Seattle | A Warm Welcome
Arrive in Seattle and transfer to your accommodations at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, where you meet your tour leadership team and fellow guests over cocktails and dinner.
Japan | Geisha & Samurai
Board your private jet for your flight to Kanazawa, Japan’s hidden cultural gem, crossing the International Dateline en route. Drive to your ryokan, one of the finest in Japan, and settle into your serene surroundings. Visit a sake brewery for a sommelier-guided tasting, followed by a private dining experience with geisha, a strictly traditional affair little observed today even among the Japanese. Meet a renowned Japanologist for an introduction to the country, backed by his unique and extensive experience. Sample fresh sushi prepared by a notable chef in Omicho Market, visit the Kenroku-en Garden accompanied by its chief landscape designer, and finish with a private tea ceremony in the garden — something never done for visitors before. Enjoy the rare opportunity to dine at the Ketataisha Shrine, where you are welcomed with a performance of a sacred Shinto dance. Explore the Shirakawago valley for a unique look at samurai culture; the dwellings here date back 400 years. Kanazawa Castle was once one of the most feared samurai outposts; tonight, it is your exclusive dinner venue, a privilege normally accorded only to heads of state.
Vietnam | Hanoi & Ha Long Bay
Your journey continues as you jet to Hanoi, Vietnam. Celebrate your arrival at a festive street party in a local neighborhood. Engage with the residents, sample traditional foods, meet local artisans and even have your fortune told. Board a helicopter for a flight to magnificent Ha Long Bay. Enjoy a farm-to-table lunch in the rice paddies of a small rural village and then experience the wonders of the bay, sipping cocktails and Champagne aboard a private boat as you cruise among the more noted grottoes and islands.The next morning, tour Hanoi’s famous landmarks, including Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the magnificent Temple of Literature and Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed “Hanoi Hilton” by prisoners of the Vietnam War, followed by lunch and a meeting with veterans from both sides of the conflict. The afternoon is yours to enjoy the Design Your Day activity of your choosing: Discover local life up close on a Vespa or cyclo excursion; cycle around the West Lake; go shopping on an ethical artisan’s tour; or visit a private art and artifacts collection, hosted by the curator. Alternatively, choose a cooking class with celebrity chef Duong. Visit him at his restaurant to learn how to make your own spring rolls and other Vietnamese specialties, which you then enjoy. In the evening, join your fellow guests for cocktails and a private dinner at the stunning Hanoi Opera House.
Laos | Monks’ Blessing
Reunite with your private jet crew this morning for the short flight to Luang Prabang, Laos. Transfer to Wat That Luang for a blessing by monks, and then continue by tuk-tuk to a former royal residence. Here, meet with artisans and specialists for a private exhibit of ethnic textiles, followed by lunch and a traditional baci welcoming ceremony.
India | Spiritual Sojourn
After an overnight in Delhi, fly by local aircraft to magical Ladakh, often referred to as “Little Tibet.” Get a glimpse into the cultural ethos of Ladakhi people as you witness a traditional dance performance from the folklore of Ladakh. Join Buddhist monks for a magical early morning prayer ceremony at Thiksey Monastery, and then meditate on the hallowed grounds to the mesmerizing echo of the monks’ voices resounding through the hall. Witness the fanfare of a Ladakhi polo match, a venerable game introduced to Ladakh by a Balti princess. Played in parched conditions at high altitudes, this is a challenging and arduous contest. Another tradition in this most spiritual land is the séance, in which a revered priest or priestess communes with the spirit realm in order to heal ailments or predict the future. Sit down with a local oracle and experience this remarkable practice firsthand at a private session.
Note: This destination features altitudes in excess of 9,000 feet above sea level.
The Maldives | Time in the Tropics
Fly to the beautiful Maldives, landing in the capital of Malé. Board speed boats for the 30-minute ride to your resort home for the next three days of unhurried leisure. Maldives Islands is an archipelago comprising 1,190 low-lying coral islands scattered across the equator, in groups of 26 naturally occurring atolls. Described as “the flower of the Indies” by Marco Polo, the unique and unspoiled islands are a tropical paradise of year-round sunshine, swaying palm trees and pure white beaches surrounded by crystalline lagoons of varying shades of blue. From the comfort of your luxurious surroundings, enjoy a tantalizing mixture of secluded serenity, thrilling water sports activities, soothing spas and relaxing beaches. Over the next three relaxing days, experience the breadth and beauty of the Maldives’ landscape and culture, choosing from a variety of Design Your Day activities such as diving, fishing, kayaking at sunrise, snorkeling or cruising among dolphins, as well as a cooking class or a pampering spa treatment.
Eritrea | Architectural Wonders
Leave Asia behind as you fly to Asmara, capital city of Eritrea and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its eclectic modernist and Art Deco architecture. Set out on a guided architectural tour of the city for up-close looks at these contemporary classics, including the Fiat Tagliero building, a futuristic old fuel station resembling an airplane poised to fly; the Casa del Fascio (currently the Ministry of Education headquarters); the fabulously detailed Opera house, now Cinema Asmara, one of the city’s most elegant structures; and the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, thought to be one of the finest Lombard-Romanesque-style churches outside Italy, built in 1923 to a classical Italian design. Take in the rhythm and flavor of daily life with a visit to a bustling food and craft market, where you browse the stalls elbow-to-elbow with locals. Rise early and ride by 4x4 to the ancient city of Kohaito, one of Eritrea’s largest and most famous archaeological sites. To this day, more than a millennium after the city’s heyday, most of the stone ruins have yet to be excavated. The ancient port city of Adulis lies directly to the east, and there are spectacular views to be had from the site of the surrounding landscapes.
Benin | Mysteries of Vodoun
Cross the heart of the African continent en route to Benin’s capital of Cotonou, where you are greeted with a rousing display of traditional drumming, singing and dancing. At Ouidah, one of the epicenters of African Vodoun (Voodoo), tour the temple dedicated to the sacred python, which is believed to bestow vitality and protection. Visit the historical Museum of Ouidah located in an old Portuguese fort built in 1721, its exhibits frankly recounting Benin’s role in the Atlantic slave trade. Delve deeper into the realm of Vodoun, known in the West as Voodoo. The religion was born in West Africa and migrated with the slave trade to the Caribbean, the southern United States and Central and South America. Attend an authentic Vodoun ceremony, and then visit the Sacred Forest and Foundation Zinsou, a modern museum of contemporary art. Then explore Ganvie, a sensational village on water, commonly referred to as the Venice of West Africa. A band and a dance troupe welcome you as you arrive. Witness firsthand as vendors in dugout canoes piled high with wares transact commerce with one another and with tourists. Enjoy shopping on the floating market and take a relaxing canoe ride on the waterways of this exotic 300-year-old village.
Brazil | White Sands & Blue Waters
Set out across the Atlantic to São Luis International Airport in Brazil, where you board a small aircraft for a scenic flight over the Lençois Maranhenses National Park Dunes to Barreirinhas, your home for the next three nights. Explore its incomparable landscapes of white sand dunes dotted with greenish-blue ponds of crystal-clear waters, stopping for a delicious seafood lunch. Later, enjoy sundowners and dinner with lively musical entertainment. Pursue the Design Your Day activity of your choice the next day: You may wish to ride the trail through the Small Lençóis, stopping to enjoy the lagoons or swim from the beaches; take in the exuberant landscape, Preguiças mangroves and guará birds on the banks of the Preguiças River during a boat ride; enjoy a horseback ride through the dunes; take kite surfing or paddle boarding lessons; or simply relax and enjoy the beach. In the evening, celebrate your amazing journey during a lively dinner with a cultural presentation.
New Orleans | Bon Temps
Return to São Luis airport by local flight to board your private jet for the last time, and then wing your way to New Orleans for a festive, Mardi Gras-style farewell celebration. Depart the next day.