The spring and summer social season is near, and jet-setters are marking their calendars.
Whether you dream of a box seat at the Santa Fe Opera or being the passenger seat of a Formula One racecar in Monaco, there’s no time to lose. Make your plans early so that you won't be disappointed. With these inside travel tips, you’ll soon be rubbing elbows with celebs and nobility at some of the world’s most prestigious events.
Insider’s Monaco Grand Prix
Seventy-seven treacherous laps around the narrow, winding streets of glamorous Monaco makes the Grand Prix the most exciting race in the world. Anyone can go, of course, but this May, a select few will savor it to the max as a member of the elite, members-only travel group, In the Know Experiences.
You’ll start with a scenic helicopter transfer from the Nice airport and gourmet lunch atop the Café de Paris in Casino Square. Afterwards, suit up for your personal racing training followed by two laps in a FI two-seater or a Ferrari Modena Stradalle.
Then you'll experience all the excitement that is the Grand Prix — viewed from your private rooftop. After the Grand Prix, there’s a meet-and-greet with the world-famous drivers. VIP dinners, champagne receptions and wine tastings, yacht parties, and best-of-the-best accommodations at the Fairmont (formerly the Grand Hotel) go without saying. Around $15,000 per person including the membership fee. For more, go to www.intheknowexperiences.com.
Star-Studded Kentucky Derby
If four-legged speed is more your style, opt for In The Know’s elite Kentucky Derby weekend experience, also in May. Arrive in your private Hawker 500 jet with limo service to the artsy-chic new 21C Museum Hotel, where your room amenities include, naturally, a sterling silver mint julep cup.
On Derby Day you have prime seats at the members-only Turf Club just above section 317 on the wire, and the coveted VIP armband that gets you access to all areas. You’re also invited for some serious elbow-rubbing with the athletes and superstars at those lavish private lunches and exclusive black tie soirees that dominate the society pages, including dancing in the Crown Royal Playboy Lounge with nine Playboy Playmates and the 2008 Playmate of the Year.
All-inclusive package for two: $105,000 (if you’re flying your own jet: $30,000).
Check out www.intheknowexperiences.com.
Ultimate Relaxation at Spoleto
Head to the Spoleto Festival this May for 17 music and art-drenched days in Charleston, S.C. Heighten the sensuous experience with a stay at The Sanctuary, the quintessential Lowcountry beach hotel.
Languish beneath Carolina-blue skies and moss-draped oaks. Watch the sunrise from your 189-square foot Presidential Suite balcony overlooking the sea oat-blanketed dunes of Kiawah Island resort.
Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report has ranked The Sanctuary as the top resort hotel in America, and Travel & Leisure crowned it the second best golf resort and the second best hotel spa. French doors, marble foyer, a formal study and dining room seating for 12, grace the 3,000-square-foot Presidential Suite, along with some nice little touches — complimentary use of a Lexus, for example; $4,500 per night, more at www.kiawahresort.com.
Opulent Opera in Santa Fe
This year’s Gala Opening Weekend for the Santa Fe Opera will draw a very elite crowd for the Thursday black-tie ball at the El Dorado, followed by exclusive dinners in fab private homes and, of course the see-and-be-seen opening night production of Verdi’s "Falstaff.'
The glamour continues with Saturday’s dinner on the opera grounds and a performance of Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro," then brunch in the gorgeous gardens at the Nedra Matteucci Galleries. Your headquarters for the weekend simply must be The Inn on the Alameda, walking distance to the best Santa Fe museums and restaurants.
I recommend Casita Suite No. 136, with its enormous Jacuzzi bath, kiva fireplace in the bedroom, and private patio. The Find Your Spirit package includes native scents and music, couples massages, lavish continental breakfasts, wine and cheese receptions, and several lovely keepsakes. Prices range from $465-$1,095 a night. Visit www.innonthealameda.com.
Faberge Egg Hunt in Dallas
If you happen to be in Dallas this month, do pop over to the posh Galleria mall, where one of the most lavish garden parties in Texas winds up its month-long fundraiser on March 22.
Follow the butterflies to Level One of the Galleria, pick up a spring basket, and stroll the garden path, gathering pretty eggs with treasures inside. And I’m not just talking chocolate bunnies. Some of those treasures carry the signatures of Faberge and Swarovski.
Not bad for a $10 donation to benefit the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. Stay at the AAA 4-Diamond Westin Galleria Dallas. Mothers and daughters, best friends and girls in need of serious pampering should check out the decadent girly packages that continue through Dec. 31. Details at www.westin.com.
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