Photo: Peninsula Hong Kong
Helicopters give a new perspective and a birds’ eye view of some of most spectacular scenery the world has to offer
It’s one of the most expensive forms of transportation and easily among the most glamorous. Helicopters give a new perspective and a birds’ eye view of some of most spectacular scenery the world has to offer. While that is incentive enough to go for a ride, there’s also a new crop of super-luxury whirly birds high in the skies above major cosmopolitan cities and racing out to private islands. They’re offering top of the line perks as well, from top-shelf bubbly to bespoke interiors. Read on to discover more about the best the aerial world has to offer.
There’s no shortage of designer labels in Japan and the l’Hélicoptère par Hermès is proof those labels aren’t limited to clothing and accessories. The USD $10 million black, white and orange Hermès chopper whisks passengers from downtown Tokyo to Narita International Airport in about the time it takes to finish a flute of fine champagne.
HOSHINOYA Karuizawa also boasts a Hermès luxury helicopter that flies from Tokyo or Narita to the all-villa resort. Skyscrapers fade into the background and are replaced by the densely forested Mount Asama. Relax post-flight in the resort’s natural hot springs or with a walk through the sanctuary for wild birds.
HOSINOYA Karuizawa rates begin at JPY 370,000 (USD $4,063) from Tokyo, JPY 540,000 (USD $5,931) from Narita, global.hoshinoresort.com/hoshinoya_karuizawa/
Photo: l’Hélicoptère par Hermès
The Peninsula Hong Kong’s famed fleet of 14 Rolls-Royce limousines isn’t the only way to see the city in high style. The hotel’s “Fly and Relax” program includes a sight-seeing helicopter tour, a 60-minute aromatherapy massage, 60-minute intensive facial and a poolside lunch or afternoon tea.
The hotel brand is also in the middle of securing government approval for The Peninsula Shanghai to begin offering helicopter tours of the magnificent Bund. They’re obviously feeling fairly confident since the Rosamonde Aviation Lounge on the 14th floor of the property was designed as a waiting room for helicopter service.
“Fly and Relax” rates begin at HKD 9,488 (USD $1,233) +10% service charge, www.peninsula.com/Hong_Kong/en/default.aspx
Bund flight rates TBA, www.peninsula.com/Shanghai/en/default.aspx#/
No roads lead to the spectacular Pangkor Laut Resort located off the western coast of Malaysia. Instead, a single engine helicopter or an Executive Twin Engine AS365 are available to deliver guests to this tropical paradise complete with overwater villas connected by wooden walkways. Flight times range from 50-90 minutes depending on origin.
Australian luxury eco-escape Paradise Bay boasts a prime location in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, beachfront bungalows, a guest list of no more than 20 people at any given time and unsurpassed privacy. The only way to get there is via helicopter from Hamilton Island, a short ride with magnificent views of the azure-blue ocean.
Rates for helicopter transfer to Pangkor Laut Resort begin at RM 13,600 (USD $4,467), www.pangkorlautresort.com
Rates for helicopter transfer to Paradise Bay begin at AU $760 (USD $792) for two people r/t, www.paradisebay.com.au
Photo: Paradise Bay
It’s a helicopter ride to the top of the world. Recherché Journeys’ Ecureuil helicopters give passengers an up-close look at Mount Everest during a six-day tour. The itinerary also includes a flyover of Everest base camp, a stop at Annapurna base camp and aerial views of the Rolwaling Himal, Langtang and Jugal ranges as well as the Khumbu valley. The French-made helicopters hold just two guests and because of the high-altitude flight levels, are equipped with oxygen.
What adventure is more extreme than taking the plunge and tying the knot? A couple in Ningbo, China recently paid more than CNY 20,000 (USD $3,213) per hour to celebrate their nuptials on the seriously high-end Eurocopter EC 155. While information on the wedding company they used to rent the chopper is not available, try Air Charter Service. Not only do they list the USD $10 million Eurocopter among their aircraft, they also have the $12.95 million Sikorsky S-76c. With an interior similar to that of a private jet it combines maximum comfort with the agility of a helicopter.
Recherché Journeys rates available upon request, www.recherchejourneys.com
Air Charter Service rates available upon request, aircharterservice.com