Now is a great time to start planning your trips for the year ahead, and we have come up with 10 of the most luxurious travel destinations in 2016 to wet your appetite. From exotic beach retreats to chic European havens, there’s something for everyone.
1 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Amalfi Coast, Italy
There are many unmissable places to visit on the Amalfi Coast, and the cuisine is as wonderful as the views. The gardens of Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo in Ravello are oustanding and on the coast itself, Positano has a charming 1950’s vibe. There are some very luxurious villas with pools in the area of the Amalfi Coast, which will provide some welcome calm from the hustle and bustle of the towns. Alternatively, Monastero Santa Rosa is a really unique hotel set in a former convent on top of a cliff, with a spectacular infinity pool.
2 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Andalusia, Spain
The Paradors of Spain are the perfect base from which to explore the beautiful region of Andalusia in Spain. These historic hotels are situated in former convents, monasteries and palaces. Some are in World Heritage cities such as Seville, Ubeda and Granada, with the Parador located right inside the Alhambra citadel. I feel a roadtrip coming on!
3 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Botswana
One of the most stable countries in Africa, Botswana will be celebrating 50 years of independence in 2016. The wildlife is superb, from Chobe National Park, with the largest elephant population in the world, to the majestic Okavango, the largest inland delta. The chances of spotting the “Big Five” are very high. Many of the safari camps have luxurious spas, so you can relax in style after a day on safari.
4 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Costa Rica
If you’re looking for adventure and relaxation all in one trip, then Costa Rica is a great option. The pristine beaches, dense rainforest and abundant wildlife have always been a draw but until recently, the infrastructure was quite undeveloped. However, with new direct flights from the US and the UK, its appeal is even stronger. Experiential travel, where you value the experiences of travel, is huge right now and Costa Rica has experiences galore, from jungle treks to ziplining above the rainforest canopy.
5 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Mauritius
For natural wonders galore, immaculate beaches and an eclectic mix of cultures, Mauritius takes some beating. Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort and Spa is one of the many luxury hotels dotting the island. Take time to visit the Seven Coloured Earths at Chamarel, composed of seven distinctly coloured sands. You could also climb to the top of the now dormant volcanic crater or visit Grand Bassin, a crater lake and sacred Hindu site.
For a small principality, Monaco certainly packs a huge punch. The seemingly endless sunshine, delicious cuisine and many museums are sure to impress. There’s a new Yacht Club, designed by Sir Norman Foster and Partners, and several casinos including the iconic Monte-Carlo Casino, built by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opera House. Shopping aficionados will enjoy wandering around the « Carré d’Or » quarter, where you’ll find some very elegant boutiques.
7 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Montenegro
Montenegro is a charming country and Kotor, it’s main port was recently named by Lonely Planet as Best in Travel Cities 2016. A new direct flight route from Manchester to Kotor will launch at the end of March. Aman Resort Sveti Stefan is one of the most luxurious hotels, set on a tiny islet, and One &Only is set to open its first European resort in Portonovi in 2016. There are two UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore, and the marina at Porto Montenegro is home to a plethora of superyachts.
8 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Thailand
Thailand has always been popular but it’s seriously upped the ante of late. Phuket is something of a celebrity hotspot, with Mick Jagger, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell holidaying there regularly. You’ll be spoilt for choice for luxury hotels, and one of the most stylish is Kata Rocks, with panoramic sea views, a high tech spa and fabulous Sky Villas with private swimming pools. Another tempting option is The Sarojin in Khao Lak, with the most amazing white sand beach.
9 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Mexico
Beloved of the jetset, Tulum in Mexico is worth the detour from Cancun International Airport. It has a hippie chic ambiance, quite different from the large resorts in Cancun and fascinating Mayan ruins to explore when you’re done sunbathing. The Cenotes Dos Ojos is a magical dive site in a natural sinkhole. Hotel Esencia is located halfway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Set over 50 acres, it was formerly the home of an Italian duchess.
10 – Luxurious Travel Destinations: Turks and Caicos
With the current emphasis on health and fitness, Turks and Caicos is the Caribbean destination of choice. It is home to some of the best spa and wellness retreats, including Parrot Cay by COMO on its own private island. Turks and Caicos themselves are composed of over 40 islands so there is plenty to explore, from the stunning white sand of Grace Bay Beach to the conch farm at Caicos. With the third largest coral reef in the world, the diving is second to none.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this round up of some of the most luxurious travel destinations for 2016. What are your travel plans for the coming year?