If you really want to make up for lost travels now that the world is reopening to travellers, you might need to swap your superyacht cruise for a private jet tour that will take you around the world in just a matter of days. Sophia Wilson reveals five of the most enticing private jet itineraries on offer...
Four Seasons: Timeless Encounters
Four Seasons’ expansive hotel empire means the brand has quite a bit of the world to play with, and this whirlwind itinerary would make even the most experienced superyacht captain jealous. Taking off in spring next year (14 March to 6 April, 2022) the 24-day journey will take 48 globetrotters on a tour from Hawaii to London. Heading west from the black-lava landscapes of the Kona-Kohala Coast, the trip will visit French Polynesia’s Bora Bora, Sydney and Bali before hitting the colourful markets of Chiang Mai, the Taj Mahal and the City of Gold (aka Dubai). The journey concludes with a cultural stop-off in Prague, where Prince William Lobkowicz will personally welcome guests to his palace, ending with a farewell dinner with views over London’s Tower Bridge.
Seasoned traveller: Alongside the array of curated experiences – which range from a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House to a soul cleansing ritual performed by a Balinese priest – the global tour also includes nights at nine Four Seasons hotels. Perfect both for sleeping off the jet lag and bookmarking your favourites to return to with your yacht.
Flying high: Guests will be transported on Four Seasons’ new, fully customised Airbus A321neo. If you get bored of reclining in your handcrafted Italian leather seat, then you can head to the onboard lounge area where Four Seasons’ chefs and wellness experts will be on hand to meet your every in-air demand.
$168,000 per person, based on double occupancy, fourseasons.com/privatejet
Abercrombie & Kent: Southern Africa
For terra firma adventures that offer the same level of privacy as a superyacht charter, Abercrombie & Kent’s tailor-made jet itineraries are just the ticket. The brand’s 15-night Southern Africa tour plots a route combining city, safari and desert. The suggested itinerary starts in Johannesburg before heading to Zambia’s Livingstone and onto the Okavango Delta in Botswana, one of the best places in the world to spot the “Big Five”: leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros. The next stop is the moonscape-like desert vistas of Namibia’s Sossusvlei before finishing in bustling Cape Town.
Walk on the wild side: Transportation between destinations will be by private Cessna aircraft, enabling access to some of the most extraordinary landscapes the continent has to offer. As well as ticking off your safari spotting goals, the proposed route includes visiting the Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and climbing Big Daddy, which at 325 metres is one of the highest sand dunes in Namibia.
Beauty sleep: Despite the remote destinations, there won’t be any scrimping on luxury when it comes to getting your 40 winks. Unique hotels have been chosen in each destination, from an elevated tree house alongside the Zambezi River, where snuffling hippos provide the bedtime soundtrack, to &Beyond’s futuristically styled desert lodge built within a 15-hectare reserve in the Namib Desert.
Grand Velas Journey: Mexico
Mexico’s two coastlines attract their fair share of superyachts, but this blowout itinerary – a collaboration between Velas Resorts and Air Partner – offers the chance to experience the best of both. The two-week bespoke trip starts on the Caribbean coast’s Riviera Maya, before heading west, via the inland town of Tequila (birthplace of the fiery spirit) to Riviera Nayarit. The tour then moves to the wineries of Ensenada before concluding in Los Cabos, next to the Sea of Cortez that Jacques Cousteau famously called “the world’s aquarium”. To maximise the time saved by flying, the trip includes 15 micro adventures, ranging from hiking in the Sierra de la Laguna mountains to creating a personal wine vintage at the D’Poncelis vineyard.
Flash in the pan: Ideal for gourmands, there is an emphasis on Mexico’s vibrant culinary scene, with highlights including dinner prepared by two-Michelin-star chef Sidney Schutte and a visit to Casa San Matías, one of Mexico’s oldest tequila houses. There is also the chance to sample the world’s most expensive taco. Filled with langoustine, Kobe beef and Almas Beluga caviar, it’s yours for $25,000 (£18,000).
The high life: Guests on this package will find the Presidential Suite reserved for their arrival in each of the three hotels. Meanwhile, Air Partner will take care of aviation logistics, with a jet provided for arrival and departures from the US as well as connecting flights between the three properties.
From $500,000 for two, grandvelas.com
Aman Jet Expeditions: The Grandest Tour
As well as tailor-made jet itineraries, luxury hotel group Aman also offers a handful of pre-planned jet expeditions in conjunction with Remote Lands. The most extravagant trip mirrors Aman’s own expansion from east to west, offering 16 guests the chance to visit nine countries in just 21 days. This grand tour will depart from Tokyo on 2 October and will first head to Cambodia, followed by Aman’s beachside properties in Vietnam and Phuket, then on to the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. Guests will then fly to Europe, heading to the Bodrum Peninsula, Montenegro and Greece, finally ending at Aman Venice, a converted 16th-century palazzo situated on the Grand Canal.
Fighting talk: Designed with culture vultures in mind, the voyage is packed with immersive experiences of local customs and traditions. For example, in Tokyo the itinerary includes a samurai sword fighting class and a sumo lesson with retired wrestlers. There will also be special guest appearances throughout: in Bhutan, for example, a former UN Ambassador and a member of the Bhutanese National Council will join guests to share insider insight.
Style and substance: The journey may be fast paced but you won’t miss out on superyacht-standard comfort. Guests will take the eight flights, totalling just over 24 hours, on board a custom Airbus ACJ318. While on dry land, nine Aman hotels – all featuring unique architecture and interior design, crisp sheets and beaming staff – await.
From $134,888 per person, aman.com
TCS World Travel: Ancient Crossroads of Asia and the Middle East
The early civilisations and historic sites of the Middle East and Asia may be appealing but they generally aren’t the most accessible by boat. However, by taking to the air this 23-day tour offers a treasure trove of historical gems, with stop-offs including the Pyramids of Giza, the Silk Road city of Samarkand and the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kathmandu. Scheduled for departure from London next year (26 January), the nine-destination trip is split into two halves, with Bangkok marking the halfway point. The outbound journey goes via Egypt, Jerusalem and Uzbekistan, while the return leg stops off in Vietnam, Jaipur, Nepal, Bhutan and Muscat. To help guests fully comprehend the historical intricacies of each destination Professor Jan Nijman, director of urban studies at the University of Miami, will be part of the travelling party.
Back to the future: The trip may be focused on the ancient, but transportation will exceed 21st-century standards. Just 48 guests will be invited on board the customised Boeing 757, which usually has cabin capacity for up to 239. There will be seven flight attendants on hand, a dedicated chef, and a doctor will join for any medical assistance.
Royal tour: The accommodation would keep royalty from any era happy, with stopovers including the King David in Jerusalem (where past guests have included the dowager empress of Persia and King Abdullah I of Jordan) and Rambagh Palace, the former residence of the Maharajas of Jaipur.