Top 10 most spectacular ways to arrive at a luxury hotel

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (July 15, 2019): top 10 most impressive hotel arrivals.

Forget about the boring taxi drive from the airport to your hotel! Some ultraluxe 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 ways to arrive at a hotel, ensuring the five-star treatment begins before you even set foot at the resort.

There is more information (with reviews and Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Leave it in the comments or take my poll below.

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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 2 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 2 hour drive to the east of Dubai. On Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, you’ll find one of the world’s most amazing hotels, 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 ABU CAMP (BOTSWANA)

Located on a private concession in Africa’s most incredible wildlife sanctuary – the magnificent Okavango Delta – this flagship lodge of the Wilderness Collection features the best the Delta has to offer in terms of outstanding design, excellent wildlife viewing and warm local hospitality. Getting there 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 LAUCALA RESORT (FIJI)

Laucala is one of the worlds most exclusive private island resorts, offering unspoiled wilderness of rainforest, mangroves, and beaches. Private aircraft 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 THE BELMOND SANCTUARY LODGE (PERU)

There are several hotels in 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 the lodge by hiking the famous 4 to 5 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. HOP BETWEEN FOUR SEASONS HOTELS BY PRIVATE JET

One of the most spectacular ways to arrive at a hotel, is to fly in one before arrival! A regular in my top 10 lists, Four Seasons has taken luxury to new heights – literally – as you can travel the globe and hop between their resorts aboard the custom-designed Four Seasons Jet, enjoying a flying hotel and exceptional service at every point of the journey. The Four Seasons Jet experience offers  a variety of extraordinary itineraries that crisscross the globe and allow you to discover up to 10 international destinations on a single private journey.


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

Some resorts are so exclusive that they can only be reached by private plane. And so are the Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives which both 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 30-minute 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.


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