The royals do not holiday like the rest of us commoners. The world is at their feet and they can travel to pretty much anywhere. While some choose to sail off on their private luxury yachts, others head to luxury resorts, untouched islands and the Swiss Alps. So you have Prince William proposing to Kate Middleton on the Kenyan slopes, King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan heading to glamorous St.-Tropez in France, and Princess Padmaja Mewar of Udaipur choosing to go to Greece year after year.
But when the royals of the world pack up for a quick vacation, they are not likely to step into the same holiday destinations of Hollywood stars or business bigwigs. A royal vacation is not the same without a generous dose of imperial indulgence. So where do our royals head to when setting out on a holiday? Travel + Leisure lists out some of the holiday retreats of the titled aristocracy.
1. Mustique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth, owns a villa on this privately owned island. The property on which the villa was built was a wedding gift to the Princess’ husband, Lord Snowdon. Named Les Jolie Eaux, the villa was designed by Oliver Messel and is available for rent at prices ranging from $18,000 per week in the low season and $28,000 per week in the high season. Even the likes of Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger frequent this island paradise.
2. Spetses, Greece
Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark recently had his wedding at Spetses, the summer home of the Greek royal family (now deposed). The venue was the Poseidon Grand, which played host to European royalty during the wedding. The property stands against the backdrop of a brilliant blue ocean. Doubles are available at prices upwards of $311.
3. Udaipur, India
From the islands of Greece, it is time to head to the Venice of the East. Udaipur in Rajasthan is a favorite among Western royalty. The city of lakes and hills has attracted the likes of Queen Elizabeth, the Spanish royal family and Mick Jagger. And the perfect holiday home is The Lake Palace within the Lake Pichola. Owned by the Maharana of Udaipur, the property is only accessible by boat and offers doubles starting from $825.
4. Mount Kenya, Kenya
Very much in the news because this was where Prince William proposed marriage to Kate Middleton, the Mount Kenya slopes are not easy to reach. Vacationers will either have to fly in, travel by horseback or brave a seven-mile hike. While here, William and Kate lived in the Rutundu Lodge. And Kate wrote in the guestbook that she loves the warm fires and the candle lights.
5. Balmoral, Scotland
If you visit this luxury vacation spot between August to early October you might bump into Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The royal couple visit the Balmoral castle every year and go picnicking, horse riding and driving around a Ranger Rover. The property is also known for another tidbit. In 1980, Lady Diana was first spotted here as Prince Charles’ new love interest. The castle is open to the public between April and July. And there are winter tours on offer between early October and early December.
6. Klosters, The Swiss Alps
This luxury destination in Switzerland’s Parsenn ski area is a favorite with European royalty who flock here in winter and spring. Prince Charles is one of the region’s most frequent visitors. He has been heading to Klosters for some four decades now. While here, he prefers to stay at the five-star Hotel Walserhof. It is a favorite with his elder son as well. In 2008 and 2009, Prince William and Kate Middleton were photographed kissing on these slopes. Back then, the pair was taking a one-week ski vacation worth $60,000 while staying at a private chalet with butler service. Doubles at this property have prices starting from $530.
7. Majorca, Spain
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain head to Marivent Palace on Majorca’s Balearic island for a summer vacation. While there, the Queen makes it a point to go shopping at Palma de Majorca, the main town in the region. And she escorts her grandkids to the water park there. As for the King, he loves participating in the Spanish regattas in Palma. The area has attracted Michelle and Sasha Obama as well. The pair lunched with the Spanish royal family during an August 2009 visit.
8. Casta Smeralda, Sardinia
If you want to learn how the Saudi Royals vacation, you could try heading to the northeastern coast of Sardinia. Prince Karim Aga Khan IV developed this stretch of the Italian island in 1962. Now, the area is peppered with summer villas owned by Saudi royalty. Lady Diana was here too, spending her last summer holiday in the company Dodi Al Fayed. The most exclusive luxury hotel here is the Cala di Volpe, which charges upwards of $725 for its double rooms.
9. St.-Tropez, France
King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan make frequent trips to this luxury vacation spot in the South of France. The royals often make use of the the Meditteranean coastline and sail in on their yachts. That St.-Tropez is a glamorous luxury vacation destination becomes clear when you consider that Queen Rania was once spotted dining with supermodel Naomi Campbell at the exclusive Le Club 55 on Pampelonne Beach.
10. Skagen, Denmark
Skagen is the northernmost town located on the Jutland coast in Denmark. It is really only a tiny fishing port with a population of just over 8,000, but this is where Danish Crown Prince Frederik and his family spend their summers. The picturesque little town has quaint little houses with yellow walls and red-tiled roofs, sand dunes dominating the landscape and a Nordic light that has inspired plenty of art works during the 19th century. Many of these art works are housed in the Skagen Museum. And you can get a better feel of the place by living at the Brondums Hotel which is steeped in history.