As with just about everything else, the digital revolution is transforming the world of luxury holidays. With the advent of Uber for private jets and Airbnb for luxury villas, the most glamorous boats, planes and hotel suites are just a click or two away. We round up the latest and greatest in high-tech travel.
Find your… Private island
Picture the scene: you’re exhausted by the city and urgently need to find a private island for a reboot. But which one do you choose? From the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean, the choice of azure seas and soft white sand can be a little overwhelming.
Enter PIN (Private Island News), an iPhone app that gives you the latest island updates, so you can see which location has the best weather forecast, check for flight times, find out which of your friends has just bought which island, discover where you can find the best chefs, surf instructors or massages, and even keep tabs on which house you might want to buy.
And best of all, you can even see which islands have a celebrity guest in residence. Scarlett Johansson is in the Maldives? George Clooney is in the Bahamas? Somebody book a jet immediately.
Find your… Yacht
Owning a boat is a bit like having a child—expensive and time-consuming but wonderfully rewarding once you get the hang of it. But unlike child-rearing, you can dip your toe in and out of the waterborne world with GetMyBoat, a new app for renting yachts, sailing boats and even catamarans.
Launched in 2014, the app now gathers together 64,000 boats in 171 countries, and you can pick between month-long chartered holidays, weekend sailing, dinner cruises or even just a day of whale watching. As soon as you open the app, the GPS pinpoints your location and which boats are on offer in the area, suggesting not only yachts but stationary boats in which you can spend the night instead of a hotel.
Oh, and if you have a cruiser of your own, you can pop it on the site when it’s not in use and earn money getting other passengers to take it from one place to the next.
Find your… Jet
When you hear the words “funded by Jay-Z and the Saudi royal family,” it is impossible not to think this venture must be uberluxe. And you’d be right on both counts, as JetSmarter is basically an Uber for private jets.
Before its launch, a number of companies offered private jet charters, but none had this innovative members only approach.
Once you have paid your US$9,000-a-year membership fee, you can grab an empty seat on any flight that has already been chartered (think uber-pool). Or you can open your own charter to other members, keeping your costs down, or you can simply order a plane and fill it with your friends and family.
With its average customers in their 20s and 30s and earning more than US$1 million a year, this is the convenient future of high-society travel. Plus you get a membership card that’s plated in 24-karat gold to flash at your friends—and there’s always a chance you’ll spot Beyoncé and her bump on one of your flights.
Find your… Concierge
What is a five-star trip without a concierge to tend to your every whim? Well, the joy of Symphony, a newly released app from Spain, is that this digital concierge will understand you even better than Barney did Vivian in Pretty Woman.
The Barcelona-based team has created an app designed to remove all effort from researching and arranging hotels, dinners and just about any activity on your holiday. Their rather ingenious approach gets users to swipe through a series of images to build a highly personal profile, meaning you either “dislike,” “like” or “love” a certain image, restaurant, hotel or activity.
The app then serves up a fully customised luxury city guide and can book any suggestions that take your fancy. And because even the technophiles among us yearn sometimes to speak to a human, you can activate “Ludwig,” a built-in live-chat concierge, who will modify your profile or reservations.
(Text: Melissa Twigg)