intro: Get ready for vacation sticker shock. While many are still watching their travel dollars closely, there are plenty of people willing to pony up for ultra-lavish vacations. Silversea's latest world cruise has just been announced for 2013 -- at a cost of $1.5 million. Cruises, cities or beaches -- whatever strikes your vacation fancy, the travel industry is ready and willing to deliver over-the-top trips.
Click through the next few pages to see five vacations that cost big bucks.
quicklist: 1 category: title: Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Los Cabos: $12,000 url: text: We're going to ease the sticker shock of the coming vacations with one that's a relative deal. For a little less than $12,000 (inclusive of tax) you can experience luxury in Los Cabos at a five-star resort that's said to have put Los Cabos on the map.
The three-night Pure Romance package at Las Ventanas al Paraiso begins with an airport transfer in a Mercedes G-500 and champagne and roses upon arrival. Check into your 1,600-square-foot ocean view suite with a private infinity edge pool, adobe fireplace and patio with Jacuzzi. One special night includes a turn-down service complete with rose petals throughout the room, a choice of four different sets of plush linens and a drawn bath.
The package also includes a couples' massage, breakfast and dinner for two daily and a meal for your flight home upon departure. For an extra $150, have the resort's "director of romance" set up a bed and amenities on your terrace so you can sleep under the stars with the sounds of the Sea of Cortez. media: 15786398
quicklist: 2 category: title:Eden Rock, St. Barths: $20,000 url: text: If you have the money of a rock star, have always wanted to be a rock star, but aren't actually a rock star, Eden Rock has a vacation for you. Priced at $20,000 per night, guests have use of the only private recording studio on the island to make their own soundtrack, all without ever leaving their villa. Producers and sound engineers are on hand to assist with the equipment – the Neve music mixing console used by John Lennon to record "Imagine."
And since you're likely traveling with an entourage (as rock stars are known to do), you'll be pleased to know your 16,000-square-foot Villa Rockstar includes four master suites, two cabins, a screening room, a private gym, a private office, garages and cars, dining facilities for 12 people, a pool table and sports area, two pools and butler service at all times. media: 15786276
quicklist: 3 category: title:The Setai South Beach, Miami: $50,000 url: text: Luxury and style go hand-in-hand in the Star Style Experience package at the ultraluxe Setai South Beach. Guests become the stars of their own fashion shoot and are decked out with designer duds by Domenico Vacca and jewels from Asprey and then primped by professional hair and make-up stylists before meeting with a photographer for a professional photo shoot.
Digs are a luxury suite at the hotel plus a champagne and caviar tasting followed by dinner prepared by a Michelin Star-awarded chef. The night ends with access to the hotel's members-only club, DV.
The two-night, $50,000 package doesn't include tax and gratuities. Which seems a little ridiculous, but hey, if you've got 50k to spend on a two-night getaway it probably doesn't make a difference. media: 15786324
quicklist: 4 category: title:The Stafford London by Kempinski, London: $135,000 url: text: To celebrate its 100th anniversary, The Stafford London by Kempinski offers an appropriately priced package for 100,000 euro (about $135,000 USD at press) now through Dec 31.
Now, The Stafford is by all means a luxury hotel, but what on earth does a person get for $135,000 besides an ultra-fancy room? Here goes: 10,000 euro dining credit to use during your three-night stay; a private waiting lounge at the airport, a private escort through security, transfers to and from the hotel; a chauffeured Bentley, Jaguar or Rolls Royce at your beck and call throughout your stay; a private butler; a private dinner in the wine cellar for up to 10 guests; bespoke fashions by Henry Poole and hatters Lock & Co.; a custom piece of jewellery by Patrick Wyatt; a photo shoot with a renowned photographer whose work is in the National Portrait Gallery; high tea and champagne on the London Eye; a half-day spa retreat; a tour of the Thames River; and a 100-euro cocktail served in a treasure chest.
Seems like they could have made it a full-day spa retreat, no?
quicklist: 5 category: title: Silver Whisper by Silversea, 28 countries: $1.5 million url: text: Being billed as "The World's Most Expensive Cruise," this vacation takes top placement for over-the-top. You better really like cruising, because you'll be spending 115 days aboard Silversea's Silver Whisper. Board the ship in L.A., end in Miami and during the four months between, visit 28 countries including French Polynesia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Maldives and Mauritius.
The trip begins when you're picked up by helicopter at your home and served $5,000 euro Beluga caviar and then flown on a private charter complete with bedroom, lounge and dining to L.A., all while feasting on a 10-course tasting menu.
Your "cabin" onboard the ship is the Royal Suite, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining area and two verandas. There are also pre- and post-cruise stays: first for four nights at the Beverley Wilshire Hotel and after the cruise for four nights at the $10,000-per-night apartment set in the exclusive, gated community on Sunset Island, Miami, Fla. Yes, it comes with your own private butler.
If $1.5 million seems like a little much, you can also just take the 115-day cruise without all the extras for about $61,000 per person (based on double occupancy,of course). It departs on Jan. 4, 2013, so you have plenty of time to save up. media: 15786520