It would be reasonable to expect, on a holiday costing well over half a million dollars, to be left with memories that will last a lifetime.
So when luxury travel firm Black Tomato put together a $630,000 (£480,000) trip for the newly released 2018 Neiman Marcus Christmas fantasy gift guide, it made sure that it would be truly unforgettable.
The itinerary for this unique trip is, essentially, one long list of stand-out moments, from staying in one of the finest hotels in Asia at the start to cruising around on a swanky yacht in the Indian Ocean at the end.
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The trip begins at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi (pictured), with a stay in one of its opulent suites
The atrium tea lounge at The Imperial, where guests will feel like they’re extras in a James Bond movie
In the first leg of the wonders and wellness trip, guests enjoy a trip to the Taj Mahal, where they will be treated to private, expertly guided ‘after hours’ sunrise and sunset tours, before and after the throngs of tourists have departed
In Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan, there is an excursion to the stunning Hawa Mahal, pictured
Black Tomato is calling it ‘the wonders and wellness journey’ and truly ‘bucket list-worthy’.
The deep-pocketed travellers who sign up for it – there’s room for four in total – will be taken on a breath-taking tour of India, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives.
They will stay in grand palaces, on private islands and star-gaze at desert glamping sites and receive lessons from personal coaches, yoga masters and Buddhist scholars along the way.
Private jet transfers, jaw-dropping swimming pools and fine dining experiences come as standard.
The holiday takes 30 days and the itinerary runs to 13 pages.
So here we present a few of the highlights.
The trip begins at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi, with a stay in one of its opulent suites.
A trip to the Taj Mahal is thrown in for good measure.
Ananda (pictured), the award-winning luxury destination wellness spa resort situated in the Himalayan foothills, is one of the stop-off points
This image shows the accommodation for the Ranthambore National Park leg of the trip – Aman-i-Khas, a luxury tent safari outpost set in a sun-dappled brushwood forest
The stunning Raas Jodhpur hotel, where guests will eat local cuisine al fresco while taking in the expansive and awe-inspiring landscape the property is surrounded by
This is the accommodation on day 13 – The Oberoi, Gurgaon. It’s only 30 mintues from central Delhi but is a real sanctuary. An azure reflection pool is one of the standout features
Then it’s off to Ranthambore National Park for a private tiger safari, before unwinding in seclusion at the mesmerising Aman-i-Khas camp.
Next comes a private tour of the Mehrangarh Fort in Jaipur with the curator.
Ever wanted to eat a gourmet outdoor breakfast over the sand dunes of Jodphur while being serenaded by a flutist? Buy this trip and you’ll be able to tick that off.
The travellers, following this, will take a private helicopter ride to Mount Everest for a breakfast on Base Camp.
And at the next destination – Bhutan – there’s another private helicopter ride, this time to the iconic Punakha Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten landmark.
This section of the itinerary also includes an incense-making lesson and a stay at the amazing Gangtey Lodge, which is described as being in one of the most remote places in the world.
The trip includes a helicopter ride to enjoy the sunrise from Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal
Day 14 and it’s time to check into Dwarika’s Hotel in Kathmandu. It’s like a cross between Lara Croft’s house and an ancient temple
THE LUXURY LODGES INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
The Imperial – New Delhi
Oberoi Amar Villas – Agra
Aman i Khas – Ranthambore National Park
Blink Camp – Jodhpur
Stepwell Suites – Raas Jodhpur
Ananda – Himalayan foothills
Oberoi Gurnanon – Delhi
SixSensesPunakha – Thimphu
Gangtey Lodge – Laya Village
SixSensesParo – Paro
Dwarika’s Hotel – Kathmandu
Dwarika’s Resort – Duhlikhel
Soneva in Aqua
But being a lodge on a millionaire’s holiday, it’s still ultra-luxurious.
After a spot of chanting with local monks and yet another private helicopter flight, this time to one of Bhutan’s highest roads, it’s time to head to the Maldives for stays at a couple of world-class resorts and on an amazing yacht – the Soneva in Aqua, which has a glass-bottomed spa tub and an en-suite shower in each of the rooms.
Black Tomato calls this part of the trip visiting ‘heaven on earth’.
For the past 50 years, Neiman Marcus, the revered American department store has put together the world’s ultimate festive wish list comprising the most inspired and luxurious gifts and experiences imaginable.
Well hello, Six Senses Punakha. The wealthy travellers will arrive here on day 18 on the Bhutan leg. And probably gasp with delight
Guests will arrive at Gangtey Lodge (pictured) in Bhutan by helicopter
This 12-suite luxury lodge, discreetly positioned near a cluster of farmhouses, is perched above the spectactular Gangtey Valley
Its remote location and stunning design in the heart of Bhutan allows, says Black Tomato, one to take a step back in time, away from the stresses and distractions of modern day life
A helicopter tour will take tourists to see the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), which is perched on the side of a mountain. It’s a prominent sacred Himalayan Buddhist site
The incredible resort of Soneva Fushi, hidden among dense foliage within the Baa Atoll Unesco Biosphere Reserve, is the first accommodation on the Maldives leg
Black Tomato says of Soneva Fushi: ‘The award-winning resort truly defines the essence of barefoot luxury with Robinson Crusoe simplicity’. Pictured are guests enjoying a sandbar dinner
Guests who sign up to Black Tomato’s epic trip will spend two nights at Soneva Fushi
The architecture at Soneva Fushi is nature-inspired and includes walkways that wind through lush woodland
THE BLACK TOMATO FANTASY TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
- The adventure begins with a stay at the Deco suite in the Imperial Hotel in New Dehli, which is a celebration of India’s independence from the British and considered one of the finest hotels in Asia.
- Private, expertly guided ‘after hours’ sunrise and sunset tours of the Taj Mahal, before and after the throngs of tourists have departed.
- A private safari in Ranthambore National Park to witness some of the most elusive tigers in their natural habitat before unwinding in total seclusion under the stars in a private camp, called Aman-i-Khas.
- A visit to Mehrangarh Fort in Jaipur, one the largest in India, for a private tour at sunset with the curator.
- A gourmet outdoor breakfast over the sand dunes of Jodphur while being serenaded by a flutist.
- A private helicopter ride to Mount Everest for a breakfast on Base Camp before visiting the house of the Kumari, the living goddess who is revered and worshipped.
- A session at a painting atelier in Nepal, where guidance can be given on water colours, acrylics and pencil drawings.
- A private helicopter flight to the iconic landmark Punakha Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten in Bhutan.
- A visit to a fertility temple to meet a local Bhutanese incense maker, who will teach guests about making incense.
- A stay at the Gangtey Lodge, which is described as one of the most remote places in the world.
- An early morning visit to a Bhutanese temple to chant with the locals before receiving a private tour of the sacred temple’s masks.
- A private helicopter flight to Chele La Pass, one of the highest roads in Bhutan, to tie prayer flags that fly in the wind.
- A stay at the exceptional just-opened Six Senses Punakha and Six Senses Paro, where every detail reflects the heritage and hospitality of the colourful Kingdom of Bhutan.
- A stay on a private yacht in the Maldives, where the on-board crew includes a captain, sous chef, dive master, massage therapist and an astronomer.
It’s the first time that Black Tomato has been involved.
Its trip is just one of 823 holiday gifts across 275 pages of the 2018 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.
One of the most outrageous gifts is a one-of-a-kind customised 74-ft boat, the Serenity Solar yacht, priced at $7.1million.
While others include an outfit created by Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood costing $300,000 and a larger-than-life animal sculpture by acclaimed artist Okholm Skaarup at $200,000.
Jim Gold, president of the Neiman Marcus Group, said: ‘It is a joy for us to continue this time-honored holiday tradition of offering gifts and experiences that capture the imagination of our wonderful customers.’
After two nights at Soneva Fushi, the guests will be escorted to this stunning yacht – the Soneva in Aqua – for two nights
Black Tomato waxes lyrical about the Soneva in Aqua: ‘The ultra-indulgent yacht provides the ultimate sense of exclusivity and privacy, with a spacious master suite with a glass-bottomed spa tub and an en-suite shower in each of the rooms.’ The crew includes a captain, sous chef, dive master, massage therapist and, on request, an astronomer