While Japan’s bullet trains may be famed for their speed, there is a train in Japan that has garnered a more exclusive reputation. Demand is often so high for a trip on this luxury sleeper train – and space so limited – that prospective passengers often have to enter a lottery for tickets.

Upon boarding the Cruise Train Seven Stars at the busy Hakata Station in the city of Fukuoka, passengers step into another world. The train’s warm wooden interiors and classic design elements evoke another time.

“Everything is unique and custom-made for the train,” said Seven Stars’ 70-year-old designer, Eiji Mitooka. “From the seats, to the lighting, to the furniture, our theme was to mix elements like mandalas — drawing inspiration from East and West — to come up with something we’ve never seen.”

From delicate, handmade porcelain sinks to framed miniature paintings by Mitooka himself, which are hung along the corridors, no detail has been overlooked. In the lounge, a panel of “kumiko,” traditional Japanese woodwork, is backlit to showcase its intricate lattice patterns. A star motif is used throughout: the gold symbols adorn ceiling tiles, are carved into table lamps, and colored onto stained glass.

When Mitooka was first approached to design the train, he took inspiration from the Orient Express, but he wanted to create something that would resonate with older Japanese travelers, creating a sense of nostalgia.

“I think, for a long time, Japanese people believed the greatest journey was to travel to Europe or America; to experience different cultures, see the best things there, eat the best food there,” he said.

“But for those of us in our 50s, 60s and 70s, the most comfortable and relaxing journey is one where Japanese is spoken, we can enjoy Japanese food, served in the Japanese way. We can rediscover Japan.”

Source: CNN Style

A Houston-based company said this week it plans to open the “first luxury hotel in space” by late 2021.

Orion Span’s compact Aurora Station – at 35ft-by-14ft its interior will be comparable to that of a Gulfstream jet, the company said – is projected to accommodate four travellers and two crew members for 12-day stays 200 miles above the earth. Guests will be charged $9.5m each, or about $791,666 a night. Refundable deposits of $80,000 can now be made online.

The founder Frank Bunger – described by his own company as “a serial entrepreneur and technology start-up executive” – told Bloomberg: “We want to get people into space because it’s the final frontier for our civilization.”

In a press release, Orion Span said it would take “what was historically a 24-month training regimen to prepare travellers to visit a space station and streamline it to three months, at a fraction of the cost”.

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Customers would subsequently understand basic spaceflight, orbital mechanics and life in pressurized environments in space, the company said.

The company said travellers would then “enjoy the exhilaration of zero gravity…… gaze at the northern and southern aurora through the many windows, soar over their hometowns, take part in research experiments such as growing food while in orbit (which they can take home with them as the ultimate souvenir), revel in a virtual reality experience on the holodeck, and stay in touch or live stream with their loved ones back home via high-speed wireless internet access.”

They would also, it said, “be treated to a hero’s welcome home”.

Bunger said the project had been made possible in part because “almost every week, there’s another rocket-launch company that’s starting up with a new way to get to orbit cheaper, faster, better”.

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Above: An illustration of the interior of the proposed ‘Aurora Station’.

A spokeswoman told Bloomberg the company was assessing potential funding sources but would not disclose how much it wanted to raise.

Orion Span would not be the first operation to offer rides into space. A number of wealthy travelers have flown to the International Space Station (ISS) with the Russian space programme – which said recently it too plans to open a “space hotel” in 2022.

Dennis Tito, an American businessman, took the first “space tourism” flight in 2001, visiting the ISS for a reported $20m. He was followed by, among others, the software entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth and the first female space tourist, Prodea Systems co-founder Anousheh Ansari. Charles Simonyi, a former Microsoft executive, has visited the space station twice.

“It is amazing how [the space station] appears from the blackness of the sky,” Simonyi said in 2007. “It was very, very dramatic. It was like a big stage set, a fantastic production of some incredible opera or modern play.”

Last year, the SpaceX founder Elon Musk said his company planned to send two private citizens on a trip around the moon. The pair had paid a “significant deposit”, he said.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon and the Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson aim to give tourists short rides to the edge of space, about 60 miles up. Branson has reportedly signed up celebrities including Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Katy Perry to take the $250,000 ride.

Bunger, who announced his project at the Space 2.0 summit in San Jose, California, said Orion Span’s clients would be passionate about space and astronomical study.

“We’re not selling a ‘Hey let’s go to the beach’ equivalent in space,” he said. “We’re selling the experience of being an astronaut. You reckon that there are people who are willing to pay to have that experience.”

Source: The Guardian

Versace meets old European in this extravaganza of polished marbled floors, glittering teardrop chandeliers, gold-plated windows and mirror-lined corridors. The Reverie Saigon welcomes its visitors into a universe of elegant luxury.

Towering high above the rest of the city, the Reverie Saigon is dubbed the most extravagant hotel in all of Vietnam and is the only property of The Leading Hotels of the World group in Ho Chi Minh City.

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A lofty ambition, The Reverie Saigon sits at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City on the topmost floor of Times Square Building in District 1. The hotel’s grand debut in 2015, after 7 years of construction, is a catalyst towards the city’s finer luxury and is symbolic of Vietnam’s rapid development and urbanization. The Reverie Saigon transcends modern living to a palatial European splendor showcasing a dazzling collection of Italian branded furnishings and artwork throughout the entire complex. The hotel itself is most definitely a gallery of Italian haute designs.

Features of the swank rooms and crafty suites, the bar and an elegant spa retreat are expressions of the finest Italian artisan skills and design. The velvet bedding and noble designs create a homelike- extravagance. Nothing can top the hotel’s impeccable design, except by the vibrant night view of the city on the other side of the window.

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As a pearl of Southeast Asia, The Reverie Saigon will allow its visitors to set foot into an exotic realm of European and Asian cuisine. Experience French flavors at the Café Cardinal, a romantic indulgence at Romeo and Juliet, contemporary Italian fusion at the Royal Pavilion and classic trattoria dining at The Long.

Relax at the Spa, which offers impeccable service to those who wish to retreat into sky-high glamour as soon as they step down the curvaceous staircase.

“There is only one Saigon, and there is only one Reverie – culminating in one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic and colorful destinations. You’ve never seen or experienced Vietnam like this before…” – The Reverie Saigon.

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Sources:
The Reverie Saigon, Daily Mail, Luxury London, Space

The Penthouse, The Silo, Cape Town

The crown jewel of the hotly anticipated Silo—designed by the prominent London architect Thomas Heatherwick and South Africa’s beloved hotelier Liz Biden—is the one-bedroom Penthouse. It offers stunning triple-aspect views of Cape Town and Table Mountain. Along with more than 2,000 square feet of indoor living space decorated with an opulent mix of modern and colonial-style furnishings, the lavish suite comes with a 250-square-foot balcony that hovers over the city.


Above: Penthouse study at the Silo.

Suite Impériale, Ritz Paris

It’s hardly a surprise that the top suite in the lavishly restored Ritz Paris was inspired by the most famously pampered aristocrat in French history. Among the Suite Impériale’s vast salons overlooking the Place Vendôme is a replica of Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom at Versailles—what the hotel bills as a “sumptuous occasion to immerse oneself in 18th-century refinement.” The opulent retreat comes complete with period furnishings, fabrics, and wallpapers; intricate moldings and scrollwork; and a bathroom with a fireplace next to the tub in matching marble finishes.


Above: Suite Impériale at the Ritz Paris. Photo: Vincent-Leroux

The Harold S. Vanderbilt Penthouse, Intercontinental New York Barclay

The cherry on top of the Intercontinental New York Barclay’s recent $180 million renovation harks back to the glitz of 1920s New York City. It was during that time that railroad tycoon Harold S. Vanderbilt called this historic property home. The hotel’s 3,000-square-foot, two-bedroom Harold S. Vanderbilt Penthouse is an opulent revival of that glamorous time, featuring old maps of Manhattan and Vanderbilt family photos and a private fitness room.


Above: Penthouse at the Intercontinental New York.

Extreme WOW Suite, W Las Vegas

Nearly 25 years after “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” launched him into stardom, Lenny Kravitz has managed to reinvent himself as an interior designer. His latest handiwork is the Extreme WOW Suite at the W Las Vegas, created in collaboration with New York City’s Gensler architecture firm (known for such hospitality projects as Santa Barbara’s El Encanto and the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles). Sprawling nearly 2,400 square feet and complete with sweeping mountain views (even from the marble bathtub), the suite is all rococo glamour with its silvery grand piano, come-hither photographs, and seas of red velvet.


Above: Extreme WOW Suite at the W Las Vegas.

The Nashville Suite, Westin Nashville

Located on the 26th floor, the 2,000-square-foot Nashville Suite at the Westin Nashville is perched high enough to have stunning views of the city’s skyline through its floor-to-ceiling windows. The one-bedroom suite—complete with cheeky accents like a round king-size bed and see-through shower—is designed with entertainment in mind: There’s a Jacuzzi, pool table, dance floor, and even a Champagne tower. A dedicated butler can get the party started by arranging DJs, singer-songwriters, and, for those in search of a touch of gaudy Vegas in charming Nashville, painted ladies, mermaids, and living sushi models.


Above: The Nashville Suite at Westin Nashville.

Presidential Suite, Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

No detail has been overlooked at the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto’s new Presidential Suite. The luxurious brocade that drapes the suite’s interiors was woven at a centuries-old Kyoto atelier that produces textiles for Dior, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. The tea canisters that stock its living room were crafted by another ancient local artisan, who makes their lids seal just so. Along with more than 2,600 square feet of indoor space, the two-bedroom suite also has a 100-square-foot balcony, from which guests can take in the spectacular views of the 12th-century Myoho-in Temple.


Above: Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto.

The Grand Terrace Suite, The Berkeley, London

Unveiled as part of a multimillion-dollar renovation at London’s Berkeley hotel, the chic new Grand Terrace Suite is a luxe and serene haven in the heart of Knightsbridge. The suite’s interiors are spacious and stylish, but the showstopper is the wide garden terrace with a dining table overlooking St. Paul’s Church. When the weather isn’t quite suited for alfresco dining, guests can borrow his-and-hers Burberry trenches from the suite’s closet.


Above: Grand Terrace Suite at the Berkeley.

The Chairman Suite, Ritz-Carlton, Budapest

The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest’s Ritz-Carlton Suite might be the hotel’s largest and most expensive, but the recently debuted Chairman Suite is more desirable thanks to its distinctly luxurious design. The one-bedroom accommodation sits on a top-floor corner of the building, and features a lofty terrace as well as two full walls of angled, sloping windows that provide abundant views of the city’s skyline, as well as the pedestrian-only Fashion Street. Classically elegant, the living area has separate spaces for working, relaxing, and dining, and the bathroom is luxuriously clad in marble.


Above: Grand Terrace Suite at the Berkeley.

The Chairman Suite, Ritz-Carlton, Budapest

The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest’s Ritz-Carlton Suite might be the hotel’s largest and most expensive, but the recently debuted Chairman Suite is more desirable thanks to its distinctly luxurious design. The one-bedroom accommodation sits on a top-floor corner of the building, and features a lofty terrace as well as two full walls of angled, sloping windows that provide abundant views of the city’s skyline, as well as the pedestrian-only Fashion Street. Classically elegant, the living area has separate spaces for working, relaxing, and dining, and the bathroom is luxuriously clad in marble.


Above: Presidential Penthouse at the U.S. Grant, San Diego.

Grand Palace Suite, St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Miami

Last summer, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort unveiled three new four-bedroom signature suites with marble bathrooms, kitchenettes, media rooms, and spacious balconies that have uninterrupted ocean views. On the 23rd floor, two of these spectacular accommodations can be combined to create the 7,500-square-foot Grand Palace Suite. High above the rest of the resort, the oasis-like suite can comfortably accommodate up to 16 guests—with a St. Regis butler on call, of course.


Above: Grand Palace Suite at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami.

Source: Robb Report

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How would one travel the world if there were no limitations? Envision a vacation filled with nearly unfathomable luxury, a global excursion that caters to jetsetters’ every innermost desire…a trip so astonishing one could only call it fantasy. Luckily, you can stop imagining, as experiential travel boutique DreamMaker has just launched a world-class vacation around the globe, turning the most affluent travelers’ wildest dreams into reality.

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Passport to 50 is DreamMaker’s first private jet offering, and it represents the absolute most over-the-top opulent trip around the world ever devised. From accommodations to experiences to cuisine, not a single expense has been spared. The trip features two privately outfitted Boeing 767 business jets that will fly guests to twenty remarkable cities in twenty days. And at every step along the way, they will experience a level of astonishing luxury typically only reserved for royalty.

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Passport to 50 is the first ever private jet trip to completely circumnavigate the globe, covering 50,000 kilometers in 20 days. Koh Samui, Cannes, London, Barcelona, and Ibiza are just a few of the noteworthy exotic locales one billionaire client will travel with a party of up to 50 of their closest family, friends, and associates. The extravagant adventure includes an astounding time ratio of 88% on the ground and 12% in the air, allowing travelers to surely make the most of their journey around the world. Highlights of the grandiose trip include a $500,000 charity poker tournament with the world’s top ranked poker player, a stay at the rebranded “Hotel 50” in London, and a set of 18-karat gold swizzle sticks worth $1 million.

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To provide guests with utterly impeccable service, Passport to 50 is equipped with a staff of 50 hand-selected professionals (for a one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio), and each is a master of their respective field. For instance, DreamMaker goes above and beyond the typical expectations of standard luxury jet vacations by appointing hypnotherapist April Norris to develop a holistic program that blends sleep technology with a variety of wellness techniques — including Reiki healing, Ayurvedic medicine, and hypnotherapy — to help ensure each guest stays in the ultimate state of relaxation during the duration of their stay.

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DreamMaker’s attention to detail when accommodating to guests’ comfort and relaxation is truly unprecedented, leaving passengers with plenty of energy to play in the $500,000 charity in-flight poker. Sitting 30,000 feet up alongside one of the most famed and respected players in poker history, travelers will test the limits of their poker skills. And the tournament is one of several bespoke activities that guests will engage in during their trip, each specifically designed to be an unforgettable experience in and of itself.

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One will be sure to want to enjoy sipping on a few fine cocktails during their flight across the globe, and like the cuisine, the wine and spirits available will be nothing but the best the world has to offer. However, in an effort to make drinking a cocktail on Passport to 50 an absolutely unforgettably opulent experience, DreamMaker commissioned partner World of Diamonds Group to devise the trip’s most lavish amenity — the aforementioned set of 18-karat gold swizzle sticks with dazzling white and blue diamonds, worth a total of $1 million. Twenty white sparklers are arranged into a spinning globe atop the swizzle sticks to represent the twenty cities that will be visited on Passport to 50.

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While one’s experience in the air will be utterly divine, the adventures on the ground will be where the most significant memories are forged. Each stop will present activities that are unique to the culture and feel of the diverse cities you’ll be traveling to. A particularly significant stop on one’s journey is a stay at the iconic Hotel 41 in London. As mentioned, the luxurious hotel will be the first in the world to effectively rebrand itself into “Hotel 50.” Far more than a mere superficial rebrand, changes include chipping out the hotel’s marble tile in the foyer, integrating newly monogrammed beds and bath linens, and completely revamping the hotel’s interior.

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DreamMaker’s latest design was obviously created for a jetsetter with the most extravagant of tastes. The deluxe vacation is currently being offered at $13,875,000 for a party of up to 50 people and departs in August of this year. Passport to 50 is a trip that meets seemingly unreachable expectations, is rich with luxury, and clearly reigns superior to all other exceedingly-lavish inclusive private jet trips. And if you can afford it (a big “if,” even for our readers), then you simply have no excuse.

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Source: Jetset

 

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Celebrities traveling in and out of Hollywood now have a little respite from the paparazzi and crowded security lines — a private airport terminal.

The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Monday opened its “Private Suite” with a gate entrance away from traffic surrounding the airport. Members of the facility, which is the first of its kind in the country, get exclusive accommodations with a two-person daybed, a serviced food pantry, and their very own bathroom, before a BMW sedan drives them “Head-of-State style” across the tarmac to the aircraft, according to the Suite’s website.

And you don’t actually have to be a celebrity to gain access to the private terminal — just pretty wealthy.

The Private Suite’s membership costs $7,500 a year, plus $2,700 in service fees per domestic flights up to four people; $3,000 for international, according to the website. And there are additional perks: Members can book pre-flight flight massages, manicures, hair and makeup appointments at no additional cost. You can even have a concierge doctor meet you at the suite upon arrival.

A number of fliers seem to find the membership fees justifiable. More than 1,200 memberships have been sold to date, a spokesperson from the Private Suite told Fortune.

The service claims it reduces the number of footsteps from car seat to plane seat from 2200 to 70. But members will still be flying commercial along with economy and business class passengers.

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Source: Fortune

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Vietnam is quickly becoming a major travel hotspot, but most well-heeled travelers have never heard of Con Dao. It is a group of stunning pristine tropical islands off the southern tip of Vietnam. The fact that most have never heard of it is what makes it exclusive. It’s also the location of an unforgettable vacation courtesy of the Six Senses Resort and Spa Con Dao, Vietnam.

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Six Senses is an exclusive hotel brand with only nine resorts in wonderfully secluded and exotic locations around the world. Their Vietnamese property is located in Con Son which is the largest of the 16 islands in the Con Dao archipelago.  The island is mountainous with many isolated beaches and surrounded by clear blue water. There is an active harbor, local market, and many landmarks and temples to explore. The only traffic jam there is when the occasional group of cows crosses the road and holds up a few cars and motor bikes.

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Six Senses Con Dao is on a mile long stretch flawless stretch of beach in a cove surrounded by a rugged natural reserve. Couples can be seen each morning walking hand in hand along the beach.  No need to jockey for position for best spot on the beach for your chaise lounge. In fact, they don’t even have them on the beach. For beach views and sun tanning, your chaise lounges are on your villa’s private pool deck with direct views of the beach and sea.

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There are only 50 villas on the property.  The décor does not feature fancy neon lighting or trendy color palates, just what you would find in nature with teak wood and bamboo as the main building materials. The heart of the resort is designed after a traditional Vietnamese fishing village and perfectly blends in with the natural surroundings.

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Most of the villas are two stories. On the first floor is your full-sized pool, deck and outdoor living space, indoors there is a spacious bath with large tub. The shower is outdoors in a garden courtyard. Upstairs is beautiful with a king-sized bed with draped netting. The bed faces the ocean and the sound of the waves lulls guests to sleep each night. There is a balcony with sitting area and unobstructed sea views. There are other villas with two, three, and four bedrooms and even larger pools and a full kitchen perfect for large families or friends traveling together.

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The dining experience at the Six Senses Con Dao is exquisite. Couples gather at their By the Beach restaurant for a candle lit dinner under the stars and an eclectic menu of seafood, meats, and local dishes with excellent wine pairings.   Their other restaurant is the Vietnamese By the Market which serves exquisite traditional Vietnamese dishes.

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Many guests vacation there to celebrate a honeymoon, anniversary, or birthday. The resort goes above and beyond to create an even more special memories with a series of destination dining experiences such as dining in the wine cellar, in their vegetable and herb garden under, or high on a cliff overlooking the sea.

Six Senses Con Dao provides holidays for those looking to just relax or for the active traveler and the resort’s activities team has a wide variety of options to choose from.  A great way to see the island is to explore by motor scooter and the tour will take guests to the center of town and to explore the market as well as to temples, pagodas, and other landmarks.

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Con Dao is in the middle of the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Thailand so there are endless options to enjoy the water from above and below. The resort can arrange snorkeling or scuba dives to see beautiful underwater life with amazing coral formations and exotic and colorful fish.

There’s also plenty to do at the resort as well from movies nights under the stars, countless activities for children, and even a golf where guests can drive EcoBioBalls into the sea which dissolve and serve as fish food.

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To relax and rejuvenate, the Spa at Six Senses Con Dao is a complete facility in a natural setting. The Vietnamese treatment is a highly recommended traditional massage incorporating pressure point techniques, heated suction cups, and local natural oils.  The spa menu is comprehensive with a wide range of spa services from pampering, to therapeutic, Yoga to beauty.  Transformative wellness journeys are also offered from three to 21 days.

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What really makes the experience at the Six Sense Can Dao unforgettable is the friendly service that guests receive at each interaction; from the warm and friendly greeting at the airport to the restaurant staff or the house keeper. As you walk around the property, you will constantly hear the Vietnamese greeting of Xin Ciao with a warm a friendly smile from the staff.

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Each guest is also assigned a GEM or Guest Experience Maker which is there to make sure that all of your needs are met. Need a spa appointment, advice on where to go, or anything to make your trip complete, you have a personal assistant to make sure it happens and is hassle free.

Six Senses Con Dao is one of those vacation experiences that gets it just right.  The resort is located on an exotic tropical beach and only has 50 villas so it never feels crowded. The spa, activities, dining is exquisite and, to top it all off, the service could not be more warm or professional. For those looking for an unforgettable tropical getaway in South East Asia, the Six Sense Con Dao is the perfect choice.

Source: JustLuxe

The Ferrari of Rail

Remember Japan’s ultra-luxe sleeper train that’s the handiwork of Ferrari designer Ken Okuyama? The train will have a fare that befits its lavish nature. The price of staying in the train’s Shiki-shima suite will be nearly a million yen, 950,000 to be exact, which comes to almost US$8,700. Other passengers can stay in the standard 15 dual occupancy suites which will be priced between 750,000 and 770,000 yen ($6865 – $7050). Another deluxe suite with dual-occupancy will be available for 900,000 yen per person (about $8,235).

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For these prices passengers get to enjoy their own suites as well as dedicated common spaces for lounging, dining and enjoying the view. The train features 10 cars in total, with four reserved for common spaces and six allotted to the 34 passengers willing to pay for the four day trip.

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The journey will begin at Tokyo’s Ueno Station and the train will travel through Nikko Station in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, and Hakodate Station in Hokkaido. The train will go as far as Noboribetsu, Hokkaido before eventually returning to Ueno Station though a coastal route.

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If you’re planning a trip in May or June, visit the website for the East Japan Railway Co.

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Source: Luxury Launches

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In 2018, Singapore Airlines is planning to restore the world’s longest commercial flight, an 18-hour nonstop trip from New York’s JFK airport to Singapore. With the re-launched service, the carrier is introducing new cabin designs in the Airbus A350s used for the route. Plans have yet to be revealed, but the bar has steadily risen every year for the top-category cabin class—just take a look at the new products dreamed up by Air France, Etihad, British Airways and others. Even though airlines have reduced the number of first-class seats in favor of a larger business class in recent years, they’re tailoring an even more exclusive experience for the privileged few who are still willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a ticket. Here are five airlines leading the luxury race in the front of the plane.

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Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airline’s First Class, created by BMW’s Designworks, was designed as a cocooned haven with exclusive sensory experiences, from the luxurious texture of a diamond-quilted leather armchair to the soft, warm glow of cove lighting that spotlights unexpected storage spaces. Singapore Airlines’ partnership with Michelin-starred chefs such as Alfred Portale of New York’s Gotham Bar & Grill and Suzanne Goin, who helms A.O.C., Lucques and Tavern in Los Angeles, ensure the satisfaction of refined palates onboard.

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Air France

Air France’s La Première cabin embodies the sophistication you’d expect from the airline’s home country. The boudoir-esque suite, which can be closed off by sound-absorbing curtains, is clad in leather and suede and accessorized by a sea-horse print lamp and a slate-gray ottoman. You can dine à deux on Atlantic lobster in a curried coconut sauce by Daniel Boulud and come turn-down, the ergonomically-designed, tweed-covered seat transforms into a memory-foam cushion bed topped with a Sofitel My Bed duvet and fluffy down pillows.

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British Airways

British Airways’ re-imagined First Class on the Boeing 787-9 carries a very British air of distinction. Swathed in hand-stitched leather and chrome finishes, the new design focuses on additional storage: a ottoman doubles as a case for shoes or handbags; a wardrobe and mirrored cabinet are accessible within arm’s reach; and a compartment for plugs and tablets is discreetly tucked beside an arm rest. Dual-screen viewing is possible through a smartphone-like handset and a 23-inch flat screen. The esteemed ambience wouldn’t be complete without a traditional afternoon tea with smoked salmon- and rocket lettuce- sandwiches and housemade scones and clotted cream.

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Etihad Airways

Etihad’s The Residence, available on flights between New York, London Heathrow, Sydney and Abu Dhabi, goes far beyond offering extra leg room. The palatial (by airline standards) three-room suite, which incorporates lattice patterns and a desert-inspired color palette, feels like flying in a private jet. Multi-course affairs, whipped up by a dedicated inflight chef, are served on 24-carat gold-plated tablewear Bernardaud porcelain. A concierge sees to on-the-ground arrangements, and a Savoy Hotel-trained butler dresses up the double bed. At your disposal: a private shower furnished with an exclusive range of Acqua di Parma products.

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Lufthansa

There’s something soothing about the caramel- and grey-brown compartments of Lufthansa’s new first class. The floor is covered by noise-neutralizing insulation, the climate controlled by humidifiers, and generous portions of caviar are served before multi-course meals prepared by a rotation of chefs such as Diethard Urbansky of Restaurant Dallmayr in Munich. In the center of the cabin is a bar station, with an array of free-flowing wines and artisanal chocolates (including pistachio brittle, cactus fruit and sour cherry cream truffles). And when it’s time for slumber, the fauteuil slides into a Paradies-made bed—designed in consultation with the Berlin-based Charité sleep center—complemented with percale sheets and an oversized, temperature-regulating pillow.

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ANA, All Nippon Airways

ANA’s first-class cabins may seem more subdued than those of its flashy competitors, but perhaps in the Japanese modus operandi, every detail and inch of space is accounted for. The minimalist cubes boast 30 percent more room than the previous generation’s curvy compartments and are supplemented with space-organizing cubbies to store laptops, glasses, and magazines. The textures and fabrics have been factored into passenger comfort: A cashmere-and-organic-cotton lap rug, a bedtime duvet, and a weight-distributing mattress topper are lightweight and breathable but also cozy and warming. Thanks to a new partnership with Conrad Hotels, passengers on flights from New York to Japan can (for a limited time) feast on dishes from the group’s Tokyo and New York–based restaurants, like branzino with ratatouille in a tomato saffron sauce. fly-ana.com

Source: Architectural Digest

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In the art capitals of the world, art is everywhere – not only in the famous galleries and churches, but even in the most unexpected places. Turn the corner in Rome to discover a shrine high in the wall, or a colourful mural under a bridge. If you’re visiting a city for the first time, however, the galleries are a good place to start. Smaller galleries offer the perfect introduction to the city’s artistic heritage, while the huge collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the National Gallery in London showcase the art history of the world, all under one roof.

Whether you prefer pop art or classical sculptures, you’ll find something that inspires you in all of these cities.

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1. New York

The Metropolitan Museum alone makes New York unmissable for anyone remotely interested in art and culture. You could spend a lifetime exploring the galleries, which contain more than two million works of art, from Rembrandts to African masks. Then there are the unicorn tapestries at the Cloisters, old masters at the Frick Collection, surrealist sculptures at the Guggenheim, Warhol at MoMA…Once you’ve visited the main museums, there are countless smaller galleries to explore, such as the Rubin Museum, with its beautiful Tibetan Buddhist shrine room.

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2. Florence

If you love Renaissance art, make sure you take a trip to Florence. An Uffizi walking tour will help you to make the most of your visit, as the gallery can seem overwhelming for first-time visitors. There’s so much to see, including masterpieces by Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Caravaggio. Visit the Accademia to see the most famous statue in the world, Michelangelo’s David, or the Bargello for its incredible collection of Renaissance sculptures.

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3. Vienna

Fortify yourself with coffee and apple strudel at a traditional Viennese café, such as the beautiful Café Sperl, and then spend a day discovering all the art Vienna has to offer. Of course you’ll need more than a day to do it justice, but you can start with the Art History Museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum), with its extensive collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman art. The Belvedere has paintings from the Art Nouveau and Fin de Siècle, with works by Egon Schiele and the world’s largest collection of Klimt paintings, including The Kiss. For more contemporary art, explore the Museumsquartier, home to the diverse collection of the Leopold Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

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4. London

The amazing thing about London’s galleries is that so many of them are completely free. You’ll find many of the most famous paintings in the world in the National Gallery, where every room is filled with masterpieces. A walk along the South Bank takes you to the Tate Modern, formerly a power station. The permanent collection is free to visit, but you’ll have to pay for the special exhibitions, which tend to focus on a particular artist (Gaugin) or movement (pop art). The Tate Britain is the place to go for pre-Raphaelite art and paintings by Turner and Constable. For French art, furniture and armour, displayed in one of the grandest houses in London, visit the Wallace Collection. And don’t miss the V&A. For sheer variety, it can’t be beaten, as you’ll find Buddhas, medieval reliquaries, Middle Eastern ceramics, Elizabeth I’s jewellery, and costumes belonging to actors and singers. The V&A café is also a work of art in itself.

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5. Istanbul

When you think of Istanbul, you probably think of the Hagia Sophia, with its minarets and stunning mosaics. But as well as historic monuments, Istanbul is also home to a thriving modern art scene, with exhibition spaces located in palaces, warehouses, converted garages, power stations, and even a bank. Istanbul Modern should be first on your list if you’re interested in contemporary Turkish art, but smaller galleries like Galeri Nev and Mixer are also worth a visit.

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6. Rome

The centre of Rome resembles an open air museum, as it’s filled with obelisks, arches, baroque fountains, and the ruins of ancient palaces and temples. The churches alone have a wealth of art, such as the Caravaggio paintings in San Luigi dei Francesi, but you won’t want to miss the main museums and galleries. Take a tour of the Vatican Museums, where highlights include famous statues like Laocoon and the Apollo Belvedere, the magnificent collection of paintings in the Pinacoteca, and, of course, the spectacular ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Galleria Borghese is a more manageable size, and is also full of masterpieces by artists such as Bernini and Raphael. If you’re more into ancient art, visit the Capitoline Museums or the underrated Centrale Montemartini, which has a striking display of Roman sculptures in a converted power plant. Almost equally underrated is Palazzo Massimo, best known for its statues and mosaics. The highlight is a room from the villa of Livia, decorated with sublime frescoes that transform the walls into a garden.

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7. Kyoto

Kyoto has the best of both traditional and contemporary art. For more traditional art, check out the special exhibitions at the Kyoto National Museum or the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. The contemporary art scene in Japan is no longer dominated by Tokyo, and if you want to see the best of modern Japanese art in Kyoto, you’re spoilt for choice. Visit the Imura Art Gallery or En Arts, or explore the Teramichi Shopping Arcade to find smaller galleries. Comic enthusiasts also come to Kyoto for the International Manga Museum, a cross between a museum and a library.

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8. Berlin

Berlin loves the arts so much that it even has an island of museums, the Museumsinsel, where you’ll find Byzantine art, French impressionist paintings, and an impressively diverse collection of sculptures in the Bode Museum. The city is paradise for lovers of contemporary art too, with countless modern art galleries and amazing street art. Berlin has become a magnet for talented young artists, so keep your eye out for regular art fairs and festivals, and see if you can spot the next big thing.

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9. Washington DC

It seems appropriate that the only painting by Leonardo Da Vinci on display in the Western hemisphere (Ginevra deBenci) is in Washington D.C. For art and culture, D.C. is one of the best cities in the United States, and the National Gallery of Art is a good place to start. As well as the portrait by Da Vinci, there are masterpieces by Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, and countless others. You can find amazing art from around the world in the Smithsonian Museums, while the Hirshhorn Museum has one of the best collections of modern art in the United States.

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10. Paris

The Louvre is the second most visited art gallery in the world, and could easily keep you busy for several days. Marvel at the Mona Lisa, but make sure you look beyond Europe, as the Louvre also has an excellent collection of Egyptian and Middle Eastern art. For impressionist art, the Musée d’Orsay is unbeatable, while modern art lovers should head to the Pompidou. It’s also worth exploring the smaller galleries, such as the Musée Gustave Moreau. This gem of of a museum displays the dreamy paintings of the Symbolist painter Moreau, and also has one of the most beautiful staircases in the world.

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Source: Luxury Travel Blog