Jul 31, 2008

Lifestyle - The Incredible $ 1 million journey

Wanderlust knows no boundaries — and sometimes no credit limit, either. Luxury-hotel association Leading Hotels of the World is celebrating its 80th anniversary by offering Around the World in 80 Ways, a travel experience that pays tribute to the Oscar-winning Around the World in 80 Days, but is more opulent and extravagant than anything Phileas Fogg encounters in that film. With a price tag of $1 million, the trip is outlandishly decadent. But it's partly for a good cause: for each trip booked, 10% of the cost is donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Around the World in 80 Ways (www.lhw.com) takes in 12 cities over 28 days, cramming dozens of once-in-a-lifetime moments into one extraordinary holiday. As in Fogg's quest, the epic journey starts in London, with a suite at the Ritz and dinner in the hotel's restaurant. Ladies, don't worry if you can't decide what to wear: an original Isabell Kristensen couture dress is provided. Other perks en route include a stay at Dubai's Al Maha resort with a hot-air balloon ride over the Arabian desert; a private visit to the Maharaja's Gem Palace in Jaipur; and a wine-tasting at the Vine Cliff vineyard in San Francisco, after which you select a case to take home.
If you want to see the world but prefer to be at sea, Silversea's all-suite, Grand Pacific 92-day odyssey (
www.silversea.com) visits 45 ports, 15 countries and both hemispheres. The trip (which kicks off March 7, 2009, and costs upwards of $55,000) starts in Los Angeles and winds up in Vancouver, stopping along the way in Tokyo when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and Alaska as it emerges from winter.
For those who crave more action, Abercrombie & Kent's 18-day Lost Islands of the Pacific tour (departing Feb. 16, 2009, and costing between $7,995 and $14,695; (
www.abercrombiekent.co.uk) visits New Zealand, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji, taking in some of the world's most stunning landscapes — from mountain retreats to pristine beaches — and most glorious tropical reefs. Hedonistic globetrotters have never had it so good.

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