Few holiday locations are as exclusive as the private resort North Island in the Seychelles.
Not only does it regularly attract celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, but also British royalty – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge honeymooned there in 2011.
And now you can visit too as part of an “ultimate city and beach combination package” offered by a luxury travel company in Dubai, which includes one week on North Island and one week in a penthouse in Cape Town, South Africa.
But it also comes with a hefty price tag, at Dh615,325 per couple for the two-week break.
The Cape Town apartment, which holds the record for the most expensive piece of residential real estate ever sold in Africa, offers views of both the Table Mountain National Park and Robben Island.
“It is the best location in Cape Town,” says Matt Vlemmiks, director of the Middle East region at Lightfoot, a travel company that targets ultra-wealthy travellers, which is selling the break.
“The lady who owns it is a collector of fine art and antiques as well, so whenever you stay in one of their properties you are surrounded by a private art collection.”
Meanwhile, North Island is owned by a company which runs luxury safaris in Africa. It has just 11 guest villas on the small granitic island and was named the third-best hotel in the world in the Condé Nast Traveller Reader Awards last year.
The stay at North Island is fully inclusive, and even covers private helicopter transfers from the main island in the Seychelles, Mahé.
The bad news is that the holiday’s Dh615,325 price tag does not include flights, so expect to part with more if you want to travel in style.
Lightfoot opened its UAE office in 2013. It recorded just short of 1,000 bookings last year with an average booking value of $10,000 owing to a number of less pricey weekend breaks it offers closer to home.
“We are looking to service clients where money really isn’t an object,” adds Mr Vlemmiks.
“We certainly don’t do a massive volume of holidays but prefer to offer very attentive service for a smaller number of clients so that they will hopefully stick with us and book again in the future.”
q&a travel desires fulfilled
Matt Vlemmiks, director of the Middle East region, reveals the more extravagant bookings Lightfoot has received:
The company also has offices in Singapore and Hong Kong. Why did it choose those locations?
The founder is a man who likes to travel, but he just spotted that there was a gap in the market in those areas for that type of company. He saw that even though there is a lot of domestic and expat money in each of the areas we have set up, those companies didn’t really tend to exist.
Do you receive many ultra-expensive bookings in the UAE?
Absolutely. We booked a big holiday to the States last year for a lady and her extended family. She was interested in the celebrity side of LA, Disneyland and Universal Studios and private access to those areas. Then she wanted to travel up the coast, and to Santa Barbara, Laguna Beach and San Francisco as well. Our job was to get exclusive experiences for them, so the private guide at Disney; the private access to William Randolph Hearst’s estate; the chance to drive a supercar up the coast, things like that. That cost roughly, including flights, about $200,000 for two weeks, but she flew first class as well.
How do you come up with the ideas for the experiences?
Partly it is through extensive travel among our destination teams, who are often lucky enough to sample some truly magical experiences, accommodation and places. We also ensure we use the best possible local partners in each destination, whether it be excursion and transfer providers, or the hotels themselves.
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