When price isn’t a factor, sometimes you just have to ask: What would Bill Gates or Brad Pitt do? When you’ve been there, done that, why book a room when you can book a greenhouse?
Money can buy glitz, of course, but it also can buy the “wow” factor. Come along with me, Bill, Brad, and friends for a glimpse at how the other half vacations.
Edgy Connecticut Resort Cottages
“Hold onto your hat,” advises Winvian Resort in Litchfield Hills, Conn., a startlingly unconventional resort on 113 acres in the woods. Beyond the sprawling, quintessential New England estate house are “cottages” that will make you ooh, aah and yes, laugh out loud.
Consider the one designed completely inside a 17,000-pound U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, with controls and fuselage intact. Or the Medieval Cottage, with interiors featuring Stonehenge-like monoliths. Golfers can chip and putt their way from living room to kitchen and beyond in the Golf Cottage. I like the glass-walled Greenhouse, where I can watch snow falling on my glass ceiling while tropical flowering trees infuse fragrance around my bed.
Rates are $1,450 to $1,950 nightly and that includes meals, afternoon teas, picnics, use of equipment like snowshoes and cross-country skis, and whimsical surprises. Carte blanche at all the property’s bars makes the whopping 23 percent tax and service charge go down easy. Go to www.winvian.com.
Book the Yacht Bill Gates Uses
When Bill Gates and Chuck Norris wish to charter a private yacht cruise (not together, of course), where do they turn? Easy: American Safari Cruises.
The company’s six sumptuous mega-yachts take extremely discriminating patrons sailing around Mexico’s Sea of Cortes, Columbia, and Snake Rivers; Washington State’s San Juan Islands; and British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.
This year they’ve added the luxe-to-the-max 145-foot Safari Explorer, for an eight-day dream Alaskan or Hawaiian itinerary. Bill and Chuck — and you, if you have $248,000 on hand — can expect world class cuisine and premium wines, massages on call, all necessities from SCUBA equipment to sailboats, and a 2-to-1 ratio of uniformed crew, including a full-time baker and a naturalist/expedition leader. The cost covers up to 35 of your closest friends. Head to www.amsafari.com for more.
Virgin Islands Regatta
I assume you’re going to the 2008 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, March 31 through April 6. It’s set in Tortola’s Sir Francis Drake Channel, some of the world’s most perfect waters, where top-tier sailors in 14-foot to 75-foot racing boats will converge from around the globe.
It’s all about racing, parties, BVI cuisine, and that infamous local cocktail, The Painkiller. But one must sleep, right?
You can find very respectable accommodations at the regatta Web site, www.springregatta.org (check out the famous Bitter End), or you can do what any world-class gazillionnaire would do: Book the Falcon’s Nest Villa on ultra-exclusive nearby Peter Island. The 22,000-square-foot, six-suite villa, perched on a bluff 350 feet above the Caribbean, comes with a full staff, a two-tiered infinity pool with cascading waterfall, grotto, and swim-up bar, and views guaranteed to stay in your dreams forever.
At about $15,000 per night (a few thousand more or less), it could be yours for the week at barely $100,000. Check out www.peterisland.com for more.
Star-Studded Florida Beauty Retreat
The sexiest eyebrows in Hollywood are likely the artistry of Anastasia Soave, brow guru to the stars. First it was just Sharon Stone, Renee Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon and other screen goddesses. Now ordinary mortals can have eyebrow makeovers at the exclusive Anastasia Salon in the Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, Fla.
Both the resort and its stunning 51,000-square foot spa are jewels in the Ritz-Carlton crown. Bet you can’t book just one: The menu of spa services would make Cleopatra swoon. Price not an issue? Your long weekend of eyebrows and pampering might go like this: Dom Perignon and canapés in your limo, monogrammed robes and pillowcases to keep, Presidential Suite overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, $1,000 in hotel boutique gift certificates, legendary five-star Ritz-Carlton cuisine, a private sailing trip on Naples Bay and a couples massage in a romantic spa suite.
Price: $30,000. Add two sets of perfect Anastasia eyebrows: $30,120. Visit www.ritz-carlton.com.
German Spa Comes to Toronto
While we’re dropping names, you might be wondering where Brad and Angelina, Ben Stiller, Julia Roberts, and Cate Blanchett get their luscious skin. All that pulchritude comes from German’s Dr. Hauschka Skin Care Products, concocted from biodynamic, organic substances. Now you know. You can get de-stressed, de-aged and de-lighted at the first North American Dr. Hauschka destination spa. Check into the luxurious Hillcrest Inn and Spa, just an hour east of Toronto, for the five-day Dr. Hauschka stress management program.
Besides your balcony Jacuzzi and indoor wood stove, feather beds, tasty cuisine and stunning 360 degree lake views, you’ll leave with a refreshed body, mind, and state of well being. And a supply of elixirs and potions to keep you that way. Four nights for two, including limo from the Toronto airport, consults and pampering, runs about $7,300. Go to www.thehillcrest.ca.
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