The most luxurious modes of transportation in and out of this world
There are plenty of ways to get from Point A to Point B. Only a few, though, showcase the best in craftsmanship, comfort, and style. Some can take you places that you couldn’t visit without them. Whether it’s for your daily commute or discovering new worlds, these are the most luxurious modes of transportation. Wherever you’re headed, these will get you there in style.
There are luxury cars and then there are luxury cars. The Rolls-Royce Phantom is assuredly in the latter category. Starting prices for the Extended Series II are around half a million dollars. Inside, you’ll find the quietest car ride imaginable, unless you’re listening to the studio-quality sound system that’s been “tuned by expert ears.” The Coolbox in the rear seat keeps your favorite beverages at optimal temperatures, with handblown flutes to serve them in. A viewing screen pops out the back of the front seats to keep passengers entertained on long journeys. To further enhance the opulence, you can add the starlight headlining, which contains hundreds of fiber-optic lights to shine down on your endeavors.
Uzbek-born Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov appears to also be the owner of a $600 million yacht, the world’s biggest by tonnage, so he knows a thing or two about the most luxurious modes of transportation. It’s his Airbus A340-300 that interests us here. The U.S. Treasury estimates it cost between $350-$500 million, and Usmanov reportedly spent another $170 million to appoint it to his tastes. The long-haul jet can go 8,500 miles before refueling, but with much of the world sanctioning him, there aren’t many places Usmanov can go. Perhaps he’ll have to put it up for sale. The most expensive private jet in the world is Air Force One. It’s actually two jets, with Boeing hoping to deliver a new 747-8i aircraft by 2026 or 2027, reportedly at a cost of more than $5 billion. You can’t own that, but if you become president, you can use it for four to eight years.
There might be more expensive options that are primarily for military use, but in terms of pure sumptuousness, it’s hard to beat the EC135 Hermès. Eurocopter (now Airbus) introduced this collaboration with French design house Hermès a decade ago, and it’s been the standard since. The seats are upholstered with rich calf leather typical of Hermès handbags, with the rest of the interior appointed with signature Toile H canvas. Hidden compartments are spread throughout the cabin to keep everything looking clean, and even the landing gear is designed for “elegant access.” “This is a very exclusive high-end product, so we don’t necessarily want to sell more than one per year,” Frédéric Lemos, head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters, said a few years ago. If you can get your hands on one, we’d love a ride.
Yachts might come first to mind when you think of the most luxurious modes of transportation in the world. Perhaps the most luxurious one comes with a name worthy of the designation. History Supreme, believed to be owned by hotelier Robert Kuok, contains more than 10,000 kilograms of gold and platinum. Those might not even the most impressive features, however, as the main bedroom has a wall made from meteoric rock and a T-Rex skull on display. History Supreme could find itself displaced should Yacht Island Design realize its plan for Streets of Monaco, a superyacht with a deck resembling the exclusive principality staged to host its famous Grand Prix. The circuit would double as a functioning go-kart track.
The right cruise ship can be one of the most luxurious modes of transportation, but it has to stay on the surface of the water. The ones that really turn up the luxury are equipped with submersibles that can take you 1,000 feet below the waves. Expedition ships such as Viking Octantis and Seabourn Venture take guests to the depths of the world’s oceans to deliver a close-up view of sea life previously seen by only the most intrepid explorers. Not only will they get you down there, they’ll do so with custom-embroidered upholstery, Bluetooth stereo, 4K video, and Champagne to toast the experience.
A rickety, cramped train ride these are not. The Blue Train covers 1,000 miles of South Africa’s breathtaking landscape on a 31-hour journey that is the destination, with deluxe accommodations and gourmet dining. The rail safari itinerary includes stays in Kruger National Park to spot the big five. Belmond Trains crisscross three continents, taking travelers to Machu Picchu with a nice Pisco sour, through Southeast Asia in a private lounge, and from Paris to Istanbul with midnight brunch each night. The Rocky Mountaineer showcases the majesty of the Canadian and U.S. Rockies with panoramic views and five-star meals.
A luxury RV can combine the ultimate road trip with all the comforts of a really nice home. Forty-five-footers like the Foretravel FS605 and the Newmar King Aire run upwards of $1 million, but they’re well worth it. The living spaces rival hotel suites, the entertainment systems can make you forget that you’re “roughing it,” and the fully equipped kitchens easily top hot dogs around the campfire. The engines really pack a punch too, with a 605-horsepower Cummins X15 on both.
The simple fact that they can take leisure passengers to low-Earth orbit is enough to rank space flights among the most luxurious forms of transportation. Of course, the likes of Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin provide pretty comfortable accommodations for the journey as well. Owned by Richard Branson, whose endeavors include luxury hotels, trains, and cruises, Virgin Galactic partners with Land Rover for ground transportation and promises “unparalleled comfort and ease” in space. Jeff Bezos, the owner of the world’s largest yacht, also owns Blue Origin and has announced plans for a luxury space hotel called Orbital Reef.