virtuoso communities Travel Advisors Share Their Most Extravagant Trips

Travel Advisors Share Their Most Extravagant Trips

Vacation like a VIP. 
Vacation like a VIP. 
Photo by discus63/Getty Images 
From private island escapes to one-on-one meetings with the Dalai Lama, these Virtuoso advisors know a thing or two about over-the-top travel experiences.

“Ultraluxe travel” may conjure images of private island retreats and grand penthouse accommodations – and while that’s not entirely incorrect, it’s just the beginning. Travel advisors and hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators that specialize in ultraluxe travel know it’s the relationships, connections, and access that can take a trip from ordinary to extraordinary. We asked Virtuoso advisors who specialize in ultraluxe travel to share some of the most memorable – and extravagant – trips they’ve planned for travelers.

Spiritual lessons from the Dalai Lama himself.

“I have private access to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, India. Several years ago, I arranged a teaching session with him in his residence for a small group of American Buddhists. He travels most of the time now, so it’s hit-or-miss on if it can still be arranged!” – Pam Walker, Palm Coast, Florida

The Tower of London, bulit in the eleventh century. 
The Tower of London, bulit in the eleventh century. 
Photo by Vladislav Zolotov/Getty Images 

A marriage proposal fit for royalty.

“A traveler wanted to re-propose to his wife, so I arranged a private viewing of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London so he could pop the question there. He’s also a big James Bond fan, so later that week, I secured him tickets to the world premiere of Skyfall at Albert Hall. He was seated a few rows in front of Prince Philip.” – Andrew Butler, Houston

The impossible to find Birkin bag? No problem.

“I have two clients who love to cruise. After the wife was diagnosed with cancer, her husband told me he wanted to surprise her with something very special. She had always wanted to own the iconic Hermès Birkin bag, which is notoriously difficult to get.  I have excellent relationships with the Hermès team in a few destinations, so I told him we needed to pick a cruise that stopped in one of those ports. I worked with a Hermès manager, and while on their cruise, I received a picture of the wife holding her new gold Birkin, grinning from ear to ear. It was so nice to see her so happy. She’s now in remission and walking the streets with the most sought-after bag in the world.” – Amy Grigos, Little Silver, New Jersey
New Zealand’s Milford Sound, which Rudyard Kipling once proclaimed to be "the eighth wonder of the world."
New Zealand’s Milford Sound, which Rudyard Kipling once proclaimed to be "the eighth wonder of the world."
Photo by Mantas Volungevicius/Getty Images

Helicopters, yachts, and fresh-caught lobster.

“I planned a great surprise for my clients on a New Zealand trip. They boarded a helicopter in Queenstown, thinking they were flying to a glacier at Milford Sound. The pilot flew around the sound, but then landed on a helipad on top of a yacht, where a butler escorted them to the ship’s stern for a lobster lunch. They cruised around the sound accompanied by dolphins frolicking in the waves.” – Peggy Purtell, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

From Starbucks to outer space.

“Four clients of mine are booked on future Virgin Galactic suborbital space flights – a family of three from Australia, and the other is an American entrepreneur I met in line at Starbucks. He asked what I did for a living and was surprised to hear I was a travel professional – he thought it was an extinct occupation. I explained that our industry has changed over the past 30 years, and instead of selling bus tickets we now sell tickets into space. That triggered more interest, and he has now booked his place in history.” – Caroline Ferguson, Sydney, Australia

A trip across Australia in a private jet.

“I organized and escorted a group of 30 people around Australia in two private jets on behalf of a Sydney couple. We traveled to Coober Pedy, Uluru, Jabiru, and Hayman Island to showcase the best of Australia and had the most wonderful experience.” – Adrienne Witteman, Sydney, Australia

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