Rewriting the traditional winter-wonderland experience is Courchevel’s Blossom Hill – a modern chalet oozing industrial-chic style, with a staircase that seemingly floats in the centre of the multi-level residence, an open-plan living space and a semi-outdoor heated infinity pool with a movable floor. Sleeping up to 10 adults and four children, the sleek abode sports a cinema room for cosy nights in, a hidden wine cellar with its own Savoyard kitchen and double-height picture windows to soak up postcard-perfect snowy scenes.
Located just 200 metres from the heart of the village and 350 metres from the nearest ski lift, guests have easy access to Courchevel’s slew of Michelin-starred restaurants, countless designer boutiques (no wonder it’s a favourite resort of the Windsors and Beckhams) and pristine slopes. But who needs après-ski when you have a dedicated chef, host, driver and concierge service on speed dial?
Luxury cruise liner Seabourn is pushing the boat out with its latest “Conversations” programme, which includes notable luminaries on its 2016 voyages. The special-guest programme has been designed to add another dimension to the typical cruise experience with a stellar line-up of historians, celebrated performers, heralded chefs and outstanding artists to share the guests’ journey on the high seas.
You can converse over dinner with the likes of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (cue iPhone selfie) or legendary American-television news journalist Dan Rather on MV Seabourn Odyssey’s 20-day Panama Canal cruise, scheduled to set sail on December 15, 2015 and March 21, 2016 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The luminaries will give presentations, share meals, partake in shore activities and even join on offshore adventures, making this a fully integrated experience.
To celebrate the release of the latest Bond blockbuster, Spectre, the fashionably cool Viceroy Miami is offering guests the chance to live out their 007 fantasies with a three-night James Bond-themed stay, set to have you looking and acting the part of the British spy before you can utter: “Bond, James Bond”. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) includes a personal styling session with men’s lifestyle guru Seth Travis to be suited and booted in Tom Ford-designed suits, shoes and sunglasses, along with personal styling services for your Bond girl, lunch for two at Mariposa restaurant in Neiman Marcus, a bevvy of Tom Ford grooming products and a spin in an Aston Martin DB10. In true Bond fashion, the perfect martini (shaken, not stirred) will be served in the Viceroy’s signature restaurant, 15th & Vine Kitchen and Bar.
Christmas time is here
The quintessentially British hotel Dukes London has the festive season all wrapped up with a Special Christmas Package that ticks off (just a few) Christmas clichés as part of its London-based itinerary. The frolics begin with a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride through London’s festively lit streets, warming up with spiced mulled wine or hot chocolate while wrapped in cosseting blankets.
Next is a visit to the city’s iconic Somerset House, where the queue is skipped to take to the ice at one of London’s most popular ice-skating rinks. A carriage waits to return you to the five-star St. James address where you will bed down in luxury before hitting up London’s most covetable stores for some last-minute Christmas shopping the next morning.
Around the world in Four Seasons
Clear your diary in April 2016 for an epic 24-day global expedition curated by luxury heavyweights Four Seasons, who will whisk passengers off to nine destinations across four continents in their custom-designed private jet. The International Intrigue package departs from Seattle, at which point travellers will be living the high life – hot-air ballooning over the Serengeti, shopping up a storm in Tokyo, taking a biologist-led cruise in the Maldives, dining on the Great Wall of China and enjoying a private concert in Russia’s cultural capital, St. Petersburg. When you’re not on board reclining in one of the jet’s 52 lie-flat seats or quaffing Dom Pérignon, you’ll be laying your head down in some of the Four Seasons’ newest and most exclusive properties.
Out of Africa
You would be hard pressed to find a more authentic old-world safari experience than Finch Hattons in south-east Kenya – a luxury bush camp situated around an oasis of natural springs with its own resident pod of hippos. Set against the backdrop of Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak and named after the aristocrat immortalised by Robert Redford in Out of Africa, the award-winning, conservation-friendly camp recently underwent a luxurious colonial-inspired redesign.
The camp’s 17 intimate tented suites are now kitted out with period writing desks, ornately carved chests and free-standing copper tubs. Guests staying full-board in the Presidential Suite have a heated plunge pool, a private chef and butler, and can journey out on two private game drives each day to spot the Big 5, or enjoy nature bush walks led by an experienced guide. But Finch Hatton’s top USP is its approach to cohabitation – the fenceless camp design means that spotting a lion, elephant or hippo right outside your tent is entirely possible.
The Leela Palace New Delhi’s four-day shopping package is no ordinary spending spree. Staying in one of the city’s most iconic hotels, close to the Diplomatic Enclave, guests will encounter contemporary and traditional discoveries: shopping for handwoven carpets, handcrafted jewellery and soft pashminas in Chandni Chowk in the morning, and spending the afternoon in Delhi’s finest shopping centres accompanied by a personal shopper. The package also includes an escorted art walk through the property, an hour-long spa treatment for two in the Spa Suite and excursions to select destinations in the city, including the famed Hauz Khas Village. For the full maharaja experience, upgrade to the Royal Club and arrive in style in one of the hotel’s chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royces or luxurious BMWs.
Available: Until April 15, 2016