This year just might be the year that you finally go on that once-of-a-lifetime trip. Right? Even if it’s not really in the cards – or the budget—there’s nothing to stop you from at least planning your dream trip. Just the way you’re planning to lose that holiday weight. And quit smoking. So go on – make it your New Year’s travel resolution to stay at one of these gorgeous, truly special hotels. We have a feeling it will be a whole lot more fun than tackling the other items on your resolution list.
Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
Jade Mountain is consistently rated as one of the best hotels in the Caribbean (and often as the best hotel in the Caribbean) – and it’s not hard to understand why. This ultra-romantic resort offers decadent suites, most with private infinity pools and all with jaw-dropping views of the iconic Pitons and the Caribbean Sea. Guests can also expect organic cuisine, doting service, and plenty of privacy and tranquility.
This tiny hotel with only five villas offers a rare level of privacy – so it’s no huge surprise that a fair share of celebrities have chosen to hide away here. The Bushbar restaurant is the only communal area on the property, and the villas, tucked away amid dense flora and fauna, have big, beautiful terraces and either a steam room, hot tub, or pool. Frenchman’s Cove, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, is only 10 minutes away, and the famous Blue Lagoon (where the film of the same name was shot) is just a little bit farther.
Inn at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
This "inn" in Carolina Lowcountry, really more akin to a sprawling estate, provides a one-of-a-kind experience that uniquely blends southern history and almost otherworldly natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes. The main hotel building looks like a classic southern mansion, and the 50 Cottages and Cottage Suites are simultaneously homey and utterly luxurious, with working fireplaces, screen porches, and gorgeous bathrooms. Guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, and the luxury spa is highly acclaimed. It's not an overstatement to say that the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is one of the most special properties in the entire country.
Capella Pedregal, Los Cabos
The 66 rooms at the super luxurious Capella Pedregal all come with fireplaces, private terraces, and plunge pools, along with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and rocky cliffs. Interior design is nearly flawless, with Spanish-Colonial-inspired touches such as beautiful dark wood French doors and beamed ceilings; and the service is impeccable -- expect thoughtful extras such as afternoon deliveries of beer, chips, and guacamole to the rooms. And as far as on-site amenities go, it's tough to top the Capella Pedregal's impressive list: an infinity pool overlooking the coast, the organic Auriga Spa, and a restaurant situated on a cliff with killer views.
St. Regis Princeville, Kauai
The 251-room St. Regis Princeville is considered by many to be the premier luxury option in Hawaii, and given the stunning setting overlooking Hanalei Bay, it's hard to disagree. Guests can expect warm, sophisticated decor, suites with personal butler service, world-class golf, and a memorable breakfast buffet on a terrace with gorgeous ocean views. The discerning clientele this resort attracts will find little to fault, and the location on Kauai's lush, ruggedly beautiful northern coast makes for natural beauty that's unparalleled.
La Samanna, St. Martin/St. Maarten
Easily the most luxurious resort in St. Martin, the 55-acre La Samanna resort brings tranquility to an otherwise tourist-filled island. Featuring two beautiful pools, an extensive wine cellar, a yoga and Pilates studio, a European-style spa, and the island's most pristine beach, this 81-room, eight-villa retreat is hard to beat. The vibe is about as fancy as it gets for St. Martin, so of course everything -- from the nightly rates to the dinners and spa treatments -- comes at a sky-high cost.
Four Seasons Costa Rica
Easily among the most luxurious resorts in Central America, The Four Seasons is as close to perfection as it gets. With two beautiful beaches, ocean views from each one of the sumptuous rooms -- decorated in materials including wood, bamboo, and stone -- and an 18-hole golf course, the resort makes it possible for guests to spend their whole vacation on-site. For those looking for adventure elsewhere, the concierge can arrange any number of outdoor excursions, including horseback riding, zip-lining, and volcano hikes.
The Plaza, New York City
The Plaza is New York City’s most iconic hotel, and has been made famous world-wise through film and literature. The big, Louis XIV-style rooms have luxurious Italian bedding; the spa is exceptional; and butler service is available 24 hours a day. Plus, afternoon tea at Palm Court is a truly elegant treat.
andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, Botswana
This luxurious safari lodge in Botswana delivers everything you'd expect from the excellent &Beyond chain: amazing tents with plush beds, phenomenal service, tasty food, and safari excursions with first-rate guides. It's located in the Okavango Delta region, but on land, so you won't need to take a boat to and from the camp. Its peaceful location, beautiful delta views, lovely communal pool, and rustic-luxe design inspired by traditional African hut construction (complete with rich woods and thatched roofs) help make it a truly special place.
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