Traveling takes planning which is often half the fun and exclusive resorts are the luxury way to say thank you to yourself. Choosing a dream destination and saving, sometimes for years, helps build the anticipation.
There are many destinations around the world that are worth the extra savings effort because the place itself is so spectacular that you will leave feeling it was worth every penny.
Exclusive Resorts in Europe
Located about halfway between Limerick and Dublin, the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains are home to Ballyfin, a 20 room Irish country house set on a 600-acre estate bursting with woods and gardens.
Each individually decorated room will make you feel like you are staying at the lavish weekend home of a (very rich) friend in 1815 – but with all the modern amenities.
The highlight of this property, besides the glorious grounds, is the restaurant which relies on its own garden for produce along with local meats, honey, eggs, and bread.
To complement your delicious meal, tour the wine cellar with the sommelier who will help you select the perfect bottle. Along with strolling through the hills and spotting wildlife life-like fox and deer, guests can golf at one of the nearby championship courses.
There is also boating, skeet shooting, whiskey tasting, or participating in a unique Regency costume photo shoot.
Although the wide variety of gardens and sea rooms are lovely and comfortable, and with the seven restaurants, you’re sure to find something you like, the real star of this resort is its incredible island location.
This part of the coastline of the Anissaras region is mostly all-inclusive hotels like the Mitsis Laguna, so you can stay put and just relax on the stretch of beach minutes from your bungalow.
The small town of Hersonissos is walking distance away if you crave just a tiny bit more excitement – but once you see the water, you probably won’t.
Although the term “resort” tends to bring up images of white sand beaches, the Hotel Tannenhof is in the Austrian village of St. Anton am Arlberg which is considered the gateway to the Arlberg ski area.
Instead of sand, in the winter you will be surrounded by snow and all the winter activities snow brings right outside the Tannenhof’s door. Individually decorated rooms sport wood paneling and cozy spaces.
The sauna has a window to look out at the winter wonderland while sitting in its heated comfort feeling the soreness in your muscles melt away.
The award-winning restaurant boasts a large wine cellar.
Exclusive Resorts in South America
The views from the windows of the hotel at explora Patagonia in Chile are of the Torres del Paine National Park, in other words, breathtaking.
This small hotel was built by the travel company explora as a base for their South American adventures. If you are less into sitting around and more into quests, then this is a destination to consider. explora offers 40 different curated hikes and horseback rides around the park for all fitness levels.
After your escapades, return to the hotel for a spa treatment and a glass of Chilean wine at the healthy cuisine focused restaurant.
Bird watching, fermenting your own Inca-style beverage and picking organic produce for your meal are all hallmarks of the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba experience located between Cusco and Machu Picchu in Peru.
After you explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas, enjoy a hot stone massage or complimentary pisco sour cocktail before snuggling up with your alpaca blanket in your richly decorated and extravagantly comfortable casita.
Exclusive Resorts in Asia
There are just enough exquisite antique bridal houses and other room types on the property of Bambu Indah in Bali, Indonesia that you will have a difficult time deciding where you want to stay.
You can choose the cottage on the Ayung River with only three walls, a mosquito net with A/C and a butler. Perhaps you would prefer your own personal treehouse or the cottage with the glass floor so you can watch the fish and shrimp swim under your feet.
You really can’t go wrong with this eco-friendly boutique hotel. There is, of course, a spa and farm-to-table organic restaurant and natural swimming holes.
Locally, you can participate in bamboo factory tours, village hikes, and a Balinese blessing ceremony, although if you’re staying at Bambu Indah, you’re already incredibly blessed.
Located in Jodhpur, the second-largest city in India, the Raas Jodhpur seamlessly blends modern amenities with the original guest house called a Haveli.
Elaborate architectural details from the Rajput era are evident throughout the hotel and in some of the rooms in the older portion of the space.
There are three beautiful restaurants on the property that include open-air dining with a view of the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort which is lit up at night.
Because the Raas Jodhpur is centrally located, there are plenty of things to do including temple tours, camel or horseback riding, and shopping.
Sometimes you just need to get away to your own private island.
Huvafen Fushi in North Malé, Maldives can offer that. Whether you choose an ocean or lagoon view bungalow, you get a private pool also.
This seems somewhat redundant, however, because the white sand beaches and clear water are absolutely gorgeous.
All the activities offered are water-focused – snorkeling, diving, yachting, and learning about the reefs from your very own marine biologist.
The resort itself is just a 30-minute boat road from the airport, but after enjoying a massage in the underwater spa or having breakfast on the water’s edge, you will feel like you are a world away.
Exclusive Resorts in Australia
Situated amongst the trees of the tropical Daintree Rainforest sits the wondrous Silky Oaks Lodge and Healing Waters Spa.
This luxury boutique hotel in North Queensland provides elegant treehouse accommodations for a limited number of guests who might use this property as a base for exploring the rainforest or the Great Barrier Reef, or they might just choose to spend their days at the spa on the shore of the Mossman River.
Guests can discover the natural wonders on the property or go to the nearby town with a complimentary canoe, mountain bike or just hop on the shuttle service to the beach.
If you prefer to stay closer in, there are yoga classes and self-guided walking tours.
However you spend your time, you can end the day in the canopy at Treehouse Restaurant trying kangaroo meat or a still delicious but more familiar meal.
Deep in the center of the continent, close to the southern border of the Northern Territory is Longitude 131.
If the words “luxury” and “tent” can work together in harmony, they do in this special destination that promises dramatic views of Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (formerly the Olgas).
Within the property is a curated restaurant and luxury spa that both promise to incorporate traditional bush experiences into their “menus.”
The rooms (tents) will not in any way remind you of camping. You will be able to relax in style after tours of nearby natural landmarks, an indigenous artist colony, or whatever personalized itinerary you can dream up.
Exclusive Resorts in Africa
Views do not get much more spectacular than they do at the Mowani Mountain Camp in Namibia on the Atlantic side of western Africa.
The 15 grass-topped circular cottages nestled into the mountainside offer incredible desert vistas and sightings of the local attraction – elephants.
Short side trips will take you to ancient rock carvings and some unique rock formations on the side of Burnt Mountain.
This resort can be both incredibly peaceful and adventure-filled.
If you’re looking for something a little less rustic, La Residence about an hour away from Cape Town, South Africa may be the resort for you.
This privately-owned hotel features 16 elegantly decorated rooms and suites, many with private balconies, in the Franschhoek Valley.
The property is surrounded by vineyards, orchards, and olive groves. Guests can relax in the spa, do a wine-tasting, or explore the herb garden all without leaving the estate. There are more wineries worth noting just outside the local village.
Exclusive Resorts in Antarctica
If none of the aforementioned resorts have tickled your fancy, then the White Desert might be the place for you. Billed as carbon-neutral and hyper-exclusive, this resort only caters to 12 guests at a time.
Whichaway Base Camp features luxurious doomed sleeping pods, five-star cuisine, a cocktail deck and a library (you know, if climbing through ice tunnels gets boring).
Guests arrive via Gulfstream jet and are treated like royalty. Add-on adventures include a trip to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, a mere 7-hour flight away or a visit to an Emperor penguin breeding ground.
Saving your money for a once in a lifetime trip is a worthy goal.
You get the triple benefit of anticipating the trip, living the journey, and remembering the awesome experience for the rest of your life.
It’s true that you “can’t take it with you” so make some memories now with your own excellent adventure.