Kingdoms and Cultures of Eurasia by Private Jet
Leave the beaten path behind on this extraordinary journey across Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Discover nine emerging destinations where storied pasts mingle with intriguing futures. Bask in the shadows of lost empires in the Silk Road oasis of Merv, Turkmenistan, which connected Europe and Africa to the Far East, and marvel at the Persian-Islamic architecture in the Iranian city of Isfahan. Follow in the footsteps of European royalty at a French seaside resort and delve into the contemporary cultures of Eastern Europe’s rising cities.
Begin your journey in Lisbon. Once the heart of the world’s largest seafaring empire, contemporary Lisbon is a spirited city of Gothic cathedrals, palaces and monasteries. Take in the ebullient character of the Lisbonites as you stroll around the historic city center, or visit one of the many independent art galleries. If rest and relaxation are your preference, spend the day as the locals do, passing the time at a café with a good book and a bica (strong black coffee). In the evening, meet your fellow guests and expedition leaders at a welcome dinner.
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon
Join your expert local guide for a fascinating discovery of the Old Town, including the Gothic splendor of 15th-century St. Anne’s Church and the breathtaking frescoes at the Baroque Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. Delve into a somber side of the country’s history at the fascinating KGB Museum. Pay a visit to the only one of Vilnius’ 16th-century fortified gates still standing: the beautiful Gate of Dawn. Stroll through the Republic of Uzupis, a vibrant neighborhood of artists, and the Stikliai area, the former Jewish quarter of the city. Head west from Vilnius to Lake Galvé and the 14th-century Trakai Island Castle, which was built to defend the Grand Duchy of Lithuania against the Teutonic Knights.
Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square
This isolated Central Asian nation was once an important stop on the Silk Road. Visit the National Museum to see the riches of the Silk Road trade that ran between the Middle Kingdom of China and the western markets of Rome. Explore the urban landscape by night, including magnificent vistas of lavish, Las Vegas-style fountains, the golden-domed Turkmenbashi Palace, Soviet-era monoliths and the extravagant Wedding Palace. Spend a day exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Merv Oasis. Settled in prehistory, Merv grew to become the world’s largest city in the 12th century and was occupied until the late 1700s.
Touch down in Iran and spend three days exploring a city rarely seen by Western eyes. Walk the expansive Naqsh-e Jahan Square, taking in the tea shops, merchants' stalls and manicured lawns of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the splendid Masjed e-Shah, which is covered inside and out with Isfahan’s famous pale blue tiles. On the top floor of the 18th-century Ali Qapu Palace, admire lovely chiseled fretwork and enjoy panoramic views of the city square. Take a day trip to the oasis city of Kashan, which lies on the edge of the Great Salt Desert in the center of the Iranian plateau. Tour the Fin Garden, a 16th century UNESCO World Heritage site built during the reign of Abbas I. Visit a 500 year-old hammam, or bathhouse, that has been restored to its original condition.
Land in the United Arab Emirates and take 4x4 vehicles to Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. Take in the view of the Strait of Hormuz from a world-class resort. Choose from a variety of activities and customize your time to your own pleasure. Take a snorkeling excursion to swim among the tropical fish that live and feed in the vibrant coral gardens. Learn the secrets of Arabic cuisine during a culinary demonstration. Spend some quality time in the spa, which was rated as one of the world’s best in 2015. Take a 4x4 safari through the striking mountain landscapes of Wadi Khab Al Shamsi and see ancient petroglyphs and extraordinary rock formations. In the evening, cruise the bay on a traditional dhow as you watch the sunset gild the placid waters.
Six Senses Zighy Bay
On a guided tour of Tirana, see the Fountain of Mother Teresa and Skanderbeg Square, which was named for a 15th-century Albanian nobleman venerated as the father of the country. Traveling on the Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard, stop to visit the National Gallery. This state-run gallery is home to more than 5,000 works, including an impressive collection of communist-era pieces from Albania’s school of socialist realism. Take in the artwork of Onufri, a celebrated 16th-century artist and priest who devoted his career to painting religious icons. Depart Tirana for the scenic drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Berat, one of the best-preserved Ottoman cities in the world. Discover a majestic 13th-century castle, admire the icons at the Onufri Icon Museum and enjoy a traditional Albanian lunch.
Sheraton Tirana Hotel
Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Bucharest, taking in the grand Triumphal Arch, the fashionable Victoria Boulevard and the historic Cantacuzino Palace. Stop to explore Revolution Square, where the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu spoke to condemn the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and later made his escape by helicopter in the face of a popular revolt. Spend the day in the foothills of the Bucegi Mountains visiting Peles Castle, a stunningly beautiful neo-Renaissance palace built in the 19th century by King Carol I. Alternatively, delve into Romanian culture at an open-air ethnographic museum that showcases traditional village life. Travel to northeastern Romania to discover the spectacular painted monasteries of Bucovina. Walk the halls of the world-famous Humor Monastery, taking in frescoed murals from the 14th century.
Grand Hotel Continental
Choose your own adventure on the shores of the Bay of Biscay. Cross the border to explore the gastronomic heritage of San Sebastian on a tasty guided tour through the city’s best pinxto spots. Then visit the San Telmo Museum, which is an archive of Basque culture and art. You may also opt to drive along the Spanish coast to see the magnificent Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Bilbao. If you’d like to stay on the French side of the border, delve into the daily life of Biarritz, including a visit to the Rock of the Virgin and the charming Fisherman Port, before indulging in a tasting of local wine and cheese at the vibrant market.
Hotel du Palais
Visit local vineyards to meet the expert winemakers and sample the rich ports and unfortified reds that are produced here. Absorb the unique terroir of the Douro Valley, sampling the rich soils of the valley’s hallmark terraced vineyards. Embark on a cruise along the clear waters of the Douro River, which cut the rugged slopes of this valley and created ideal growing conditions for a variety of grape vines. If you like, spend some time pampering yourself at the hotel’s blissful spa, which offers several treatments inspired by grapes and wine. In the morning, fly to Lisbon before boarding your independent flight home.
Six Senses Douro Valley
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Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon
Located in the heart of the city, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon is a prominent modern landmark, constructed in 1959, with magnificent interiors and a museum-caliber collection of contemporary Portuguese art. The hotel boasts beautiful views, a soothing spa and acclaimed dining, including Varanda, the only restaurant in the city with a view of Eduardo VII Park.
Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square, Vilnius, Lithuania
Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town and just a few steps from the Presidential Palace, the Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square boasts spectacular views of Vilnius Cathedral and the Bell Tower. The hotel features luxurious guest rooms and an acclaimed spa and wellness center.
Hyatt Regency Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
The Hyatt Regency Bishkek occupies a privileged position in the city center. Its modern rooms feature splendid views, a spa and fitness center offer opportunities for relaxation, and the elegant lounge is the perfect spot to enjoy an evening drink.
Oguzkent Hotel, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
The white marble Oguzkent Hotel offers sweeping views of Ashgabat’s skyline from its modern and luxurious guest rooms. Enjoy the pool and sauna, and don’t miss the panoramic vistas from the top-floor restaurant.
Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan, Iran
Built during the Safavid dynasty as a caravanserai, the Abbasi Hotel has hosted travelers for nearly 300 years. Today, the property is an ideal base for our exploration of Isfahan, with rooms decorated in traditional Persian style and a romantic garden illuminated at night.
Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
Built in traditional Omani village style, the Six Senses Zighy Bay’s meticulously designed suites offer private pools, stonewalled gardens and comfortable living areas. The resort also has its own private beach, a holistic spa and a hilltop restaurant with glorious views of the sea.
Sheraton Tirana Hotel, Albania
Located next to the largest park in Tirana and just a short stroll away from the Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard, the Sheraton Tirana Hotel offers comfortable guest rooms with modern décor, a fitness center and several dining options.
Grand Hotel Continental, Bucharest, Romania
Occupying a grand 17th-century building in the heart of Bucharest, the Grand Hotel Continental offers an enthralling combination of refined European sophistication and
Hotel du Palais, France
Built as a summer palace for Napoleon III, the Hôtel du Palais sits resplendently at the water’s edge. With views of the Atlantic or the pool, the elegant guest rooms invite relaxation, while the pool, Turkish bath and solarium provide ample opportunities for indulgence.
Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Set high on a hill overlooking vineyards and the winding river, Six Senses Douro Valley offers luxurious and tranquil guest rooms, an award-winning spa, two swimming pools, an organic garden and a wine bar that also serves a selection of delectable tapas.
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