Explore the spectacular coast of California and revel in the bright lights of Las Vegas on this luxury self-drive. Beginning on the bohemian streets of San Francisco, you'll stroll around Fisherman's Wharf and ride tram cars around the city before heading out onto the open road. The Pacific Coast Highway awaits, winding past dramatic coastal cliffs and pounding surf beaches, leading to a hidden retreat at Big Sur and the chance to escape into nature amongst the towering redwoods. Spend time in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica before turning inland towards the Nevada desert and the fabulous Las Vegas strip.
You'll enjoy private chauffeur transfers to the airport and complimentary lounge access before your flight to San Francisco today. Your hotel is housed within the historic Haslett Warehouse building at Fisherman’s Wharf, with views of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, it boasts one of the only wharf-side patios on the water, housing the award-winning Blue Mermaid Restaurant. Your luxurious room is contemporary and comfortable, with nautical-inspired details and eco-friendly amenities. Enjoy happy hour fireside before retiring to bed.
Stay: Argonaut Hotel, San Francisco (Superior)
The next two days are free for you to spend at leisure. Perhaps take a city tour, visiting the highlights, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the seal colonies at Pier 39. A boat trip to Alcatraz Island offers a window into the past, or perhaps you'll head across to picturesque Angel Island, with views back towards Alcatraz and the bridge beyond. A Napa Valley Wine Tour is highly recommended – board a train that winds through the region's rolling valleys and enjoy a three-course lunch along the way; an included vineyard tour and wine tasting rounds it all off. This tour requires an early start – perhaps add an additional night or two in Napa to your trip. Of course, there's plenty to see by simply wandering San Francisco's colourful streets, exploring its eclectic mix of suburbs from Chinatown to ultra-hip Nob Hill.
Stay: Argonaut Hotel, San Francisco (Superior)
You'll collect your hire car today and head out along the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway. The drive to Big Sur takes a few hours, winding its way along the coastline, but there are plenty of detours worth taking – Monterey, Pebble Beach and Carmel included. If the timing is right, you might spot whales on your drive; indeed a whale-watching trip from Big Sur offers a chance to see blue, gray and humpback species, depending on the time of year. Your luxury accommodation is tucked among the Redwood forests, overlooking both the ocean and the mountains. Rooms are light and airy, with a sense of rustic charm, while suites offer wood-burning fireplaces and, in some cases, private hot tubs.
Stay: Ventana Big Sur (Deluxe)
En route to Santa Barbara today, there's the chance to visit Hearst Castle, a National Historic Landmark. Built between 1919 and 1947, it was once a magnet for the Hollywood glitterati, and today, having been given to the State of California, attracts millions of visitors every year. On arrival in Santa Barbara, you'll check in to your elegant Mediterranean-style hotel, a nod to the city's Spanish colonial heritage. Or, spoil yourself with an upgrade to the Four Seasons The Biltmore, on 22-acres of lush jungle and tranquil gardens, with the Santa Ynez Mountains as its dramatic backdrop. Spend the next day wandering through Summerland County State Park or along Butterfly Beach, or sampling local wines at vineyards set among rolling hills.
Stay: Kimpton Canary Hotel, Santa Barbara (Superior) or the Four Seasons The Biltmore (Deluxe)
Today you'll continue south along the coast to Santa Monica, west of downtown Los Angeles. The world-famous Santa Monica Beach and Santa Monica Pier are home to the Pacific Park amusement park, Looff Hippodrome Carousel, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and Muscle Beach, an iconic outdoor gym established in the 1930s. Take a walk through the city's downtown area and you'll always find your way back to Palisades Park and the palm-fringed coastline, although there are plenty of hip eateries and boutiques to explore along the way. Head into Los Angeles to tour the star-studded Hollywood Hills, or you might prefer to relax and soak up the sunshine on the beach for the next two days.
Stay: Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica (Deluxe)
Say farewell to the Californian coast as you drive inland towards Las Vegas. In the midst of the arid desert, this technicolour city is ablaze with glitz and glamour, and you'll stay in the heart of the strip at the fabulous Bellagio. If you can tear yourself away from the hotel's palatial interior – and its world-famous fountain display – there's everything from helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon to foodie tours of the city to enjoy. At night, the strip comes alive with twinkling lights, and a visit to Fremont Street to watch the light display and try your hand at the old-fashioned slot machines is highly recommended. Cirque du Soleil's ‘O’ is another must-see, live from the grand theatre inside your hotel.
Stay: The Bellagio, Las Vegas (Deluxe)
You'll head to the airport today and enjoy VIP lounge access once again before your overnight flight to the UK, arriving on day 14. A private chauffeur will see you from the airport to your front door.
"This is one of the USA's most iconic road trips, and with a host of luxury hotels to stay in along the way, you'll see it in style. There's everything from dramatic Pacific coastline to the Las Vegas strip to explore – it's a truly exhilarating holiday."
Low Season from: £3,250 pp
High Season from: £3,960 pp