The Late-Late Gap Years
Early sixtysomethings Cathy and Larry can tell you the names of almost any capital city airport in the world (“Yangon – that’s Mingaladon – right?”). If they haven’t landed there, they plan to, and if they don’t then it’s not worth seeing. Larry’s business IPO’d two years ago and they’ve been “on the road” ever since. But theirs is a travel schedule with a mission. Amid the five-star “breaks” in places as varied as Lhasa and Aspen, this couple want to “make a difference”. Their Mandarina Duck carryons (no luggage-checking ever) have seen the inside of start-ups in Armenia, orphanages in Haiti and temporary schools in Kenya. Every so often they’ll dive into something more indulgent, but not without “an experience” attached. They have hiked to Taktsang Monastery in Bhutan, taken the Trans-Siberian railway and journeyed on an icebreaker to the North Pole. Not that their expeditions are all geographic.
In Pondicherry they spent two months visiting the Sri Aurobindo ashram. A silent retreat run by monks in Wales was a truly “spiritual awakening” for a couple with more air miles than Hillary Clinton. But do they miss anything on their lengthy trips overseas? “Not really,” says Cathy. “We have each other, Skype the children when we can, and take our own stash of Green & Black’s, graham crackers and Yogi Positive Energy tea wherever we go.”
Your address: The St. Regis Lhasa Resort
The Luxe Family Travellers
Jacqui and Tod have a taste for the exotic. “We were born this way,” they shrug, remembering their own childhood vacations, student adventures and early married meanderings. Now the kids are that bit bigger and business is going well, they’re keen to indulge their wanderlust, little darlings in tow. It’s quality family time, after all.
Their first trip is to the Galapagos Islands. So educational! Into the luggage goes the J. Crew khakis for Tod along with plenty of reading material for the children, although given the number of activities they have arranged for the juniors, time will have to be strictly scheduled. Jacqui and Tod are insistent on the children journaling every day and plan to self-publish the results on their return. They are already wondering if any of their bookish offspring has “Darwinish” potential. If they are brutally honest, Jacqui and Tod are rather looking forward to the beach break in Puerto Rico that they have organized on the way back. The kids will learn to surf and go zip lining through the rainforest, and the adults will sip cocktails, content to have found the perfect formula for parenting in style. Over dinner they’ll start planning the next of many “family trips of a lifetime”.
Your address: The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
With Family Traditions at St. Regis, each hotel and resort has hand-selected experiences that are custom-tailored to please each member of your family.
George and Bitsy (real name Elizabeth Victoria) are about to have their first child, Robert William James Arturo (aka Bobsy) in a few months. They need the break before the little one arrives – when Josh’s business will also be merging with that California tech company and Bitsy will be getting back into shape, while squeezing in a bit of interior design. They are going all-out: Bora Bora, no expense spared. The last time they did this was three months ago, on their “we’re pregnant” celebration in Mauritius. Bitsy packs her Melissa Odabash kaftan; George packs his tropical Vilebrequins because Bitsy thinks his bottom looks cute in those.
They of course pack yoga kit for their private prenatal session, and lots of tropical evening wear. They don’t plan to leave the hotel, but love to change for dinner every night, because other than their regular Friday-night table at the Bedford Post Inn, they’ve hardly been out since Bitsy started her pregnancy diet. Bitsy has bought lots of “darling floaty things” from Net-A-Porter and George is relying on his “trop trousers” – linen cargo pants which he had made in every available shade of putty, last time he was in Bangalore. Of course they’ll miss putting the final touches to the nursery. But then again, catamaran sailing, diving, and salt scrub massages might just take their minds off those little details for a moment or two.
Your address: The St. Regis Mauritius Resort; The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
The New Grand Tourists
You see the black Tumi luggage of the New Grand Tourist before you see them. Mostly it’s loaded on to a baggage cart or stacked in a chic, discreet pile in a hotel lobby. Somewhere in the vicinity lurk Mark and Melanie, speaking quietly into their iPhones, sporting watches by Patek Phillipe and an impeccable selection of clothing by Martin Margiela, Commes des Garçons and Tom Ford. M&M go wherever the art is. Miami-Basel-Venice-PAD-Masterpiece-The Armory and Frieze – their lives are a breathless loop of openings, auctions and gallery visits. They will slavishly trek to the East End of London, the nether lands of North Dakota or the sleaziest back street in Beijing in search of new “talent”.
They spend prodigiously but judiciously, but are, nonetheless, on Christie’s and Sotheby’s pre-auction dinner lists, whereby potential buyers are treated to teensy culinary delights as they view the art and sip champagne. They are consumed by their creative mission, but it doesn’t stop them from expecting the very best in luxury accommodation. That said, an art collection in a hotel, as at The St. Regis Singapore, is a mixed blessing. M&M like it, but then again it’s not theirs... Still, as they sweep out towards their waiting car and driver, their thoughts are already focused on whether this studio visit will yield the next Damien Hirst, Sophie Calle or Jeff Koons.
Your address: The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort; The St. Regis Beijing