Privacy, Please: Whats Next for Exclusive Travel

Image may contain Kathleen Freeman Adult Person Water Waterfront Accessories Jewelry Ring Head Face and Boat

Mimi Todhunter’s black book include gondoliers, musicians, and antiquarians, whom she loves to gather for dinners in her Venetian palazzo.

Fred & Tam

Access is everything

For a truly bespoke trip, tap a specialist to get off-book experiences, even in familiar cities. With London-based operators True Travel, who focus on behind-the-scenes twists on the capital, this might look like a private evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral or watching the changing of the guard from inside Buckingham Palace. But don’t discount the seemingly simple. “We often take people to meet an old army captain at the Grenadier pub in Belgravia,” says Henry Morley, True Travel’s founder. “Just hearing amazing stories over a pint of Guinness is sometimes the thing that leaves the biggest impression.”

Locals can be the ace in the hole for specialists curating bespoke trips. “It’s about booking the right people as much as the right places,” says Jules Maury, head of Scott Dunn Private. Well-connected on-the-ground fixers make the impossible possible. In Venice, that might be Mimi Todhunter, whose black book is a Venetian who’s who, including gondoliers, musicians, and antiquarians, whom she loves to gather for dinners in her palazzo.

Or, for a total break from city life, head to the middle of nowhere. Red Savannah can get you on a helicopter to the Minaret Station on New Zealand’s South Island, where hot tubs and tented suites at the head of a glacial Southern Alps valley await; or to The Lindis, a high-design house resembling a glassy Hobbit home from the future, hidden in the pristine Ahuriri Valley.

Image may contain Aircraft Airplane Transportation Vehicle Architecture Building Hangar Airport and Person

From helicopter airport transfers to exclusive terminals, individualized air travel is here to stay.

Kin Coedel/Thursday’s Child

First class-ified

After a pandemic-induced boom in individualized air travel, it’s easier than ever to build à la carte private flying experiences. For an airport transfer, take a Blade helicopter between Manhattan and JFK or Nice Côte-d’Azur and Monaco. For an entirely exclusive airport terminal, slip into the PS Private Suites at Los Angeles and Atlanta (and soon, Miami and Dallas) and get driven directly to the plane. For the toniest of lounges, head to London Heathrow’s Windsor Suite, originally designed for the royal family and now with Jason Atherton dishes and white-glove service available to anyone prepared to pay. For a not-quite-private flight, book with Surf Air to snag spare seats on small charters all over California. Move over, ride-shares—flight-shares are here.

Image may contain Adult Person Blade Weapon Wristwatch Knife Face Head Chopping Board Food Sink and Accessories

Private chefs like Michael Dane help take the stress out of holiday entertaining.

Miranda McDonald

Image may contain Cutlery Fork Egg Food Plate Poached Egg Person and Food Presentation

Along with cooking the meal, private chefs can help source the freshest local ingredients.

Miranda McDonald

Fully flavored

Enlisting a private chef can help you curate a flawless evening beyond the dining room—abroad or at home. “I’m also a host,” says Michael Dane, a California-based chef who organizes events for A-list clients in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. “It’s my job to make sure the lighting is set, the flowers are arranged, the scent is right.”In addition to cooking the meals, a chef might also source the best produce from area markets, translate local cuisine for clients’ tastes, and meet memorably over-the-top requests. Dane says, “Once, a client rented the Houdini mansion for 500 people, and I created a living wall of cheese and charcuterie.” Elevated exclusive experiences don’t have to mean stuffy formality; it’s all about ease and intimacy. Having your own chef can help. As Dane puts it: “The idea is that the client doesn’t have to worry about a thing.”