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Matamanoa Island, Fiji

The 1980 film “Blue Lagoon” didn’t use many special effects, but then, the cameramen didn’t need them: They had Fiji as their backdrop. Fiji is made up of more than 300 islands with rain forests, beautiful coastlines and coral reefs. Many of the islands remain relatively free of massive commercial developments due to their remote location and the tough-to-navigate surrounding reefs.

Fiji was named No. 10 on a list of dream destinations based on a recent survey by travel management company Travel Leaders. The company asked 1,045 U.S.-based travel agency owners to rank which international destinations their clients would choose if money was no object. Their top choices appear here.

Fiji is a place to “disconnect yourself from technology and relax—order room service, sleep late, lay on the beach,” says travel writer Melanie Nayer. Visitors can rent a villa right on the beach, many complete with servants, go snorkeling or scuba diving and sail around to other islands.

If money really is no object: Gather some family and friends and rent out Laucala, a private island with 25 villas, each with its own pool. Some are just steps from the ocean, others are nestled up in the mountains with panoramic views. Rooms start at $4,200 per night; it costs about $150,000 per night to rent the entire island for a group of up to 80 people. (All rates in this article are for trips booked to begin in early April.)

 

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Santorini, Greece

“There is no better way to see the Greek islands than by cruise,” says Kate Rosevear, the owner of Travel Leaders, who notes that travelers typically spend a full day on many of the islands, with enough time to take in cafes, shopping and beaches. Two of the more luxurious cruise lines are Silver Sea (rates are $1,500 to more than $4,000 per person for a seven-to-nine day cruise) and Regent (roughly $6,000 for a seven-day cruise). One of the most popular itineraries is Athens to Istanbul—two bustling, historic cities that offer bookends to a multiday cruise with stops at islands such as Santorini and Mykonos.

Rosevear recommends spending two or three days in your departure cities: In Athens, visitors can see the Acropolis and Parthenon, but shouldn’t neglect lesser-known attractions like Anafiotika, a tiny neighborhood lined with whitewashed homes and built into the Acropolis hill, or the Numismatic Museum, which houses thousands of coins. Istanbul is home to the massive Topkapi Palace, which once housed leaders of the Ottoman Empire, and the Grand Bazaar, a teeming market boating thousands of vendors.

If money really is no object: Charter a private yacht through a company like Moorings, says Rosevear. Moorings’s prices range from about $15,000 to $35,000 for a crewed yacht for a week.

 

European river cruise

Much of Europe was built along rivers like the Rhine and Danube, and taking a European river cruise is one of the best ways to see smaller, historic towns like Arles, Bruges, Basel and Salzburg, says Karolina Shenton, marketing and sales operations manager for CruiseWeb.com, a booking site. Luxury travelers like that the ships are small (roughly 150—200 passengers) and that they tend to spend a significant amount of time in port.

Some of the popular routes include Amsterdam to Budapest (along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers) (roughly $6,000 per person for a 15-day cruise on Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, one of the more luxurious river cruise lines). Cruisers on that route see everything from Holland’s to Germany’s castles. Also well-liked: European Christmas Market cruises (about $2,400 a head for an 8-day cruise from Nuremberg to Frankfurt on Uniworld), which spotlight cities that are lighted up for the holidays. 

If money really is no object: Take a 27-day cruise from Amsterdam to Istanbul aboard Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, on their ship the River Duchess, says Shenton. You’ll hit three rivers—the Rhine, Main and Danube—and see 10 countries, at a cost of roughly $10,000 per person.

 

 

Italy

Luxury travelers should make a point to visit lesser-known Italian towns like Siena, Bologna and Lake Como, says Fitzgerald. Siena is best known for historic offerings like its 13th-century square Piazza del Campo and the Museo Civico, which houses beautiful frescos. Bologna is a culinary destination, and the glacially formed Lake Como, in the Italian Alps, is renowned for its natural beauty.

Robert Tuchman, president of high-end travel company Goviva, recommends visiting the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. The coastline features pastel-colored homes built into bluffs overlooking the Bay of Naples, and little towns like Ravello; visitors also aren’t far from the island of Capri, he says. Travelers who like high-end fashion shouldn’t miss Milan, headquarters of Italian big-name designers like Versace and Dolce & Gabbana.

If money really is no object: Rent a suite overlooking the ocean at the Il San Pietro di Positano, a hotel on the Amalfi Coast, Tuchman recommends (prices range from about $600 to $2,000 per night). An elevator will whisk you down to the beach, and amenities include tennis, a pool and a Michelin-star restaurant.

 

Tahiti

More than 100 years after the painter Paul Gauguin showed it to much of the world, the volcanically-formed Tahiti attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Tahiti is the largest, and one of the busiest, of the 118 islands that make up French Polynesia. The capital city, Papeete, has a number of high-end resorts, as well as restaurants, markets and shops. At the traditional Papeete Market, shoppers can pick up items scented with vanilla or made from black pearls (both specialties of the area). A hike to the Fautaua Valley waterfall, where a cascade of water plummets nearly 1,000 feet, is also worth a trip.

But most of all, it’s a place to pick a great hotel on the water and swim, snorkel, sail and lay in the sun. Don’t neglect to check out the other islands near Tahiti, including Bora Bora and Moorea, adds travel writer Nayer.

If money really is no object: Stay at one of the handful of overwater bungalows or the 1,930-square foot Presidential Suite at the Le Meridian Tahiti (rates run about $850 a night), a five-star hotel on the island, which has two gourmet restaurants, on-site cooking classes and botanical gardens.

 

Cruise around the world

The appeal of cruising around the world is obvious. As Linda Tancs, a franchisee of Cruise Planners/American Express, puts it: “It’s the Magellan effect—who wouldn’t want to circumnavigate the Earth?”

Tancs recommends the Cunard line, which will offer three around-the-world voyages in 2014, stopping at 78 destinations on six continents over the course of three months (prices range from $17,000 to $60,000 per traveler). Among the destinations you’ll visit: Singapore, Mumbai, Hong Kong, the Canary Islands, Stockholm, Olden and Geiranger in Scandinavia, St. Petersburg in the Baltic, Reykjavik in Iceland, Cape Town and Hawaii.

If money is really no object: Rent the Grill Suites on a Cunard oceanliner, says Tancs. Prices range from $50,000 to $60,000 a person and amenities include a personal butler to attend to your needs and arrange customized shore excursions for you. You can also charter a yacht from a company like International Yacht Charter Group.

 

 

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Posted July 8, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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