JAMAICA This Caribbean favorite has flavors to please every palate. At the James Bond-ish Goldeneye, Pamela Clarke turns out grilled beef tenderloin and curried shrimp; Round Hill's best breakfast includes the national dish, ackee and cod; Scotchies specializes in all things jerk. WHERE TO STAY The luxurious Round Hill Hotel & Villas (Montego Bay; 800/972-2159; www.roundhilljamaica.com; doubles from $550) is set on a former pineapple plantation.
NAPA VALLEY Besides having vineyards that rival Bordeaux's, and rolling hills worthy of Italy's Piedmont, Napa is home to some of the finest restaurants in the country, including the famed French Laundry. WHERE TO STAY There are plenty of places to rest, from tiny inns to spas that use ingredients just plucked from the ground. Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford; 800/348-5406; www.aubergedusoleil.com; doubles from $600) offers both.
VALENCIA A decade ago, Spain's third-largest city was off the radar. Now, orange blossom-scented Valencia, boosted by its new gastronomic standing, has arrived. Hip Valencianos head to Burdeos in Love; intrepid foodies go to the less polished Grau neighborhood to seek out restaurants that serve salt-grilled cigalas (crayfish). WHERE TO STAY The inviting Hospes Palau de la Mar (34-96/316-2884; www.hospes.es; doubles from $303) is housed in a pair of mansions.
ATACAMA At 8,000 feet above sea level, Chile's Atacama Desert has altitude to make you feel heady and weird beauty to make you wonder if the water is spiked. There are salt flats at the end of unmarked roads. At El Tatio, walk amid steaming geysers; it is the earth ablister. WHERE TO STAY A white Cubist assemblage, Explora en Atacama (56-2/206-6060; www.explora.com; from $2,060 per person for four days, including all excursions and meals) has perfect desert views.
LOS CABOS These days, locals refer to Mexico's Baja Peninsula as La Frontera, the frontier, because it remains largely undeveloped, except for the peninsula's tip at Los Cabos, where the desert blooms with luxe resorts. But you can still find a quiet spot to relax with a chilly Pacifico beer and a succulent shrimp taco. WHERE TO STAY At the 56-room Esperanza (866/ 311-2226; www.esperanzaresort.com; doubles from $575), the Technicolor sunsets look digitally enhanced.
PHOENIX Everyone in this desert oasis is either trying to relax, in the middle of relaxing, or reflecting on some recent attempt to relax. Exactly what they are so tired from, who could say, but this golf-happy city has long been regarded as the cure. Lately, resorts have been piling on the indulgences and adding spas, the icing on the relaxation cake. WHERE TO STAY Located in Paradise Valley, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (800/245-2051; www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com; doubles from $310) is that rare hotel that is every bit as breathtaking as its setting.
BRAZIL The seven-square-mile island of Fernando de Noronha is protected by the country's environmental agency. Result: The 16 immaculate beaches, set between craggy cliffs and volcanic rock formations, are virtually deserted, except for spinner dolphins and sea turtles. WHERE TO STAY The surreal emerald waters of the horseshoe-shaped Baía do Sueste are on view from the four bungalows at Pousada Solar dos Ventos (55-81/3619-1347; www.pousadasolardosventos.com.br; doubles from $230).
GREECE The Eptanissia, or "seven islands," of the Ionian Sea are fertile and green instead of stark and whitewashed, and have a distinctive culture that developed through centuries of Norman, Venetian, French, and British rule. Corfu is the best-known island; untamed Paxos has 2,500 residents and some 250,000 olive trees. For recluses, Antikýythira has a population of just 70. WHERE TO STAY Rent a villa through Simply Ionian (44-208/541-2202; www.simplytravel.com; villas for one week from $610).
MAUI Georgia O'Keeffe was inspired to paint landscapes out on the remote Hana side of the island, known for its rugged beaches, horseback riding, and simple charms. The famous Blue Pool, an oceanside waterfall, is accessible only to those willing to ford a river and clamber over volcanic boulders. WHERE TO STAY A flashback to old Hawaii, the Hotel Hana-Maui (800/321-4262; www.hotelhanamaui.com; doubles from $425) has cottages inspired by plantation houses.
TASMANIA Perhaps because it's the last stop before Antarctica, this heart-shaped island off Australia seems more remote than its mother country. Rain forest oases and deserted white-sand beaches are just two types of natural wonders here. More than a third of the isle is protected parkland, where you'll spot every species of marsupial—including Tasmanian devils—in the open bush. WHERE TO STAY The nine-room Hatherley House (Launceston; 61-3/6334-7727; www.hatherleyhouse.com.au; doubles from $185) combines Georgian and Victorian architecture with all the modern amenities.
Written by Richard Alleman, Laura Begley, Stephen Drucker, Eleni N. Gage, Hillary Geronemus, Michael Gross, David Herndon, Matt Lee, Ted Lee, Peter Jon Lindberg, Rick Marin, William Middleton, Pankaj Mishra, Heidi Mitchell, Shane Mitchell, Kevin Raub, Kim Brown Seely, Bonnie Tsui, Tom Vanderbilt, Mark Van de Walle, Philip Watson, Jeff Wise.