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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - From authentic Indian palaces fit for maharajas to Wild West-style cowboy ranches for would-be John Waynes, travel companies and hotels are offering luxury packages to help people live out their fantasies for real.
Men's website AskMen.com (www.askmen.com) has come up with a list of its top 10 fantasy vacations. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. Hotel Marques de Riscal, Spain- Live like a wine connoisseur
Designed by Frank Gehry, at Starwood's Hotel Marques de Riscal in the Rioja region of northern Spain, you can take in the views of the vineyards or taste some of the best wines in the world at the 1860 Restaurant. After dinner, retire to The Wine Bar Vinoteca for nightcap then recover the next day at the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa with its "wine therapy" treatments.
2. Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi, Brazil - Live like a president Offering the "Live Like A Mogul" package for a mere $5,500, you'll receive helicopter transfers to and from the hotel, be greeted with champagne and chocolate on arrival, and the key card to the Presidential Suite. Enjoy an in-suite dinner for two and breakfast in bed before making your way to the rooftop helipad in order to be ferried about in your very own chopper.
3. The Candili Estate, Euboea Island, Greece - Live like an ancient Greek
Set at the 10,000-acre Candili Estate on Euboea Island, Sparta Fitness Holidays can help transform you from humble mortal into Greek god through an unforgiving fitness program. Your day will consist of circuit training and mountain runs, endurance and weight training, stress relief and massage, and trekking.
4. The Ashram, California, USA - Live like a soldier
For a retreat that's going to make you sweat, head to The Ashram in the Santa Monica Mountains, California. On a one-week course, you'll be put through your paces, rising at dawn for activities including five hours of hiking, three hours of yoga, a one-hour workout, and one hour of pool exercises.
5. In The Write Light, Tarifa, Spain - Live like a poet
In The Write Light, a creative writing workshop in Tarifa, on the Costa del la Luz, encourages you to explore your passion for words. Start that novel you've always dreamed of and mingle with like-minded folk right on the beach. Run over four days, the course holds informal workshops that will develop your talent.
6. Samudra, Byron Bay, Australia - Live like a surf dude
As part of a combined surf/yoga retreat at Samudra, you stay in the luxurious Byron Bay Manor in northern New South Wales. A resort-style holiday house set in 27 acres of lush grounds, Byron Bay Manor has a bohemian vibe where, each morning, you begin with a spot of yoga before taking to the beach for surf instruction.
7. Triple Peak Cow Camp, Wyoming, USA - Live like a cowboy
Situated deep in the Wyoming Mountain Range, Triple Peak Cow Camp comprises of a series of tents where you'll dine on barbecued food before rolling out your sleeping mat. By day, ride over 10,000 acres while checking 800-1,000 cow-calf pairs.
8. Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal - Live like a Buddhist
Every year, over 200 Westerners travel to the Kopan Monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas to take part in a 30-day enlightenment retreat. The monastery also offers 7 and 10-day meditation retreats for the less dedicated.
9. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India - Live like a maharaja
Set afloat in the middle of Lake Pichola in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan is Taj Lake Palace, the next best thing to staying in the Taj Mahal. Wander through the fountain-lined courtyards or indulge at the Taj Spa. Dine on exotic cuisine in the royal banquet hall of the Neel Kamal restaurant.
10. ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden - Live like an Eskimo
At the world-famous ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjarvi, 200 km (124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, everything from the reception desk to the beds are made from ice taken from the River Torne. Check in, wrap in fur, and take in the breathtaking art before sipping on cocktails in the Absolut ICEBAR. You can get your adrenaline pumping with activities like snowmobile rides and ice fishing.
Editing by Belinda Goldsmith