Business Today

Just like heaven

These five luxurious holiday destinations will give visitors bragging rights for years.
Nishant Bangar        Print Edition: Sep 1, 2013

The well heeled and well travelled often face a singular problem - where to take the next vacation? Getaway spots there are aplenty across the world, especially when cost is no consideration. But these men and women have done the usual circuits several times, and are in no mood to flock to crowded, touristy destinations, no matter how well spoken of, all over again. For folks looking to buck the beaten track, three luxury travel planners - A Small World, Broken Compass and French Touch Travels - recommend these unusual getaway spots.


A visit to Croatia, a perfect blend of gorgeous locations, history and super-luxurious properties, is slowly making its way into many bucket lists. This East European country also has some stunning national parks, unexplored mountainous regions and more than 1,000 beautiful islands, each one with a unique look and feel. The must-explore cities are the capital Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Istria and Grožnjan. The country is also home to one of the most stunning palaces in the world, the Diocletian Palace in Split.

This tony beach resort in France is primarily known for the annual film festival devoted to American cinema it has been hosting every September since 1975. A twohour drive from Paris, Deauville is the closest seaside escape for residents of the French capital. With a number of luxury boutiques lining its promenade, it is a getaway fashionable enough for Coco Chanel to have opened her first store here over a century ago. Its hippodrome and casinos draw the international elite. Celebrities such as the Rothschilds of the US and fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent have summer villas here.

Bordering Switzerland, Megéve in the Rhône-Alpes region of France - at a height varying from 1,115 to 2,350 metres above sea level - offers breathtaking views of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. An hour's drive from Geneva airport, Megéve is one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. Domaine Evasion Montblanc, the town's skiing quarter, offers 18 crosscountry trails across 95 km. The narrow cobbled streets and beautifully restored heritage buildings also attract non-skiers, especially during Christmas - when crystal brand Swarovski sets up a spellbinding tree in the village - and during two sporting events, The Megéve Polo Masters in January and The Snow Golf Cup in February.

One of the most stunning clusters of islands in the world, the Cayman Islands are a top-of-the-list destination for honeymooners. This Caribbean Sea destination offers a rare combination of exclusivity, solitude, glistening beaches and untouched tropical wilderness. The best times to visit are during annual festivals such as Mardi Gras in February, Pirates Week in November, and the Cayman Cookout, the Caribbean's premier epicurean event in January-February. With more than 50 dive spots, this is a haven for those who love to explore the world 30 metres under. For nature lovers, the Forest National Park is home to a relatively rare seabird, the red-footed booby.

The one image that comes to mind immediately is Machu Picchu, that memorable symbol of the vanished Inca civilisation, but there is more to Peru than that. Trek through the Andes mountains, through the country's remote villages, and experience some of the most epic landscapes en route to Machu Picchu. Luxury travellers will vouch for exquisite forest lodges spread across the pristine Amazon rain forest, where amidst nature you can wake up to sounds you never heard before. From papering sessions in the spa, to private guided trips to the forest, and luxury cruises that take you through the Amazon, a Peru trip is the ideal way of revisiting nature in its most pristine form.

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