V.I.P: Those three golden letters that can elevate pretty much any experience from meh to memorable. But there are a select few experiences—available only to a select few—that take the concept of “VIP” treatment to entirely another level. From sports events to music festivals to fine dining, we’ve curated the most lavish, over-the-top VIP packages from around the world to see how the one-percenters live…and frivolously blow their cash.
NAME: Enigma XK
SUPERLATIVE: One of the most expensive expeditions to Antarctica
COST: Starts at $450,000
WHAT PUSHES IT OVER THE TOP: Antarctica may have become somewhat easier to access in recent years, but don’t be fooled—it still costs some considerable coin to get there. And nowhere moreso than on the Enigma XK, a luxury private charter yacht that starts at $450,000 for a 10-day charter.
Why so pricy? For one, at a 12-person capacity, it’s a heckuva lot more intimate than most Antarctica cruisers (which usually host around 60-150 passengers). Also, shelling out means foregoing the typical “cookie-cutter” itinerary for a fully customized trip—often venturing into less-trodden, more remote areas like Detaille Island (an abandoned British base often blocked by dense ice) and The Gullet (a scenic narrow passage south of the Antarctic Circle). Few places are off-limits, thanks to the Enigma’s handy heli-deck. No one will confuse the expedition for Shackleton’s.
Also on the icy docket: camping on sea ice, zodiac cruising among icebergs and humpback whales, and cavorting with Gentoo penguins and other wildlife. Of course, some may be hard-pressed to get off the boat due to the sweet amenities, which include a spa pool, outdoor dining area, private massage room, gym, and hair salon. The crown jewel of the boat’s six guestrooms is the Owner’s Suite, which offers 180-degree views of Antarctica.
One other perk: For an upgrade, adventurers can bypass sailing the choppy, dreaded Drake Passage (the only way to reach Antarctica by boat) in favor of a private jet from Chile directly to the South Shetland Islands. If you’re looking to make friends and influence people, there’s no better way to go from sub-zero to hero.