The year is almost coming to an end. It is the perfect opportunity for you to start planning next year and everything you want to do but haven’t had the chance yet. Here are 10 luxury travel destinations you must experience at least once in your life.
PARIS | FRANCE
Whether it’s a riverside vista that takes in the Seine, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower, or the view of elegant buildings and mansard roofs from a hotel room window, it doesn’t take much to convince anyone that Paris is one of the most beautiful cities on earth. The French capital’s embarrassment of riches is unsurpassed.
CAIRO | EGYPT
You must have read my trip to Egipt but I’ll briefly talk about Cairo. On first impression, there is hardly a superlative too extreme to capture the epic scale of this city of some 15 million, or 14, or 16; no one really knows for sure—that sprawls in all directions. The traffic, the people, the chaotic rhythm of Cairo will all reinforce this impression, threatening to overwhelm you.
BALI | INDONESIA
Have you ever been to Bulgari Hotel at Bali? Bali really is as alluring as everyone says. This island, only slightly bigger than Delaware, has it all: beaches, volcanoes, terraced rice fields, forests, renowned resorts, surfing, and world-class dive sites. But what sets Bali apart from other nearby tropical destinations is Balinese tradition, and villagers dedicated to celebrating it. The hundreds of temples, dances, rituals, and crafts linked to their ancient Hindu faith aren’t a show for tourists, but a living, breathing culture in which visitors are warmly received by the Balinese, who cherish their own identities.
SYDNEY | AUSTRALIA
Forget the Kangurus, Sydney belongs to the exclusive club of cities that generate excitement. At the end of a marathon flight there’s renewed vitality in the cabin as the plane circles the city, where thousands of yachts are suspended on the dark water and the sails of the Opera House glisten in the distance. Blessed with dazzling beaches and a sunny climate, Sydney is among the most beautiful cities on the planet.
ISTANBUL | TURKEY
Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul—once known as Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine and then the Ottoman Empire—has for centuries been a bustling and cosmopolitan crossroads. But what’s more striking than the meeting of East and West is the juxtaposition of the old and the new, tradition and modernity. Brash concrete-and-glass hotels and office towers creep up behind historic old palaces, women in jeans or elegant designer outfits pass others wearing long skirts and head coverings, donkey-drawn carts vie with battered old Fiats and shiny BMWs for dominance of the noisy, narrow streets, and the Grand Bazaar competes with Western-style boutiques and shopping malls.
VENICE | ITALY
Venice is called La Serenissima, “the most serene,” a reference to the majesty, wisdom, and impressive power of this city that was for centuries the leader in trade between Europe and the Orient, and a major center of European culture. Built entirely on water by a people who saw the sea as a defense and ally, Venice is unlike any other town.
TOKYO | JAPAN
While there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Tokyo for days, the urge to get out and explore beyond the city limits should not be ignored. The city’s a great base for numerous day trips including visits to the iconic Fuji-san (Mt. Fuji) in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, one of Japan’s most popular resort areas; Nikko, a popular vacation destination for Tokyo residents and the home of Tosho-gu, the astonishing shrine to the first Tokugawa shogun Ieyasu.
BUDAPEST | HUNGARY
Budapest offers breathtaking Old World grandeur and thriving cultural life. Situated on both banks of the Danube River, the city unites the colorful hills of Buda and the wide, businesslike boulevards of Pest. Much of the charm of a visit to Budapest lies in unexpected glimpses into shadowy courtyards and in long vistas down sunlit cobbled streets.
DUBAI | UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Dubai sits on a golden sandy coastline in the Arabian Gulf, where the warm azure waves of the sea meet the desert. A high-rise oasis, this city is a pleasure-dome surrounded by dunes; one of the most fashionable on the planet thanks to its ability to satisfy the needs of legions of demanding vacationers. Dubai is about having fun—and it’s one big adult playground… The new and improved Vegas I would say.
What are you waiting for?