Summer is fast approaching and you are looking to take a week—or maybe more—off from work to go on a much-deserved international adventure. This is the time of the year when the desire to travel peaks, thanks to the longer days and warmer weather—but where to go? It’s a big world out there and trying to choose where to journey can be daunting. So read on to find out about some of our favorite international destinations (and some of the best hotels and resorts in each one) to make summer 2017 the most memorable one yet.
Located in the heart of the South Pacific, Fiji is known for its luxurious private islands, all-inclusive resorts, top spas, culinary destinations and outdoor adventures. Featuring just 18 Balinese-style suite beachfront suites and villas, Nanuku Auberge Resort has some of the largest guest accommodations in the islands and provides immersive cultural programming to ensure every guest leaves with a true sense of place and knowledge of the Fijian culture. Ideal for families or couples, the all-inclusive resort provides each guest with a ‘Villa Mama’ which serve as a hybrid between a housekeeper and a butler, as well as an activities concierge. Guests can choose between kayaking, paddle-boarding and snorkeling at Nanuku reef, specially crafted Nanuku cultural activities, Fijian arts, crafts and cultural workshops, daily-hosted drinks, canapés and more. The resort also offers a pristine two-mile white sandy beachfront and access to Nanuku’s very own two-acre private island located just 20 minutes away from the resort in the famous Beqa Lagoon system of coral reefs. Another stand-out resort is famed Turtle Island, where Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears have both said to have spent vacations. The tiny island resort only books a handful of guests at a time, offers mulitple private beaches that couples can occupy all by themselves nearly every day, and a unique environment that fosters friendships among the staff and clientele. Truly a unique experience.
Bali, the island and province of Indonesia, is known as The Island of the Gods due to the great beaches, countless waves for surfing, wonderful natural sites to visit and explore, colorful ceremonies, world-class activities, shopping and more. May and June are shoulder season and coincide with the best weather (drier, less humid) and allow travelers to find good room deals, with some last-minute bookings available. The beachfront InterContinental Bali Resort is nestled in lush tropical gardens, alongside a stretch of prime white sand beach which invites guests to immerse in the ambiance of a tranquil Balinese village. The five-star resort is said to have the best sunset-views at Jimbaran Bay, and affords guests the opportunity to enjoy not only yoga, but also to learn Bayu Suci, which is similar to Chinese Tai Chian, in an early morning beachside class. Vacationers can also learn about traditional Balinese music, take a fruit and flowers decorative or cooking class, and the more active can take a morning Kedonganan Fisherman’s Village Bike Tour or the Sunset Bicycle Tour which, explores the neighboring Jimbaran village.
Tobago, the sister island of Trinidad, is one of the Caribbean’s hidden gems, with its captivating scenery, picturesque beaches, spectacular reef diving, waterfalls, coco plantations, and Rain Forest Reserve for eco-destination seekers. December to May is peak season, with April to June and October to December being considered the shoulder season. Situated on the Leeward side of the Island on the beautiful Stonehaven Bay, overlooking the turquoise blue Caribbean waters, The Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort provides all the vacation essentials to unplug and unwind. The 4-star resort offers guests ultimate relaxation and indulgence options, from lounging on the breathtaking beaches to renewing their spirit, health and beauty with the Spa’s numerous sensations services. Taste some of the Island’s world-famous rum at one of three different bars (including a pool bar) and enjoy the rich Tobagonian cuisine from casual to elegant at the three restaurants. For activities and fun, travelers can play tennis, enjoy non-motorized watersports, snorkel or scuba dive along the Islands brain coral, explore the Rain Forest Reserve and coco plantations or simply immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the Island.
Tucked away in the northern Caribbean, Anguilla offers a unique blend of high style and low-key elegance along white beaches and breathtaking turquoise seas. Enjoy their endless Summer with near perfect weather, blue waters and balmy trade winds, and take advantage of their premier Summer Prix Fixe & Beyond offerings which offer visitors access to unique three-course menus at the island’s finest restaurants, as well as additional value at select resorts, hotels and villas. Take a day cruising or sailing to many of Anguilla’s offshore cays or secluded beaches, enjoy a multitude of water sports and activities or adventure out to The Old Valley, or dance the night away in sandy Ground. Stay at the Malliouhana, An Auberge Resort, which is a go-to destination for the jet-set crowd and is known for its iconic Cliffside location high over Meads Bay and Turtle Cove, and sweeping 360-degree views of the Caribbean. The 44-room boutique blends modern amenities with the warmth and gracious hospitality of the Caribbean. Its transformed restaurant is lauded as the best on the island. Overlooking white-sand beaches, Malliouhana features a two-tiered swimming pool area surrounded by private cabanas, an Auberge Spa and an outdoor terrace for dining under the stars.
Ranked sixth on its list of best countries for solo travelers to visit by Travel+Leisure, Vietnam is ideal for travelers in the summer months. From top sites like Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park to Hanoi’s massive Dong Xuan Market or picturesque Halong Bay, Vietnam offers something for all travelers. Located in the heart of Son Tra Peninsula Nature Reserve, overlooking a private bay, the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, is a luxury five-star beach resort just 30 minutes from Danang International Airport and 45 minutes from the world heritage site of Hoi An. Enjoy a plethora of activities including: kayaking on the East Sea, forest trekking, a shopping spree in Hoi An, temple hunting in My Son, early morning tai chi, or just a lazy afternoon by the expansive pools. And if you want to explore a bit more, the ‘In the Know’ Concierge will guide you on trips to local cultural and heritage sights around the area.
Known for overwater bungalows and privacy galore, the Maldives have long been known as a place to indulge in romance and luxury. With sunny weather year-round, white beaches and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, explorers can enjoy all aspects of travel from the spiritual, adventure-filled, the romantic and the local side of life in this paradise. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi (one of two Jumeirah resorts in the Maldives) is nestled in a secluded location at the south end of the Maldives in the heart of the Indian Ocean and is the only all-suite luxury resort in the Maldives. Accessed by a one-hour domestic flight from the Male capital, activities for guests include: snorkeling/scuba diving—the reef around Main Island and the Ocean Pearls is four kilometers long and home to some of the rarest coral reefs known to mankind—mixology classes, yoga, culinary demonstrations and fishing. For those looking to relax, the resort boasts an 18,000-square-foot spa that includes three private over-water treatment rooms and one VIP room with a range of traditional and alternative therapies. Enjoy four restaurant options and a chance to create your own dining experience with the resort’s Dine by Design offer, which comes with your own personal chef for a meal that’s truly one of a kind.
Providenciales, the most developed and populated island in the Turks and Caicos, offers some of the most spectacular beaches and ocean water in the world, from internationally acclaimed Grace Bay Beach to the sheltered and secluded Taylor Bay and Sapodilla Bay beaches. From the beautiful Chalk Sound National Park to the wide array of water sports, wilderness adventures and activities, to day trips around the island, paradise awaits in the turquoise waters and an impressive coral reef system. The Gansevoort Turks + Caicos which is located on the secluded end of Grace Bay Beach, recognized as the world’s number one beach by the 2016 Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Awards, offers a sleek and sexy beachfront travel options for those looking to go to the Caribbean. Boasting 91 guestrooms and suites, all with gorgeous ocean view and amenities including a 7,000-square-foot infinity-edge mosaic tiled ocean view swimming pool with ocean views and award-winning Exhale Spa.
Bora Bora is French Polynesia’s leading lady, filled with beautiful resorts featuring overwater bungalows. Guests can choose to be as active or inactive as they wish to be as they can either lounge on their own private deck and receive room service via outrigger canoe, or can visit the main village of Vaitape to shop and dine, explore Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu on a guided hike or Jeep Safari tour, or go on popular lagoon excursions include snorkeling, diving, cruising, fishing, paddle boarding, kitesurfing, Jet Skiing, and of course, shark and ray feeding. Immerse yourself in aquatic life and get up close to their resident sea creatures in the Lagoonarium, a protected habitat housing a coral nursery and myriad species of fish. Achieve beachfront bliss at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa where you over-water villa envelops you in the warm embrace of a tranquil lagoon. Facing the spectacular Mount Otemanu and boasting incredible views of Bora Bora, the resort operates on revolutionary technology that draws seawater from the depths of the ocean and reuses it for electricity. Enjoy everything from rainforest tours, diving expeditions, ATV rides or shopping trips into town, or choose from a selection of excursions and day trips around the island and lagoon that will keep you busy for the duration of your stay.
The Cayman Islands are an archipelago of three islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, located 90 miles south of Cuba. The coveted Caribbean getaway affords travelers the opportunity to swim in cerulean waters, explore the world’s most intricate coral reefs and beautiful beaches and go on numerous outdoor adventures. Through their “Summer Only in Cayman” promotion, travelers who book before June 30th will have the opportunity to save on an extra night free at participating world-class resorts and secluded private villas—including the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and the all-new Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, home to Grand Cayman’s first and only Turkish-style Hamman—along with discounted meals and activities. Thrill seekers can enjoy excursions including award-winning eco-tours and stingray encounters with Six Senses Cayman Adventures and Luxury Cayman Villas or bask on a champagne cruise on the North Sound of Grand Cayman with Sealand Adventure Tours. Those looking for fun on land can explore the woodland trails and tropical floral gardens of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, get cultured at The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, or immerse in Cayman’s rich historic at any of Grand Cayman’s many national historic sites, including Pedro St. James and the Cayman Islands National Museum.
Mauritius is an island located in the Indian Ocean east of Madacascar which is known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. With steady temperatures hovering around 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, Mauritius visitors can revel in an escape away from the typical tourist traps as they create lasting memories on their summer vacations. Nestled in the nature reserve of Bel Ombre and just 45 minutes from the airport, Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort’s 181 sea-facing rooms rest on the breath-taking beachfront location, offering the charm and tradition of an early 18th-century Mauritian sugar cane plantation. Through the resort, enjoy uniquely Mauritian experiences, such as learning the art of sega dancing, an African creole folk dance, relishing in a traditional Mauritian tea time at Bois Chéri, or enjoying a mesmerizing fire show. Those looking for more adventure, go on guided bike tours from the property to local villages, quad biking at Frédérica Nature Reserve, exploring mountainous views and impressive waterfalls and flying across the open sea while trying kitesurfing, the popular watersport in Mauritius.
British Virgin Islands
The luxurious, “barefoot chic” British Virgin Islands is comprised of 60 distinct islands and cays with each offering a variety of unique accommodations and interactive activities. Known as a safe and serene destination with private islands and resort options, the BVI is a perfect. And with the return of the seasonal Summer FREEdom program, travel seekers can choose from 20 exclusive packages including private island stays and island-hopping boat charters. From must-see places like The Baths on Virgin Gorda or historical diving site, the Wreck of the Rhone, there’s no shortage of adventure throughout the territory. Additionally, food and spirit lovers can take a trip to the island of Tortola and sample authentic dishes, like fresh seafood and jerk chicken, from more than 40 street food vendors and stop by the Callwood Rum Distillery. There are quite a few awesome beach hotels in the BVI to choose from, or perhaps island hop your way around via yacht and helicopter.
Kyoto, best known for its vast history and traditional culture, is dotted with over 2,000 shrines and temples and 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Throughout the year, Kyoto is host to many world-renown festivals including the Gion festival, one of Japan’s largest which occurs throughout the entire month of July. Kyoto is also famous for its cultural offerings, traditional cuisine, craft workshops and unique hotel amenities such as ryokans. Travelers may think of Japan for the Spring Cherry Blossoms, but the summer scenery is just as breathtaking with rows of hydrangeas amongst Kyoto’s temples. And in terms of accommodations, some of the highlights include: the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, which is secluded amid a five acre 12th-century pond garden, Hoshinoya, known as a ‘waterfront hideaway’ invites guests to take a boat ride up the Oigawa River to get to the resort, Hiiragiya Ryokan, which was established in 1818 and has been under the ownership from the same family for six generations, and Nishiyama Ryokan, which features facilities that preserve the authenticity of a Japanese ryokan such as a lush garden and deluxe public baths.
The European capital, commonly known as a business destination, is often overlooked by leisure travelers and has a perception of just being a swanky, layover to the Alps in the winter. Flanked by the stunning French Alps and picturesque Lake Geneva, Geneva provides the perfect mix of outdoor paradise and urban amenities in the summertime along with excellent cuisine, festivals, cultural experiences and wine country. Plus the airport offers direct flights from more than 140 locations, and the metro system is easy to navigate, with every hotel offering guests complimentary Transport Cards, granting free access to public transportation. With numerous five-star accommodations in Geneva from recognized luxury hotel brands, a slew of Michelin-starred restaurants with three-to-four-course tasting menus, delectable cheese and chocolate and more than 30 museums and galleries, there is something for everyone. If you are more of the outdoor wanderlust, embrace the fresh air with a private boat fishing trip or paragliding, take a wakeboard and waterski session on Lake Geneva or cycle the city, countryside and vineyards.
Just Luxe | May 2017