Helicopters drop travelers into a variety of exclusive adventures
Yachts and luxury homes also deliver one-of-a-kind getaways -- for a price
You name it, it can almost certainly be arranged.
Breakfast with a giant octopus? A private dinner from Wolfgang Puck’s team, served in your 6,000 square-foot compound? A chopper to give you a head start on a hike – or a better view of a volcano?
When money is no object, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to unique experiences, accommodations and frankly ridiculous levels of luxury.
Here are some of the United States’ most extravagant and exclusive vacation options for those ready to make a serious investment in getting away.
1. Heli-hiking, Alaska
Jumping on a helicopter to start a hike may seem a bit like cheating, but there are few better ways to experience the majesty of Alaska’s wilderness.
Anchorage-based Ascending Path has been running mountaineering expeditions for more than 20 years and consulted on an episode of “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” that featured President Obama and climate change.
In partnership with Alpine Air Alaska, they’ll fly you up to one of a number of glaciers, outfit you with crampons, helmets and harnesses and then guide you in exploring blue ice, crevasses, caves and more.
A sushi lunch break is followed with another chopper hop to take part in glacier dog sledding for the ultimate in icy adventures.
Prices start from $1,250 per person for glacier hiking plus dogsledding. Hiking-only heli-tours are available for about half that price.
2. Aspen living, Colorado
Aspen needs no introduction as an exclusive vacation destination, and living the good life doesn’t come much easier than at Castle Rim.
Naturally, this 750 square-meter property boasts sweeping views toward the Aspen Highlands, but the facilities and interiors may keep you cozied up inside.
Along with six bedrooms, there’s a private terrace with a huge hot tub, fire pit and al fresco dining, while the gym, pool table and wine room will also help keep guests distracted.
As the host, you’ll want to make sure you nab the master bedroom with its fireplace and private deck.
Rates range between $18,000 and $25,000 per night.
3. Sleeping under the stars, Hawaii
A cool quarter of a billion dollars was spent transforming the former Marriott Ihilani into the Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina.
With that kind of outlay, it’s no surprise that vacationing in the Aloha State doesn’t get much sleeker.
Although Mercedes-Maybach and helicopter transfers are one option, the 75-foot Four Seasons yacht may be the best way to arrive before you disembark to check into the Presidential Suite.
The yacht boasts a private Sky Terrace where you can sleep out under the stars, but only after a 7-course dinner with Cristal and wine pairings at the chef’s table presided over by executive chef Martin Knaubert.
Yacht excursion transfer, one night in the Presidential Suite and chef’s table from $20,000
4. ‘Dueling Volcanoes’ tour, Washington
The natural world doesn’t get much more awe-inspiring than in the form of volcanoes, and this private overnight tour from Evergreen Escapes showcases two of the United States’ most famous, up close and personal.
A private seaplane takes you first to Mount Rainier National Park for trekking, caving and elk, black bear and coyote spotting with guides around the 14,410-foot peak with its stunning meadows, waterfalls, forests and valleys.
After overnighting in luxury near Seattle, you fly up to Mount St. Helens to visit the sleeping giant that shook the world with its 1980 eruption. The lava dome, crater and pumice plains should all be visible.
From $16,000 for two people for the private, personally guided experience
5. ‘Over the Top’ leaf-peeping, Vermont and Massachusetts
New England leaf peeping rises to an eye-opening new level with this four-night experience with Kimpton Hotels.
Their “Over the Top” package includes two nights in the Presidential Suite at the Marlowe Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a private, helicopter ride to Manchester, Vermont, showcasing the area’s famous fall foliage display.
Bennett Cottage at the Taconic Hotel is your home for two nights in Manchester and The Copper Grouse and Bambara restaurants provide all meals, including a picnic to take on your half-day Land Rover driving experience to the summit of nearby Mount Equinox.
From $16,000 for four nights including dinners, picnics, tours and helicopter transfers
6. A presidential retreat, Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
Feel like you need a bit of your own presidential pampering this election season? That’s where your own 6,775 square-foot Presidential Suite compound comes in.
The Dorchester Collection’s Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles is a glamorous Mission-style retreat for those wanting privacy – and your suite, complete with private pool and spa bath, more than provides it.
A two-night package includes an hour-long couple’s massage on your patio and a private dinner for 10 catered by none other than Wolfgang Puck’s culinary team.
A jacuzzi and a grand piano should help keep you entertained the rest of the time.
$55,885 for two nights
7. Aquatic breakfast, Monterey Aquarium, California
A personal encounter with a giant Pacific octopus is one way to kick off a day to remember.
A very special package at the Monterey Bay Aquarium allows you and up to five friends to have a private breakfast created by award-winning Napa Valley chef Cindy Pawlcyn as you’re serenaded by a live string quartet.
Thereafter you have a wholly private tour of the world-renowned aquarium, which houses more than 35,000 animals and plants.
$4,400 for up to six people
8. Amangani, Wyoming
The ultra-exclusive Amangani resort sits at 7,000 feet outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming, overlooking meadows and pasture before the horizon stretches toward the spectacular Teton Range.
While you can choose from a number of elegant suites, the expansive Amangani Homes really bring the outdoors in with living spaces and bedrooms featuring views from all angles.
The four- and five-bedroom freestanding houses are outfitted with the amenities and design features you’d expect – from hot tubs to media rooms.
World class alpine and Snowcat skiing, horseback riding, biking and fishing are amongst the options on your doorstep, while Yellowstone National Park is only an hour’s drive away.
Five-bedroom Pataheya Home from $9,000 per night