Seattle | A Warm Welcome
Arrive in Seattle and transfer to 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 the newly opened Hyatt Centric, set in the heart of Kanazawa City. Meet with one of the world’s foremost experts on Japan for a briefing before setting out on a day of discovery that includes a sushi experience in the Omicho Market. Visit the Kenroku-en Garden, led by the chief garden designer, and finish with a private tea ceremony in the garden, which has never been done before. Continue to the Nagamachi District to see the homes of former samurai, and visit the Ohi Ware studio, where the 350-year-old style of pottery is produced. One evening, enjoy an exclusive dinner at Kanazawa Castle, a privilege normally reserved for heads of state. Join your expert Japanologist in the Shirakawago Valley for a unique look at samurai culture, or opt for a refreshing hike. Then, transfer for a two-night stay at the historic Matsuno-Midori Ryokan, considered Japan’s finest, in the famed Wakura Onsen region. Savor the rare opportunity to dine at the sacred Ketataisha Shrine, welcomed with a performance of a sacred Shinto dance, and experience a private Kabuki performance, an arrangement not possible anywhere else in Japan.
Myanmar | Life Along the Irrawaddy
Fly to magical Myanmar and board the luxurious ‘Sanctuary Ananda’ for a four-night cruise along the Irrawaddy River, going ashore daily to explore remote villages, authentic workshops and pagodas. Visit a tiny village that specializes in farming and hat making, witnessing local life in an unspoiled setting seldom viewed by outsiders. While on site, experience chinlone, or caneball, the traditional fast-moving sport of Myanmar. Disembark at the village of Myin Mu to roam the local market by trishaw, picking out fresh ingredients for an afternoon onboard cooking demonstration. During a morning visit to a temple in Bagan, witness a unique novitiation ceremony of young boys as they become members of the Buddhist order as ordained monks. In Bagan, behold the magnificent golden Shwezigon Pagoda, said to house relics of Gautama Buddha; and then board horse carts for a ride through the plains of Sulamani Temple. Stop at Ananda Temple as well and visit a lacquerware workshop to view traditional methods of production. Enjoy a candlelit dinner on the banks of the Irrawaddy, followed by an elephant dance performance. Capture a birds-eye view of the Bagan plain on an early morning hot-air balloon ride, followed by a Champagne breakfast.
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 & The Maldives | Time in the Tropics
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. Then, 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. Once you’ve arrived and settled in to your accommodations, enjoy a lecture on the history of Eritrea over coffee at the fabulously detailed former opera house, now Theatre Asmara. Then, 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); 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. Afterward, 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-toelbow with locals. This evening, gather for a special cocktail reception with some of Eritrea’s dignitaries.
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, known in the West as Voodoo, tour the temple dedicated to the sacred python, which is believed to bestow vitality and protection. Delve deeper into the realm of Vodoun, a religion born in West Africa that migrated to the Americas with the slave trade. Attend an authentic Vodoun ceremony, and then roam through the Sacred Forest and Foundation Zinsou, a modern museum of contemporary art. 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. 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. Watch as vendors in dugout canoes piled high with wares transact commerce. Take some time to shop the floating market, and then settle in for a relaxing canoe ride on the waterways of this exotic 300-year-old village. Also, travel out of Benin for a day to Lome, Togo, to take in its distinctive markets, national museum and Independence Square.
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.