The great American writer Mark Twain understood wanderlust.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Of course, Twain lived before the age of aviation took off. Were Twain born a hundred years later, Huckleberry Finn might have stowed away on a private jet instead of a raft.
Fortunately, reader, you dwell in the year 2018, and rather than float down the Mississippi River, you can rent a Gulfstream G600 and take to the skies.
And since time is the most precious of commodities, we've curated a world tour that will only take a week (more or less).
Just don't invite Tom Sawyer. He'll ruin the whole book.
Come fly with me...
The Gulfstream G600 is the latest in luxury aviation. The ultralong-range aircraft is ideally suited for a trip like this – with a max range of 11,482km. That would get you from London to Tokyo with plenty of fuel still left in the tank. It also boasts best-in-class comfort and fuel efficiency. The only problem is you won't ever want to land.
For most people, a round-the-world trip is not exactly a regular occurrence – indeed, this is proper once-in-a-lifetime bucket-list material. So, you need to make sure you kick off your journey on the right foot.
Step one is simple: book yourself in with Heathrow VIP – the most luxurious way to travel through an airport. Indeed, with the Black Service, the experience begins before you even arrive, courtesy of a chauffeur-driven BMW 7-series.
On arrival, your top-hatted concierge will welcome you – and whisk away up to ten items of hold luggage per person to be processed and put on board the plane.
There’s a Personal Shopper service to help you buy anything you want, without having to step from the lounge; a specialist from the Travelex team can even come to arrange and assist your VAT refund...
Heathrow VIP, London
The food and drink selection is a (very significant) step above what you may be used to from commercial first-class lounges. The menu has been designed by Michelin-starred superchef Jason Atherton – and is created by the on-site chef while you wait. This all-day service covers a selection of elegant main courses, lighter snacks and a decadent afternoon tea – even served if it’s first thing in the morning.
If there’s a particular wine or bottle of champagne you like, that’s not a problem, either, as they can deliver on any special requests or requirements you may have.
Naturally, privacy is an absolute, so your journey through the airport is totally secure – and the start of your trip is as hassle free as it is enjoyable. Onwards and upwards…
Prices for the Black service start at £2,750+VAT for up to three persons for an arriving or departing flight. For larger groups, please contact the Booking Team to discuss. For more info: heathrowvip.com
Rome Cavalieri, Rome
Sure, Europe may be on our proverbial doorstep, but a global trip wouldn’t be complete without stopping off in at least one of the great romantic capitals of the old world. For a genuine experience of Rome, you’ll need to ditch the jet and hop into a vintage Fiat 500 negotiating tourists, mopeds and crazy Italian drivers while also having an argument with your partner. If that sounds like something you want to pay for, contact Alvise, a charming Italian who will lead a tour of his city – the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona – while you follow in a restored Fiat. (If a Ferrari is more your style, upgrades can be arranged.)
Rome Cavalieri, Rome
If you’re really, really into the Colosseum and its former residents, you may like the sound of the Rome Cavalieri hotel’s gladiator training programme, where you learn how to fight with a ‘gladius’ (the typical gladiator sword) and the trident, a three-pronged spear, in the lush gardens of this luxury hotel. You need to look the part to feel the part, so while you’re swishing your weaponry around in the air, you’ll be kitted out in a traditional tunic, Roman sandals, belt, leather gloves and helmet. Yoga is so last year…
Located in the foothills of Ol Lentille (‘Sacred Mountain’ in Swahili), The Sanctuary is exactly that: a sanctuary for its guests, providing a world-class escape; a sanctuary for the local community providing jobs, supporting schools and improving healthcare; and a sanctuary for the environment, with a private conservancy area of 15,000 acres (and counting) ensuring that the wild is preserved in all its untamed glory.
Ol Lentille, Kenya
The lodge comprises four luxury houses – ‘complexes’ is probably more accurate – with space for two-to-six guests. Each of these is fully staffed with your own butler, valet, guide and askari (a night guard who stops you from being dribbled on by leopards, et al). Yes, that’s four members of staff dedicated to you. With some of the most untouched wilderness you’ll ever see on your doorstep, this is where African adventures are made.
You need at least one desert island paradise on your itinerary. They don’t come more idyllic than Baros Maldives, a small private island in the North Male atoll...
Naturally, it boasts secluded, palm-thatched villas overlooking a glistening blue lagoon – some of them are on the water, with private sundecks and steps leading straight into the lagoon, while others are set in flower glades and tropical vegetation by the beach. An on-site Padi diving school, a spa and several restaurants complete the package.
Dry, light powder, 48km of pistes, onsens (essentially soothing pools of hot water) and plenty of sake, the Niseko resort in Japan is one of the most famous ski and snowboard destinations in the country for good reason...
Green Leaf Hotel, Japan
Travel between December and March and you’ll be treated to some absolutely incredible slopes, the biggest average snowfall in Japan and the opportunity for excellent backcountry jaunts. Then there’s the food – a warming nabe hotpot chock-full of noodles, veg and meat.
When you’re on the other side of the world, it would be rude not to visit our laid-back cousins Down Under. Get into the bohemian spirit of things with a visit to Cabarita Beach in New South Wales. This being Australia, it’s a surfer’s paradise so grab your board and make waves – or try to, at least. When you’ve had enough of falling off, wash away the salt water in your suite at Halcyon House.
Halcyon House, Australia
Designed by Anna Spiro, each room has its own personality and charm. The real kicker, though, is waking up the next day to the sound of the ocean, and complimentary breakfast being served on your private balcony. Cowabunga.
After all that lazy beach behaviour, it’s time you got active and saw some of the world. It’s off the plane and into the boat for this pit stop, with just the eclectic wildlife keeping you company. You’re in the Beagle Channel on the southernmost tip of Argentina, where sea lions and Magellanic penguins call home – and your bed for the evening is Los Cauquenes resort and spa.
Los Cauquenes, Argentina
Serenity is the order of the day: whether you find that out on the water, trekking the nearby ancient coastal paths, or just staring at the snow-covered Andes from the spa’s jacuzzi is up to you. Whatever your choice, finish off with an authentic Patagonian meal in the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant to maximise your Argentinian escape.
It’s almost home time, which means reacclimatising to city life is the priority. Where better to make the adjustment than ‘the city that never sleeps’? By now, jet lag will keep shut-eye to the back of your mind anyway, so it’s best to make the most of it. Enter the Quin: perfectly situated a block away from Central Park and 5th Avenue, you’re right in the middle of the action.
Nikolas Koenig 2014
The Quin, New York
But forgo the trappings of the regular tourist and focus on New York’s incredible art scene. It’s in the walls at the Quin. This hallowed building was once the domain of famed artists and musicians. Drink in the creativity and culture for a fitting finale.