A luxury vacation can mean many things. For us, it’s over-the-top accommodations, personalized service that anticipates every need and bucket-list experiences in a jaw-dropping setting. Echelons above and beyond a typical five-star hotel, which in and of itself is already pretty phenomenal, the spots on our list take luxury to the next level. We’re talking about the creme de la creme around the world. These are places where A-listers and royals go on holiday. These are places with suites that cost more than a car and seasons-long waitlists. These are places to see and be seen or to literally see no one at all (i.e., a private island). Our best advice to afford any one of these once-in-a-lifetime luxury trips? Start a swear jar/vacation fund now because while scrolling, you’re going to be saying “holy sh*t” a heck of a lot.
15 of the Best Luxury Vacations You Could Ever Take
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Desert dreams are made of the Amangiri, which means "peaceful mountain" in Sanskrit. And boy does this celeb hotspot that’s provided R&R to everyone from Emily Ratajkowski to Justin and Hailey Bieber live up to its name. Surrounded by 900 acres of dunes, plateaus and gorges, this aesthetically striking hotel is designed to disappear into dramatic red-rock scenery. Minimalist suites flow into the landscape and the eye-popping main swimming pool curves around a giant rock escarpment. Sure, it’s a schlep from the nearest major airport. Luckily for the privileged patrons who vacation at Amangiri, the property has a private helipad.
Proof that some places are well worth the trek, Miavana by Time + Tide is a remote slice of palm-fringed paradise off the coast of Madagascar that gives guests the chance to live their best private island life. It’s an incredibly unique place where luxury and life-changing adventures coexist the way this five-star resort breathes in harmony with the fantasy destination it calls home. On the topic of incomprehensibly cool activities, ever dreamt of heli-surfing turquoise waves, diving with humpback whales or seeing lemurs in the wild? There are boats and helicopters for off-the-wall amazing private excursions. Hungry? Sample Africa’s first sustainably produced caviar.
Part of the award-winning Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, The Muraka, which made a splash in 2018, has the distinction of being the first underwater hotel suite in the world! That’s hardly where the bragging rights end. This floating two-floor residence integrates living spaces above and below the Indian Ocean. The standout is the submerged king-size bedroom that’s encircled by infinite shades of blue. If you don’t have $9,999 to shell out for a floating fantasy (or it’s already booked), the overwater bungalows and beach villas are beyond fabulous. There’s also an overwater spa and an undersea restaurant 16 feet below the surface.
One of the best places to splash out in the world, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort boasts the largest overwater villas in the South Pacific, starting at a palatial 1,550 square feet. If you’re realllllllly looking to splurge, there’s an even grander option. Some—including the VIPs and A-listers who rent it out by the week—have called the $17,000-per-night Royal Estate Villa the ultimate French Polynesian bucket-list stay. Given the fact that this three-bedroom compound comes with its own private beach with umbrellas and loungers, a mosaic-tiled pool, a large lagoon front terrace and dedicated butler service, we couldn't possibly disagree.
Far away from cruise ports and boisterous spring breakers, the Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is a remote island paradise where billionaires go to splash out in secluded, next-level lavish style. It’s the pinnacle of luxury and you probably haven’t even heard of it. That’s by design. A hideaway this posh doesn’t need to advertise to the masses. Instead, it lets its 26 sophisticated ocean-view suites and 13 villas do the talking. Besides shacking up in the finest accommodations in the Caribbean, guests get to frolic on Godahl Beach, dine on international culinary delights and relish spa sessions inside swish overwater treatment bungalows.
The Maldives certainly isn’t lacking in swish hotels and resorts. While it's not hard to find a five-star stay, Patina Maldives, Fari Islands takes luxury to the highest level imaginable…and then goes beyond that. The flagship property from Patina Hotels & Resorts, the latest hospitality concept by Capella Hotel Group, puts an upscale sustainable spin on everything. The villas are built in harmony with nature, the palette-pleasing gastronomy highlights local ingredients and the soul of the island inspires the wellness rituals. Perhaps that’s why Shaun White, Nina Dobrev and Zoey Deutch have all checked in (and presumably never wanted to check out).
Everything about Royal Mansour Marrakech feels like a regal showpiece. This breathtaking palace hotel was actually built under the direction of King Mohammed VI of Morocco—so you know it’s legit fit for a king. Budget certainly wasn’t a factor in the construction process. That shows in the 53 multi-story riads with private courtyards, fountains and plunge pools as well as the lush gardens, 27,000-square-foot spa, Instagrammable white birdcage atrium reception and Michelin-starred restaurants. Real-life royals clamor to hang their hats, err crowns, at the $40,00-per-night Grand Riad, which has a cinema, library, hammam, gym, two swimming pools, a rooftop terrace and dazzling entertaining spaces.
The most celebrated property in the entirety of the Ligurian Riviera, Splendido, A Belmond Hotel in Portofino is a playground for stars and the wealthy that’s so in-demand the ability to afford a room doesn’t even guarantee you’ll be able to snag a coveted reservation. That’s because this five-star stunner epitomizes la dolce vita in the most luxe way possible with flawlessly furnished rooms and suites, warm hospitality, fresh seafood and a heated saltwater infinity pool in a restored 16th-century former monastery with gorgeous gardens and views that inspires awe and, judging by the lack of availability, a slew of new and repeat guests.
There’s glamping and then there’s whatever the heck would be an appropriate name to convey the total and utter luxury of the tented accommodations at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in northern Thailand at the border of Myanmar and Laos. Deluxe tents flaunt outdoor decks with outdoor showers and wooden hot tubs, plus unobstructed views of Ruak River, mountains and jungle. Besides unwinding in the most magical setting, the chance to interact with rescued elephants, trek through bamboo forests and Thai-inspired spa rituals promises to be an adventure you will never, ever, ever, ever forget.
Did you really think we’d get all the way through a list of the best luxury vacations without mentioning Paris? The City of Light has more extraordinary five-star hotels than almost anywhere else. But some places just shine brighter than the rest. Occupying a prestigious perch on tree-lined Avenue Montaigne, the fashionable and oh-so photogenic Hôtel Plaza Athénée is a legend with an illustrious history dating back to 1913 and almost too many stunning spots to snap envy-inducing pics. It’s also home to the largest and most trés chic suite in all of Paris. The price tag? A wallet-busting $25,000 per night.
A private island is the actual dream. Not like a castaway-level remote. We’d much prefer a secluded spot where our nearest and dearest can come along for the fantasy fun. Necker Island has 20 uniquely luxe lodgings, palm-fringed beaches, tennis courts, amazing wildlife habitats (keep your eyes peeled for giant tortoises, lemurs and flamingos) and even a sushi kayak delivered by mermaids in the pool. Because why the heck not dive into a plate of fatty tuna without ever getting out of the water? Staying at the 75-acre utopia requires a full buyout. So all the aforementioned awesomeness is included and exclusively for your crew.
Monaco may be the second smallest country but it packs an incomprehensible amount of poshness into less than one square mile. Where do discerning travelers with deep pockets stay? Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo, a gorgeous, independently operated Belle Époque-style property in the glamorous Carré d'Or. Go for a dip in the Karl Lagerfeld-designed pool, book yourself a haute couture self-care treatment at the Givenchy-branded spa (don’t forget to carve out some time for the hammam and caldarium, too) and indulge in a fancy lunch. Is the lobster salad worth $75? Yes, and it pairs perfectly with a fine bottle of bubbly!
You might know Villefranche-Sur-Mer as the enchanting village where many scenes from “Emily in Paris” were shot. What the marketing maven didn’t have access to (and def would have swooned over)? Villa Gaia from Amavia Collection encapsulates all the decadent elements of Côte d’Azur in the most delicious and dreamy way. Overlooking Cap Ferrat, this exquisite and exclusive pad has five ocean-view bedrooms with balconies, both indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a screening room, an insane art collection and concierge service. Did we mention a Michelin-starred chef will whip up all your mouthwatering meals. Simply divine.
Googling “luxury safari” will pull up some pretty epic results. For an outrageously awesome and over-the-top upscale safari adventure to beat all others, Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire and unofficial king of all things opulent, has you covered. Located in the Motorogi Conservancy and ensconced by 13,500 hectares of bush, Mahali Mzuri, which translates to “beautiful place” in Swahili, is an ultra-exclusive camp with just 12 uniquely designed, totally tricked-out tents featuring every imaginable comfort. Twice daily game drives with experienced guides, gourmet meals, cocktails and wines and relaxing in the lodge are also part of the bucket-list experience.
Hugged by majestic mountains and the sparkling sea, Six Senses Zighy Bay is a resplendent resort in Oman with an out-of-this-world wellness center and inspired cultural offerings. We can’t think of any luxury lover who wouldn’t be elated by the lavish suites with bespoke furnishings and private pools. Though an even more over-the-top option does exist and that’s The Private Reserve. Get ready to squeal with delight because the 32,292-square-foot Arabian-palace-style compound has a private beach, giant pool, indoor cinema, wine cellar, butler service, chef, paragliding arrival and sunset excursion to the Sabatyn Plateau and costs a whopping $22,000 per night.