This was our first Captains Choice and was really delighted with every aspect.
J & S Sutcliffe, Natural Wonders of Alaska
There is no better place to toast our approaching adventure than the elegant Luton Hoo country manor outside London. After meeting your fellow travellers over cocktails, fine wines and champagne, we dine on the finest British cuisine made from the best local seasonal produce by Chef Will Hughes. The private dinner takes place in the grand Romanov Suite, once the manor’s Orthodox Russian Chapel, with its original stained glass windows and ornate icons. We spend the night in Belle Époque splendour, anticipating our first private jet flight tomorrow. During the Second World War, Luton Hoo was the headquarters of the Eastern Command. The surrounding estate became a testing ground for Churchill tanks, used widely in Normandy during the Battle For Hill 112.
This morning, we depart London from the Harrods VIP Terminal, arriving in Hamilton, Bermuda, just in time for a balmy afternoon. We check in at the luxurious Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club, a historic hotel that first opened in 1885, with its own private beach. Spend the afternoon at your leisure and prepare for our gala welcome dinner this evening at the Commissioner’s House. The frame of this Georgian mansion, built in the 1820s, was cast in England before it was brought to Bermuda.
After breakfast, spend your day discovering these Your World experiences, covering Bermuda from east to west.
For dinner, choose from a handpicked selection of Bermuda’s best restaurants.
This morning, our private jet crosses the western portion of the Atlantic Ocean, landing in Havana mid-afternoon. We check in to the Kempinski Manzana de Gómez in Old Havana, for the next three nights. Following a relaxed dinner, you are free to walk the atmospheric streets of the city or do a little shopping. The easy night allows us to prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s excitement.
We acquaint ourselves with the city through a guided walking tour, taking in the Plaza de Armas and Old Havana. The city’s crumbling grandeur presents itself, an echo of the days when it grew rich as a port for Spanish galleons carrying treasures from the Americas. We stop in at the opulent Captain General’s Palace and some of Ernest Hemingway’s old haunts, before having lunch at a handful of local restaurants within Old Havana.
This evening, we dine at Café del Oriente, which, at the height of communism, was Havana’s only luxury restaurant. After dinner, we invite you out to a salsa spectacular. It might be Wednesday, but in Havana, every night is a weekend night. The best salsa bars change regularly, but with our finger firmly on the city’s pulse, you can be sure that we’ll find ourselves dancing along to the liveliest, most popular of bands.
If yesterday was dedicated to Old Havana, today, we explore some of the other districts that make up the city. We visit fortresses built to guard the port’s entrance, first El Morro, and then, La Cabaña. After that, we pay a visit to Plaza de la Revolución, the square which Fidel Castro once used regularly to address Cubans. At the Museum of the Revolution, we learn more about the revolutionary war of the 1950s.
Lunch today is at the inventive Ivan Chef Justo, a paladar, or private restaurant, set in an 18th century colonial building with eclectic interiors. The menu changes regularly and features only what’s fresh in the market that day.
That afternoon, choose from these Your World experiences that you missed yesterday.
With the advent of economic reform, chefs all over Havana are free to open paladares of their own. This explosion of choice is to our benefit. Tonight, you are free to select from a carefully curated list of Havana’s most delicious and atmospheric paladares.
Our private jet flies us direct from Cuba to Guatemala, a rare route that you won’t find on a commercial airline. Even rarer is a stop in Flores, close to Tikal, home to one of the most powerful Mayan kingdoms. Here, you can choose from two equally tempting Your World experiences.
We board our private jet again for the short hop to Guatemala City. There, a driver picks us up and takes us through the central highlands to Antigua, a World Heritage-listed city, thanks to its Spanish Baroque architecture.
We check in to the Hotel Camino Real Antigua, our home for the next three nights. That evening, we dine at Las Velas restaurant in our hotel, savouring traditional Guatemalan flavours and the impeccable service.
The morning is set aside for exploration of Antigua’s Spanish side. A guided walking tour through the old city takes us past the ruined churches and convents of Las Capuchinas, San Francisco, Santo Domingo and the relatively unscathed La Merced, which is still in use today. Our last stop on this walk is the Museum of Colonial Art.
We rest for lunch at the Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo, which offers Guatemalan delicacies.
Spend the afternoon relaxing, or take a trip beyond urban Antigua with these Your World experiences.
At dinner, you are free to choose from our carefully curated list of local restaurants for authentic Guatemalan cuisine. Some of our favourites are Palacio De Doña Leonor, Las Antorchas and Meson Panza Verde.
After breakfast, explore the city at your own pace or choose from these Your World experiences. For those who missed one or both of yesterday’s experiences, they are offered again today.
On our last evening in Antigua, we celebrate with a private dinner in a breathtaking location reserved solely for us. The only details we can divulge are that you should bring something warm to wear and a camera to record the spectacle.
We have lunch on board our flight to Cartagena, arriving later in the afternoon. A short drive later, we are at our hotel, the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, a former 17th century monastery with arched walkways surrounding a stone courtyard filled with palms. Take to the cobblestone streets this afternoon for an exploration at your own pace or relax in the comfort of our hotel.
This evening, we have a spectacular dinner at the Santa Clara Chapel in our hotel, an atmospheric space with original stone walls and soaring, vaulted ceilings.
We begin the day at La Popa, the highest point in Cartagena. A historic convent occupies this spot, but it is more well known for its sweeping views of the city. After that, we visit the San Felipe de Barajas Fortress. Cartagena was where the Spanish stored treasure plundered from the rest of South America and, therefore, was a target for pirates. The fortress’ job was to dissuade these bandits.
Back in the old walled city, we take our time to admire the brightly painted coralstone houses and their wooden balconies.
We lunch at a local restaurant featuring Colombian favourites. This afternoon, escape the heat with a siesta or take a leisurely cruise of Cartagena Bay to view the old walled city from the water.
For dinner this evening, choose the restaurant that tempts you most. We have prepared a very select list of Cartagena’s best. Some of our favourites include Club de Pesca, the city’s favourite seafood restaurant for nearly 60 years. Delectably fresh seafood aside, its al fresco tables within Fort Sebastian del Pastelillo take in panoramic views of the water and the city. El Santísimo is another restaurant, headed by Chef Federico Vega Pérez, who fuses Caribbean ingredients with French technique for flavours that really dance.
This morning, our private jet takes us south from Cartagena to Puerto Maldonado. Don’t forget to look out the window as we approach the city for awe-inspiring views of the river snaking through dense jungle. We board a boat on the Madre de Dios River headed for Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, a luxury eco lodge reserved exclusively for us.
Relax on your balcony and take in the unique sensation of being in the middle of the world’s largest rainforest. Surrounding you are 40,000 different plant species, 1,300 types of birds and in the river beyond, 3,000 kinds of fish. As you take your next breath, remember that 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen is produced here.
We awaken to the calls of exotic Amazonian birds - over 540 species have been found within our resort’s grounds and the rainforest just beyond. After breakfast, you are free to select two of these Your World experiences. Each is a half-day immersion in Amazonian flora, fauna or native culture.
Lunch and dinner today will take place at our resort, where you will be treated to the freshest and most exotic local produce.
After lunch on our private jet, we land in Calama, Chile, the starting point of our journey to the Atacama Desert. We are immediately driven an hour to San Pedro de Atacama, the base for our explorations, and the location of our luxurious residence, the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa. While just three kilometres from the city centre, it is set in its own tranquil valley surrounded by a terracotta-coloured ridge, which you can gaze at from the hotel’s outdoor lounge spaces.
This evening, we dine at Caur, the acclaimed restaurant set within our hotel. Caur sources their ingredients from the surrounding region, allowing the restaurant to give directly back to the community.
On our first full day in the Atacama Desert, you are free to choose how to spend your morning. Select from these Your World experiences.
We return to our lodge for lunch and to catch up on our morning discoveries. That afternoon, a new selection of Your World experiences awaits, offering up the iconic vistas of the Atacama Desert.
With those memories fixed forever, we travel back to our lodge for dinner.
Explore more of the Atacama’s unique and enchanting places. Choose from these Your World experiences.
For those on a morning activity, we meet for lunch back at the lodge. This afternoon, choose from the same Your World experiences from yesterday. Visit the Salar de Atacama salt flats or the Valley of the Moon. Once the sun sets, travel back to your lodge for a special gala dinner under the stars.
Our private jet lands in Hanga Roa, the only town on Easter Island, in the early afternoon. We drive to the abandoned village of Orongo, a collection of stone houses perched on the lip of the extinct Rano Kau volcanic caldera. On one side, the 300 metre cliff affords dizzying views of the ocean. On the other, a gentle grassy slope leads down to the crater’s freshwater lake.
We are here to see the moai, and at Ahu Tahai, we catch our first sight of the magnificent stone statues. After that, we head to the architecturally-distinct Explora Rapa Nui resort, where local elders welcome us to their land with traditional singing and dancing.
This evening, we dine in at the Explora’s acclaimed restaurant, tantalising our taste buds with several courses featuring exotic local produce. You might find plantain and guava making appearances, along with fish caught that very morning.
This morning, you have the option of greeting the day at Ahu Tongariki, home to some of the island’s tallest moai. After the sun has risen, we head to Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater still littered with nearly 400 of the statues, many incomplete. This is where the stone for every single moai was quarried.
We then visit the beach of Anakena, where Polynesian settlers first landed after crossing the Pacific in dugout canoes. It is the perfect setting for the traditional Polynesian show we witness, led by an elder. After the show, we leave Easter Island, the ingenuity of its stonemasons fresh in our minds.
Our private jet lands in Papeete, Tahiti in the afternoon. We immediately transfer to a waiting catamaran for the 30-minute ride to Moorea, our home for the next two languid days. We will be staying in the overwater bungalows at the Hilton Moorea, no less. The bungalows fan out across the lagoon, just off the beach, between Moorea’s two iconic bays. Our arrival has been timed for the magnificent Tahitian sunset, which you can enjoy from your own private sun deck.
This evening, dinner is kept casual. Choose from the hotel’s selection of restaurants, offering mouthwatering Polynesian and international flavours. Or, venture a little further to the highly-rated Moorea Beach Café for Polynesian French fusion cuisine.
Truth be told, one of the best ways to enjoy Moorea is to do nothing. Lay on the beach, take a nap or do both together. But for something a little more strenuous, you may choose from these Your World experiences.
That evening, we gather for an extravagant farewell dinner on the beach, complete with Polynesian hula performers, fire eaters and gin and tonics in hand.
Reluctantly, we board our private jet headed for Sydney. As you contemplate your favourite parts of our journey, allow our inflight crew to pamper you for the last time. We cross the international dateline and land in Sydney the following day - 27 July, where we say our goodbyes. We hope to see you again on your next Captain’s Choice journey.
Let’s face it, travelling can be a chore, distracting you from the new and fascinating places you are in. We’ve moved everything mundane behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map. Or luggage. Or small change for tips. Everything is included, accommodation, all dining and drinks, travel insurance, and sightseeing. When available, we even supply internet at your hotel. Our Valet Luggage service is also included - we pick up your luggage up and make sure that they arrive safely at your next hotel. We also provide home-to-airport-to-home transfers. And just in case, a doctor travels with us too.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
Business-class private jet journey from London to Sydney.
Prices are in Australian currency.