Crystal waters, warm beaches, and trendy locales come together at these 10 luxury destinations that are revving up beach holidays with their unique offerings. Divya Behl and Vikas Plakkot find out what makes them climb to the top of your wish list this year.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Along the jaw-dropping coastline of the Italian Riviera, five of Cinque Terre’s ancient villages have undergone a gorgeous makeover in the past few years, drawing attention to their spectacular beaches. With the infl uence of Milan fashion and an atmosphere reminiscent of a movie set—little fishing boats and colourful buildings—Cinque Terre is slowly turning into one of the coolest places in Italy. Take in the beautiful vistas while sipping a classic Italian cocktail on the hilltop bars of Corniglia, dig into a gelato while lying on a sunbed, or sail on a private boat from one village to another.
Just an hour’s train ride from Cinque Terre lies the village of Portofino, arguably the most photographed fishing port in the world. Don’t be surprised to spot fishermen walking around in their Dolce & Gabbana, for this is a place that has attracted the cafe society of Europe, from Rex Harrison in the 50s to Beyonce in recent times. Check into The Splendido whose reception logbook features signatures from celebrities since the 1950s. It has just 64 rooms, each with a balcony overlooking the beautiful Italian coastline.[/box]
Tel Aviv, Israel
One the world’s most ‘hipster’ cities with a wave of bars, luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, boutique stores, and lively nightclubs, Tel Aviv is unlike its Middle-Eastern neighbours. Blessed with breezy Mediterranean weather, the beaches are exactly what you need on a city break: swim the warm waters, lay on the soft sand, and walk along the coast from one beach to the next, while stopping for a quick cocktail or a mezze-style meal at one of the many restaurants that dot the area.In Tel Aviv, people are most likely to check out what you’re wearing. The city is home to a thriving fashion scene spearheaded by top designers.
The tiny isle, all of 122 square miles, is giving everyone some serious travel goals. In the last decade, Malta has forced its way into recognition after its appearance on Game of Thrones.Then, Brangelina chose the island as the central theme for their movie By the Sea and the Malta Fashion Week found higher echelons in the fashion world. This Mediterranean haven between the coast of Tunisia and Sicily is blessed with a warm climate, perfect for taking a dip in the waters.After a day under the sun, go to Paceville, the nightlife spot of the isle and party the night away.
[box style=”rounded”] The Party Capital
Havana Smack in the middle of the district, this nightclub has two dance floors, six bars, and a weekend pop-up club only for 70’s and 80’s music. They mostly play modern-day R&B and parties often turn wild.
Hugo’s Terrace Located on the beach, this club is the place to wear your favourite attire, sip a cocktail, waltz around, and soak in the views of the Mediterranean[/box]
Bay Of Islands, New Zealand
Imagine sparkling blue water lashing on the shores, picnic-worthy beaches with chalky sands, colonies of fur seals and dolphins, and a growing tourism culture. The 150-odd islands in the Bay are definitely the next big thing in New Zealand. Almost 1,000 years ago, the Maori tribes settled here, eventually paving way for the first European settlers in the country.
Today, the haka dance has been replaced with hip-hop, Maori festivals with partying tourists, and family picnic spots have been taken over by water sports enthusiasts. Paihia and Russell, the signature towns in the Bay, serve as an excellent base to explore the region buzzing with fine dining options, trendy seaside cafes, and golf clubs. It is often believed that Bay of Islands has the bluest skies in the world, a reason good enough to escape the cruel winters in Asia to enjoy the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.
[box]Beaches Not To Miss
Stunning views of the sunset, water sports, and great places to eat—these beaches have it all.
Paihia Town Beach Conveniently close to restaurants and shops, this beach is excellent for sunbathing and swimming. The crowd is always of a mixed age in the bay, but this beach attracts the younger lot more.
Te Tii Bay Best suited for families with children, the golden sand beach is perfect for fishing and swimming. It also serves as the hotspot of windsurfers, kitesurfers, and other water sports enthusiasts.
Oke Bay For a dose of difference, head out of town from Russell to this beach where pods of Dolphins hop around merrily. The gorgeous sunsets and the happy animals provide the right backdrop for an Insta pic.[/box]
Listed among Europe’s top party towns, Algarve has something for every traveller. The southernmost region of Portugal is known for its natural bays, strange rock formations, sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and the best golf courses in the world. One can dine in world-class restaurants here or drink the finest Portuguese wine, drive a high speed bike or watch a contemporary art exhibit, party in the best night clubs or shop at the most exclusive boutiques. To top this, Algarve has a Mediterranean weather throughout the year which makes it the perfect destination to blow off some steam in style.
[box style=”rounded”]Time For Some Tee
Algarve has some of the most stunning and challenging golf courses in the world designed by experts like Sir Henry Cotton. One can really put their golfing skills to test here: Hole 16 at the Vale de Lobo Royal Golf Course requires a 218-metre-long shot. Experience extravagant luxury at the famous golf resort, Quinta do Lago, where Paul McGinley spends a week every year to practice.[/box]
Entry city to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns in North Queensland is a perfect alternative to the popular Australian beach destinations like Bondi. Known for adventure sports, tropical wines, and whale watching, Cairns is a hip city when its comes to luxury stays, fine dining, swanky bars, trendy cafes, and world-class fashion boutiques. You can snack on interesting food at Cairns’ Night Market, indulge in Luxury Yoga on the secluded Mission beach, hop onto a private helicopter and fly over the Great Barrier Reef, or take it slow on a hot air balloon.If this isn’t convincing enough, head to Bedarra Islands,visited by Elton John, to wind down in one of the only eight villas built on the island.
Punta Del Este, Uruguay
The seaside resort of Punta del Este is the quintessential fashion capital of Uruguay, and possibly South America. Here, the Argentine, Brazilian, and Uruguayan cash-rich models, celebrities, and businessmen spend their summers.Widely-lauded as the new Rio, Punta del Este is not just awash with gorgeous beaches but also have glitzy hotels,raucous discos, yacht parties, and a Vegas-style casino. Top-dollar houses are so common that the biggest property brands in the world have set up shop in this unassuming corner of the world. If you wish to score a private party hosted by the impresarios, ensure you’re dressed at your best as you’ll be competing for an invite with South American models.
[box style=”rounded”]Rock The Party
When in Punta del Este, partying endlessly goes without saying. Parties begin as late as 1 am and hits the high note only during sunrise.
Moby Dick: The nucleus of social scene in Punta del Este, it is a mini-wonder that cannot be missed. The party kick-starts early but hits fever pitch deep into the night. Conversations will be drowned in the music and the floor will be thudding with the collective hop. It runs through the year unlike most other places in the town.[/box]
Tulum Riviera Maya, Mexico
We’ve got to give it to the Mayans for their excellent taste in architecture, evident in the centuries-old temples. Overlooking dreamy beaches along a rugged coastline, Tulum’s ruins are reflective of its modern day outlook—stylish and smug. What once was a quiet, laid-back town has turned into a luxury destination replete with nightclubs, spas, yoga retreats, fine dining restaurants, and plush resorts. A thriving expat community—a stylish one at that—has descended upon the town in the last decade and built hotels and restaurants that have seamlessly blended with native Mexican styles.Before Tulum turns into an Ibiza, pack your Bohemian outfits and rush here.
Situated in the Dalmatian region of Croatia, Hvar is undoubtedly the party centre in Croatia. Famous for its lavender fi elds, old town feel, white wines, and sunny climate, Hvar is blessed with some of the best beaches in the world. During the day, walk around the stony Renaissance buildings, sip on coffee in bustling cafes, skinny dip in the waters of Jerolim, spend days under the sunny sky at Bonj Les Bains, and browse art galleries and boutiques scattered all over town. In the evenings, put on your party clothes and dance to the tunes of world-renowned DJs in nightclubs. Whether you like jazz or electronic music, dance floors or beach parties, crowded clubs or intimate gatherings, Hvar has something for you.
Cannes, French Riviera
When elegant city fashion follows you to the beach, you know you’re in Cannes. The city’s reputation for hosting the prestigious film festival is upped by exclusive experiences on the lavish Boulevard de La Croisette, the city’s beach promenade. It stretches across the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, embellished with high-end casinos, Michelin starred restaurants, celebrated nightclubs, and luxury designer stores. With the festival preparation on, one might confront busy lanes, but you wouldn’t mind the crowd that may have Brad Pitt in it.