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While 2020/2021 will forever be remembered as the time when travel was put on hold while we collectively battled COVID-19, with the light shining at the end of the tunnel, we can finally plan that next travel adventure. Now feels like the right time to go for that bucket list by staying in an unforgettable hotel or resort in some of the world’s most coveted destinations. Whether you’re dreaming of a tropical paradise, a remote wilderness escape or something else, there’s bound to be an option on this list to get you inspired to book.
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Why not make your first post-COVID trip extra special with a stay in a luxurious castle-like estate in Italy’s Umbrian countryside? The 11th-century Castello di Reschio sits on a 3,700-acre family estate and was converted into a beautiful hotel. Surrounded by miles of picturesque rolling hills, the area can be explored on horseback, by two wheels, or on foot. Or, simply relax around the pool enjoying the scenery while sipping some of the region’s famous wines. Rooms overlook the garden and out to the Reschio hills in the distance, while two of the six suites come with their own private gardens.
One of the world’s most stunning tropical destinations combined with the luxuries of the Ritz-Carlton name is hard to beat. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives sits at the north-eastern rim of the North Malé Atoll, surrounded by a vibrant coral reef with outstanding dive sites. It offers an impressive menu of immersive ocean experiences, including opportunities to dive shipwreck sites, snorkel with endangered hawksbill turtles and explore the South Ari Atoll, inhabited by friendly whale sharks. Accommodation is unforgettable too, with luxury villas featuring spectacular views of the clear turquoise waters, infinity pools, and even personal butlers.
Six Senses Uluwatu sits atop a cliff providing endless Indian Ocean views, something that every suite and villa enjoys. A stay is sure to melt every last bit of stress away and enhance wellness too. Swim in the large infinity pool, take part in water sports and enjoy free Pilates and yoga sessions in the spa. The spa also offers massages and a variety of blissful treatments. There are plenty of healthy dining options, with a breakfast buffet that includes fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, plus restaurants use seasonal produce from the resort’s own garden.
Dreaming of a vacation in Turkey? Voyage Belek Golf & Spa is an all-inclusive oceanfront resort that sits on the southern Mediterranean coast, popular among romance-seeking couples and families alike. It has a wide, private white sandy beach along with huge indoor and outdoor pools, and a water park. Guests can also enjoy a wealth of water sports, golf, tennis, and indoor and outdoor games. It includes a spa, hammam and butler service too. Rooms all feature furnished terraces or balconies, some with sea views and others that open to the lagoon pool.
One of the world’s best resorts and voted the top hotel in the world for two consecutive years by Travel + Leisure, NIHI Sumba is a fantasy come to life, located in a remote area of a remote island in Indonesia. Just an hour by plane from Bali, its all-inclusive rates include delicious meals, drinks, a complimentary minibar, and many activities. When the water is calm, it’s ideal for snorkeling, while the waves draw surfers from around the world. Uniquely designed residences include one to five-bedroom options, all of which come with your own private butler, signature canopy beds, and private pools overlooking the beach and the Indian Ocean, with restaurants, a bar and a beach only steps away.
Run by the local kichwa-speaking Sani community, Sani Lodge sits deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon in a wildlife-rich corridor of rainforest between the Cuyabeno Reserve and the Yasuni National Park, widely regarded as the world’s most biologically diverse place. It offers the experience of a lifetime, the kind you’ll have to pinch yourself to believe you’re really there. Enjoy prime birding, with opportunities to spot everything from toucans to macaws, along with other wildlife like caimans and monkeys. As it uses pure solar energy, there is a greater presence of wildlife that would otherwise be frightened away by the noise. Local guides lead excursions on land and water, including an opportunity to get to know families in the indigenous community.
Located along the Urubamba River at the foot of the mountains on a densely wooded reserve, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is the ideal base for exploring the bucket-list ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. It’s just five minutes on foot from Aguas Calientes, the closest town to the site, and includes a small pool, an Andean eucalyptus sauna and a spa. It’s made up of colonial-style buildings nestled in a jungle setting. All offer garden views and some have large marble bathrooms with tubs as well as open-air and inside showers. Other standard amenities include flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, minibars, robes and Andean slippers.
Providing an idyllic all-inclusive beach escape less than an hour from Thessaloniki, the country’s “second city,” Ikos Oceania is tucked between the Aegean and an abundance of olive groves and cypress trees. The elegant property hosts five restaurants, an infinity pool with a bar, a chic spa, and direct access to the beach. Activities like canoeing and windsurfing are included too, while rooms come with furnished terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows, many of which showcase the sea view.
A short flight from Ho Chi Minh City and you’ll feel as if you’re worlds away from the chaos of the Vietnamese capital. Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is an unforgettable retreat for mind, body and soul, where sleep in as long as you like, taking advantage of the “breakfast anywhere and anytime” concept, and then make the most of its unique all-spa inclusive service, indulging in multiple spa treatments during your stay. It’s just a few minute’s walk to Vũng Bầu Beach and the Gulf of Thailand and provides accommodation in one- to five-bedroom villas with hot tubs, terraces and private outdoor plunge pools.
Four Seasons Resort Langkawi is a luxurious Malaysian resort that offers pavilions and villas. It sits within a UNESCO Global Geopark surrounded by striking natural beauty that includes tropical rainforest, limestone cliffs, and the emerald-hued Andaman Sea. The luxurious Malayan beachfront villas come with private pools, verandas and outdoor terrazzo tubs. Enjoy everything from intimate beach dinners to pampering spa treatments in waterside cabanas. Ideal for couples and families, it includes an adult-only pool along with kids’ pools and even pony rides.
Originally a 14th-century knight’s residence, Kókkini Porta Rossa might be the most fascinating place to stay in Rhodes which not only offers plenty of classic Greek island beauty but many historic treasures. Medieval Old Town Rhodes boasts incredibly well-preserved Venetian architecture and the castle-like Palace of the Grand Masters, and you’ll also find an ancient monastery and Minoan settlement. Nature lovers will appreciate the beautiful sandy beaches, mountains and waterfalls. After exploring, you’ll be able to stay within these sandstone walls where the Knights of St John, Turkish, Greek and Jewish families lived harmoniously under the same roof. It sits inside the Old Town city walls, with five individually decorated, period-style suites.
Visiting Iceland is on the bucket list of many and the Blue Lagoon, a thermal pool with milk turquoise waters fringed by moss-covered lava fields, has been one of the most popular attractions for decades. Now The Retreat Hotel at the Blue Lagoon is one of the most ambitious luxury resorts to open in the country provides the perfect way to enjoy it.
Another memorable option for that bucket-list Iceland trip is nestled in the enchanting lava landscapes of UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, home to Gullfoss one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in the country, geysers, and more. The hotel was uniquely designed with nature in mind and includes a spa and outdoor hot tub, sophisticated restaurant and bar.
Explora Patagonia offers the ultimate remote retreat in the wilderness, designed to showcase Torres del Paine National Park so that guests can enjoy the breathtaking views from numerous vantage points, including the tubs in their own room. An all-inclusive resort you can enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and other outdoor adventures and then come back for a relaxing swim in the indoor heated infinity pool that faces the mountains or head to the spa for an indulgent treatment.