Is This Four Seasons Private Journey The Ultimate Food Tour?

a jet plane on the runway

Within the luxury bespoke tour industry, it appears the the latest offerings from hotel groups like Four Seasons and Aman Resorts are picking up steam, evidenced by the fact that they are consistently selling out. Given the crazy high price tags that can stretch into the six-figure range, it’s never even crossed my mind as a possibility to take one of these trips, but it’s still fun to read through the itineraries in the same what that I’d day-dream about owning a Ferrari.

Four Seasons just released its three 2017 itineraries and one of them in particular, the “Culinary Discoveries” tour, caught my attention. This particular tour was put together in conjunction with Noma, consistently ranked as one of the top restaurants in the world, and pretty much includes everything I could ever want in a trip. In other words, this would be my ultimate dream foodie vacation.

The trip spans two and a half weeks starting in late May, with an itinerary that includes some of my favorite destinations in the world, with exclusive culinary experiences that I wouldn’t be able to get on my own:

  • Seoul, Korea: private dinner at the home of chef Jong Kuk Lee, and a meal at Jungsik, ranked as one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants
  • Tokyo, Japan: foraging with chef Namae Shinobu followed by private dinner at his Michelin starred restaurant L’Effervescence, Kobe beef steak dinner at Yakiniku Nakahara steakhouse
  • Hong Kong: private dinner at Caprice with chef Vincent Thierry
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand: private dinners with former Noma chef Garima Arora
  • Mumbai, India: cooking classes and private dinners with former Noma chef Garima Arora
  • Florence, Italy: day-trip to Chianti for butcher lessons, dinner at Il Bucaniere
  • Lisbon, Portugal: food tour of Lisbon with chef Nuno Mendes, gala dinner of Portguese classics at two-Michelin starred Belcanto
  • Copenhagen, Denmark: foraging excursion with Noma chef Rene Redzepi, private dinner at Noma
  • Paris, France: cooking classes and food tour through Paris, dinner at two-Michelin starred Le Cinq

Just reading through that itinerary again is making me drool. I think the coolest part of this trip is the mix of fine dining, casual dining experiences like food tours, and educational activities like foraging, cooking classes, and even butchering classes. However, for someone like myself who can only survive a week at a time of vacation-level eating, this would probably be a “too much of a good thing” situation would leave me on the verge of exploding by the end of the trip.

There’s just one small detail keeping me from signing up immediately, the price. Are you ready? The trip will cost you $135,000 per person, or $270,000 for a couple. Wow! In other words, you can go on a two and a half week culinary adventure, or buy a house.

Obviously the type of people that are taking these trips are extremely wealthy, but even as I think about it, it’s hard for me to understand the value. Even if you assume that hotel and food costs are $1,500 each per day, that only accounts for $54,000 of the $270,000 total. That means that the remaining $216,000 is primarily for the cost of the air transportation, but also for the exclusive access and Four Seasons-level service that you’d receive, which is hard to quantify. Perhaps its just hard for me to wrap my arms around the value of the “private jet” since in my mind I could build a First Class itinerary with miles, or even buy a round-the-world First Class ticket for under $30,000.

Anyways, it’s fun to dream, and I’ll keep this on my bucket list just in case I happen to win the lottery some day.

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