Planning to travel can be both extremely exciting and extremely nerve racking. Between booking flights and dinner reservations for the more intimate evenings, a vacation can be and will be one that no one in the family wishes to forget. However, the most important aspects of planning a dream-worthy trip are the resorts and spas.
When one wishes to travel, they may be seeking thrilling adventure, the quietness of the spa and only the sound of skillfully trained hands rubbing organic coconut oil in a back massage, while others wish to party like it’s 1999 (thanks for those lyrics, Prince). Whatever the reasoning behind leaving their homes and escaping to a resort is up to them, but finding the right one to suit their needs is essential. There are resorts that cater to the palates of every foodie and wines that are like nothing they’ve ever tasted. There are other resorts that house African wildlife and the most majestic sea creatures known to mankind. Thankfully, we’ve done our digging and found the 30 most amazing resorts that are true heaven on earth, paradise by the sea, and definitely unforgettable.
30 Secrets Papagayo, Costa Rica
The gorgeous Secrets Papagayo is located in the breathtaking country of Costa Rica, and is considered to be an ultra luxurious hotel. However, this hotel also hosts one of the most stunning spas in the world. The worldclass spa is outdoors and surrounded by a stunning view of the ocean and spectacular Costa Rican palm trees.
Grab that giant Audrey Hepburn-style felt hat, lounge in one of those long beach chairs and catch the sun. Thirsty and need a refill on that very tasty mojito? Maybe you’re hungry but baking in the hot tropical sun like a super tall fried chicken. Just give the waitstaff a little fan of the hand, as the beach and the pool has a very fast and competent waitstaff to indulge in your every need.
29 Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, Villa Clara Province, Cuba
The Royalton Cayo Santa Maria in Villa Clara Province is an adult-only resort in Cuba. It caters to the most authentic Cuban cultures and traditions, and the hotel tries to portray that in every single room in the hotel. The hotel rooms are located 4 minutes away from the beach but when you stay at this resort, you may not want or need to go to the beach. That’s because the hotel includes its very own spa and two outdoor pools (one of which has a swim up bar), and seven restaurants and bars.
28 four-star Nizuc Resort & Spa
The Nizuc Resort and Spa is home to another huge world class spa in Cancun, Mexico. The main swimming pool in the Nizuc four-star resort also has a grand swim-up bar. But, as tiring as tanning beach side may be, for those looking for more thrill-seeking adventure, a snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boat excursion is something that all visitors should take advantage of before leaving. For those elite visitors, a yacht excursion around the island is the perfect way to end the evening.
After you’ve dried yourself off from watching the fish swim beneath you, the Nizuc resort also has a live Cuban jazz band every evening to set the romantic mood before you wine and dine with your beau. Although this is a family friendly resort, the hotel does offer a kids corner where adult guests are welcomed to leave their children with trained professionals, while the parents in need visit an adult-only infinity pool, overlooking the breathtaking scenery.
27 Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy
The Grand Tremezzo Hotel may just be one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. However, this hotel doesn’t come cheap, as one room can begin at $950 USD a night (that’s a little over $1200 in Canadian dollars). But it’s no surprise why this stunning resort would be so expensive as this resort is located right on Italy’s Lake Como, offering guests located in the suites an exceptional waterfront view. In addition to the lake’s view, the resort also has a magnificent garden that can be toured by everyone and anyone. The gardens of Villa Carlotta were built back in 1745, and were later given to a Prussian princess.
26 Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
In the heart of Whitsundays, Australia, there is a private and luxurious resort and spa called the Hayman Island. Though it is currently closed at the moment, due to the potential of Tropical Cyclone Debbie’s damages, they are accepting new reservations for March 2019. The Hayman private island is not quite located on the GBR, but it is the closest island.
And while this resort is open to children and adults alike, it would be best to leave the little ones at home, as this resort is the ultimate location for weddings and honeymooners. The best way to describe this resort a paradise with a view. The spa and water circuits are located with large floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the Great Barrier Reef, the refreshing Australian oceans, and the lush green mountains.
25 Astarte Suites, Santorini, Greece
The Astarte Suites have been talked about and raved about in magazines like Vogue, The New York Times, and Financial Times, amongst others. It has also be listed Top 25 best resorts voted by Tripadvisor members. So what makes this little gem so special? With a gorgeous volcanic backdrop, these suites are the gastronomy empire of the world thanks to its’ views. The Astarte Suites offers guests a view of Santorini’s iconic Greek waters and skies. Inside each Astarte suites is a jacuzzi pool, where the water reflects off the suites’ ceilings, and a private balcony.
24 Hacienda Na Xamena, Ibiza, Spain
The luxurious resort of the Hacienda Na Xamena is a true gem in itself. Its very own chef, Chef Fran Lopez, also carries two Michelin stars while catering to the taste buds of vacationers who are seeking to physically and spiritually rejuvenate themselves. Certain suites even have a balcony and their very own pool. In the lobby, guests are treated to relaxing leisure activities such as life-sized chess, billiards and a perfect swim in their monstrous sized pool, overlooking the ocean and cliffs in a panoramic view. In fact, this luxurious resort and spa houses two outdoor pools, one huge interior pool, many more pools in the spa section, and that’s not including the pools on each suite’s balcony. The spa is meant to evoke the feeling of each pool cascading into one another.
23 Twin Farms, Vermont, U.S.A.
Welcome to the Twin Farms luxurious resort and spa located in Vermont, USA. While this resort may be one of the most luxurious in the world (we said one of), an evening at the farms can cost a mere $1995.70 CAD for one night, but luckily they offer a $100 gift card to their spa when you book!
However, that’s not all the resort has to offer. For guests staying at Twin Farms, guests are also offered a guest-only ski run, private pond and hiking trails. On the interior, each room is designed with decorations and accents from around the world, such as Morocco and even Japan. But a room that has quickly become a guest favorite is the 1937 New York themed room, that houses artwork from Ed Ruscha and Cy Twombly.
22 Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand
This tiny little resort only holds 11 luxurious rooms, but these rooms are very grand. However, these rooms look more like quaint New York style apartments more than a queen size bed with a mini fridge. With their executive chef, Dale Gartland, it is no surprise that their restaurants are as luxurious as their inner suites. But, don’t plan on attending the resort’s restaurant without sporting a chic and sporty daytime look with an elegant and classy dress code applied in the evenings.
Considering how formal dinnerware tends to be, this hotel is child-friendly but is not designed to cater to children of any age. Most of the guests who attend this luxurious resort are businesspeople and honeymooners. Each state suite's bathrooms or bedrooms each face an ocean or mountain view.
21 AMANPULO, PHILIPPINES
The Amanpulo resort is located in the very trendy Palawan Island of the Philippines. The Palawan experience is known for their impressive scuba diving, sailing and windsurfing. On the grassland, guests can enjoy playing tennis and nature walks, surrounded by indigenous plants and wildlife. The evenings are reserved for the best locations to watch the night’s sky.
The Amanpulo resort has two different kinds of rooms, the Casitas and the Amanpulo Villas. The Casitas range from beach front, treetop pool, deluxe villas and the hilltop villas, all of which have gorgeous sceneries of the Filipino ocean and vast mountains. The Amanpulo Villas range from a one-bedroom, a two-bedroom and a four-bedroom, all of which have the same outdoor panoramic view, closed bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and even a living room.
20 Laucala Island Resort, Fiji
Laucala Island Resort is a tropical paradise that caters to pampering each and every guest that walks through their doors. It is set on a coconut plantation. Guests are fed nothing but the freshest produce and herbs grown and cultivated on the resort’s island.
What makes these villas different from others in the world, or even on this list, is the fact that each of these villas are set to be outdoors. There are no windows or doors. It’s just a clear view between the villa and the beach, the villa and the cliffs, the villas and the fresh air. Of course, there are more private villas with large doors and shutters to match, but if you’re going to travel, do it properly.
19 Banyan Tree Tengchong, Yunnan, China
The Tengchong Banyan Tree hotel is a family-friendly hotel that also hosts some of the most romantic experiences of a lifetime. Rich Chinese culture is apparent on the outside and the inside. Around the resort, guests are welcome to venture off into Southwest China, looking at volcanos, mountains, waterfalls and wetlands, some of them dating back from the Western Han Dynasty. While walking the streets of Tengchong, vacationers will be offered a sight of authentic Chinese traditions, locals going about their every day.
The resort’s exquisite dining experience is a reason to travel to China and book a stay at the Tengchong Banyan Tree in itself. The resort offers four different gourmet experiences, one of which is on an evening cruise on the Yunnan Dianxi Flavour Cruise. Even the cruise sounds delicious!
18 Hotel Villa Honegg, Lucerne, Switzerland
The hills are alive with the sound of the Hotel Villa Honegg. Sound familiar? That’s because this gorgeous hotel sits on the peek of a very large hilltop, overlooking the perfect and iconic Sound of Music mountains. These mountains can also be accessed with a simple hike. But the most breathtaking views of everything else this resort has to offer is the infinity pool at the highest point of the hotel, overlooking Julie Andrews’ best picnic location.
The fireside lounge and cigar room are the ideal rooms for a private business chat or an escape for a heavy romantic honeymoon. Setting the perfect mood (can you really say perfect enough when it truly is perfect?!) in the cigar lounge are multiple candles and a large wood burning fireplace.
17 Paresa Resort Phuket, Thailand
Welcome to heaven on earth. The Paresa Resort in Phuket, Thailand, makes time stand still the moment you look out their floor-to-ceiling windows. According to the resort’s very own website, they consider this luxury to be the “Heaven of all Heavens.” As you sit on a big L-shaped white leather couch, the enchantment of nature sits across from you. The Phuket resort overlooks vast green forests and the crystal blue ocean, the smell of salt crisp air entering your villa’s room.
However, if you’re extra fancy, the Ocean Pool Suite is your best bet. As if the regular basic villas weren’t enough, enter the Ocean Pool Suite with all the perks of the villas listed above, with the added bonus of an outdoor private swimming pool on your very own balcony, slightly covered so it’s perfect whether it be rain or shine. True paradise.
16 Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino, Curacao, Caribbean
What was once the Marriott’s very own paradise is now Marriott’s ex-paradise as they are permanently closed. This resort was once given a 5-star rating for their scuba diving and kayaking experience alone. Located on a white sandy private island, the Curacao Marriott offered an ocean view setting with a swim up bar at the resort’s onsite pool. This hotel was also highly known for their luxurious wedding settings, most of which would be situated under a makeshift canopy, floral bunches and under the hot Caribbean sun. The Curacao Marriott also held a very busy casino.
15 Marquis Los Cabos Resort & Spa, Los Cabos, Mexico
Welcome to the Marquis Los Cabos Resort and Spa, situated in Los Cabos, Mexico. This resort and spa was voted to be in the top 5 best resorts in all of Mexico, and was given a 4.5 star rating out of 5. In addition to the amazing raves and reviews, the Mexican Marquis resort is also found on one of the more fashionable avenues in Mexico’s entirety.
The Marquis Los Cabos resort and spa is also home to Mexico’s only leading spa. They offer stress-relieving massages and holistic treatments. However, some guests may want to visit their state-of-the-art fitness center before heading out to their spa, and might want to end the night dining in one of the three exquisite 5-star restaurants that are offered onsite.
14 Jade Mountain Resort, St. Lucia, Caribbean
The Jade Mountain Resort is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. It’s stunning, breathtaking, and absolutely one-of-a-kind. The Jade Mountain resort is located on a 600-acre beach front. The hotel was built by building individual bridges from the rooms leading directly to an infinity pool, which houses the view of the lush mountains across the ocean.
After dining in the Jade’s cuisine, served by famed Chef Allen Susser, guests typically wine and dine, and spend the evening staring at the stars in the open sky of their infinity pool.
13 Thatch Caye Resort, Belize
The Little Mermaid’s very own Ariel once said, “Life under the sea is better than anything they got up there.” That’s exactly what you’ll get at the Thatch Caye Resort in Belize, as they are Belize’s first overwater resort. Located high above the sea levels, the Thatch Caye Resort offers regular villas and premier oceanfront cabanas. These rooms are situated on the ocean, perched up by strong supports, giving guests a panoramic 360 view of the oceanfront and the mystical sea creatures that swim beneath, well, your bed.
While most guests enjoy the villas that only houses a king-size bed, or two twins, to capture a once in a lifetime experience, there are others who would prefer the beachfront cabanas to get a better experience. The beachfront cabanas look more like a little house, offer an ensuite bedroom, dining room and luxurious bathroom, with a large patio and lounge chairs to relax. Although they offer air conditioning, the Belize tropical air and salt water smell will flow perfectly through the windows if they are opened.
12 Chiva-Som, Hua Hin, Thailand
The Chiva-Som resort is a wellness sanctuary that enriches the lives of those who need some deep unwinding. The resort offers guests a wellness retreat to help with health concerns, deep stress, life goals and to overcome some of the world’s toughest struggles. They offer treatments, such as cell vitality, which is a natural way for patients who are in recovery from cancer or are in remission. In addition to the cell vitality, the resort also has a detoxing program, a yoga retreat, cranial relief to reduce stress, and many more.
11 Ikos Oceania Resort, Nea Moudania, Greece
Don’t get confused with the Ikos yogurt and the Ikos Oceania resort, but they’re both Greek. The Ikos Oceania Resort is considered to be a luxurious lifestyle, rather than a holiday stay. However, the most luxurious part of the stay is the choice between 300 different kinds of wines, where sommeliers and Michelin star chefs from around the world have perfectly selected and paired their bottles to their menus.
The Ikos Oceania Resort also offers a high-end spa and wellness treatments, in addition to their stylish rooms and family friendly stay. The resort is located in the Mediterranean, and while many expect the traditional Greek scenery to be the backdrop for this resort, instead, it is located on a white sandy beach, overlooking the Mediterranean ocean and a perfect place to watch the sunrise and sunset.
10 Travaasa Hana, Maui, Hawaii
The Travaasa Hana resort in Maui, Hawaii has been awarded many accolades when it comes to tourism and wellness packages in Hawaii. As the Hana resort is located on the beaches of Hana, this is the only resort in Hana that is greeted by a gorgeous sunrise. The leafy green palm trees and gorgeous grass fields will have each guest mesmerized in the Hawaiian paradise.
Depending what holidaying guests are vacationing for, the Travaasa resort has something for everyone, be it wellness, culinary, rest and relaxation, a little TLC, adventure, culture and even fitness. Everyone feels welcome and feel as refreshed as they expected.
9 Royal Davui Island Resort, Fiji
Situated on the heart of the Beqa Lagoon lays the Davui Island Resort, with white sandy beaches, tall green palm trees and the most epic sunset, guests will feel as though they’ve officially escaped the hustles of life and can sit back, and enjoy themselves.
The Royal Davui’s logo is the conch shell (or Davui in Fijian,) as back in the day the Fijian used the conch shell to call locals together, which is why the hotel decided to use it to symbolize their hotel in order to call guests from far and wide together. Welcomed guests are now part of the Royal Davui’s family.
8 Samabe Bali Suites & Villas
Bring your appetite, folks, because the Samabe Bali suites and villas offers guests a once in a lifetime opportunity to wine and dine inside their very own private cave. In addition to the intimate setting that the Samabe villas has to offer, chefs also invite guests to join in their beach barbecues.
Adding to the gorgeous and romantic views the resort has to offer, their villas are exceptional. Guests get to choose between a one-bedroom villa with a private pool, or a two-bedroom villa with a telescope on a private balcony to get the perfect view of the evening stars.
7 Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
Oh, be still my beating heart, because Tennessee is about to take it and run with it. The Blackberry Farm offers rooms, suites, villas and even a 3-5 bedroom home to rent during your stay. In addition to their exquisite and charming rooms, Blackberry Farm also has its very own farm. Surprise, right? The farm also supplies chefs with fresh produce that they grow and cultivate in their very own backyard.
As if that wasn’t enough, Blackberry Farm also has multiple wine tastings and wine events. Guests are also greeted with fulfilling gourmets in their three different inviting restaurants.
6 Constance Moofushi, Maldives
The Constance Moofushi is located on its very own private island. The resort is well known for its white sandy beaches and finest wines. In their waters, guests are welcomed to join in the many water excursions the resort has to offer, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and even dolphin searching.
The Constance Moofushi is another resort that is located above the ocean’s very own waters, offering guests a private view of the Maldives’ turquoise waters and the sunset. Each villa has their very own balcony and open private rooms. These open private rooms are rooms, just for you, without windows and simple wooden door panels. It is exceptional.
5 Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, Botswana
Pack up and suit up, because we’re going to Botswana, Africa with this resort. The Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and offers guests the choice of a tent for a mere $885 USD per person. For close to a thousand dollars per person, guests have the opportunity of waking up with authentic African wildlife like lions, elephants, hippos and herds of buffalo, in addition to a choice of up to 450 different species of birds.
While each vacationer can get up close and personal with nature, sleeping in a tent may sound a little too natural. However, their tents are fully equipped with a king-size bed, lighting, decorative pillows, a private pool and a common room. For those who want to socialize, travelers are welcome to sit in the common room, under a common tent, below the African sun.
4 Pullman Marrakech Palmeraie Resort and Spa
The Pullman resort and spa is made for those who enjoy relaxation, leisure activities and golfing. As this resort is located on a gorgeous 18-hole golf course, their outdoor pool with tall waterfall captivates the hearts of those who lounge in one of their many lounge chairs. While the golfers enjoy their hours on the course, others tend to stroll to the spa, enjoying a relaxing massage.
Although this resort is family-friendly, and kids are more than welcome to attend the Pullman Marrakech resort, it does lack a little je ne sais quoi for kids. This resort and spa is rather a more acceptable venue for business meetings, retreats, weddings, or for a little relaxation.
3 Fregate Islands, Seychelles
The island of Seychelles is one that is increasingly trending at the moment, is absolutely stunning beyond compare to anything else, and can suck the breath from out of your lungs, however, it is highly underrated and rarely spoken about.
The Fregate Islands are private islands, where each villa is private as well. The villas range between a private villa, private villa with a pool, or a private villa with a pool AND spa. In addition to these majestic wonders, the Fregate Islands also has an estate for a larger crowd and party. These villas are located on a sanctuary of paradise, surrounded by trees, water and sea life.
2 Turtle island, Fiji
I must be living under a rock or something, because there are so many private islands on this list, yet I still stay at Best Westerns in the inner cities. Turtle Island is located on a private island off of Fiji.
Turtle Island was created by a man who was seeking a new home and new adventure over forty years ago. He built his home, and created a place for people from all around the world to also call home, even if it was for a short time. As this island is off of Fiji, it is no surprise that the oceans are flooded with different species of fish, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, whales and corals. So don’t forget to pack your snorkeling gear and scuba mask and dive into paradise.
1 Isla de sa Ferradura, Spain
The Isla de sa Ferradura is situated on the bay of San Miquel and is THE most expensive private villa in the world. Guests must reserve a minimum of four nights in order to be able to stay at the Isla de sa Ferradura, and it can house up to 12 people in a single six-bedroom villa. In addition to the luxurious vacation stay, the Isla also has a 23-meter-long pool in the gardens and another at the terrace level. On the rooftop terrace, there are two bars where guests can keep refilling their champagne flutes and party like a rockstar with the islands’ very own DJ, a fitness and yoga center, and its very own spa. This luxury doesn’t come at a cheap cost, seeing as though the four nights for this luxurious lifestyle will cost you over $300,000. Ouch.
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