Every trip has the potential to be magical, but if you are craving something exquisite, travelling in the lap of luxury is the only journey worth taking. More than their opulence, these escapes will leave travellers beguiled for other reasons. They take you to earth’s untouched corners, showing you things beyond your wildest dreams and impart valuable learnings that cannot be sought in any other way. From far-flung experiences like roaming among fjords to quintessential encounters with polar bears in Canada, these guided trips and multi-day tours have the power to bring forth the realms of your imagination. Here are our favourite luxury escapes to capture the heart’s deepest desires.
Calling all explorers for an arctic luxury escape
Along the northern edge of the boreal forest, arctic species of wildlife, birds, and plants seek solace. Churchill is where creatures like red foxes, caribou, gyrfalcons, snowy owls, and ptarmigan can be seen in their natural habitats, but it is also one of the few places on earth where the polar bear can be observed in the wild. Considered the polar bear capital of the world, these majestic animals gather in Churchill every year as the freezing temperatures approach.
Coming face to face with this remarkable species is no mean feat, you need to be in the hands of an expert that knows exactly how to navigate the wilderness: for starters, there are no roads into Churchill. If this only heightens your sense of adventure, escape to the Canadian Arctic on a National Geographic Journey with G Adventures. They’ll fly you from Winnipeg to Churchill, where you’ll be met by a private vehicle and transferred to your hotel. For the next six days, immerse yourself in exclusive cultural activities, discover Itsanitaq Inuit heritage, go dog-sledding, and search the skies for northern lights, but more importantly, embark on tundra buggy excursion to experience the polar bear in all its glory.
An Amazonian adventure awaits
For those that know of it, the fact that the city of Iquitos cannot be reached by road only adds to its allure. It connects to the rest of the world by air and water only. Down by the Amazon River against a leafy backdrop, this port city mesmerises anyone lucky enough to set foot here. The only way to do any justice to this Peruvian gem is to take a three-day excursion into the untouched rainforest and settlements that surround it. You’ll want to take advantage of the fact that Iquitos is a gateway to scenic lodges and tribal villages of the northern Amazon.
With Maniti Expeditions you’ll breeze along from Port Bellavista-Nanay along winding waters, passing by cosmopolitan entities like chic restaurants and trendy nightclubs towards accommodation that sits between natural wonders. For three days, your eyes will feast on sightings of freshwater pink dolphins, your eardrums will beat to the sounds of the jungle, and the rest of your senses will be treated to rainforest cuisine and traditional learnings from the Boras tribe.
Luxury river escapes on point
Europe is a living and breathing museum: painters see it is a work of art, and for writers it is poetry. For travellers, it is a haven of culture and the perfect place to get lost. From the architecture and food to the galleries and sights, it inspires wanderlust across the world. While the cobbled streets are heaven-sent, exploring Europe by water is by far a unique way to tap into its charm.
A river cruise will let you drift by picturesque scenes and Europe’s stunning cities from a different perspective. Think back to all those times you went out of the way to get a view. This time, your view comes to you, courtesy of a floating boutique hotel. U by Uniworld Cruises will take you to across the continent in style, and have you indulging in a leisurely brunch every day, glamping on the deck of a boat, and sipping on bespoke cocktails. You’ll see Europe as you’ve never seen it before, while hiking through vineyards, perched on a rooftop in Paris, hanging off rocks in Germany, or by wandering down an alleyway you never even knew existed.
Castles and manors
Dotted along Ireland’s enchanting coastline are some of the world’s oldest and most iconic castles. From motte-and-bailey structures to stone fortresses and even as regal ruins and remnants of ancient times, the fairytale-like structures have not let up in their magnificence. If the walls that fortify these castles could speak, they would tell you to venture into their secret nooks and crannies for tales of times gone by. But there is an eight-day Castles and Manors tour that lends these sublime strongholds a voice.
Learn about their myths and legends firsthand, from someone in the know who can fill you in on all the salacious and mysterious happenings that took place behind closed doors. Ireland’s castles and manors are more than just a pretty sight; they were often at the heart of battles that led to over 6000 years of occupation. You’ll need a lifetime to see them all, but the best way to explore them is coast to coast onboard a luxury vehicle while diving deep into Irish countryside and heritage. But the only way to truly experience them is to stay on their grounds, by sleeping in lavish surroundings and making them your home, if only for a handful of days; a fairytale comes true on this escape.
For luxury escapes that meets your #adventuregoals
Home to the mythical universe of Middle-earth, New Zealand is understandably epic. The lush forests, lofty mountains, stretches of coast and scenery have excited the Dominion of Men for eons with their for potential adventure and travel. Beyond its jaw-dropping land and seascapes, New Zealand is steeped in Māori culture, a wealth of sports, and grapes that produce some of the best wines in the world. But where to begin?
Luxury Gold starts their tour the urban gateway of Auckland, amid hot springs, rainforests, and waterways, and ends their ten-day journey in Queenstown’s vineyards. This is after ten days of inspiring experiences in New Zealand. From being privy to the traditions of Māori warriors, ancient native forests, and Polynesian mineral-rich baths, to nature hidden away in national parks and the intricate heritage that has shaped this fascinating country. Along the way, you’ll get insider tips from your Travelling Concierge, and eat alongside local foodies and fellow explorers. Middle-earth maybe a fantasy, but New Zealand, thankfully, is not.
Fjords and glaciers
There are fewer sights more spellbinding than those that can be found on an escape in Norway. Fjords are simply breathtaking, and glaciers often look like something out of this world; both are the stuff of dreams. Discovering these wonders is no light undertaking: to reach them you’ll have to cross dramatic scenery, farmland, waterfalls, and mountainous regions. Back-Roads Touring have taken this journey and made it into something even more astounding than its destinations.
On an eight-day Norwegian tour, traverse towards some of the earth’s most spectacular natural attractions. You’ll feast on local produce at farmhouses, rest your eyes in boutique accommodation, cruise through the village of Geiranger, and even look into the Ice Age. One of the most awe-inspiring experiences on the trip is sailing into the middle of Europe’s highest fjord, the Dalsnibba Summit, to see the Seven Sisters, Bridal Veil, and Suitor waterfalls. If this isn’t the trip of a lifetime, what is?
Luxury escapes from the pages of The Jungle Book
Pench National Park featured at the literary setting for Mowgli’s antics in Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, The Jungle Book. While the story had a very different take on tigers, this national park shelters them and many other species of wild animals and birds. This is not the only place to see this remarkable creature. India’s vast jungle territory spreads across miles and miles, but to explore its depths and see the real-life version of the characters you may have heard of and loved as a child is different ball game altogether.
Along with Pench National Park, Taj Safaris will take you on numerous safaris to incredible Indian national parks where you might catch sight of Kaa, Bagheera, and maybe even Baloo. You’ll start in New Delhi’s bazaars and from there take a flight to Jabalpur for proximity to Bandhavgarh National Park. Bandhavgarh is densely populated with Bengal Tigers, and other creatures that can be found in the park include leopards, various species of deer, Indian bison, and sloth bears. After exhilarating days of taking in the imagery, rest your eyes in wildlife resorts.
What’s your dream luxury escape? Tell us about it in the comments!