Emerging destination or an old favourite for your next luxury holiday?
Choosing your next luxury holiday is harder than ever because there’s just so much choice. At the same time it’s easier than ever because standards everywhere have gone up.
Some travellers prefer to be on the front line of travel, and invariably opt for the new destinations. They’ll be naturally attracted to places like Vietnam, where a new range of luxury hotels offer elegant comforts on unspoiled beaches. Highlights include the food –Vietnamese cuisine combines the best of Chinese and Thai to develop a delightful range of textures and flavours that you’ll rarely find outside Vietnam.
Neighbouring Cambodia is even less developed for tourism – and it has to be said, its beaches aren’t great. But it does have Angkor Wat, undoubtedly the greatest archaeological site in the world; a beautiful stone city in the heart of lush jungle. A few days here playing Indiana Jones would perfect a beach holiday – and is a short, inexpensive flight from Vietnam.
Brazil is another up-and-coming destination that is extremely underrated for its beach appeal. A lot of visitors fly into the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro and never get any further – it’s easy to see why, with the succession of beaches, each with a character all of its own, and the array of restaurants, bars and beauties.
But Brazil covers half the landmass of South America and there are more beaches than you can count. The Austral summer – ie the British winter – is the time to head south. The fishing village of Buzios was first put on the world map by Brigitte Bardot in her glory days, but there are also many boutique resorts and charming hotels in Florianopolis or the island of Ilha Grande. Europe’s summer is the time to head north, to Natal or Olinda, or the islands of Fernando do Noronha.
Europe’s summer is also a good time to visit Indonesia. Bali, though delightful, is hardly undiscovered, but few travellers venture further. There are 13,000 islands here, many of which have beautiful beaches and welcoming resorts.
There’s no need to fly so far to find the next new frontier. In the Middle East, bypass Tunisia and Egypt and head, instead, to the brand new resorts of Dubai, or even the Sultanate of Oman. The south of the country has an Indian Ocean climate, a few select hotels and a proud desert welcome. The Cape Verde Islands are warmer than the Canaries and far less visited. They are quietly set just off Africa’s western tip, where you’ll find isolated beaches, dramatic volcanic landscapes and the freshest fish you can imagine.
But in the quest for the new, it’s easy to overlook traditional favourites. Barbados is a classic winter getaway, where sunshine comes guaranteed along with a relaxed island welcome. The beaches tend to be small, but so do the hotels, often family-run, character dwellings where travellers return year after year. Or choose nearby Antigua, a perennial favourite getaway for chilly Europeans.
The Maldives are hardly new on the tourist map, but they continue to develop new and increasingly stylish resorts. The trick here is overwater luxury; no island is too small for hardwood villas that seem to float on the sea. Glass floors mean the underwater world enters into your room in a stunning experience of total relaxation. Mauritius remains a firm favourite, thanks to the fine cuisine, excellent service and simple island welcome. For a year-round getaway you will rarely do much better than this.
Then there’s Europe. Hardly undiscovered but ultimately rewarding, the classic resort towns of Italy, Spain and France vie with the beautiful islands of the Mediterranean. Villas are often the best way to go here, allowing you a splash of culture and the chance to relax as a local in a luxury home from home.
It’s not easy to choose between traditional and new. It may just be that this year, more than ever, you need to try both.
For more information visit Simply Luxury Holidays or telephone 01235 436 100
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