Pack your bags, or at least, bookmark these experiences for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Lavish, unusual, exceptional – these are the bucket-list holidays you won’t forget in a hurry…
For the high seas
At Elounda SA Hotels & Resorts in Greece, the only Relais and Chateaux yacht in the world can be taken out. Explore the islands from the 24 metre yacht for a personal odyssey. You’ll see Crete, the Cyclades and the tiny Yanisades archipelago.
For nature lovers
Twin Farms in Vermont is where nature meets luxury. It has it all: set amongst 300 acres of forests, Twin Farms has its own private ski runs, spa with celebrated local Vermont brand Tata Harper and no menus, because you can get whatever you want, whenever you want it. Try a five-course dinner delivered straight to your cottage, along with full wine pairing thanks to an in-room Sommelier. Nothing is impossible.
For wine enthusiasts
One of Florence’s oldest aristocratic families, the Corsini family, has opened the doors to their winery for the very first time. In partnership with Tuscany Now and More, tour the renowned vineyard and cellars situated in Villa Le Corti, the family’s ancestral home since 1363, and sample the estate’s vintages. Palazzo Corsini is one of the best examples of the Baroque style in Renaissance Florence and also houses the Corsini’s extensive art collection.
For animal adventures
Experience the ultimate breakfast in the wild in Botswana, getting up close with elephants at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge in the heart of the Chobe National Park. There’s even a wildlife viewing hide overlooking the watering hole; a first in the region. You can connect with the wildlife at eye-level, for a front row seat on nature’s drama, all day long.
For great journeys
Another Belmond, but oh-so-worth-it. Soar through the Pervian Andes on Belmond Andean Explorer luxury train, South America’s first luxury sleeper train. Begin in Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire. Whizz across the lofty Andean plains to the white city of Arequipa. Take in the region’s spectacular highlights en route, including Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon – you can even enjoy a luxurious spa treatment on board.
For intrepid travellers
Islas Secas is an archipelago of islands on the Pacific coast of Panama. Home to four individually-designed Casitas sleeping up to 18 guests, it is off the grid. Enjoy marine safaris, snorkelling and diving amidst the aquatic wonders of the Gulf of Chiriquí; explore the biodiversity of Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and swim and paddle board to your heart’s content. Eco lovers will rejoice: at Islas Secas, 100 per cent of energy is solar-generated; 100 per cent of food waste is recycled; 100 per cent of waste water is re-used for irrigation; and 75 per cent of the archipelago has been left untouched and undeveloped by the human hand.
For a royal affair
The Lanesborough’s seven-bedroom Royal Suite is a whopping 4,845 sq ft, offering stately views of Buckingham Palace Gardens, complete with two living rooms and a large dining room with space to entertain up to 12 guests. You’ll have a dedicated butler at your disposal 24/7 (he can help pour the complimentary pre-dinner G&Ts left in the suite) and for guests booking all seven bedrooms, the hotel’s chauffeur-driven House Car is thrown in too (dependant on availability). It’s the ultimate staycation.
At Milaidhoo Island in the Maldives you can sleep under the stars, castaway-style, on your own private sandbank – but, with a canopied four-poster bed draped in muslin and a private yacht anchored nearby, complete with a dressing room and bathroom and a whole host of amenities. Start with a romantic sunset dolphin cruise, before champagne and canapés served by a private butler. Next up: a four-course dinner, and a night under the stars surrounded by candles and lanterns. Awaken to sunrise yoga before the butler arrives to serve a freshly prepared breakfast. Perfect honeymoon or what?
For a dream combo
Singita and White Desert have created an epic itinerary for wildlife enthusiasts. Start at Kruger National Park in South Africa and journey to the icy expanse of Antarctica. You’ll see amazing rare wildlife, from Africa’s iconic animals to Antarctica’s vast colony of 28,000 emperor penguins. It includes four nights at Singita Kruger National Park and two nights in the One&Only Hotel in Cape Town. From there, it’s a hop on the White Desert private jet awaits to Antarctica’s Whichaway Camp for the next five nights. Our jaw is still on the ground.
For an icy treat
Surrounded by 3,000 ft peaks, make the most of the 1,500 sq miles of mountainous terrain around Deplar Farm. It’s the perfect place to view the Northern Lights, whether from a snowmobile safari or from the geothermal outdoor pool. The lodge is so remote there’s hardly any light pollution, so it’s one of the best spots to star gaze and view the Lights. An astrologer can explain the night skies, if you wish.
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