Expensive Wine Escapes

Expensive Wine Escapes

Travelers interested in vacationing like the rich and famous now have options, from Italy to Morocco. At the 12th-century hotel Castello di Vicarello in Tuscany, a night’s tariff buys you sips of organic vino made onsite and dynamite dinners prepared by the owners themselves. And that’s just one dream vacation. Wine Enthusiast dishes up the most expensive wine-and-food escapes.

Cayo Espanto, Belize

Looking for a Robinson Crusoe experience on an Oprah Winfrey budget? This private island gives five-star wining and dining a whole new meaning. Their philosophy is simple: “If you want it, we will find it, ship it, or build it.” Guests can stay in a bungalow situated at the end of a 150-foot dock, or in a waterfront villa. The other option is to splurge and rent the entire island—no, seriously. A personal chef prepares your daily meals with wine pairings, and personal butlers cater to your other needs. Nightly entertainment ranges from mariachi bands to bonfires and beachside movie nights.

Full island rental ranges from $13,500/night–$19,500/night, depending on the season. Villa nightly rates range from $1,495–$2,295. 

La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco

Arguably Morocco’s most luxurious and historic hotel—think garden-filled paradise steeped in exoticism—La Mamounia offers the ultimate wine package: Guests arrive by Jaguar and receive a welcome massage before taking a private tour of the wine cellar and indulging in a wine- and food-pairing dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Le Marocain. That’s where the sommelier pours the hotel’s newly launched Icône wine—a limited-edition blend of Syrah and Viognier.

Rates for the Wine Experience Package range from $3,280/night–$5,569/night. 

Lapostolle Residence, Colchagua Valley, Chile

If your wine-travel wish includes sleeping in a suite inspired by your favorite variety, Lapostolle is your kind of escape. Their four suites—named Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Carmenère— feature a private garden and terrace, and are decorated in colors that capture the essence of the grape. Guests can stroll through 1,600 acres of Lapostolle property and tour the exquisite winery. The gravity-fed structure spans six levels, four of which are built into the granite of the Apalta hillside to provide a natural cool temperature environment for cellaring and aging. Horseback riding through the vineyard is another popular option, as is a private wine tasting.

All-inclusive rates are $1,200/night. 

Castello di Vicarello, Cinigiano, Tuscany, Italy 

A stay at Castello di Vicarello is as exclusive as they come. Four suites overlook the beautiful castle courtyard, while the other three occupy outbuildings situated amid gardens filled with white roses and ancient olive trees. Guests can tour the organic vineyards—planted with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot—with co-owner Carlo Baccheschi Berti. And if you visit during harvest time, he’ll set you up to participate in various harvest-related activities. Back at the castle, Carlo’s wife, Aurora Berti—author of My Tuscan Kitchen (Rizzoli, 2011) —whips up classic meals that pair with the flavors of Brunello di Montalcino and Super Tuscan-style bottlings.

Rates start at approximately $505/night. 

Otahuna Lodge, Canterbury, New Zealand

At this Victorian countryside mansion—set on sprawling sheep- and flower-filled lawns with a neighboring ancient volcano—pastoral elegance competes with a world-class wine experience.  The sunken hillside cellar contains a variety of fine New Zealand wines, and opportunities for private wine-pairing dinners that feature farm-to-table food are a must-try. For those seeking daytime excursions, venture to Waipara wine district, an hour’s drive away, where a slew of boutique wineries host tastings and tours.

Rates begin at $923/night.

Published on June 26, 2013