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Rich People, They’re Not Just Like Us: How the 1% Travel

Paula Froelich
Editor in Chief
May 30, 2014

Laurance Rockfeller’s former villa at the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach, in Puerto Rico. (Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach)

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the ultra rich don’t like to associate with the hoi polloi. They don’t like to wait in line with the great unwashed, they don’t like to have to chitty chat with those of us who don’t know (or care) about the difference between Moët or malt liquor and they really don’t like to vacation with us. Which usually suits us just fine, as frankly, nothing will ruin a perfectly awesome trip than the snob sitting next to you at the bar complaining about thread counts or that lack of foie gras.

But then again, who amongst us wouldn’t swaddle ourselves in head-to-toe Frette while a team of butlers spoon-feeds us strawberries in bed? Especially if we flew there by private jet?

It may be travel porn, but indulging in some champagne wishes and caviar dreams never hurt anyone. 

The infinity pool at the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach. (Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach)

The 1% Hotel: Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

A year-old, the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach is once again king of Puerto Rico’s most lavish resorts—it was Laurance Rockfeller’s personal playground in ‘50s and ‘60s before falling out of favor. Now the resort fills its oceanfront rooms with the jet set at rates averaging $1,800 a night. (Unless you opt for the four-bedroom villa; that’s $25,000 a night.) The exclusive clientele typically drop up to $500k per visit. How? Let us count the ways … Mi Casa by José Andrés, set against the backdrop of crashing Caribbean waves, serves up locally caught seafood and farm-fresh Latin bites with avant-garde whimsy. Spa Botánico, a five-acre sanctuary, offers treatments with an apothecary-like focus and island ingredients. Sun-baked hours spent in a cabana by the infinity pool go for $250 per half day (not including drinks). Tee times on three golf courses. Not to mention the ample tips for your ever-doting “personal embajador”—or as we plebes call it, a butler.

Dorado Beach is about 40 minutes west of San Juan and set on three palm-fringed miles of white sandy beachfront. 

The treehouse spa at the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach. (Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach)

The 1% Adventure: Faces of Africa, An Epic 22-Day Journey

With loose change found in their couch cushions, 1% families hire Jacada Travel to customize this 22-day adventure across Africa. (Don’t even think of calling them a tour operator; these are bespoke “travel designers”). That means everything Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa have to offer—all by private plane and in top-notch exclusive accommodation, from a luxe B&B in Cape Town to the ultimate safari lodges. So what does tracking gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or comparing notes, king-to-king, with the lions of the Masaai Mara National Reserve put you back? A mere $42,000 per person. That leaves more than enough for a three-night stay at Azura Quilalea, a private-island resort in Mozambique with nine seafront villas, personal butlers, private chefs whipping up fresh-caught cuisine, and free babysitters. Because with all diving at secluded Marine National Park, area island hopping, cultural excursions, fishing trips, and spa treatments available, nobody wants any ankle biters detracting from getting their $75,000 worth (not even the nannies). 

Flying over Africa with Jacada Travel. (Courtesy: Jacada Travel)

The 1% Jet: Abercrombie & Kent Private Jet Tours

We recently wrote about the Four Seasons’ around the world, private jet service—where, for $119,00 per person, you and your sugar daddy/momma can jaunt through London, Mumbai, Istanbul, Sydney, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Marrakesh, the Serengeti, and Beijing. But they are relative newcomers to the game. Bespoke travel organizers Abercrombie & Kent have had private jet charter tours for a few years now. Haven’t seen Africa? Forgot that it’s a continent and not a country? That’s okay—why not see all of it in one go? For around $83,000 per person, you can check out Ethiopia, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, and Zambia in one jaunt. Or for $103,000 hit the Amazon and Easter Island. But remember: money won’t protect you from the mosquitos. 

(Courtesy: Abercrombie & Kent)

The 1% Cruise: The World, Residences at Sea

Want to just sail away and see the world by ship? A group of wealthy people decided to do just that and buy into the Residences at Sea—where a small 304 square foot cabin sells for $208,000, or a large suite can go for over $10 million. Onboard is a large casino, bowling alleys, classrooms for university courses, multiple business centers, and even a working hospital. Integrated biometrics can scan retinas so that when you get on the elevator, you don’t even have to press a button, because it knows what floor you live on. Creepy, maybe, convenient, yes. But here’s the kicker—you vote on where to go next. Just imagine those board room fights! 

Sleeping under the stars on the World, Residences at Sea. (Courtesy: The World, Residences at Sea)

The 1% Marriage: Brown and Hudson will get your union blessed by Desmond Tutu.

Want to make sure your marriage is really special? Why not fly to South Africa and have Archbishop Desmond Tutu bless it? That’s what high-end operators Brown and Hudson did for one lucky couple. The company knows its clients like to travel for the experience and the “extremely interesting characters” one can meet on the road and so, for a mere $800,000, you, too, can take a month-long trip to South Africa, have the experience of a lifetime as you meet the Whale Whisperer, go shark cage diving, do private game drives, and meet amazingly interesting people. The company also does tours in an extremely diverse list of countries, including Afghanistan, Greenland, Malawi, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Oman, and North Korea (want to meet Kim Jong Un, anyone?).