Today’s sophisticated travelers can enjoy once-in-a lifetime experiences in luxurious locations that are off the beaten path. If you crave the ultimate in adventure, eco-conscious settings, and magnificent service, put these unique destinations on your travel bucket list for 2020.
1. Hangaroa Eco-Village + Spa, Easter Island, Chile (hangaroa.cl). Located on the mysterious Easter Island in the South Pacific (home to mythical Moai statues), Hangaroa allows adventure-seeking travelers to get an inside look at the Rapa Nui culture and history. Guides lead guests to centuries-old archeological sites to unravel the mystery of how the giant, hand-carved heads came to be. Must-sees include the Rano Raraku volcanic crater (home to the island’s largest statue) and Anakena Beach, where Polynesian culture first came ashore 800 years ago. For those wanting something more adrenaline pumping, opt for an ATV to explore the island.The hotel stays true to its eco-friendly ethos. The 75 oceanfront rooms feature handmade clay tubs, stone showers and lots of natural light. After a day of exploring, head to the spa to be pampered with ancient rituals. A new added bonus: Full Experience guests can choose to dine at one of two local restaurants, including Kana Hau, which has a traditional Rapa Nui dance show!
2. The Singular Patagonia, Chile (thesingular.com). Situated in the heart of Southern Patagonia, The Singular is indeed a singular experience.Once a cold storage plant at the epicenter of the sheep farming industry a century ago, the property has been resurrected as a luxury hotel (and a museum)! However, mother nature is the real draw. Just as previous explorers did, guests immediately fall in love with the surrounding awe-inspiring nature, as this bucket list hotel sits on the shores of a Fjord overlooking the snow-capped Andes. Guests feel like pioneers as they explore the area by private boat discovering glaciers and hidden waterfalls. Other once-in-a-lifetime excursions include trekking through Torres del Paine National Park, horseback riding across an “Estancia” with real-life gauchos or kayaking down winding rivers.Any adventure wouldn’t be complete without incredible food. The Singular uses locally sourced ingredients to deliver local favorites with a french flair. Try the hotel’s traditional “Asador” (barbecue), set in a former Blacksmith’s workshop serving a variety of locally raised meats.
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3. Careyes, Pacific Coast (careyes.com). Careyes is a destination unto itself where the jungle meets the sea, spanning more than 20,000 acres of nature reserve. A vibrant community of international residents and visitors spread across the property’s Ocean Castle villas, Casitas and El Careyes Club & Residences along the cliffside, Careyes is more than just a beautiful resort. It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to commune with nature, explore your sense of spirituality and appreciate the beauty of the earth and sea.Rest assured, all of the unique accommodations are bucket-list worthy. The Ocean Castle Villas feature infinity pools, lush gardens and luxurious furnishings. The beachfront El Careyes Club features five infinity pools, the La Duna restaurant and spacious one- to four-bedroom suites perfect for families or groups. Careyes is an ideal location for a winter getaway, especially at one of their annual special events, including ArteCareyes Film Festival, Agua Alta Polo Tournament and the Ondalinda Festival.
4. Le Torri di Bagnara, Umbria, Italy (letorridibagnara.it/). If life in a sprawling castle sounds appealing, visit this 1,500-acre Italian estate owned by descendants of Napoleon Bonaparte. This restored medieval castle accommodates groups from 15 to 30 people, who enjoy the privacy of a private home coupled with the safety, security and amenities of a luxury hotel.Le Torri di Bagnara has an official hotel license guaranteeing the highest standards, setting it apart from other Italian villa rentals. The estate boasts an infinity saltwater pool, stone barbeque, and vegetable gardens. Savor locally grown ingredients from the estate’s working farm, including extra virgin olive oil, as well as truffles and mushrooms foraged right on the grounds.Special activities include cooking classes, wine tastings, mountain biking, truffle hunting and photography. For families, a kids’ playground keeps the little ones entertained. A must: soar high above the estate and surrounding countryside in a hot air balloon, followed by a gourmet picnic.
5. Costa Rican Vacations, Costa Rica (vacationscostarica.com/). Travelers seeking the ultimate in eco-travel, adventure and luxury can find it all through Costa Rican Vacations, which create complete and customized Costa Rican experiences. A popular place to start is Playa Cativo Lodge on the Osa Peninsula, which fronts a mile of pristine beach offering plenty of wildlife. Use the personal binoculars to catch close-ups of birds and sea turtles, plus a can’t miss, whale-watching tour. Other must-do activities include a private air tour of the Sirena Ranger Station at Corcovado National Park or a visit to Nayara Springs, where the villas have private terraces with private plunge pools overlooking the Arenal volcano.For the ultimate luxury experience, check out Costa Rica’s Four Seasons in Guanacaste, where visitors can expect the ultimate in amenities and service, with offsite adventures, including zip lining, horseback riding and ATV tours.
6. Manoir Hovey, Quebec, Canada (manoirhovey.com/). Manoir Hovey, a five-star Relais & Châteaux resort in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec, was built in 1900 and inspired by George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.The property is 90 minutes from Montreal and retains its historic charm; most of the 36 luxurious rooms feature wood-burning fireplaces, private balconies, and views of Lake Massawippi.Foodies will have a field day at Manoir Hovey. Le Hatley, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, is ranked among the best in the world, and chef Alexandre Vachon presents modern and diverse menus that showcase regional ingredients.Guests can enjoy the bucolic country scenery and a range of activities year-round, including kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding in the warmer months, as well as guided speedboat tours and fly fishing.Fall is an excellent time for foliage tours and hiking nearby, while in the winter, guests enjoy ice fishing with a local guide who sets up a sheltered area on the frozen lake, complete with a pizza oven on skis. Complete a bucket- list item with a thrilling dogsledding experience.