Whether you've a wedding anniversary, honeymoon or big birthday coming up, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a special holiday. To inspire, I’ve put together the following collection of our finest luxury getaways for 2019. There’s everything from unique hotels and wildlife experiences to the world’s greatest rail journeys and a trip to the Antarctic.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Orient Express is one of the highlights of world travel. Evoking all the charm of yesteryear, expect to sip piano-accompanied cocktails, indulge with multi-course fine dining and relax in a private Art-Deco cabin as Europe’s majesty sweeps past. And, its signature London to Venice route remains the perennial favourite, plunging through rural France and over the Swiss Alps to arrive at Italy’s great floating city.The Orient Express: London to Venice
For something truly unique, consider a break in the world’s first snow hotel. It’s a vision of ethereal beauty, where sculptures, gorgeous suites and even an entire bar are intricately carved from giant blocks of ice. It’s all made that bit prettier by ethereal lighting, often provided by the Northern Lights. Tucked away in the depths of Swedish Lapland, you’ll also be able to enjoy all the usual winter fun of husky sledding and snowmobiling, joined by everything from champagne tasting to ice massages.
Exulted by holidaying Roman emperors and the aristocracy of the 19th century, the Amalfi Coast is home to an undeniable romance. Sweeping roads and tumbling pastel-coloured towns map cragged coastlines, while ancient ruins perch on verdant islands just offshore. It’s also home to some of Italy’s finest hotels and restaurants, from humble trattorias to Michelin-starred jewels. The best way to see it all? With a private chauffeur.
As one of the last remaining places you can visit mountain gorillas, Rwanda offers perhaps the ultimate in up-close wildlife experiences. Trekking through dense jungle, you’ll embed yourself among a family, marvelling at hulking silverbacks and impossibly cute babies just feet away. The opportunity to track golden monkeys, enjoy lake-side idylls and stay in some of Africa’s finest accommodation doesn’t hurt, either.
The Northern Lights are indisputably the world’s greatest visual phenomenon. And, there’s no finer way to enjoy them than from the comfort of your own bed, as your glass ceiling erupts in a million colours. Of course, any winter trip to Lapland also offers the chance for some snowy fun. Skip through dense forests aboard a snowmobile, mush a team of eager huskies through snow-dusted fields and channel your inner explorer by strapping on a pair of cross-country skis.
There’s something particularly indulgent about exploring the world’s last frontier on a luxury cruise. Indeed, after days spent spotting whales, penguins and giant icebergs on Zodiac excursions, you’ll return to what is perhaps the most luxurious expedition ship. Here, the all-inclusive indulgences span from open champagne bars and Relais & Châteaux fine dining to your butler-served suite where the complimentary minibar is tailored to your tastes.
From the same people behind Europe’s Orient Express, this is the chance to enjoy one of the world’s most luxurious train journeys in a delightfully exotic setting. Indeed, sweeping between Singapore and Bangkok, you’ll be treated to open-bar drinks and degustation dining wrapped up in a world of rich silks and polished wood panelling. Expect to pause for everything from cooking classes and river cruises to cycle rides and naturalist-led hikes.
Simply, Tanzania is the ultimate in safari destinations. In the Serengeti, leopards crouch under lonely trees, herds of elephant stroll across grasslands and lions stalk the great wildebeest migration. And, at the end of each day, you’ll return to toast each sunset in luxury tented camps, before ending with the white sands of Zanzibar’s island idyll.
Sometimes only the best will do. And, whatever you’re celebrating, hopping through the Indonesian islands offers the finest in barefoot luxury. It’s the chance to explore rice-terrace idylls, relax on golden sands and stay in some of the finest hotels in the world. Throughout, expect everything from private pools and tree-top villas to personal butlers and exclusive spa treatments.
This is your opportunity to pair two world wonders. Indeed, alongside the near-ancient treasures of Machu Picchu, the Inca’s Sacred Valley and colonial Cusco, you’ll take in the world-famous Galápagos Islands. Sailing in a boutique yacht, you’ll spot everything from giant tortoises to penguins and lava lizards on the likes of snorkel trips and glass-bottom boat rides.