Still not booked up? Then how about the first $1m holiday? - News & Advice - Travel - The Independent

Still not booked up? Then how about the first $1m holiday?

Week-long luxury package to Abu Dhabi takes travel to new heights – or new depths – of 'trophy tourism'

If you've spent the past few weeks desperately scouring holiday websites or Teletext for a cheap last-minute deal to somewhere sunny, look away now. A luxurious seven-star hotel yesterday unveiled the world's first US$1m (£500,000) holiday.

Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel is offering an eye-wateringly expensive seven-day break for two people in what is being billed as the "ultimate holiday experience".

But what does spending so much on a holiday get you? For a start, it brings two first-class flights, a bit of mile-high champers and a booking in the hotel's most glamorous room, the Palace Suite: three decadent gold, silver and marble bedrooms interrupted only by a giant 61in plasma TV screen. It's a "palace within a palace", the hotel claims.

In return for parting with more than £70,000 a day, there's no need to throw a bag into the Teasmade as the round-the-clock dedicated staff will see to the refreshments between meals. Nor will you have to get up early to reserve a sun-lounger with a towel – your private butler will see to it.

There are private jet excursions, first to Iran where holidaymakers watch their own hand-made Persian carpet being created in front of their eyes, and then to the Dead Sea for a cleansing mud treatment. Another excursion, again by private jet, is to Bahrain to deep-sea dive for pearls. Jewellers turn whatever you collect on the seabed into a unique gift.

Alternatively, there is the use of an exclusive golf course and the complimentary gift of a shotgun (it's all been arranged in advance with customs so you can take it past airport security on the way home) or perfume-making sessions.

A hotel spokeswoman, described it as a "once-in-a-lifetime break in the stunning grandeur of one of the most the expensive hotels ever built". Past guests at the hotel have included Jennifer Lopez, Sir Elton John and Justin Timberlake.

Travel experts yesterday described the $1m pricetag as "trophy tourism" but said it was likely to attract big spenders looking to show off their wealth.

Peter Burns, professor of tourism at the University of Brighton, said: "The $1m holiday can be viewed either as a high point or a low point for tourism.

"The fabulously wealthy are suffering from a severe form of ennui caused by 'having it all', so their search is not simply for something different but for something that can overtly demonstrate their wealth to others – given the publicity it will generate in star-struck publications like Hello! magazine.

"The $1m holiday is just another form of conspicuous consumption or trophy tourism."

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