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Step into the Golden State of luxury

From the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles and the cosmopolitan cool of San Francisco to the laid-back sophistication of San Diego to tiny enclaves of the good life like Palm Springs, Santa Barbara and Lake Tahoe, California has the perfect destination for any affluent traveller.

Luxury travel has been redefined for the 21st century and California is setting the pace, providing authentic, experiential immersions into the good life. If travellers are looking to indulge in an epic meal, a soul-stirring wellness treatment, or a one-of-a-kind adventure, the Golden State sets the gold standard for luxe living.

Classic California outings like wine tasting can be upgraded with panache to include exclusive, private sittings and winemaker dinners. Then why not explore wine country via a chauffeured classic convertible… or better yet, by helicopter? California is an internationally renowned location for hot-air ballooning, where you can soar above the vineyards in both Northern and Southern California, or take in a spectacular sunset along the coast in Del Mar. It’s all followed by the requisite Champagne toast. Golfers will want to set aside time for a round at prestigious links such as the spectacular coastal courses at Pebble Beach near Monterey and Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

Hip has gone high-end too, as younger generations move into the luxury market — Forbes has reported that nearly a quarter of US adults making annual household incomes of more than $500,000 (£350,000) are millennials. So staid, passive trips are out and active, experiential holidays — often with friends and family in tow — are in. Wealthy millennials are opting to charter a yacht to Catalina or pile into a vintage airstream for a road trip to Yosemite.

So whether an affluent traveller is looking for a refined Wine Country getaway, a Big Sur yoga retreat or VIP tickets to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, California delivers. With accommodations that include swanky seaside digs, plush golf resorts, cutting-edge modern hotels in the heart of a city, dramatic ski lodges and rustic hideaways, there’s always a comfy place to land. Epicurean delights are always on hand, with Michelin-starred restaurants like the legendary French Laundry in Yountville and acclaimed newcomers like SingleThread in Healdsburg, as well as the see-and-be-seen celebrity haunts in L.A.

Wellness is practically a religion in California, and throughout the state there are resort spas with facilities that range from minimalist Zen to maximum wow, featuring sumptuous treatments, natural hot springs and special-guest motivational speakers. Visitors can engage in mind-and-body workouts that can have profound and lasting effects… or just blissfully zone out.

For a swank souvenir to take home as a reminder of a memorable stay here, there are a dizzying and dazzling array of options in the Golden State, particularly along one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. With its line-up of glamorous boutiques from some of the world’s most coveted, prestigious brands, Rodeo Drive is synonymous with luxury shopping. For those looking to make an investment, there are the state’s many exclusive art galleries in locales like Laguna Beach, where you’ll find works by old masters as well as the latest art-world sensations. Travellers who like to pair their shopping with art and culture will also enjoy South Coast Plaza, an upmarket shopping destination in Costa Mesa located near the incredible Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Of course, Union Square in San Francisco is always a favourite as well, affording shoppers easy access to both incredible retail offerings and iconic attractions.

All told, the platinum-level possibilities here are endless, making California a hot spot for the most discerning travellers.


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