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LUXURY HOTELS OFFER 'BUCKET LIST' EXPERIENCES by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O'Sullivan

These days it’s not enough for a luxury hotel to be just a luxury hotel. It has to provide luxury experiences, too. And we're not just talking champagne picnics or day trips on the hotel's private yacht. The best hotels often have exclusive access to people, activities and places that aren't normally available to the public. And, of course, everything is done in the utmost style and comfort. You won't always find these luxury experiences listed on a hotel's website, so talk to the concierge. You could find yourself ticking off items on your bucket list sooner than you thought.

At the ST REGIS BEIJING, for example, guests can take a private tour of the Forbidden City before going on to dinner in the Mashen Temple of the Juyongguan Pass on the Great Wall (above). The package is available between April and June and September and October, and costs £84 per person, including dinner, transfers and a tour. You can go with a group or, much more romantic, as a couple. Further information, St Regis BeijngThe luxury experiences at SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY in Oman begin before you have even checked in. Guests have the option of completing the last part of their journey from Dubai by speedboat (around £45) – or by paraglider (above), in tandem with the resort’s professional (around £117). And yes, your luggage does travel separately. Further information, Six Senses Zighy BayFour Seasons is the king of luxury experiences. At FOUR SEASONS HOTEL PRAGUE, for example, can enjoy a private performance of Don Giovanni at the famous Estates Theatre (above). You'll have the theatre to yourself before returning to the hotel’s rooftop terrace for dinner served under the stars, accompanied by a classical quartet. Reservations six months in advance; price on application. Further information, Four Seasons Hotel PragueBELMOND SANCTUARY LODGE sits right at the gates of Machu Picchu and guests can attend a special dawn ceremony with an Andean shamen. When I stayed a few years ago, the hotel organised a special after-dark visit  – an amazing privilege (and a touch spooky). Belmond Sanctuary Lodge WESTIN HOTELS & RESORTS in Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome has just introduced a Secret Gardens programme that allows guests to explore private gardens and courtyards that are predominantly unknown or inaccessible to the public. 7-14 days’ notice is required; price on application. Further information, Westin Hotels & Resorts

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