7 "Deadly" Sins, 7 Great Trips
Envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath—here are vacation ideas with all the decadence and none of the guilt.
Hop a four-seat helicopter tour of the L.A. area's Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Bel-Air, Malibu, Laurel Canyon, and Hollywood Hills. During the 35-minute flight, Celebrity Helicopters provides bird's-eye views of wretched excess, such as the 77,000-square-foot mansion belonging to Eddie Murphy and the 21-car garage built by the late Aaron Spelling. Chief pilot Robin Petgrave has done stunt work for action movies such as Broken Arrow. He'll tell you what really goes down on movie sets. Best of all, proceeds from your trip help fund a nonprofit program to train young pilots. Departs from the (non-glamorous) Compton, Calif., airport, 877/999-2099, celebheli.com, rides from $189 a person.
You can stuff your face full of food anywhere, but these two restaurants will reward you for doing it. At Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Tex., you sit on a stage and attempt to wolf down a 72-ounce top sirloin, a shrimp cocktail, a salad, a dinner roll, and a baked potato—all within an hour. The prize? Your meal is free. It's harder than it looks, though. In nearly a half century, more than 42,000 people have failed and had to pay for their meals—currently $72 each. (Nearly 8,000 challengers have won.) The incentives are even greater at Bubi's Awesome Eats in Windsor, Ontario, where the Bunda's Big V8 burger weighs roughly 18 pounds and is about the size of a milk crate. For devouring the sandwich in 90 minutes, a winner could get $1,000. But to date, hundreds of contestants have paid the approximately $65 price and taken home nothing but a T-shirt. As for customer reactions to the spectacle, owner Buddy Miloyevich says, "It's like an accident: There are those who want to see the blood and guts, and others who turn their heads away." Big Texan Steak Ranch, 800/657-7177, bigtexan.com; Bubi's Awesome Eats, 519/252-2001, bubis.org.
Albert C. Barnes was one of America's most famous hoarders of art. He amassed 181 Renoirs (a world record), 69 Cézannes (another world record), 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos, and hundreds of other masterworks. He displayed most of them on the burlap-lined walls of his mansion. Barnes rarely lent works from his gallery collection, and he didn't let many people tour his home. (He did make many exceptions, including for workers in his pharmaceutical factory.) Barnes's supporters say that greed had nothing to do with his behavior. They explain that the great entrepreneur had put tremendous thought into how he presented his collection, and he didn't want to disturb the effect by lending out pieces. After Barnes' death, his mansion was opened to the wider public. Tickets to visit The Barnes Foundation in the Philadelphia suburb of Merion, Pa., are by reservation only. In 2011, the gallery collection will move to a new home in Center City Philadelphia. 610/667-0290, barnesfoundation.org, $12.
At the two aptly named Hedonism Resorts in Jamaica, everything is included in the price—except free love. Among the many activities are nude volleyball, body painting, pole dancing, porn star themed parties, and, yes, weddings. Depending on the day and your mood, you can snorkel and sun on the Prude side, or strut like a peacock through the truly Nude side. Each area contains multiple pools and a Nude- or Prude-only beach and pool. All the guest rooms have mirrored ceilings. The 280-room Hedo II, in Negril, has the larger spa, oceanfront suites with whirlpool baths, and is favored by couples. The newer 225-room Hedo III, in Runaway Bay, draws more singles. (There is no Hedo I. Perhaps it was destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah.) Packing light is clearly a virtue. 877/467-8737, hedonismresorts.com, packages from $145 per person, including meals and activity fees.
If you feel like you have a little too much body to strut, soothe your pride at a wellness destination spa that's both affordable and well regarded. The Heartland Spa is a homey, 16-room converted dairy farm on 32 acres in Gilman, Ill., which is about 90 miles south of Chicago. Choose from Pilates, Bosu, pressurized weight machines, and laps in the 48-foot-long, 82-degree-Fahrenheit indoor pool. Afterward, return to the main manor via a heated underground tunnel. The resort, which has been well rated by Shape, Town & Country, and Spas of America, keeps rates low with spare accommodations and a simplified menu of amenities. A two-night stay costs about half as much as a single night at an oceanfront competitor. So a visit here will also nurture your pride in your financial savvy for having found such a deal. 800/545-4853, heartlandspa.com, doubles from $748 for a two-night stay, including meals, unlimited classes, a 40-minute massage, and workout clothing.
"IT'S A SIN!"
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