First off, a warning: If you’re reading this in a packed station, waiting for a delayed train, click away. If you’re crammed uncomfortably between two strangers on an economy flight, hit ‘back’. If you’re a passenger in a car, top-to-tail in traffic on a miserable motorway, don’t read on. Because these destinations and excursions are so luxurious, so lavish, that they won’t only have you seething with envy — they’ll likely ruin your entire trip.
But, if jealously isn’t your go-to response when you spy a fast car, or see a particularly tasty Insta-snap from a new upscale restaurant, feel free to keep scrolling. For these seven sumptuous locales and escapes are where the super-rich will be spending their free time this year — from the Northern Maldives to the snowy Rocky Mountains.
In South Tyrol, could the Dolomites become the new Alps?
The Dolomites don’t get the recognition they deserve. Towering high and jagged over northeastern Italy, most travellers still turn their noses up at the Alps’ little brother; a mountain range filled with hidden gems, extraordinary vistas and wonderful skiing in its own right. Thankfully, with the launch of a conceptual new five-star Tyrolean mountain retreat this May, that looks set to change.
FORESTIS may not have the catchiest name but, perched on the southern slope of the Plose mountain at 1800 metres above sea level, this is the ideal getaway for overwhelmed billionaires looking for an escape. Surrounded by a dense mountain forest, every one of the 62 suites have panoramic views overlooking the overlooked mountain range. Head chef, Roland Lamprecht, will introduce Forest Cuisine — whatever that is — and activities range from Wyda Celtic yoga to a ski-in/ski-out experience.
In the Northern Maldives, sustainability is attracting the eco-conscious
This year, The Maldives have seen an astronomical 396% jump in bookings. We can see why. With those crystal clear blue waters, sugar-sand beaches and endless horizons, there are few better escapes in the world. And, on Ra Atoll in the Northern Maldives Archipelago, there’s a 20-hectare private island that feels more exclusive and remote than any other.
Emerald Maldives is a new, über-exclusive type of resort, divided into 60 beach villas and 60 overwater villas — and it looks like something you’d usually see on a screensaver. There’s a wraparound reef, architecture influenced by Singaporean and Italian style, and solar panels on every villa — powering the resort sustainably; another of 2020’s top travel trends. With a spa, tennis courts and more water toys than you can shake a paddleboard at, expect billionaires to be bobbing around in those shimmering waters in no time.
There’s nothing Rocky about Aspen’s winning reputation
It’s not a new entry on this list: Aspen has been a favourite winter destination for superstars and the super-rich for decades. One of the rare North American ski resorts with actual history, it was founded as a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom — and looks just as shiny today. Unlike Vail and other Colorado ski towns, Aspen is uniquely isolated and has an airport for small (read: private) planes only.
And, several years ago, the town’s most exclusive hotel was refurbished — and The Little Nell has been tempting CEOs, global dignitaries, politicians, and A-list celebrities through its doors ever since. Known locally as ‘The Nell’, this is the only true ski-in, ski-out hotel in town — and it now boasts a minimalist design with rustic touches, culinary packages and a reputation for the most discreet, five-star service in the Rocky Mountains.
Jamaica has a hideaway fit for a superspy
There’s a new Bond film out this year, hadn’t you heard? We’ve been excited about it for quite some time — looking at Bond’s suits and his new watch in anticipation for No Time To Die’s April release. And the hype was kicked off last spring when Daniel Craig and co. announced the casting for the new film at Ian Fleming’s Goldeneye Villa in Jamaica. Thanks to the Bond effect, it looks to be one of the hottest destinations of 2020.
These days, Goldeneye is a collection of private villas, lagoon cottages and beach huts — each set amid tropical gardens, private beaches and secluded coves. There’s an open-air perch from which you can watch a fiery Caribbean sunset, reliably good weather all-year round for the visiting billionaires — and even a bamboo bar on Button Beach that we’re sure could whip you up a shaken-not-stirred martini — even if they will serve it in a coconut…
Forget relaxation, the new super-rich trend is exploration
Although many multi-millionaires have their own floating palaces docked up around the world, not all of these yachts will be ice-worthy. And, since there’s been an 18% increase in Antarctic tourism since the 2018-2019 season, it makes sense that there are more and more brands offering experiences and excursions for the deep-pocketed punters who fancy themselves as subzero explorers.
2020 marks 200 years since explorer Nathaniel Palmer first discovered the Antarctic mainland — and a vessel named for another famous globetrotter, Ferdinand Magellan, is now offering the super-rich the chance to follow in his icy footsteps. With a guest limit of 71, the Magellan Explorer is the most sustainable, luxurious way to see these furthest, chilliest straits of the world — and she’s yet to take her first batch of would-be buccaneers.
Could Montenegro be the new Monte Carlo?
If you’re familiar with One&Only resorts, firstly good for you — because you’re probably rich. If you don’t know anything about this super-exclusive chain of getaways, know that its list of resorts reads like the most expensive places in the world. The Palm, Dubai; Reethi Rah, Maldives; Gorilla’s Nest, Rwanda. These aren’t your usual package holidays — and the latest opening is no exception.
2020 sees the launch of One&Only Portonovi, in Montenegro. Resplendent at the entrance of Boka Bay, a fjord-like idyll on the Balkan country’s Adriatic Sea, the resort is a nautical playground set amongst sapphire waters, dramatic mountainous forest, and medieval towns. And this level of investment is indicative of how up-and-coming Montenegro is; truly Europe’s most fashionable new destination.
Israel is the hottest new destination in luxury tourism — literally
It’s got the culture of Morocco, the cool of Los Angeles and the cuisine of Lebanon: Israel is the new hottest getaway in the world — quite literally. If you’re not pouring money into one of the new resorts popping up in the Negev Desert — such as the ridiculously appointed Six Senses Shaharut — you’ll be pouring with sweat in over 40°C heat. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing; the country has some of the best saunas, steam rooms and spas in the world.
And the infrastructure has blossomed in recent years. Ramon airport opened exactly a year ago, creating an international gateway to the Red Sea, and Virgin Atlantic now fly a daily service from London to Tel Aviv. Of course, if you’re really moneyed, you’ll be flying privately into the burgeoning country — and checking into the pictured Six Senses Shaharut.
Want to see more of the best hotel openings in 2020? We take a look at the most luxurious to soon open their doors…
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