When resorts compete, who wins? You do.
A well-stocked buffet is no longer enough in the world of high-end travel. These days, luxury resorts across the globe are rolling out the red carpet, and it’s included in the price of the room. Maybe a local designer even created the red carpet specifically for you. And maybe it comes with your own private photographer. With today’s luxury resorts constantly trying to out-“perk” one another, “helicopter rides, Rolls Royce transfers to the airport, and Hermès bath products,” are just the beginning, says Arleta Cosby of Cosby Travel Consultants. Here are a few of some of the best luxury resort perks from around the world.
If you’re a guest of the all-inclusive Casa Velas Boutique Hotel and Ocean Club in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, you can leave your purses and pocketbooks in your closet. The resort provides a complimentary “handbag bar,” where guests can browse and borrow 13 different designer bags, including selections from BCBG Max Azria, Tory Burch, and Pineda Covalin (sometimes known as the Hermès of Mexico). There’s even a Mont Blanc “murse,” or man-purse. Carry a different handbag to every dinner of your vacation.
Lamborghini test drive
Why not spend Bastille Day cruising the roads of Versailles? If you’re staying at Trianon Palace from July 14-16, you can—behind the wheel of a Lamborghini, no less. The Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience gives guests at various locations and during various dates the opportunity to take a Lamborghini for a 30-minute spin. And don’t worry if you can’t make it to France this summer—you can slip on some Gear VR Oculus virtual reality goggles at any Waldorf property and drive a virtual Lamborghini through Versailles, Dubai, Edinburgh, or any of the other designated routes.
Grab the love of your life (or someone you wouldn’t mind loving for a week) and hole up in a thatch-roof villa at Milaidhoo Island in the Maldives where couples can “bring home” their own star. A real star. In the sky. You’ll even get to name it. At the end of your stay, you’ll receive a certificate with the star’s coordinates so you can find it for the rest of your life from anywhere in the world. The resort promises never to repurpose a star—once you have that certificate, you are the star’s sole proprietor. Your romantic getaway also includes a 60-minute couples’ massage and a private three-course candlelit dinner on the deck of your villa.
A private ocean
At Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, guests have exclusive access to King’s Pond, a 1.8-million gallon “aquarium” carved out of natural lava rock that is home to over 4,000 tropical fish from more than 98 species. A few times a week at the pond, trained fish participate in a “fish circus,” which includes soccer matches, hoop tricks, and games. In one game, a guest will ask a fish a multiple-choice question and write three answers on a board. The fish will always choose the correct answer. When the fish aren’t performing, you can snorkel King’s Pond, feed the spotted eagle ray, or just lounge poolside with a cocktail.
If you’re going to New York City for the weekend, forget trying to figure out the subway. Leave public transportation to the locals and navigate those famous avenues in your own chauffeured Bentley. When you stay at the St. Regis New York, you need only call the concierge and the Bentley will arrive to whisk you off to a Broadway show, the MoMA, or any Midtown Manhattan restaurant.
A fully staffed private island
At Shangri-La’s Le Touesrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius, you can enjoy access to Ilot Mangenie, a fully staffed private island complete with a gourmet chef and sommelier. You’ll even be given a phone so you can call your private butler whenever you want, in case you need more ice or the pillows on your thatch-shaded beach bed need to be fluffed. Dine with wine pairings on fresh seafood or a spicy grilled chicken with a breadfruit katkat and a coconut milk curry sauce.
Access to antiquities
If you like a little history with your luxury, you’ll enjoy staying at Amansara in Cambodia’s cultural capital, Siem Reap. The resort is situated at the edge of Angkor Archaeological Park, one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia and former home to the world’s largest pre-industrial city. At Amansara, you can stay in a suite with its own pool and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to a secluded courtyard. Better still, included with your room is a guided excursion of the Angkor temples with private transportation.
A butlered dinner party
At the adults-only Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf and Spa Resort in Cabo San Lucas, splurge on five nights in the Presidential Suite at The Towers and enjoy an in-suite dinner party for up to four people. Your butler for the evening will have been certified by the British Butler Institute, and your chef will come straight from the resort’s newest restaurant, Peninsula. It gets better: The dinner party experience includes stargazing with an expert astronomer and telescope.