS UP: December 28 to January 20, 2020
WHERE: Washington, D.C., to Marrakech.
The next best thing to having David Attenborough as your seat-mate, this around- the-world tour is hosted by a team of National Geographic experts and explorers. Departing from Washington, D.C., in a reconfigured Boeing 757, with 75 VIP leather seats with adjustable head- and leg rests and a 45-degree recline, this trip takes in 15 UNESCO heritage sites in 11 destinations, including Samoa, Petra, Morocco, the Serengeti Plain and the Great Barrier Reef. While staying at some of the world’s most coveted accommodations— such as a National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World on Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater—guests will learn about the latest developments in marine biology, anthropology, archaeology and paleontology. On hand to provide expert insights and education are a photographer and filmmaker, a geographer and an art historian, while the flight crew includes an expedition chef, a physician and a dedicated luggage handler.
nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/ destinations/around-the-world/private-jet/around-the-world-jet-tour; from US$98,940 per person.
5. The Anantara Private Jet Experience
WHEELS UP: Whenever you want—it’s a charter
WHERE: Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Anantara has teamed up with bespoke aviation experts MJets to offer chartered private jet tours of the Indian Ocean. Combining stays at two signature properties at the highest-end of their luxury spectrum, this experience is fine-tuned right down to the VIP personal security service (upon request), fast-track permit applications and reduced immigration wait times. From your private-island base at Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, dive with whale sharks and mantas inside a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives by day and enjoy a private stargazing session by night before retiring to your huge overwater bungalow. The sprawling Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, in Sri Lanka, offers Ayurvedic wellness at a one of the largest hotel spas in Asia, gastronomic cooking classes and world-class surfing. MJets has two private jets for charter: a Gulfstream V, which accommodates larger groups and has showers and fully reclining beds, and an eight-person Cessna Citation X, one of the fastest business jets in the world. Charters depart from Bangkok and can be bookended with stylish sleepovers at one of the three Anantara properties in the Thai capital.
mjets.com; price on request.