The Best Luxury Destinations you can’t miss in 2017


There are so many amazing destinations that it can be hard knowing where to travel to next. If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve come up with our pick of the best luxury destinations for 2017. From beach retreats to city breaks, there’s hopefully something for every taste. Of course, it’s entirely subjective so we’d love to hear if you think there’s anywhere that we should add to the list!

BEST LUXURY DESTINATIONS – AFRICA

South Africa

South Africa has always been popular for its superb wildlife and vibrant restaurant scene but exchange rates make it particularly favourable to visit right now. If you’re looking to see the Big Five – buffalos, elephants, leopards, lions and rhino, then you stand a very good chance on a safari here. Many of the game reserves are malaria-free, as an added advantage. Yet South Africa is also a mecca for its whale watching in Hermanus and cheeky baboons at Cape Point. The Garden Route takes you past unspoiled beaches at Plettenberg Bay as well as world-class wineries.

best_luxury_destinationsBEST LUXURY DESTINATIONS – ASIA

Japan

With ANA’s new direct flights from Chicago and New York to Haneda, it’s much easier to reach Tokyo. There’s also a new bullet train from Tokyo to Hokkaido, making the North of Japan much more accessible. Many luxurious new hotels such as Aman’s pared down Amanemu are opening up and the upcoming 2020 Olympics will place Japan even further in the spotlight. If you’re visiting Tokyo, Japan Greeters is a great way to meet the locals on a complimentary guided tour of the city’s attractions.

japan-ladiesMaldives

There are concerns that The Maldives may be sinking due to climate change and that many of the islands will vanish within a number of years. Many of the islands are less than 1 or 2 meters above sea level and the soft soil is another contributing factor to the erosion of the land. The area of Baa Atoll has UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status and other atolls have applied for it. The world’s largest all-glass underwater restaurant, Hurawahli, is an excellent place to admire the sealife and hotels such as The Four Seasons have established marine conservation projects.

maldives-hutsMongolia

Mongolia might seem like an unusual choice as a holiday destination yet it is opening up to tourism thanks to the imminent opening of Nubia, aka New Ulaan Baatar International Airport. For such a huge yet sparsely populated country, it has a surprising number of high-end hotels such as the Kempinski Khan Palace and the Shangri-La. Follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan across the steppes or grassland, for a trip like no other. You’ll encounter dzo, a cross between cattle and yak, as well as camels in the Gobi Desert. Stay for a night or two in a round tents known as ger or yurts for a true taste of life as a nomad.

mongolia-yurtBEST LUXURY DESTINATIONS – CARIBBEAN

Mexico

For white sand beaches, impressive ruins and friendly locals, Mexico is hard to beat. A new Caribbean resort area, Mayakoba, has been designed in close collaboration with biologists and geologists to integrate into the environment. Luxurious hotels including the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Rosewood Mayakoba Suites, Fairmont Mayakoba and Andaz Mayakoba lie next to stunning beaches and mangroves. There’s a world-class golf course created by Greg Norman and El Pueblito, a charming market square inspired by a traditional Mexican village. It’s an easy transfer from Cancun yet the resort’s eco charm is an oasis of calm.

mayakoba_mexico_reviewBEST LUXURY DESTINATIONS – CENTRAL, NORTH & SOUTH AMERICA

Belize

This country in Central America has an interesting mix of cultures. Although English is the official language, Creole and Spanish are both spoken in certain regions. There’s a wealth of natural attractions including dense jungle and the Great Blue Hole, named by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 diving sites in the world. The ancient Mayan temples of Belize are well worth a visit and there are daily flights from many cities in Latin America, Canada and the States. Ecotourism is popular here and there are some stunning hotels and private villas dotted around the island.

belize-luxury-destinations
Bermuda

Things are hotting up in Bermuda, as this island in the Saragossa Sea will play host to the 35th America’s Cup race in June. It’s well known for the famous shorts and also for its world-class golfing and stunning pink sand beaches. Although you might think that it’s in the Caribbean, it’s actually part of British North America. If you’re lucky, you might spot the rare Cahow, Bermuda’s national bird that was thought to be extinct for nearly 300 years until it was rediscovered in 1951. The island is zika-free and there’s an abundance of luxury accommodation. In the words of Mark Twain, “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.”

bermuda-beach-palapas
Canada

2017 will be an exciting year for Canada with the 150th anniversary of the confederation and the 375th anniversary of Montreal. There’s a multitude of visitor activities planned, and entrance to the country’s national parks and historic sites will be free throughout the year. Canada Day is on 1 July and celebrations will be taking place in Ottawa, with a fireworks display on Parliament Hill and a street party, as well as Vancouver, Charlottetown and many other cities. Moreover, the exchange rate is very favourable for many travellers.

canada-national-park-lake-maligne
Cuba

This  island is one of the most atmospheric in the Caribbean. Cuba is famous for its pastel streets and vintage cars but its lush mountain landscapes and abundant wildlife are equally impressive. With the country opening up to tourism in increasing numbers, the time is ripe to see it before it changes for ever. Infrastructure has improved considerably over the last few years and it’s worth getting out of Havana to see some of the other 15th century cities and the attractive countryside. The Sagua-Baracoa Mountains is a tropical rain forest with many species of birds and the Jardines del rey archipelago is home to the second largest coral reef in the world.

cuba-carOregon, USA

It’s true that the coastal state of Oregon is worth a visit for its breathtaking scenery, yet there’s another great reason to visit this year – a total solar eclipse on 21 August. The moon will pass in front of the sun and momentarily turn daytime into night. It’s an extremely rare occurrence and whilst it will be visible in a number of states, viewing should be particularly favourable here. There are a number of viewing parties planned including one at the State Fairgrounds in Salem. Oregon’s largest city, Portland, is famous for its foodie scene, farmers markets and Willamette Valley wineries.

oregon-crater-lakeBEST LUXURY DESTINATIONS – EUROPE

Granada, Spain

This beautiful city in Andalucia has always been a favourite with visitors to Spain. It will now be even easier to reach it from the UK from the beginning of February when a new thrice weekly easyJet flight from London Gatwick will join the existing twice-weekly British Airways flight from London City. We wrote a post about whether it is best to visit the Alhambra by day or by night, but whichever you choose, this Moorish masterpiece won’t disappoint. Granada is also well known for its tapas and is a good gateway to the rest of Andalucia including Seville and lesser known gems like Carmona, Jaen and Ubeda.

best-luxury-destinations
Hamburg, Germany

This elegant German city has many attractions for the visitor interested in the arts, including the new concert hall, Elbphilharmonie which is due to open in January. It’s a perfect place for a weekend break, with a huge lake for boating and a thriving food scene. Take a look around the UNESCO World Heritage listed Warehouse District, and if you have time, the picturesque riverside suburb of Blankenese is well worth a visit. The charming Hotel Louis C. Jacob is close by, and houses a Michelin starred restaurant.

hamburg-historic-centerIceland

Fans of Game of Thrones are not the only ones flocking to Iceland in their droves. Famous for its dramatic landscape, it’s also a real foodie destination and the people are among the friendliest that you’ll ever meet. From February, a new Air Iceland flight will connect Keflavik International Airport to Akureyri. This northern area of Iceland will be known as the Diamond Circle. It includes many spectacular attractions such as Dettifoss waterfall and Lake Mývatn. Of course, the famous Golden Circle in the south is not to be missed for its waterfalls and geysers. The capital, Reykjavik, is also worthy of your time – don’t miss the view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja, the striking Lutheran church.

Two-waterfalls-IcelandIreland

Another one for Game of Thrones afficionados, Northern Ireland combines spectacular scenery with charming locals. West Ireland and in particular the Wild Atlantic Way is the setting for Star Wars Episodes VII and VIII. Both regions are known for their outdoor pursuits so whether you’re into walking, cycling, fishing or clay pigeon shooting you’ll love it here. As for Dublin, the city is compact yet has the largest city park in the world, Phoenix Park. Make time to visit Farmleigh, the official Irish state guest house, before heading back into town for a Guinness and a boxty, an Irish potato pancake in the lively Temple Bar area.

roundstone-harbour-irelandBEST LUXURY DESTINATIONS – MIDDLE EAST

Oman

Oman is an intriguing mix of tradition and modernity. Explore the picturesque capital of Muscat and its Grand Bazaar or take a desert safari by camel or 4×4. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try quad biking or sand-boarding. There are many upscale hotels such as Alila, Anantara and Six Senses as well as a soon to be opened theme park, Majarat Oman. A drive along Wadi Ghul, Oman’s Grand Canyon, will lead to Jebel Shams, a 3000 meter mountain peak with superb views over the surrounding area.

We hope that you like these suggestions of the best luxury destinations and have inspired your wanderlust.
Which countries would you add to the list and where are you dreaming of travelling to in 2017?

oman-camels-desert

 
  • What a wonderful list. I loved Granada when we went in September last year, it was breathtaking (even if I was watching the floor for most of the trip as I was on crutches!!) I really fancy Mexico, Iceland and Mongolia, hopefully I can tick at least one off my bucket list this year! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • It must have been tricky hobbling around the Alhambra on crutches, I know there are a lot of doorways! Hope you get to experience one or more of those places this year

  • My boyfriend’s sister spent two weeks in Belize this past summer and I fell in love with the country through her pictures! It’s definitely a dream of mine to visit Belize!

    http://thecourtneydiaries.com

  • I’d definitely recommend adding Kenya and Zanzibar to your Africa list!

    • We only got to see Kenya airport, en route to Tanzania but I would love to see more of the country as well as Zanzibar

  • This is such a great list! I would love to visit all these places!

    http://roadesque.com
    http://ourruins.com

  • Wow! All of these countries and cities look and sound absolutely amazing to travel. I particularly want to visit Cuba before things begin to change; I really hope it doesn’t lose that old vintage charm that makes it so notable. Maldives is another place I’d love to visit, just looking at photos make me relaxed, haha. Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a very Happy New Year, Suze!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

    • Me too, Cuba is so high on my to visit list whilst it still has that faded charm. Wishing you a lovely year ahead, Jalisa

  • Agness

    I’m dreaming of visiting South Africa one day. This year I’m heading to North Korea and South America!! Are these considered as luxury destinations according to your rates :)?

    • I loved South Africa and really want to return. How are you managing to visit North Korea, I can’t wait to hear about that? I think that anywhere is luxurious if there’s good quality of food and lodgings (not necessarily expensive) with great service

  • I need to visit all these places! From the list, I have only been to Mexico, Japan and Hamburg so far… So happy to be going to Vancouver this summer though 🙂

    • I’ve heard that Vancouver is amazing. I really enjoyed visiting Hamburg, and it’s a great place to live too according to the locals

  • I literally want to go everywhere!! xx

    http://www.diaryofanexpatgirl.com

    • Me too, I think there’s nowhere that I wouldn’t visit apart from war-torn countries

  • Needless to say, the Maldives is somewhere I’d love to spend a sunny week or two. Canada is also right at the top of my travel wishlist; the landscapes look incredible!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    • It would be so relaxing in the Maldives, those villas look incredible. Hope you get to visit!

  • LOVE this post Suze, it’s sparked a serious case of wanderlust. Especially keen to visit Canada and the Caribbean! xx

  • So many fantastic destinations on your list Suze! Would love to visit Cuba, Oman, Grenada, Iceland and Belize. I didn’t realise that a lot of the game reserves in South Africa are malaria free…that’s definitely something to consider when we eventually go on safari as I usually get bitten like anything! I must say that I particularly feel in love with Canada when we went in 2015. Bermuda is a great place to chill it but it is very relaxed and you can get round the island very quickly. I’m a massive fan of Mexico too!

    • We’re hopefully visiting Mexico soon, it certainly looks fantastic. As for Canada, I’d love to visit, I’ve got a few Canadian friends living here and it’s been on my wish list for a while.

  • Radi

    Wow these are all dreamy destinations. I would love to visit Cuba, Mexico, Maldives and Spain as a start to the new year.

    http://www.fashionradi.com

  • Ellie Adams

    This is giving me more wanderlust that you can even imagine. So many incredible places… Canada and South Africa are at the very top of my list!

    Elle
    http://www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

    • You’d love South Africa, Elle – the people are really lovely and one of my best memories is seeing dolphins in the bay in Cape Town

  • I just visited Cuba a few months ago and Bermuda is high up on my list. And obviously living in Hamburg, I’m partial towards that suggestion 😉

    • Ooh if I come back to Hamburg, I will definitely let you know as would be great to meet over coffee

  • Every one of these destinations is on my radar, Suze. That said, Japan is tops on my list. I’ve wanted to visit that country since I was a kid.

    What about you?

    • Definitely Mexico which I’m hopefully visiting very soon, and also Costa Rica which I put on the list last year and still haven’t visited!

  • Hayley Rubery

    Suze this post has given me SERIOUS wanderlust!! I’d pretty much love to visit every destination you’ve mentioned by I’m dying to visit Canada, Japan and Cuba this year! I hope 2017 is as wonderful for you as last year was!

    Hayley xo
    http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

    • Thanks Hayley, and I enjoyed reading your Verbier post as I’ve just got back from there last night!

  • Wow I would love to go to every single one of these destinations. Have a great day! Gemma x
    http://www.jacquardflower.uk

  • Zeeba Life

    I have almost every single destination on my travet list except Oman… Thank you for sharing all these beautiful destinations with us!

    • My pleasure, Claudia, and I’m just catching up on your Mexico posts now that I’m back from Verbier!

  • WhatWouldVWear

    Great post, babe! Love Germany and I totally need to visit Africa!

    xoxo, Vanessa

    http://www.WhatWouldVWear.com

    • We loved visiting Africa, I need to go back! Have a great end of the week, Vanessa

  • Love your picks and would like to visit them all!! Cuba especially 🙂

    The Fashion Matters- Travel & Fashion blog | Instagram: TheFashionMatters

    • It’s very hot right now, isn’t it, Hadas! Could do with some sunshine rather than this rain

  • So many amazing spots to visit- I have the serious travel bug now. 🙂

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  • I saw so many of the places I’d love to visit. Certainly I won’t be able to do so in 2017, but at least one destination would be good enough for me :))

  • Some amazing places to visit, The Maldives is on my list of places to go, it looks beautiful with it’s crystal clear waters.
    Laura xo
    http://www.shehearts.net

    • I hope that you visit, Laura, and looking forward to reading about your honeymoon!

  • Japan! I would love to go there. And all these places on your list. I want to visit too.

  • I’m dying to see Cuba. I’m scared I’m going to get there too late and miss out on all that vintage charm. I can only imagine how creatively inspiring that country would be. I’m also itching for Japan. Seems like everyone’s paying Tokyo a visit this year too

    Sxx
    http://www.daringcoco.com

    • It’s the same for me with Cuba, I really hope to visit this year! Japan sounds amazing too, so many fascinating sights

  • They are all stunning destinations! The Maldives are a dream and Japan and South Africa were one of my favourite holidays! Would love to travel to places like Mongolia and Iceland – great inspiration for 2017!

    Miriam x
    http://www.londonkitchendiaries.com

    • Mongolia would definitely be fascinating and I can highly recommend Iceland though I think I’d go back when it’s warmer

  • Deepika Gumaste

    There are so many destinations on your list, which have been on my wish list since forever…Hopefully, I will be able to cross atleast one this year 😉

  • Lucy

    Wonderful choices, Andalucia has been a favourite for many years and Canada I just love. It is the one place I have visited that I could see myself happily living in. I will have to tick some of the others off the list Lucyx

  • I’ll definitely have to add Africa and Cuba on my list for 2017. It’s been a while since I keep dreaming about these two destinations. It’s about time I take action.

  • Thanks for sharing! Some of these are defintely on my bucket list.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • I can only dream of most of these destinations.. 🙂