Whiling away days soaking in hot tubs under the spiked tops of the Colorado Rockies. Lazing on sun-splashed decks on Caribbean shores. Treading soft sands on private islands. These are just some of the unforgettable experiences that await travelers on a luxury vacation. To help you get that hard-earned fix of R&R and pampering, this guide has booking tips and destination suggestions galore.
Different types of luxury vacations
Luxury vacations don't always have to be about sipping a pina colada by cotton-white sands – though they can, if that's what you're after. They can also be alpine retreats, skiing expeditions, and forays to exotic places.
Luxury ski trips
An upscale skiing adventure turns that escape to the mountains into a real joy. For starters, the swishiest stays occupy the most famous resorts – think St. Moritz, handsome Megeve, Vail, and Aspen. They also have ski-in access, with locations just steps from the slopes. And then there's that whirlwind of steaming hot tubs outside, saunas and fireplaces, and hearty lounges laced with real wood and stone features.
A great way to ensure you squeeze as much relaxation as possible from that luxury vacation is to opt for all-inclusive service. That essentially means that everything you could want is already taken care of. A Swedish massage from an expert masseuse? No worries. A round of golf at the on-site course? Fetch the clubs. A pineapple daquiri by the poolside? On its way.
Luxury vacationing really hits some heights in the tropics. Private villas offer soothing swimming pools both sides of the equator. There are Art Deco retreats butting up against the warm sands of South Beach in Miami, and others clutching the barrier isles of Florida's Gulf Coast in Sanibel and Captiva. And in the east, you get enticing homes inspired by Balinese traditions, scented with incense and surrounded by gardens that bloom with orchids and hibiscus.
What travelers fall for luxury vacations
Calling all honeymooners, loved-up duos, and family heads who want to reward the crew – there's a reason to believe that luxury vacations are right up your street.
Something special for someone special
A luxury vacation is your chance to treat that loved one to what they deserve. It doesn't matter if you opt for a grandiose condominium with a butler and a private chef, a salt-washed Caribbean cottage just feet from where the waves roll in, or a cozy alpine lodge shrouded by snowy peaks and pines: these types of trip are great for getting the romance a-flowing.
Family options also abound
Just because you're looking to bring the whole gang, it doesn't mean you have to forgo the frills of a luxury vacation. Multi-bedroom mansions are all over, from glitzy Miami Beach to the palm-topped boulevards of Malibu. They offer space to house the kids, the cousins, and more – some sleep 20 and over. And they throw in big swimming pools, large yards, tennis courts – the list goes on.
Where to find your luxury vacation paradise
Hopping from the resplendent isles of the South Pacific to the snowy peaks of Colorado, the pointers below are brimming with exciting destinations for that luxury vacation this year.
Luxury vacation options across the USA
Whoever says you have to jet off somewhere halfway around the globe for a deluxe vacay certainly hasn't been a guest in the hibiscus-scented cottages of Maui. Nor have they whizzed down the slopes of Vail in the winter, where ski-in chalets are warmed by crackling log fires, and champagne glasses clink in the hot tubs. And that's not even mentioning the sprawling haciendas of SoCal or the golfing retreats of Florida.
Luxury vacations in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is renowned for luxury vacations on a good budget. You might just be pleasantly surprised how little it costs to score a multi-person Balinese villa near mystical Hindu sanctuaries and soothing eastern spas. And then there's Thailand, where you can discover plush modern villas with infinity pools all along the rock-ribbed Andaman Coast.
The Caribbean for luxury vacations
A-listers and jet setters just can't seem to stay away from the Caribbean. And why not? Private islands topped with villas dot the coast of Belize and the Turks and Caicos. There are opulent colonial mansions available in Nassau and Bermuda, close to pink-tinged beaches covered with sunning cabanas. And there are spots that let you moor up the yacht, stash the helicopter, and occupy a deck chair overlooking rugged mountains and misty jungles.
Bora Bora is something else entirely
Think paradise, think Bora Bora. Like a long-lost Shangri-La in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this island escape is often likened to a tropical Eden. It's easy to see why, what with gnarled volcanos splitting the clouds, fringes of palm trees by the shore, and lagoons laden with multicolored coral reefs. The vacation rentals are luxury to the T, too, especially those handsome overwater bungalows with see-through floors.