Over-the-top travel experiences for 2020


Booking a vacation always feels so good and half the fun lies in choosing a hotel and arranging your travel itinerary. Why not splurge once or twice this year on a hotel, spa or dining experience worth writing home about?

From Paris all the way to the West Coast of the USA, the experiences below will leave nothing to the imagination and will take your travel game to the next level. Prepare to be wowed!

a chair sitting in front of a body of water: PHOTO: Resort Balcony St. Lucia (photo via Elegant Hotels)

© Elegant Hotels
PHOTO: Resort Balcony St. Lucia (photo via Elegant Hotels)

Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito

Just across San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge, this former horse haven turned military base is now an award-winning luxury lodge you won’t want to leave once you check-in. From the on-site Cooking School and sunrise/sunset views of San Francisco to daily wine hours in the lobby and yoga in the lodge’s beautiful chapel, Cavallo Point Lodge is truly special. But if you think that’s all this serene establishment offers, you’ve barely scraped the surface.

At Cavallo Point there is a tea bar, a 24-hour fitness center, an outdoor fireplace where you can gather on chilly nights with blankets and a glass of wine and even a unique in-room bartender program that offers guests hand-shaken cocktails, pre-made cocktails, and/or ingredients for guests to mix themselves at any time of the day — all delivered straight to the room.

The most interesting and over-the-top offering at Cavallo Point, though, can be found (by appointment) in the Healing Arts Center & Spa. A massage or steam room visit would be lovely, of course, but what about a one-on-one session with a shaman to clear bad energy, anxiety, past-life blocks and more? Here, you can learn about indigenous healing practices and gain clarity on your purpose, opening the doors to ancient wisdom and a future filled with physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Start the new year on the right foot with a Shamanic Journey meant to make way for only happy, healthy and exciting changes for the upcoming year.

Related Slideshow: Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020 (Provided by Photo Services)

North Block Hotel and Perry Lang’s in Yountville

North Block was recently named Number One Resort Hotel in California and we can totally see why. Upon arrival, you’re greeted with a choice of local wine as the hotel porter whisks away your bags and car. You won’t need either as this small and charming Napa-adjacent area has rideshare options and North Block itself offers complimentary GenZe bikes to explore the town on two wheels.

Other perks of staying here include 24-hour access to the hot tub, where you can literally map out constellations in the night sky, an award-winning restaurant on-site, a tasting room just next door (Girard Winery) that offers free tastings to North Block guests and a new steakhouse (Perry Lang’s) within walking distance that has a very over-the-top knife — you read that right, a knife — on the menu. Dinner at Perry Lang’s will cost you a pretty penny, especially if you decide you must pocket the restaurant’s steak knives. Here, Adam Perry Lang makes his own knives, which are valued at $950.01 each, the bare minimum for a felony charge in the state of California (eek!).

Hopefully you weren’t planning to take a steak knife home with you, but this is a fun fact to learn while dining on Oysters Rockefeller, hand-cut beef tartare, 67 to 145-day dry-aged ribeye and all the local wines. Don’t forget dessert; after all that eating, a walk back to the room is exactly what you’ll need before turning in for the evening. And if you’ve got leftovers, your server will prepare a doggy bag for you to take home for breakfast.

The Private Suite at LAX

If you fly in and out of LAX often why not invest in yourself with a membership to The Private Suite? Flying can be stressful as can TSA, but with The Private Suite, you can skip all the airport hustle and bustle.

Arrive at your pre-scheduled time (also important to note: member services need at least 72 hours to secure your reservation) to an off-site suite and a staff member will get you all checked in. In your suite, you’ll find an abundance of snacks, toiletries and amenities — everything from medicine and sparkling water to champagne, neck pillows for the plane, phone chargers, condoms and a candy station. If you need to relax a bit pre-flight, you can order a manicure to the room. Or how about a 30-minute chair massage?

Whatever it is, The Private Suite has you covered as long as you make special requests and food orders in advance. If you’re flying alone and want someone to keep you company in the Private Suite — a friend, girlfriend/boyfriend, husband, wife, sibling — that’s possible too. Just make sure to submit the names of your visitors before arrival (members can bring up to three guests, while non-members are allowed two).

Once you’ve done all the decompressing your heart can handle, your concierge will escort you to an expedited, private security checkpoint and then — via a BMW 7 Series — to your plane. No lining up for zones or waiting for that big family to get their act together. Preferred boarding allows you to get settled early on or if you want, you can wait for passengers to get settled and board at the end.

A membership to The Private Suite comes at a pretty steep cost ($4,500 a year), but you can also book a domestic one-way as a non-member for $3,500, too. Sometimes you just need to treat yourself. Fun fact: only 30 or so travelers fly in and out of The Private Suite per day.

A Secret Agent-Style Adventure in Monaco

Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo’s “GoldenEye Experience” is inspired by the lifestyle of the world’s most iconic secret agent – Bond, James Bond.

The getaway includes a private helicopter transfer to and from the hotel, an Aston Martin driving tour of Monaco, a private tour and VIP access to the Monte-Carlo Casino (where scenes from GoldenEye were filmed), a two-night stay with a dedicated butler in Metropole’s newly renovated Suite Carré d’Or penthouse, two in-room spa treatments from Spa Metropole by Givenchy(!!), a private meal for two from Michelin-starred restaurant Joël Robuchon Monte Carlo on the penthouse terrace, and – if all that’s not enough – a decadent breakfast in bed each morning.

Après Ski in Paris, France

Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s Paris created a divine Après Ski get away with their new “Ski In, Ski Out” experience. Begin your trip at Le Fouquet’s on Paris’s iconic Champs-Élysées (book one of the hotel’s new townhouse-style suites, which offer surreal city views and ultimate luxury).

The next day, board a private jet to Hotel Barrière Les Neiges Courchevel Ski Resort for a sparkling day on the slopes. Guests can book an extra night at Les Neiges, with rustic mountain chalet-style suites overlooking the mountains, and become immersed in the destination with activities from nighttime dog sled rides and hot air balloon excursions to roasting s’mores while drinking mulled wine or hot chocolate before cozying up with a film in the private movie theater.

The Landings Resort & Spa in St. Lucia

Tucked away on the shores of Rodney Bay along a stunning, 800-foot stretch of white St. Lucian sands (a rare find on the volcanic island), The Landings Resort & Spa exudes a sense of luxury and timeless elegance. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a personal butler with a signature cocktail before being escorted to your suite (some even have private plunge pools), where you can relax while the butler unpacks your suitcase for you if you’d like. The resort also features three pools, tennis courts, a private marina, and a luxurious 7,000 square-foot spa.

For travelers looking for an over-the-top experience, book the Luxe at The Landings package. This includes luxury accommodations, helicopter transfers between UVF airport and The Landings, a private yacht charter to the Pitons or Diamond Falls with lunch on board, a private sunset dinner for two on the beach, one ‘Lucian Paradise’ spa treatment for two, a personal butler, packed canapés served in the suite upon arrival, four bottles of sparkling or still water, and a luxury transfer to the airport on departure day.


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