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Twenty-One of the World’s Ultimate Luxury Vacations
Hollywood legend Marlon Brando bought the French Polynesian private island of Tetiaroa in the 1960s with an aim to preserve the beauty and biodiversity that he’d fallen in love with while filming Mutiny on the Bounty. Carrying on that legacy now is The Brando, a resort offering 35 luxury villas. Each lies on its own private beach with a plunge pool, outdoor dining area, and modern media room, while the property includes a spa, two restaurants, an organic garden, a tennis court, a library and cultural center, and an environmental research station. The Brando’s commitment to sustainability is one of the many reasons Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited recommends it, writing, “Not only does it hit all the marks for luxury... it is also cooling the villas with seawater and making compost from leftovers, which then fertilize the gardens. And they have a foundation on the island to protect the cultural history and future of the area—especially important in a society without a written language.”
Sometimes the journey really is about the destination. Secluded beach bungalows, glamorous mountain retreats, inns tucked into remote unspoiled landscapes, and romantic lodges in the heart of the bush are extraordinary experiences in and of themselves. Travel + Leisure consulted with travel advisors across the world—including many from our own A-List of power agents—to find these special places: the world’s ultimate luxury escapes.
These 21 properties are so spectacular that you might never want to leave your private villa—and you definitely don’t have to leave, either. Spend your days on your own private beach on a Polynesian island whose charms wooed a Hollywood legend (The Brando). Explore Chile’s prized Torres del Paine National Park from an “adventure spa” retreat right in the park itself (Tierra Patagonia). Charm your loved one at a Mexican resort where the amenities include helping you leave love messages in a bottle on the beach (Las Ventanas al Paraiso). Channel the sweeping romance of Out of Africa at the Kenyan game reserve where it was filmed (Angama Mara). And experience the Canadian wilderness firsthand from the comfort of a luxurious tented suite (Clayoquot).
Even that barely covers the splendor you’ll find across the world from the Swiss Alps to the Indonesian jungle, to the private islands of the Maldives, Seychelles, and the Caribbean.
Many thanks to travel experts who contributed advice, including Kristen Korey Pike, founder and CEO of KK Travel Worldwide; Andrea Malis with Camelback Odyssey Travel; Bobby Zur, founder of Travel Artistry; Valerie Ann Wilson, co-owner of Valerie Wilson Travel; Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited; Ginny Caragol, executive director of leisure for Valerie Wilson Travel; Kate Corey, founder of The Nomadic Souls; Stacy H. Small, president and founder of Elite Travel International; Jessica Maxwell with Currie & Co Travels Unlimited; and Julie Falconer of A Lady in London.