If you’ve been pining for the finer things in life—the glitzy hotels, beaches of silky sand, first-class flights and dishes to tempt a gourmet’s palate—you’ll find them on the Web. This guide presents ideas and resources to help you plan a high-end getaway. You’ll find luxury accommodation and flights, as well as spas, cruises, yachts and adventure trips for the luxury set. Hang on to your diamonds.
With the world as your oyster, it can be difficult to pinpoint just one worthy destination. Use this section to compare pictures and excursions, and to research the best restaurants and cultural events on offer at your chosen locale.
- Leave yourself plenty of time if you’re planning an international trip. Even if you’re booking a trip through an agency, you’ll still need to wait for government bureaucracies to process passports, visas and immunizations.
- Many of the sites here concentrate on the most popular destinations. To find entertainment options in more rural or off-the-beaten-path locations, type the genre of entertainment you seek along with the location into a search engine for fast results.
For where to go …
features destinations and journeys on its homepage. Explore the possibilities in the “Inspirations
” section for a glimpse of some far-flung settings and locations. Use this site to book your accommodations if you find a destination that suits you.
, one of the industry's premier magazines, is accessible without charge on the Web. This site's best feature is the searchable database of archived articles. Browse the contents of past and current issues, or run a search on specific destinations or activities. The site also has a section of restaurants around the world with editorial reviews, some of which are by Food & Wine magazine.
Condé Nast Traveller
is a lifestyle and travel magazine. Select from a list of destinations to research and plan your getaway. Visit the “Let Us Inspire You
” link to select specifications for your trip. The “Annual Awards and Lists” section on the left sidebar is also worth browsing: read up on the year’s most highly acclaimed airlines, airports, cruise lines, hotels, islands and spas.
For what to do …
displays events, museums, attractions, restaurants and more in cities around the globe. Find out what’s upcoming and discover local favorites. The site has a knack for pointing out esoteric events that might otherwise be overlooked.
finds restaurants and activities in many cities around the world. Choose a destination and then use the links near the top of the page to browse restaurants (though not always upscale, you can find fine dining options), entertainment ideas and shopping recommendations.
Lots of Web sites offer great views into some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, inns and lodges. Use the sites in this section to compare prices and amenities at some of the world’s premier hotels: you’ll find romantic getaways, beach resorts and even child-friendly destinations.
- If you’ve browsed many potential locations but are still unsure of where to go, research hotels and see if any seem extraordinary enough to warrant a visit. You might determine your travel destination based on the amenities offered by some of these impressive establishments.
- To get the best quality room, call the hotel in person after you’ve reserved. Specify your needs to the concierge (if you want a certain kind of sheet on your bed, for example, or would like champagne or flowers in the room upon your arrival) and you’ll be more likely to end up with exactly what you want.
- Some international hotels still allow smoking in their rooms. Before you book accommodations, be sure to check on the status of the room you select.
For luxury hotels …
The Leading Hotels of the World
represents more than 450 of the world’s most luxurious hotels. Sign up to be part of the “Leaders Club
” (at no cost) and receive updates and upgrades. If you join the “Leaders Club Access
” group (for $300) you get a personal concierge and preferred status at any of the hotels represented.
Relais & Chateaux
is a partner to The Leading Hotels of the World
. It offers worldwide destinations and theme stays where you’ll find accommodations that cater specifically to family, weddings, golf, culture, fine dining and oenology.
Five Star Alliance
is an online travel agency for the leading luxury hotels in the world. Browse accommodations by location or scroll down the page for “Hotels by Interest.” Visit the “World’s Best Luxury Hotels 2007
” to see hotels featured by the site.
LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels
helps you find hotels based on the experience you hope to have. Check the box that most fits your needs—choose from “Islands,” “Desert,” “Golf” and “Spa,” among others. Select as many boxes as you want to refine your search as you see fit.
For boutique hotels …
Small Luxury Hotels of the World
allows you to select a hotel by name, destination or type. Descriptions of the rooms, rates, dining and locations are included. There’s also a photo tour available for most hotels on the site.
The Leading Small Hotels of the World
is affiliated with The Leading Hotels of the World
and offers the same benefits as its parent site. Select your destination to browse possible accommodations. If you have a hotel in mind, enter its name in the search box to read a review.
Chartering private flights has become a staple of luxury travel—for business or for pleasure. Private flights have access to far more airports and destinations than airlines can provide, allowing you to fly exactly where you want to go, any time of day or night. True luxury travelers make even the voyaging leg of their journey a pleasurable experience.
- In chartering private jets, the more passengers on board, the more sound the investment. Round up your friends and family for the ride—it will make traveling privately even more worthwhile.
- If you need to find a vessel fast, try searching for “Empty Legs” on any of the recommended sites or in a general search engine. You’ll find unreserved aircrafts planning to make a trip—if your destination is covered, and you could fly privately at a reduced rate.
allows you to fly privately 24 hours a day. Start with a consultation to determine your needs and purchase a Marquis Jet Card. As you fly, money is deducted from your card until your balance is zero. At that point you can choose to renew the service or not, no strings attached.
operates like MarquisJet: put money onto a card and have access to private flights 24 hours a day. This service offers 15 different aircrafts for you to choose from. Take a look at the “Empty Leg Flights
” section for a glimpse into last-minute flight opportunities.
charters jets at a moment’s notice. With a 24-hour call center, this company promises to provide you with whatever sized jet you need whenever you need it—and will take you wherever you want to go.
If you’ve got an adventurous spirit, you don’t have to scrimp on luxury. The sites in this section present adventure travel options from luxury tour companies, including skiing and biking trips, river cruises and ship sailing, and even heart-pounding train rides.
- Luxury adventure travel doesn’t have to involve risky athletic ventures. Pilates and yoga retreats often fall under the adventure travel category, as does eco-travel. Take a look at the adventurous yet relaxing luxury trips offered by Health Habitravels.
- Visit the findingDulcinea Yoga Web Guide and see the section on yoga retreats to find more luxurious adventure travel options.
Abercrombie & Kent
is an operator of luxury travel tours in exotic destinations worldwide. Their trips include luxury skiing, canal and river cruising, small ship sailing, train travel, African safaris, family holidays and much more. Abercrombie & Kent also designs custom trips for those craving a more personalized experience.
offers remarkable getaways to various parts of the world. Look for tours, cruises and train travel options, and tailor your trip around special interests
such as “Air Balloon Travel,” “Religious Travel,” and “River Cruises.” The “Travel Resources
” section has lots of useful information on immunization, insurance and gear.
Butterfield & Robinson
offers active trips for luxury travelers that revolve around walking, biking or boating. Visit the “destinations
” section for all of the available locations, or use the “dates” section to find trips that coincide with your schedule.
For LGBT luxury travel …
Gay Luxury Adventure Vacation
offers upscale outdoor trips for gays and lesbians. Select from the featured trips—like an all women’s motorcycle tour through New Zealand—or browse the categories on the left sidebar.
Spas offer the ultimate in pampering and are an increasingly popular luxury destination. There are spas that specialize in food, wine, golf, yoga, ayurvedic medicine—even spas on cruise ships. Whatever your pleasure, there is a spa that will cater exactly to you, and the sites below can help you find it.
- If you’ve never been to a spa before, visit Leading Spas of the World for a glossary of terms and advice on spa etiquette. Spas are unlike other destinations and have a very specific culture.
- Because spas are health-conscious destinations, they generally make every effort to accommodate individual health requirements. If you have food preferences or allergies, or need special bedding, most spas will happily oblige. Call the concierge and make your preferences known ahead of time to ensure that all your needs are met.
helps you locate a spa with its advanced spa search tool. Browse the left sidebar for articles and insights into luxury spa travel.
is devoted to “the full depth of the spa experience and ways to live it every day.” Learn about the most cutting-edge spa techniques and treatments, or use the search box to find a spa by name or location.
has an extensive section on specialty spas
. Browse the list to find casino spas, cruise ships with renowned spa services, eco-friendly spas, spas for cancer patients, yoga retreats, wine spas and much more.
Many online resources are available for finding cruises and yachting trips, but not all are created with the luxury traveler in mind. The sites listed here are designed specifically for travelers with expensive taste—those who want the best of the best.
- If you have a sensitive stomach, request a cabin toward the middle of the ship. Motion sickness isn’t usually a problem aboard large luxury vessels, but if you’re concerned, opt for a middle cabin where movement is more controlled.
brings together some of the most high-end cruises available. Browse the list of cruises to read about the services and amenities offered, or learn about ship charters
Luxury World Cruises
offers itineraries for some of the most high-end cruise lines. Choose the line that interests you and select the destination of your choice. You’ll get a list of cruises to select from; cruises range in duration from one week to more than 100 nights onboard.
ranks the world’s leading cruise providers according to “Enjoyment Factor,” “Dining,” “Children’s Program” and more. The site also ranks ships so you can do a side-by-side comparison of vessels based on criteria like “Décor” and “Cabin Comfort & Amenities.” This is a great place to do research before you select a cruise line or boat.
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