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Top 10 most amazing hotel arrivals


Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today: Top 10 most impressive hotel arrivals

Forget about the boring taxi drive from the airport to your hotel! Some ultra-luxury hotels go the extra mile by creating a transfer experience so dramatic and sometimes over-the-top that you will be utterly impressed even before checking in. Here’s my top 10 list of the most awesome and exceptional hotel arrivals, ensuring the five-star treatment begins before you even set foot at the resort.

There is more information (with reviews and YouTube videos) below the slideshow. Think I missed a hotel arrival experience? Leave a comment.

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10. ARRIVE BY HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE AT TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE (INDIA)

Once the royal residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Taj Falaknuma Palace is now one of India’s most luxurious hotels, with guests living like royalty in this thoughtfully restored palace. Rooms and suites are rich in color and such details as Hyderabadi embellishments and English frescoes. Guest can unwind by strolling the palace’s breathtaking Rajasthani Garden or basking in the heavenly Jiva Spa. To reach the main palace, guests leave their car transfers in a lot near the main gate, then board a horse-drawn carriage for a magical trot along the main colonnade to the hotel’s grand front entrance.

  • Hotel website: Taj Falaknuma Palace
  • Tip: get complimenary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome amenity, Royal arrival experience, Champagne heritage walk of the Palace, and one lunch or dinner for two).

ARRIVE BY HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE AT TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE (INDIA)


9. ARRIVE BY ROLLS-ROYCE AT THE PENINSULA HONG KONG (CHINA)

Hong Kong’s oldest hotel continues to set hotel standards worldwide, offering a blend of the best Eastern and Western hospitality in an atmosphere of unmatched classical grandeur and timeless elegance. In 1994, the original hotel was extended with a 30-storey tower, which is topped off by a private helipad that is used to transport VIP guests to and from Hong Kong International Airport in under 7 minutes. But you can also book a transfer in one of the hotel’s 14 long wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms, which were all acquired in 2006, representing the largest single order placed with Rolls-Royce in the history of the company.

ARRIVE BY ROLLS-ROYCE AT THE PENINSULA HONG KONG (CHINA)


8. TAKE A WILDLIFE CRUISE TO KENAI FJORDS GLACIER LODGE (ALASKA, USA)

As the only wilderness lodge within Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park, a stay at this exclusive lodge on the Kenai Peninsula is sure to be a unique and memorable Alaska vacation experience. Nestled within a Native-owned wildlife sanctuary on the edge of a protected lagoon, the lodge and guest cabins enjoy stunning views of Pedersen Glacier. The lodge is in a very remote location: it can only be accessed by a two hour boat trip, which doubles as a marine wildlife and glacier cruise with breathtaking scenery, killer whales and puffins all around you.

TAKE A WILDLIFE CRUISE TO KENAI FJORDS GLACIER LODGE (ALASKA, USA)


7. LAND WITH A HELICOPTER ON TOP OF DUBAI’S BURJ AL ARAB HOTEL (UAE)

The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab, a glittering architectural marvel in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, is more than just a stunning hotel; it is an iconic symbol of modern Dubai. Offering only suite accommodation and unparalleled hospitality, there’s no better way to arrive at this iconic hotel than by a dedicated helicopter transfer service. A 15 minute birds-eye-view of the desert city’s glimmering skyline culminates in a dramatic landing at the hotel’s helipad on the 28th level.

LAND WITH A HELICOPTER ON TOP OF DUBAI’S BURJ AL ARAB HOTEL (UAE)


6. ARRIVE BY PARAGLIDER AT SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY (OMAN)

If a heli landing on Dubai’s most iconic hotel will not do it for you, there’s an even more outrageous way to arrive at a hotel about a two hour drive to the east of Dubai. On Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, you’ll find one of the world’s most amazing hotels – Six Senses Zighy Bay – a resort as spectacular as its setting, with dramatic mountains on one side and a 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) sandy beach on the other. For the ultimate arrival experience, the hotel’s guests can travel as a companion passenger with the Six Senses’ professional paraglider from the mountain top to the hotel lobby.

ARRIVE BY PARAGLIDER AT SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY (OMAN)


5. FLY OVER AFRICA’S WILDLIFE ON THE WAY TO  JAO CAMP (BOTSWANA)

Located on a private concession in Africa’s most incredible wildlife sanctuary, the magnificent Okavango Delta, this flagship lodge of the Wilderness – one of Africa’s top safari companies – features the best the Delta has to offer in terms of outstanding design, incredible scenery and warm hospitality. Getting to Jao Camp by air from nearby Maun is half the fun, since the light aircraft flies at low altitude over golden-grassed floodplains, framed by lush palm islands, that are inhabited by a staggering variety of wildlife which can be observed from a bird’s-eye perspective.

FLY OVER AFRICA’S WILDLIFE ON THE WAY TO ABU CAMP (BOTSWANA)


4. FLY IN YOUR OWN AIRCRAFT TO COMO LAUCALA RESORT (FIJI)

Como Laucala Island is one of the world’s most exclusive private island resorts, offering unspoiled wilderness of rainforest, mangroves, and beaches. Private jets are permitted to land on Laucala’s airport, with international procedures such as customs and immigration clearance organised on-island by request. Laucala Island’s private airport operates day and night, with the concrete airstrip suitable for jets with a maximum 40 ton maximum takeoff weight (aircraft type Falcon 900).

FLY IN YOUR OWN AIRCRAFT TO LAUCALA RESORT (FIJI)


3. HIKE THE INCA TRAIL TO BELMOND SANCTUARY LODGE (PERU)

There are several hotels in the area surrounding Machu Picchu, but there’s only one luxury hotel within the protected sanctuary itself, on a mountain top literally a stone’s throw away from the walls of the mist-shrouded citadel. The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge offers its guests unparalleled access from early morning to late afternoon, when most of the day visitors and buses have left. And there’s nothing like the satisfaction of approaching Machu Picchu and arriving at the hotel by hiking the famous four day Inca trail, which takes you through some of the world’s most spectacular mountain scenery.

HIKE THE INCA TRAIL TO THE BELMOND SANCTUARY LODGE (PERU)


2. FLY IN A PRIVATE A340 JET TO ECHO CAMP IN ANTARCTICA

Most people visit Antarctica on a cruise ship, hereby exploring the shoreline of the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches toward South America. However, the company White Desert takes a totally different approach and takes it guests by private plane to its luxury camps in the majestic interior of Antarctica, home of spectacular mountains and the magnetic South Pole. These flights are operated in privately chartered jets – either a Gulfstream G550 or an Airbus A340 – with White Desert’s staff members accompanying the guests all the way from Cape Town, South Africa to Wolf’s Fang blue ice runway, a journey which takes around five hours. Guest can book the flight as a day trip (with three hours on the ground in Antarctica) or opt to stay at White Desert’s luxury camps after they arrive in Antarctica (Whichaway, Wolf’s Fang or – the most luxurious one – Echo).


1. FLY IN A PRIVATE SEAPLANE TO THE SONEVA RESORTS (MALDIVES)

Some resorts are so exclusive that they can only be reached by private plane. And so are the Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva Secret in the Maldives which use a fleet of exceptional Twin Otter seaplanes, exclusively designed for Soneva to transfer its guests. Prior to take off at Male airport, a private lounge awaits guests to relax and freshen up. Aboard the plane, seats upholstered in Soneva-purple Elmosoft leather and high technology equipment welcome passengers for a panoramic voyage that will undoubtedly make a mark. Each guests receives a cooling kit, which includes towels, amenities, a bottle of fresh fruit juice, noise-cancelling headphones, and a tablet.

Contact me to get complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits (e.g. best rate, resort credit, and two personalized Soneva experiences).


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