A few weeks ago, I asked what people would do if they had a million dollars to spend in travel. This is what I would do…Travel is already a luxury. For those of us able to afford to travel on aeroplanes to distant countries puts us in a very special, blessed and lucky category. Out of my million dollars, I would immediately give a chunk away with $50,000 each to the following five charities.:
- The Railway Children for street children work in East Africa
- Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) to support 30,000+ volunteers who provide medicine and surgery, mass vaccinations, sanitation projects and training campaigns in dangerous places around the world:
- Nature Conservancy – conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends in 35 countries.
- Dansk Flygtningehjælp (Danish Refugee Council) one of the largest providers of assistance to refugees in 30 conflict zones around the world.
- UNICEF, United Nations Children’s Fund
I would also set aside funds for additional donations along the way. I have started my journey in New York but you could start anywhere along my routing:
Queen Mary 2 from NYC to Southampton (to London): 7 nights- $US15,000:Settle into a 2,249 sq foot Grand Duplex high up on the ninth deck of the Queen Mary2 with a bedroom and two master bathrooms upstairs and guest bathroom, living/dining areas and balcony downstairs for a seven-day voyage. As well as eating and enjoying the on board activities, a personal training session every day would be a must.
Cornwall: 9 nights -$10,000
One of my most favourite places in the world. I would start with a three-night wellbeing escape at The Scarlet Hotel, in an Indulgent King room for around $US3500. The Scarlet is an eco retreat with cliff top hot tubs, yoga classes, an Ayurvedic spa, relaxation lounges, open fires and pool. Champagne and flowers on arrival, naturally.
This would be followed by a six day hike from Padstow to Penzance Day via St Michael’s Way, Marazion and Mousehole. Eat at delicious restaurants, drink in the amazing Cornish landscape while being fit and active. All baggage is transported for walkers! $2500 plus say $700 for meals.
A small donation is included in that fee to wildlife charity The John Muir Trust. Their work deserves a further $1,000 donation bringing our Cornwall total to $10,000. Other Cornish charities are listed here.
London : 5 night -$99,000
To London on the Great Western Railway’s Night Riviera Sleeper leaving Penzance at 21:45 and arrive in London Paddington at 05:23. Passengers can stay on board until 7am. I am thinking a horse-drawn coach pick up to transport us to our London Hotel. A tour of London on the way would be a splendid start.While it is not the number 1 hotel in London, one cannot pass up five nights in The Royal Suite at the Savoy for a mere 12,960 pounds a night. Let’s throw in champagne on arrival and a bottle of Champagne & Strawberries one evening in the Thames Foyer. Several theatre shows, a trip to Legoland, a private tours and a private cruise down the Thames in a luxury boat round out the London experience. A morning at the Bulgari spa followed by lunch with afternoon tea at The Ritz would fill one day. Shopping at Liberty, Hamleys Toy Shop and Selfridges. Three personal training sessions with one of London’s best will set one back $600.
While enjoying this, it must be remembered that there are 8000 people sleeping rough in London. To see this other side of London, I would insist on volunteering for a drop in lunch and a donation of $8,000 to Crisis, UK.
Depart London’s Victoria Station enjoying a Bellini brunch on board the Belmond British Pullman train before crossing the Channel where the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express transports to Paris with a gourmet dinner en route.
France: 17 nights – $6,500
Transfer IMMEDIATELY to Burgandy for a small group 17 day French Immersion Tour including eight nights in a 17th Century chateau followed by four days in Cannes and five in the Marais district of Paris with on-site French Language Sessions, Cooking classes, cultural activities and Michelin Star Restaurant meals .
Paris: 7 nights -$28,000
Staying on in Paris, my choice would be seven nights at Trip Advisor’s Number one hotel La Reserve in a two bedroom Eiffel Tower view apartment at 10 Place du Trocadéro for 18,900 Euro. Complimentary breakfast and butler are included. Throw in Lunch or dinner at the five best three star Michelin restaurants in Paris with one dinner in the apartment cooked by their chef and a 950 Euro Gift package dinner in the Le Jules Verne Restaurant (One Michelen star). A series of private city tours, a private river cruise in the day and one at night on the River Seine, boutique shopping and a spa afternoon at the Institut Dior.
Balance this with volunteering with a Restos du Coeur soup kitchen and a $7,000 donation to them.
The Riveria: 3 nights -$50,000
From Paris, hop on a private jet to Nice. Options include 737 and 757 but I think I would lean to a 30 seat Embraer for $15,000 for the hour long flight. At Nice, I have to transfer to a seven minute helicopter ride to Monte Carlo for a two night stay at the Hotel Hermitage, the best hotel in Monaco. Built in the 1900s, the hotel includes a thermal spa which one aims to use for an afternoon. A personal fitness trainer for a couple of sessions would be a must.
For $21,000, one can stay in the Diamond Suite Sea View With Jacuzzi– a one Bedroom 160 SQM Suite with outside jacuzzi, large 80 sq metre terrace, separate bedroom and sitting room. I have included, of course, champagne and fruit on arrival, in room massage and a one-hour photo session with a view of the Rock, a bottle of champagne, a macaroon pyramid and 36 red roses and a Hermitage Gustave Teddy bear!
In memory of Princess Grace, the Monaco Red Cross would be a good recipient of a $5,000 donation for their work in West Africa.
I have found out that it is possible to walk 20km from Monaco to Nice along the coast with two sections on footpaths along the road. Sending luggage by car, that would be a long but beautiful day hike.
Two nights at the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice followed by a train to Lyon in a first class carriage on SNCF’s high speed train for the four and a half hour smooth as silk ride to Lyon. A donation to help the victims of the attack in Nice through Give For France or The French Red Cross or for the Copeland family in memory of the son and father from Texas, among those killed in the Nice attack.
Lyon- 3 nights -$2,000
For almost eighty years, Lyon has been recognised as the gastronomic capital of France with many Michelin starred eateries and quaint bistros. Does a private tour of restaurants, wineries and markets sound great? Oui! Base would be the Le Royal Hotel, Lyon in a 430ft2 Circular room with king-size bed and a Panoramic view of Lyon.
Lyon to Brussels by direct train with one night at the Sofitel Brussels Europe.
The Western Front- 4 nights: $8,000
Brussels back to Paris via a combination of hiking through Fench countryside and private transfers to see the sites where my Grandfather fought in World War One, a century ago.
A $4,000 donation to the Western Front Association which aims to perpetuate the memory, courage and comradeship of all those on all sides who served their country during The Great War.
Venice – 4 nights: $17,000
Back on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for a late night departure from Paris with arrival into Venice the following afternoon. Ride in a cabin suite and include roses and crystal champagne glasses.
The time in this city is spent exploring the lanes and alleys. For something different, a private photographer can be engaged to document the visit with this amazing city as a backdrop. A visit to the Peggy Guggenheim collection is a must. I would also donate $4,000 to their intern program to support students starting out in the art world.
Lunch at Ostaria Boccadoro and at L’Alcova Restaurant, the perfect place to watch all the Grand Canal action. Dinners at my hotel plus Locanda Cipriani (which Ernest Hemingway, and Queen Elizabeth II have eaten at) and Antiche Carampane (Yoko Ono, Bill Murray, Natalie Portman, Brian Ferry). An evening drink a drink at the oldest coffee bar in Europe, the Caffè Florian on St. Mark’s Square.
Venice to Dubrovnik via Croatian Coast -9 nights: $90,000
Lufthansa, the world’s fifth best First Class product will take us from Dubrovnik to Johannesburg via Frankfurt.
South Africa – 20 nights $15,000
After three nights in Johannesburg at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg including a tour of Soweto.
Upon arrival, I would join a Black Tomato 13 night ‘Big Five’ tour:
- Three nights exploring Cape Town
- Grootbos, whale watching centre staying in a romantic forest lodge
- Franschoek for nature, food, and wine
- The exclusive Sabi Sand game reserve for the big five animals
- A few days on Mozambique’s Benguerra Island
The cost of the first 90 nights of this trip is $580,000 including charitable donations along the way.
Part Two Next week