From Hawaii’s Sensei Lanai to Panama’s Islas Secas, the high-net-worth answer to a package holiday is gaining popularity.
The 14-suite Miavana resort, which occupies its own private island off Madagascar’s northeastern coast, has introduced an all-inclusive package with a difference: Five-star room and board is bundled with a round-trip private transfer in the hotel’s Learjet 45 from Johannesburg’s Fireblade private terminal.
Since Miavana launched the program (priced at $33,000 per person for one week) in Covid’s wake, Scott Dunn Private head Jules Maury reports she has regularly sent guests to the hotel, always booking its shuttle service alongside a villa or two. The package appeals for practical reasons, per Maury: A charter’s the only smart way to reach Madagascar now, easing the logistical hiccups created by patchy commercial service since the onset of the pandemic.
Adding a connection by private jet also ekes out a few extra hours of pampering.
“You feel like a million dollars straight away— the magic is extraordinary because it’s started on the journey,”
And Miavana isn’t the only elite property offering the high-net-worth answer to a package holiday. The model has long been standard in the Maldives, of course, where most luxe retreats perch atop their own atolls, but it’s now spreading to similar destinations worldwide: Hawaii’s Four Seasons–operated Sensei Lanai currently offers a promotion that includes charter transfer from Honolulu in its room rate.
Likewise, while many safari camps can arrange private puddle jumpers, only Tswalu in South Africa’s Kalahari has a spacious Beechcraft King Air 350 to help upgrade the 90-minute flight from Johannesburg.
Bawah Reserve operates its own amphibious plane to shuttle guests to the six-island Indonesian archipelago, while Panama’s Islas Secas has a private Twin Otter turboprop for up to 14 guests, connecting directly to the capital city’s commercial airport. Overnighting in Antarctica with White Desert is facilitated by the company’s fleet of planes, including a Gulfstream G550.
Maury expects this trend to take off even more in response to shifting travel patterns that emphasize far-flung sorties. “People are looking for that Robinson Crusoe environment, somewhere that feels a long, long way from everywhere—it’s about a sense of adventure,” she explains. The pivot to private that took place during the height of the pandemic is a factor, too.
“It went from ‘We don’t need to do that’ to ‘Let’s get a jet straightaway,’ ” she says with a laugh. “It’s like the tiger who tastes a man for the first time: It just wants to keep on eating.”