Everybody has dreams. Some of those are probably uniquely personal while others are more universal. As the latter goes, there’s a good chance that the ambition to embark on an incredible vacation to one of the world’s most exotic and beautiful places is a common enough dream. So, for those dreamers, here’s a list of the world’s top-shelf if only in your dreams destination just for you, alphabetical by country, all prices quoted in USD.
As beautiful as the bird for which it’s named, Bird of Paradise Villa (website) in Anguilla is actually a collection of several buildings that house four master suites. Each has its private entrance, veranda and spectacular views. Upon arriving, guests are met at the port and transported to the villa where they’re given a complimentary cell phone for contacting the staff to be picked up anywhere on the island and brought back; calls to North America and Europe are also included. Enjoy the villa’s dedicated crescent beach on Sandy Hill Bay right out the back door; yacht parking is available. Or check out the library of hundreds of DVDs, free Wi-Fi and the gourmet cooking of the property manager, “Chef Zoe,” who ran a catering business in San Francisco and cooked in France for ten years before managing the Bird of Paradise.
Price: The lowest rate for one suite, one night with no additional personal chef, boat and captain-at-your-disposal charges, during the Low Season is $1999. They go up from there.
At Bougainvillea Villa (website), guests will find themselves surrounded by some of Aruba’s most exotic tropical gardens, animals, a sizable pool and a rainbow of flowers, many of those being, yes, bougainvillea. The villa is across the street from Aruba’s famed Malmok Beach. Of course, if you feel like golfing I’m afraid most residents find that they must make the grueling journey on foot – it’s several yards to the incomparable Tierra Del Sol course and its five-star clubhouse.
At the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort (website) one can dive into a tropical lagoon literally from the front door. You arrive at this slice of French Polynesia by private hotel boat, naturally. When not awestruck by the scenery, swimming and snorkeling in the crystal water or lounging in the infinity pool, there is half a mile of private beach to explore.
Price: A night in paradise starts at around $760.
NaMaygoos Lake Cabin
Once again, judging by the picture alone one might be inclined to underestimate the appeal of this fly-in only slice of northern heaven. However, the NaMaygoos Lake Cabin (website) is situated in the Canadian Boundary Waters Canoe wilderness area which straddles Minnesota’s border with Canada. It is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. Imagine waking in the morning to mist on the water and the eerie call of loons and then drifting to sleep to the hooting of owls and a chorus of crickets. Of course, it’s the day in between that make this place such a treasure of log cabin living. Those days are characterized by some of the best fishing in North America for walleye, bass, trout, lake trout, northern pike and sometimes even musky. Not to mention the world class canoeing (obviously), boating, swimming, snorkeling, hiking or simply being deliriously happy to be anywhere so wild, clean and beautiful. So keep dreaming and you just might find yourself waking up to white sand beaches or crystal waterways hemmed in by pine forests.
Price: Fly-In rates range from $840 per person for a three day trip without food included to $1,375 per person for a 7 day trip with food included.
Compared to the last few sun-drenched, turquoise-sea fantasies, The Lodge (website) on Britain’s Eamont River probably seems hopelessly modest. However, it’s this sort of place that seems to absolutely epitomize the log cabin lifestyle: quiet, beautiful, quaint places tucked into the verdant woodland bordering a great fishing stream. The draw of waking up to a misty morning of salmon and trout fishing, no more than a few feet from the front door actually rivals palm tree and white sand paradise.
Price: About $256 a night.
The classic cliché of Ireland conjures images of beautiful rolling green hills, charming and friendly people with a gift for finding life’s poetry and sharing it, and for those so inclined, mouth-watering trout streams. Ballynahinch Castle (website) epitomizes all of those things. The fishing in the Connemara area of Ireland is some of the best in the country (perhaps in the world) and the Ballynahinch Estate has exclusive rights to several kilometers of blue ribbon waters right out the back door. And the salmon and sea trout grow BIG in those clear waters. Even for those not so keen on angling, Ballynahinch has all the modern luxury amenities while maintaining the simple charm of rural Ireland, so much of which ranks among the Earth’s most beautiful places.
Price: Room prices begin at around $215 a night.
As for the appeal of The Wheelhouse (website) – a former watermill – we could just say “See Above.” This beautiful cottage in Linlithgow, just outside Edinburgh, is a fitting cap to our virtual tour of the British Isles. Occupants of The Wheelhouse are welcome to lounge in the outdoor hot tub or enjoy the view from either of the two verandas if they aren’t keen on the trout fishing in the back yard.
Price: $733 per week; price is seasonal.
Anyone who’s ever hung out with a group of friends or a significant other and fantasized about owning their own island in some South Seas island utopia can empathize with French bohemian aristocrat “man of leisure” Count de Mauny-Talvande who did that exact thing. The Count built his tropical hideaway (website) in 1922 to escape and recharge after World War I. Its visitors today must either wade across the shallow surf or ride in elephant-borne comfort to reach the Taprobane Island Villa. Along with its absolutely unique placement and incredible beauty, the villa comes complete with all the modern conveniences, not to mention an ocean-fed rock pool and hot tub.
Price: $1,500 – $3,000 per night.
At first glance, the accompanying photo of the Jade Mountain Resort (website) in St. Lucia can easily be mistaken for some skilfully done computer animation rendering of a breathtaking imaginary pipe dream or sci-fi paradise planet. It just seems too beautiful to be an earthly vista. It’s entirely real, however. Jade Mountain has 24 “Sanctuary” rooms done in four styles: Sun, Moon, Star and Galaxy. The 24 sanctuaries are decked out in incredible luxury, high ceilings and feature their own infinity pool. Every pool is 100% unique, designed specifically for the room it’s in. The infinity pools face nothing but an almost heartbreakingly beautiful view – they have no fourth wall. The absence of the sea-facing wall allows for an incomparable view and unbelievable openness while maintaining total privacy. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.
Price: $955 – $2,930 a night depending on room and season.
David Bryce is a blogger lucky enough to write about his passions- golf, travel, vacationing, fishing, his cabins in Branson, MO and what he refers to as “log cabin living” in general. He has a lovely and patient wife, an amazing daughter and a very spoiled Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Squirrel.