Why fight crowds when you can get one of the world's most brilliant — and well-known — sights all to yourself?
In early September, a few lucky guests at The Milestone Hotel in London will get the chance to participate in a private, after-hours viewing of the United Kingdom's crown jewels at the iconic Tower of London.
the Imperial State Crown Credit: Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty
Members of the royal family have stored their ceremonial regalia at the UNESCO World Heritage site for centuries, bringing them out for milestones like Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953. The crown jewels are usually off-limits at night, when the Tower of London is closed, but the Victorian-era Milestone Hotel is partnering with a local travel planner to create a truly one-of-a-kind VIP viewing experience.
The Milestone Hotel Credit: Courtesy of The Milestone Hotel
A private boat will take guests on a cruise along the River Thames, delivering them to the tower's gates in the same way royalty may have journeyed there in centuries past. A ceremonial Beefeater will lead a tour of the 1,000-year-old fortress and take guests inside the Jewel House vault, where Champagne and stories behind the jewels await.
The collection spans 800 years of the monarchy and is considered the most historically complete in the world. It includes the Imperial State Crown, an opulent piece that alone includes nearly 2,900 diamonds. And yes, every single one is real, officials said, answering one of the most frequently asked questions about the collection on its website.
The Milestone Hotel suite view Credit: Courtesy of The Milestone Hotel The Milestone Hotel suite Credit: Courtesy of The Milestone Hotel The Milestone Hotel Cheneston's Restaurant Credit: Courtesy of The Milestone Hotel
The package includes a four-course dinner and Champagne at The Milestone Hotel, whose story stretches back to 1689, when a private home stood at its location. The hotel's current building dates to the late 1800s and features original marble checkerboard floors, Victorian tiling, and the wooden panelling of a bygone era.
Also included in the package's £1530 (about $2,100 USD) per couple price tag: the chance to watch a Champagne bottle opened by sabre.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.