Travel may be off the agenda for 2020, but you can still plan for a trip of a lifetime at some of the most envy-inducing travel destinations next year.
After endless months in isolation, make the most of life post-COVID by exploring these 26 destinations.
Whether you want to soar across Cappadocia’s ‘fairy chimneys’ in hot air balloons or experience the Northern Lights from a luxury glass igloo, beautiful gems will be awaiting when the world reopens.
26 magical travel destinations
A is for Adare Manor, Ireland
Set on 340 hectares of parkland, this sumptuously restored neo-gothic manor hotel and golf resort is steeped in history. Join golfing’s elite and tee off on the championship Tom Fazio-designed links course. As the host of the 2026 Ryder Cup, register your interest in tickets and accommodation for this iconic golfing event.
Alternatively, enjoy falconry, gun dogs, game shooting, fishing and archery. For a change of pace, guests can recharge at The Spa with an exclusive Codladh Samh massage or La Mer-branded treatment, one of only 11 spas in the world to offer this.
Wind up the day by dining at a choice of five restaurants with the Michelin-starred Oak Room offering guests an exquisite hand-picked farm-to-table menu. And for that truly exceptional personal experience, Adare’s staff go next level for their guests, challenging service norms and creating personal memories. From A$600 per night.
B is for Bawah Reserve
Bask in sustainable luxury surrounded by turquoise waters, coral reefs and blue lagoons. Spread over six islands and 13 pristine white-sand beaches, Bawah Reserve is a 35-villa luxury resort and marine conservation area in Indonesia’s Anambas archipelago.
In the true spirit of an isolated luxury escape, guests arrive at Bawah Reserve by seaplane, 80 minutes from Batam, Indonesia. With a focus on conservation, guests connect with nature enjoying a full range of land and water experiences. Snorkel in crystal-clear water, stargaze the never-ending skies, take in sunrise qigong and sunset boat trips, castaway picnics and starlight cinemas. Get your hands dirty with organic farming or simply relax in utter seclusion.
They say the heavens appear closer to Earth at Bawah. From A$2,800 night.
C is for Cappadocia
Soar across Cappadocia’s ‘fairy chimneys’ in hot air balloons, watching in awe as you silently sail across million-year-old rock formations. Home to beautifully coloured geo-formations, this region in central Turkey is just as intriguing underground as it is from above. Vast cave systems and subterranean towns are waiting to be explored.
And have you even been to Cappadocia if you haven’t stayed in an iconic cave hotel? For one of the most memorable and luxurious experiences, stay in the Grandiose Cappadocian Pool Mansion at Kayakapi Premium Caves. Featuring its own outdoor pool and terrace, Turkish bath, indoor pool and sauna, this four-bedroom, three-bathroom accommodation proudly lives up to its name. From A$5,900 per night.
D is for Degustation
Coining the phrase New Nordic cuisine, Copenhagen’s two Michelin-starred Noma defies convention offering a daring 20-course degustation menu. Think foraging, fermenting, fungi, moss, mould and even ants (yes, ants) – its three seasonal menus are crafted entirely from native ingredients.
Voted the world’s best restaurant four times in the respected World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, the newly renovated and located Noma now sits effortlessly at number two. Bookings are as elusive as some of Noma’s ingredients, with reservations opening only three times each year with full payment upfront to secure the table. From A$600 per person.
E is for Egypt
“How would a little trip down the Nile suit you?” Celebrating the October 2020 release of the film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic Death on the Nile, Original Travel has chartered the PS Sudan for a 10-day adventure down the Nile commencing in Cairo. The cruise will ply the waters between Luxor and Aswan with private tours offered to the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Karnak, the Temple of Edfu and Kom Ombo.
The 19th-century steamship is the ultimate in oriental opulence, decorated in an elegant Belle Époque style with a sophisticated service experience in keeping with the rich history of the ship. Sleep in the Agatha Christie suite and be inspired, but watch for the butler; doesn’t he always do it? From A$5,200 per person.
F is for Formula One
For Formula One fans, experience a legendary race in Monaco – the ‘home of luxury’. The Monaco Grand Prix package includes a front-row view from a private superyacht and celebrations with the glamour of everything GP.
But first, warm up with your own F1 car experience at a private track day in the south of France. Inspired following the race? Hit the roads on a four-day luxury driving tour of Europe, experiencing a fleet of the world’s best supercars in the driving meccas of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. From A$35,000 per person.
G is for Grand Riad
Intimately tucked away inside the Royal Mansour, the Grand Dame of Marrakech, is the Grand Riad, one of the world’s most beautiful and iconic hotels. This masterpiece of Moroccan architecture is hand-painted in gold and silver and features Michelin-starred chefs, secret tunnels and a glimpse into the finest things in the Kingdom.
A palace within a palace, the Grand Riad sprawls across 1800 square metres and three levels with this thrilling space oozing opulent Moroccan glamour.
Imagine all that’s lavish and the Grand Riad has it with a bar and snooker room, private cinema, library, gym, staff and 24/7 butler. And what five-star-plus experience would be complete without a private swimming pool, landscaped garden and Bedouin tent with views stretching to the Atlas Mountains. From A$42,000 per night.
H is for Highlands
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is barely enough,” said Mark Twain, and whisky lovers around the globe would be inclined to agree.
Explore Scotland’s whisky regions with private tastings in a tailor-made holiday. Scenic beauty, luxury accommodation, award-winning dining and, of course, revered distilleries – let your passion take you to the lands of the uisge beatha, or the ‘water of life’. POA.
I is for Iceland
Buckle in for a ride; this one’s a doozy. Imagine starting your day diving or snorkelling between two tectonic plates. The Silfra fissure in Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park is where the North American and Eurasian continental plates meet. Suit up in a dry suit and experience the cavernous crystal-clear waters in this natural wonder. Mind-blowing.
Next, take a private helicopter flight over Thrihnukagigur volcano. Upon arriving at the cave-like magma chamber of the dormant volcano, you’ll enjoy a white-cloth dining experience complete with crystal glasses and gourmet food and, if you’re lucky, a glimpse of the Northern Lights. POA.
J is for Jackson Hole
For the ultimate ski and wildlife experience, Four Seasons has turned up the heat and created a package that literally ticks every box. This adrenaline-charged package is spread over six days kicking off with backcountry skiing in Jackson Hole.
Start the day with early access to the best runs with an Olympic gold medallist skier. A private wildlife safari follows with an aerial tour of the Teton Mountain Range before jumping on a snowmobile and searching for moose, bison, elk and wolves in secluded pockets of Yellowstone National Park.
After private jet transfer to Vail, take off for heli-skiing for the pick of the powder and then lunch with a view from the top of the mountain prepared by the resort’s chef. From A$22,500 per person.
K is for Kyoto
Immersing yourself in a traditional ryokan is a bucket-list experience and Hoshinoya Kyoto is in a class of its own. For the ultimate in luxury, this traditional guest house touches every sense. Nestled in the Arashi Gorge, the woodland retreat is reached by a peaceful river cruise. A vast oasis of garden forms a magical backdrop to the 25 pavilion-style guest chalets that overlook the Oi River.
Kyoto’s famed craftmanship pervade every inch of this restored century-old property. Every interior element is designed to enhance the serenity of the surrounds with elegant contemporary features sitting comfortably in this traditional setting.
A serene dinner is prepared by executive chef Ichiro Kubota with an exquisite Kaiseki banquet of precise and artfully presented dishes.
The key to an authentic ryokan experience is finding peace, tranquillity and leaving your stresses and expectations alongside your shoes at the edge of your tatami mat. From A$700 per night.
L is for Luxpedition
There are few places on Earth that can match Colombia for an epic cycling adventure. Add to the mix Egan Bernal, 2019 winner of the Tour de France, as a riding buddy and an invitation to the Giro de Rigo riding festival and things just got real.
This adventure is not for the faint-hearted. Nor the unfit. Nor those who prefer four wheels to two. But what this experience is is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hang out with the inner sanctum of Colombian cycling elite, to challenge yourself and to feel alive.
Brown + Hudson pride themselves on creating utterly original and life-enriching experiences. Riding through Colombia with a Tour de France champion in a bespoke ‘luxpedition’ achieves just that. POA.
M is for Maldives
Experience your own Robinson Crusoe moment in paradise with a luxury overnight stay on a deserted sandbank.
Five-star Soneva Fushi offers the ultimate desert island hideaway. Board a seaplane (vintage Champagne in hand) to a private sandbank where you’ll glamp in a luxurious Bedouin-style tent. Private staff will prepare a lavish candle-lit meal before discreetly leaving you alone with the stars and the sea. A sumptuous breakfast is served at sunrise followed by a private yoga session to capture the soul of this life-changing experience. POA.
N is for Northern Lights
Watch the Northern Lights from a luxury glass igloo at Levin Iglut Golden Crown in Finnish Lapland, a fairytale destination of snow-dusted forests and frozen tundras.
The luxurious resort boasts a prime viewing position for one of nature’s most magical shows. The design-led glass igloos allow for spectacular views of the dancing light, making it one of the most mesmerising travel destinations on Earth.
Surprisingly spacious, the 53-square-metre luxuriously equipped Suite Igloo features a private terrace with outdoor jacuzzi and the best unobstructed view of the valley and northern sky.
While aurora borealis-spotting is the main attraction in autumn and spring, fill your days with cycling, golfing, hiking and horse-riding before night falls. In the colder months, experience husky and reindeer safaris, snowmobiles and ice fishing while also capturing the lights on bright nights. From A$1,700 per night.
O is for Oman
Discover Old Arabia in unchartered southern Oman with the Luxe Mobile Camping Adventure. Explore vast deserts, rugged mountains and empty beaches with activities and camp locations that showcase the best of the Dhofar province.
Travelling in luxury 4×4 vehicles, explore scenic and historic sites or alternatively join a themed trip or craft your own bespoke itinerary.
Glamping is at its finest in the opulent camps with Arabian rugs and candles, plush bedding and a private bathroom with an open-air shower. Dine under the stars with Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean cuisine prepared by chefs. POA.
P is for Parfums sur Mesure
Where else to create your own perfume but Paris? Compose your own personalised couture blend of perfume during a private appointment with proprietor and perfumer Stéphanie de Bruijn. Creating fragrances for more than 20 years, Stéphanie uses 400 rare raw materials collected from all over the world. Her discrete boutique Parfum sur Mesure exudes luxurious charm and elegance. Creating a fragrance is an intimate experience as Stephanie studies you, your style, your tastes and dreams.
Your unique signature scent will have a secret formula kept on file for future refill requests. When you complete your personalised experience, you’ll leave with a 100ml bottle of your scent in an antique perfume bottle. From approx A$1,700.
Q is for Queenstown
The luxurious Aro Ha wellness retreat will regenerate your mind and body under the majesty of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Set in an intimate 20-room lodge, the self-sustainable property features minimalist-chic cabins that blend seamlessly into the craggy beauty of the surrounding lake and mountains.
Nestled in the sub-alpine glacial valleys of Central Otago, Aro Ha is an easy 40-minute drive from Queenstown near the aptly named Paradise Valley. A five-night retreat in a breathtaking setting ensures you feel completely removed from the world. The nutrient-dense vegan cuisine helps fuel the body for the daily yoga, three-to-four-hour hikes and strength training. Meanwhile, therapeutic massages will help you wind down so you can find your inner calm.
Aro Ha in Maori translates as “in the presence of divine breath”. Some say the vast wilderness and transformative power of nature heal and at Aro Ha that may be true. From approx A$5,000.
R is for Rajasthan royalty
Home to HH The Maharaja of Jaipur, Suján Rajmahal Palace is located in the heart of Jaipur, Rajasthan’s ‘Pink City’. Built in 1729 Rajmahal Palace has been painstakingly restored and exquisitely refurbished with no restraint shown on the colour palette – more is more in this ‘living museum’.
Vast rooms are showered in a riot of colour and feature 46 bespoke bold wallpapers, hand-picked antiques and Art Deco furniture. With 14 lavishly appointed rooms and suites, the Palace also offers two exceptional Royal Apartments. Nothing has been spared in the extraordinary Ram Niwas – Maharaja’s two-bedroom apartment. Literally fit for royalty, it includes a private entrance hall, separate bar and drawing room, private terrace and heated pool. And let’s not forget oodles of colour and design. Guests in the Royal Apartments enjoy a private butler and chauffeur service. From approx A$1,200 per night.
S is for Saffire Freycinet
Located on the rugged and remote east coast of Tasmania, Australia, Saffire Freycinet takes sophisticated eco-luxury to a whole new level. As a member of the prestigious Luxury Lodges of Australia portfolio, Saffire Freycinet joins a select few lodges offering lavish sustainable accommodation in a natural wilderness setting. As a coastal sanctuary with an environmental sustainability ethos, every effort has been made to minimise the footprint of the site and protect the natural surrounds.
Breathtaking views beckon from the 20 luxurious suites and pavilions, elegantly styled with contemporary furnishings. Showcasing premium local produce is Executive Chef Ian Todd, who crafts seasonal culinary masterpieces. Saffire’s Day Spa draws on the natural elements to create sublime treatments including its signature heated stone treatments sourced from The Hazards mountain range.
Enjoy utter isolation where you’ll hear nothing but the sound of the earth breathing. From A$2,100 per night.
T is for The Brando
There are luxury resorts and then there’s The Brando. This multi-award-winning resort is actor Marlon Brando’s former French Polynesian private hideaway on the island of Tetiaroa a 20-minute private flight from Tahiti.
Featuring 35 deluxe villas, the resort offers sustainable luxury hospitality designed to reflect Polynesian lifestyle and culture. It’s also the life-long dream of actor Marlon Brando to create the world’s first luxury resort with near-zero carbon emission.
However, it’s the newly developed Brando Residences that will leave you breathless. Each three-bedroom residence sits on a sprawling beachfront site offering exclusivity and privacy at one of the most beautiful locations in the world.
With all-inclusive luxury, an idyllic setting and committed to its sustainability beliefs, The Brando is more than a hotel – it’s a vision. From approx A$4,900 per night.
U is for Ulusaba
On most bucket lists is experiencing your own Out of Africa adventure in a luxury safari lodge. Think the vast savannahs of the African wilderness, star-drenched endless skies and the thrill of close encounters with wildlife.
For unprecedented luxury, Sir Richard Branson’s family-friendly Ulusaba Safari Lodge is the pick. Nestled under a canopy of ancient trees on a dry riverbank in Sabi Sand Reserve, this family-friendly lodge offers the ultimate African affair. Eleven luxurious treehouse suites have rope swing bridges, private walled gardens, plunge pools and stunning views over the African bushveld. Enjoy game drives, guided bushwalks, tennis, stargazing and spa treatments or simply lounge by the pool. But it doesn’t get more ‘Africa’ than watching hippos and elephants bathing and wildlife quietly drinking at the neighbouring waterhole. From approx A$1,000 per night.
V is for Venice Simplon-Orient Express
Recapturing the romance of a bygone era, the golden age of luxury train travel is back. For train aficionados, it’s about relishing the journey as well as the destination. And the acclaimed Orient Express has made the journey an exquisite art form. Once described by Vanity Fair as “the train against which all other luxury trains are measured” the Orient Express is an iconic and enduring symbol of luxury. Its luxe features include plush decor, polished wood, antique fixtures and ornate Art Deco carriages complemented by elegant meals and dedicated service.
With routes to the most captivating destinations in Europe, follow in history’s tracks with the classic route from London to Venice – the gateway to the Orient. Wherever your travel destination, this magnificent locomotive creates a journey for the senses. From approx A$3,700.
W is for White Desert
Sitting at the end of the earth is a dramatic and exclusive luxury escape like no other – White Desert Antarctica. This exotic and definitive glamping experience at the last great frontier goes beyond the bucket list.
Arrive by Gulfstream jet then be whisked away to Whichaway Camp – a cluster of environmentally friendly fibreglass pods perched in rugged terrain, surrounded by startling white ice. Functional on the outside, the inside of the pods is a triumph in warm luxury camp comfort with plush furs, rich leather, natural wood and neutral tones.
Each five-star meal is a memory, as is each picnic in the elements, and each cocktail, chilled with 1,000-year-old ice blocks.
White Desert offers a range of adventures on the ice including a night at the South Pole (yes, really), strolling among a King Emperor colony and exploring ice tunnels.
For those with a pioneering spirit, buckets of adventure and who hear the call of the wild loudly, White Desert Antarctic is your answer.
From approx A$21,000.
X is for Explorer-X
Imagine the only concrete information you have for a trip is Day Zero – your day of departure. The rest is a mystery – you don’t know where you’ll be going but you know when you return. This is an Explorer-X experience.
Explorer-X creates custom travel experiences for the open-minded, the curious and the brave. It’s a leader in transformational travel, working with clients to craft bespoke travel experiences and small-group journeys to the most incredible destinations in the world. This is not for the fainthearted nor the control freaks. With trips designed to change lives, Explorer-X is for the “seekers and explorers”.
Travelling with Explorer-X, you see the world and yourself through different eyes and if the company has done its job well, you’ll find your inner explorer. POA.
Y is for Yosemite
Escape daily life and discover the majesty of Yosemite National Park with a private guided luxury hike. Think towering granite cliffs carved and polished by ancient glaciers, plunging waterfalls, old-growth forests and walking among the largest living things on earth – the giant sequoias. View this jaw-dropping national park on foot and Yosemite like a local with a private guided four-day, three-night tour that avoids the crowds (and the beaten path).
Choose from an easy hike or a wilderness workout, your private guide is a Wilderness First Responder who will craft an experience to maximise your time at Yosemite. From approx A$3,100 per person.
Z is for Zimbabwe
Imvelo Safari Lodges in Zimbabwe aren’t just about luxury and spectacular safaris, although they have plenty of both. Instead, making a social and environmental impact is top of their agenda. And they welcome and encourage guests to join them in this experience.
Located in the African republic’s national parks, Imvelo works tirelessly to ensure communities and wildlife directly benefit from tourism. With the generous support of guests, Imvelo provides staff, time and resources to neighbouring impoverished villages.
With a portfolio of six unique luxury lodges and camps, Imvelo does things differently with a focus on experiential safaris for an intimate and active wildlife experience. Imagine game viewing from canoes or tracking elephant herds by mountain bikes. Authentic visits and interactions with local communities are also offered, as is plenty of luxe living with pop-up spas and five-star dining. Yet the most rewarding luxury is the opportunity to tread lightly in your travel. POA.
Feature image: Soneva Fushi