03 October 2017
When you think about a luxury holiday, what do you picture? Perhaps it’s five-star service, your every whim taken care of. Maybe it’s incredible facilities, from yoga at sunset to deep sea scuba dives. Or, simply, a breathtaking location - dazzling white sands lined with palm trees and bright blue waters.
This year, if you’re dreaming of a luxury paradise but aren’t sure if your holiday budget will stretch that far, read on to discover five destinations we think you might enjoy. These exotic spots offer picture-perfect beaches as well as sumptuous resorts. Though the long-haul flights might take up part of your holiday fund, costs for accommodation, food, drinks and excursions generally tend to be lower. And, you might just find that they fit nicely within your holiday budget!
For dreamy island paradise with culture and incredible food that makes the most of your holiday budget, try Thailand. The twinkling turquoise waters, pristine white beaches and luscious jungle are hard to beat, and the luxury resorts and hotels are truly sumptuous. Whether you’re hoping for a spa and wellness retreat or a relaxing base for an action-packed trip with scuba diving, treks and island hopping, there are plenty of affordable 5* options in Thailand.
Looking at a photo of one of Mexico’s dazzling beaches, it’s not hard to see why this spectacular destination is such a popular holiday spot! And the luxury resorts here offer everything from adults-only to all-inclusive, with some hotels set within sprawling acres of tropical plants and other resorts nestled on the beach.
Hoping to make your holiday fund stretch a little further? Try going to an all-inclusive resort. You’ll find a variety of restaurants, including fantastic a la carte options, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks all included for the duration of your luxury holiday. Travel Counsellor Helen visited Cancun in October 2016 and had a fantastic time at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun: "If you are a foodie, this is the hotel for you, it has plenty of food choice and all restaurant types...The Brazilian restaurant is incredible! The standard of food on the all-inclusive is really high. We visited the Italian restaurant and it was so good we went back the next night, not something we would usually do! And what can I say about the beach, it is breathtaking."
From mouthwatering Vietnamese dishes to the beautiful coasts to colonial buildings stepped in history, Vietnam is an ideal spot if you’re hoping for luxury and adventure. The scenery is breathtaking, with cities, beaches and rolling plains across the country, so you can explore culture and architecture, as well as relaxing on picture-postcard beaches. Whether you prefer luxury boutique hotels in the city or a resort on the beach, there are some exquisite luxury options in Vietnam – and they represent excellent value, too.
South Africa is a beautiful country with plenty to see and do, whatever your interests are.
Foodies will be amazed by the incredible restaurants – and the value for money you’ll find at some of the country’s top eateries. Travel Counsellor Beverley has visited South Africa many times and loves Cape Town and says the food is one of her top 10 reasons to visit the city: "Cape Town’s location allows it to be a melting pot of all of this [the food capital of South Africa]. As well as its famous hotel restaurants like Bombay Brasserie, Nobu, Planet, Signal and the Azure, there is a very loud buzz in the city for great places to eat. New restaurants and pop-ups are the talk of the town!" Beverley also points out that "pretty much everything [is] exceptional value for money", including find dining.
Nature-lovers, meanwhile, can spot birds, the Big Five, and whales, and spectacular scenery from beaches to botanical gardens. And if you’re hoping for luxury, there are some exquisite hotels, from boutiques to retreats on vineyards.
With a mesmerising landscape that includes bright green rice paddies, tropical forest, and white, sandy beaches, Bali has something to delight everyone, from explorers to sun-seekers to art-lovers. Travel Counsellor Pam has been visiting Bali since 1996 after falling "totally in love with the beauty of Bali as well as the friendly Balinese people," and Travel Counsellor Derek, who visited in November 2016, agrees, "Bali is a beautiful island with super friendly people and great dining options along with a great choice of hotels to suit all budgets. It really is worth putting in that extra few hours flying as the affordability on the ground will more than cover the cost [of the flight]."
And the luxury hotels are enchanting. Expect everything from 5* resorts designed to resemble Balinese villages to elegant hotels perched on the edge of the beaches to opulent spa and wellness retreats. Derek points out that you can find something to suit your budget here, "Bali offers great value for money and with regards to hotels and the standards, they range from luxury 5* opulence to very good value 3* hotel options." One of the areas Pam recommends? "Nusa Dua, with amazing beaches and 5-star hotels"
Ready to indulge in a little luxury this year? Get in touch with your Travel Counsellor to plan your tailor-made luxury holiday.