If jaunts to the stratosphere aren’t your cup of tea, how’s this for a holiday destination that’s out of this world: a week-long stay in Antarctica, surrounded by kilometres of nothing but pristine white snow, local denizens (read: penguins), and space-inspired sleeping pods.

That’s the proposition laid out by luxury tour company White Desert in their newest travel experience at a camp dubbed Echo, which is “inspired by the seminal age of space exploration”.

The setup bears some resemblance to their flagship Whichaway Camp, once known as the only luxury hotel – of sorts – within the Antarctic. Six pods, meant for two each, are huddled in the vastness of the South Pole, fortified by communal spaces like a lounge, dining room and heated shower pods

That totals up to a dozen guests, perfect for an ultra-luxe glamping experience with family and friends, or a corporate retreat like no other.

With the promise of space-age sensibilities, expect futuristic sleeping pods hewn from composite fibreglass and decked out in floor-to-ceiling windows like the cockpit of a spaceship, but grander. From these, soak in the best view of the bare white landscape beyond.

Other niceties remain: bespoke fine-dining options, a landing strip for personal jets, a welcome martini cooled with 10,000-year-old ice, and a team of experienced chefs, hosts and guides on call.

Adventure jaunts include scaling a nunatak (icy ridge), fatbiking, skiing and arctic safari tours in a warm 4X4 truck.

Two highlights are included in any week-long sojourn. The first, a flight to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, the southernmost point of Earth. The second, visiting a colony of some 28,000 emperor penguins and chicks. According to White Desert, these majestic, if diminutive, creatures are not afraid of humans, which means you’ll get to observe them up close.

And at the end of it all, White Desert’s camps are specifically designed with zero-footprint in mind – that is, they can be dismantled and removed, leaving nature unsullied and ready for the next adventure.

Echo camp is launching in December 2022.

Prices begin at US$780,000 (S$1.1 million) for twelve or $88,400 per person, with a longer trip that includes a visit to the geographic South pole at $140,000 per guest.

This article was first published in The Peak.


published 2022-03-18 12:21:12