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6 luxurious solo journey experiences to guide now

6 luxurious solo journey experiences to guide now

Whether you’re seeking personal growth or simply want the freedom of being alone, gallivanting on your own can be an enriching experience. Prestige rounds up four of 2024’s most luxurious experiences – plus a couple that might be downright terrifying.

There used to be a certain stigma around solo travellers, with cruises charging additional fees for single passengers and waiters spitting fury at the words “table for one”. But in a post-pandemic world, luxury solo travel has boomed. After borders began re-opening in 2022, solo travel searches on Google rose by an astronomical 761 percent. And the luxury travel industry is paying attention to the trend, with a host of exciting itineraries and tailored-made adventures designed specifically with the solo luxury traveller in mind. Perhaps this trend is due to the realisation that life is too short to wait for the perfect time to go on that trip you’ve always dreamed about, but whatever the reason, a little me time is always good for the soul. Even more so when it’s in an exciting new destination.

SKYDIVE IN THE MALDIVES

Skydive at Ifuru Island Maldives. Photo: Instagram

The Maldives has a reputation as a romantic destination for couples, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the dazzling sunsets, turquoise water and luxury hotels on your own. Quite frankly, it’s the perfect place for some quality alone time while soaking up the sun.

But now there’s an even more thrilling way to see these magical islands than merely from the comfort of your luxury water villa. In September, the Maldives welcomed new luxury resort Ifuru Island Maldives, which also happens to be the region’s first and only permanent skydiving drop zone. Between early November and late March, guests can take to the sky before enjoying a rare and captivating parachute jump over the waters of the Indian Ocean.

Ifuru Island Maldives. Photo: Supplied

Set within the serene Raa Atoll, privately owned Ifuru Island offers all the seclusion and beauty the Maldives is famous for. The resort features an abundance of amenities and experiences, including four bars and six restaurants, as well as a Xanadu Spa, so you can fully unwind and be certain that everything has been taken care of at all times.

And if the thought of skydiving terrifies you, there are far gentler options for those seeking a softer pace. Ifuru Island Maldives offers a range of excursions and experiences that don’t include dropping from the sky, including dolphin watching, sunset cruises, island hopping, cultural immersions, stargazing and serene snorkels below the waves to witness the region’s stunning marine life.

EXPLORE THE BEST OF BHUTAN

Explore Bhutan on your own. Photo: Supplied

The last great Himalayan kingdom, Bhutan is a majestic country shrouded in secrecy and history, making it a perfect destination for solo travellers. Hosted by SevenTravel, this 11-day journey promises to unlock the door to this devoutly Buddhist land, one of the world’s most remote, mysterious and beautiful countries.

During your stay you’ll go on a tranquil rafting journey through the leafy Punakha, climb to the gravity-defying Tiger’s Nest Monastery high above the Paro Valley, visit its chapels, hear the chanting of sacred texts and meet monks at the 17th-century Gangtey Goenpa, where you’ll have an opportunity to light a butter lamp – a typical Buddhist offering in the region. You can also visit the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery, where the more than 100 women and girls living there receive vital educational opportunities, including the chance to learn traditional arts and music.

Stay at hotels like Gangtey Lodge and Amankora Thimphu. Photo: Supplied

While in Bhutan, you’ll experience some of the country’s finest accommodation, including the luxurious Gangtey Lodge and Amankora Thimphu. Surrounded by mountains and forests overlooking Bhutan’s Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley, Gangtey Lodge is the perfect place to leave worldly worries at the door and fully relax, while a few hours’ drive to the east, the 16-suite Amankora Thimphu is built in the style of a traditional dzong fortress, yet it’s also within reach of the capital’s shops and sights, so you can experience the best of both worlds.

You don’t have to feel guilty about it either. SevenTravel aims to “redefine travel as we know it” by doing so less often but better. The company is all about reducing environmental impact, while still enjoying
all the positive aspects of an adventure by experiencing a deeper connection with the destination through cultural experiences. Each trip has a built-in charity donation and the company has set itself a target to become carbon neutral by 2035.

MEET THE BIG FIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Madwaleni River Lodge. Photo: Supplied

Who needs travel buddies when you can befriend Africa’s big five? If you really want to clear your mind, be at one with nature and get up close and personal with wildlife, a trip to South Africa will do the trick.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of luxury lodges nestled along the country’s vast bushvelds, including the brand-new Madwaleni River Lodge. Perched on the southern bank of the White Umfolozi River in Kwazulu Natal, Madwaleni River Lodge is an exclusive retreat comprising luxurious safari tents. The lodge takes its name from an isiZulu phrase meaning “the place of the rock”, which pays homage to the granolith mountains found in the nature reserve. Fusing sophisticated hospitality and natural wilderness at its best, this ultra-luxury tented camp is a truly remarkable experience.

Madwaleni River Lodge is completely unfenced. Its 12 opulent tents of unique design, comfort and style can accommodate a maximum of two people, but are equally perfect for solo travellers who want to steer clear of families or groups. Each features its own private heated plunge pool, where you can unwind and bask in tranquillity, as well as indoor and outdoor lounges with breathtaking views that allow you to immerse yourself in the surrounding natural beauty. Elegant copper outdoor bathroom fixtures add a further touch of sophistication, while the air-conditioned tents are equipped with iPads for making around-the-clock food and beverage orders.

Madwaleni River Lodge. Photo: Supplied

The lodge also includes a fine-dining section, bar, lounge, library, gym and infinity pool, all overlooking the rolling valleys of the Babanango reserve. It doesn’t end there. South Africa is famous for its wine, and just because you’re out in the bush and not on a wine farm doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out. Madwaleni River Lodge has an impressive 2,000-bottle cellar with a wide selection from the Cape region, so there’s more than enough grape to go around.

Established in 2017, Babanango Game Reserve is one of the largest private rewilding projects in South Africa in the last 30 years. The reserve is committed to ecological restoration and wildlife conservation, with more than 2,500 large mammals sensitively reintroduced and able to roam freely. So best you keep your tent closed after dark.

SEE SCOTLAND BY TRAIN

Belmond Royal Scotsman. Photo: Supplied

If your perfect idea of me-time includes being surrounded by the rugged Scottish Highlands, passing by ancient castles and sweeping through glens, you’re in for a treat with the Belmond Royal Scotsman luxury train. Decked out in a style echoing Edwardian elegance – Pictish stones, dark woods and sophisticated tweeds – its luxurious cabins are among the most luxurious ways of experiencing Scotland.

Relax in an observation-car armchair, enjoy open-air views on the veranda or grab a drink after dinner and compare notes with fellow passengers on off-train adventures that include whisky tastings, a private tour of the Culloden battlefield, fishing in the Cairngorms National Park and spa sessions.

And you’ll be doing so in style. Christian Dior had a deep appreciation for Scotland, and though his gowns were displayed on catwalks in Paris and London in the post-war years, in 1955 he took his show to a more unlikely venue – the famed Gleneagles hotel in Perthshire. Dior’s love for the country is now enshrined in the train’s unique Dior Spa Royal Scotsman. Completely dedicated to wellness, the spa on rails comprises two lacquered treatment rooms styled with the maison’s signature burgundy toile de Jouy motif.

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Of course, the journey includes all the dishes Scotland is famous for, which are served around the clock. Executive head chef Mark Tamburrini’s haute cuisine is a medley of seasonal delicacies sourced fresh from local suppliers, and served with with a contemporary twist. “Cooking on board is a treat,” he says. “Most kitchens are closed off to nature, but we enjoy incredible views.” In that case, we’ll have
a black pudding and a Dior facial, pronto.

CHASE THE AURORA IN FINLAND

Find the northern lights in Finland. Photo: Supplied

Solo-travel company Flash Pack has launched the Finland’s Secret Island tour for those seeking the aurora borealis, a journey through Finnish Lapland complete with husky rides, cold-water plunges and, of course, northern lights safaris aboard a snowmobile.

Over four days you’ll ski your way through silent snow-laden forests, plunge into freezing water holes for a heart-stopping cold-water therapy and be whisked across frozen landscapes by husky sleigh, safe in the knowledge that a campfire and hearty meal await back at your private island.

Yes, that’s correct – your own aurora island in the Arctic Circle, complete with private chef and luxury amenities. Located in the Kemijoki River, it’s home to the boutique Hotel Vartiosaari, which accommodates just 18 guests at a time in 11 rooms. To get there, you must cross a 70-metre hanging bridge over the river by foot. The charming hotel is a unique experience in itself, complete with personal services, gourmet meals and plenty of relaxation facilities, that include indoor and outdoor saunas, so you’ll be warmed up and relaxed in no time.

GET LOST ON YOUR OWN

Get lost on your own anywhere in the world. Photo: Supplied

Sometimes you need to lose yourself to find yourself, right? If getting lost in the literal sense sounds like your cup of tea, Tomato’s Get Lost service is the ultimate experience to help you disconnect, engage in the moment and push yourself to achieve satisfaction.

Get Lost takes you to remote and relatively unknown destinations, through which you get to explore your way. When committing to a Get Lost trip, you won’t know where you’re going or what you’ll need. Black Tomato takes care of all that. All you’ll know is when to show up at the airport and from there you’ll find out what’s next.

The only input you’re allowed is selecting which environment – they include polar, jungle, desert, mountain and coastal – you want to get lost in. While each landscape can be found in a range of different countries, your final destination is unknown until your arrival. Get Lost is available all over the world, in some of the most remote destinations imaginable, so anything is possible on this once-of-a-lifetime experience. Each day you’ll use your wits and inner steel to plot your way through mapped-out check-in points using ground-breaking navigational technology from what3words.

The tour price includes all the extensive trip planning, trip set-up and in-country logistics. It also includes a head guide who’s a specialist in the chosen environment and a local guiding support team to ensure your safety. As a safety net, your journey will be closely tracked by an expedition operations team – you won’t see them, but they’ll always be there keeping an eye on you.

Source: Prestige Online

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