The Top Winter Getaways Of The Rich & Famous

Ambergris CayPhoto Credit: Ambergris Cay

If winter is getting you down, and you can’t possibly stand the thought of another gray and dreary day, then it’s time to plan a sweet, sunshine-dappled escape. When we want to beat the winter blues, we head to the tropics for a dose of fun in the sun. Here are some great, luxurious options for a winter getaway, where you can break free from the winter blues and break in your expensive new bathing suit.

THE GALAPAGOS

Pikaia LodgePhoto Credit: Pikaia Lodge

PIKAIA LODGE

For those looking for an au natural winter getaway, head to the Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador. Balmy temperatures aside, the area is a wonderland for eco-warriors: The Galapagos and its surrounding marine reserve are UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites. The latter is listed as one of seven Underwater Wonders of the World and has the second-largest protected marine reserve, after Australian’s Great Barrier Reef. Get your luxury fix at one of 14 rooms at the five-star Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz Island, in the heart of a private, wild giant tortoise reserve. Because the Galapagos Islands famously inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, evolution is the theme of this high-end hotel. Guests will find a tech-friendly conference room in the Homo Sapiens Explorers Lounge, a library dedicated to topics of science, evolution and the islands themselves, as well as its Evolution restaurant and DNA Bar. Adventurous days of hiking, swimming, snorkeling and wildlife watching are also on offer, with some straight-up indulgences thrown in, such as champagne sunset journeys on the 100-foot Pikaia I Yacht and indigenous treatments at the Sumaq Spa, which uses ingredients from the Amazonian jungle.

Sector El Camote a 100 m del Cerro Mesa, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador 200105, Ecuador

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Sanctuary Cap CanaPhoto Credit: Sanctuary Cap Cana

SANCTUARY CAP CANA

If a sanctuary from the cold is what you seek, Sanctuary Cap Cana is a splendid option. The adults-only hotel reopened last year following a massive $45 million renovation of its suites, lobbies, restaurants and bars, as well as a refreshed spa and state-of-the-art fitness center. Wellness is an important theme here and is implemented from the moment you arrive in the resort’s lobby, which is adorned with a selenite-salt crystal chandelier to absorb negative energies, literally encouraging guests to leave their worries and anxieties at the door. The good vibes continue into the guest suites, the highlight of which is The Castle. Yes, you can literally stay in this Spanish-style royal abode—which includes exclusive and private suites, some facing a gorgeous garden, others facing the Caribbean Sea, and some of which have access to a private island (Castle Island Suite)—and all have a butler on call. The wellness theme continues in The Castle, particularly in its Island Suite, with three indoor plunge pools and a private island connected by personal moat. Boasting an array of wellness experiences, visitors can head into the Castle’s revamped Sanctuary Spa, where a new Zen garden, shower paths and hydrotherapeutic pools of cold, warm and hot baths, sauna, foot bath and thermal showers await. Guests can opt in for the guidance of a sophrologist at the spa, who encourages visitors toward holistic balance and mindfulness and helps them through the hydrotherapy circuit through gentle movements. You can also request the Alchemy Experience Workshop, in which you can smell and feel different natural essences and oils to activate emotional aromatherapy. How’s that for a relaxing stay?

Boulevard Zona Hotelera, Punta Cana 23302, Dominican Republic

ST. BARTS

Hotel Le Carl GustafPhoto Credit: Fabrice Rambert

HÔTEL BARRIÈRE LE CARL GUSTAF

St. Barts is the well-known winter playground of choice for the rich and famous thanks to its upscale shopping, white-sand beaches and sparkling aquamarine waters of the Caribbean. While this tropical locale had been out of commission since 2017 when Hurricane Irma ravaged the island, tourism is back and stronger than ever. Embrace its recovery at the newly opened Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf, a hotel for those who make the trends instead of following them. It is the place for those in the know, as well as those wanting to get off the beaten track and discover the secret side of St. Barts. It also aims to be the place for those who don’t care about being seen—which means, most certainly, that it will attract a crowd the very crowd that does, especially given that it is owned and operated by the same hotel group that runs the storied Hôtel Barrière on Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes. Despite its bid at nonconformity, Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf will appeal to the jet set and those seeking a more quietly luxurious stay for the same reasons: It’s a tropical green oasis in the heart of Gustavia with postcard-perfect views of the yacht-filled port; its Spa Diane Barrière offers bespoke Biologique Recherche treatments and tailored massages; there is a state-of-the-art fitness center with a private Pilates studio; Fouquet’s, an offshoot of the Parisian restaurant of the same name from Michelin-starred Chef Pierre Gagnaire; and the infamous Shellona. This beachside party spot with its international DJ sets reminiscent of Scorpios Mykonos and Blue Marlin Ibiza is back on Shell Beach and fully revamped with a brand-new, haute home at Le Carl Gustaf.

Rue des Normands, Gustavia, St. Barthélemy

FRENCH POLYNESIA

Four Seasons Bora BoraPhoto Credit: Four Seasons Bora Bora

FOUR SEASONS RESORT BORA BORA

If you’re looking for a stay that has the absolute best of everything—including, but not limited to, that much-needed winter sun—the fabulous Four Seasons Bora Bora ticks every single box and then some. Its 108 overwater bungalow suites and seven beachfront villa estates—all designed with thatched roofs and decorated with indigenous artwork—are located in a vast coconut grove, replete with coconut palms and pandanus trees, dotted with meandering channels of turquoise water that lead to the property’s main beach and smaller lagoons. Eight of the bungalows are new—six of which feature infinity-edge plunge pools set on private decks, though all have been recently refreshed to reflect a more contemporary Polynesian feel with new furniture, lighting and technology, as well as solar panels. Each Four Seasons property strives to offer guests a taste of local culture, and this is especially true in Tahiti in a number of ways. Under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Eric Desbordes, four culinary concepts showcase island life through open-air dining, private oceanside dinners and Tahitian beach parties with musicians and fire dancers. A full-service spa—which has its own overwater suite—focuses on indigenous elements as well, including the tiare flower, which has been used for centuries to help Polynesians with their famously youthful looks, as well as black pearl powder. Typical tropical activities are offered here, as well as sportfishing for mahi-mahi and blue marlin, swimming with sea turtles at the Lagoonarium and shark feeding. Guests can also immerse themselves in the local culture by learning how to cultivate the Tahitian black pearl—one of the world’s rarest and most valuable gems—practicing the steps to locals dances including the aparima, the hivinau and the ote’a, hand-dyeing a Polynesian pareu, learning how the ancient Polynesians first developed the art of tattooing and speaking to a dedicated marine biologist at the resort’s Ruahatu (God of the Ocean) Lagoon Sanctuary to discuss the local environment. And finally, actually see Bora Bora on the Four Seasons’ own catamaran. The double-hulled NG Yachts-designed Navigator is available for everything from a sunset cocktail cruise to a group snorkeling tour.

Motu Tehotu – BP 547, 98730, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

TURKS & CAICOS

Ambergris CayPhoto Credit: Ambergris Cay

AMBERGRIS CAY

Just 600 miles southeast of Miami on the world-famous Caicos Banks, with its cerulean waters and surrounding reefs so brilliant they can be seen from space, is Ambergris Cay, a new, private-island luxury resort that’s set to be a surefire hit among the jet set. This all-inclusive resort has it all: exclusivity, with only 10 beachfront suites; service, with 24-hour, on-call butlers; ease of travel, with its own private plane; and the ultimate indulgence—30-minute daily spa treatments for guests. Other unique offerings include complimentary power boats and free beginner-boating lessons, a golf cart to tool around the island, a complimentary deserted-island catered lunch and kitesurfing lessons, among others. A stay here is truly is an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind, private-island experience.

Big Ambergris Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands

THE SEYCHELLES

North Island

NORTH ISLAND

Close your eyes and let yourself dream. If you see lush, tropical palm trees, giant granite peaks and pristine, untouched beaches behind your lids, then your destination should be North Island, a Luxury Collection retreat in the Seychelles. Accessible only via helicopter or private boat, this private island is a destination where the world can be left behind. Even the most glamorous of globe-trotters can let their hair down here, especially given that there are only 11 villas on the island (all of which use local materials to create a haute-couture Robinson Crusoe aesthetic), making this the ultimate exclusive retreat. The resort strives to offer guests “barefoot luxury,” and it succeeds thanks to a plethora of aquatic activities like snorkeling, diving, fishing, sunset cruises, kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing; fine dining from Michelin-starred Chef Akira Back; and its holistic wellness spa, with its foundation built on Ayurvedic principles. North Island offers an inimitable experience where footprints are the only evidence of civilization, and the rules are only the ones you make yourselves—including dress code, agenda and connectivity. How’s that for bespoke?

FIJI

Laucala IslandPhoto Credit: Laucala Island

LAUCALA ISLAND

Unofficially, there are a handful of worldwide seven-star hotels, and Laucala, set on its own 7.5-mile island in the Fiji archipelago, is one of those with this rare rating—with very good reason. The island, owned by Red Bull Co-Founder Dietrich Mateschitz, is, quite simply, majestic. There are just 25 villas here, each designed with an eye to traditional Fijian style, all with private pools and dedicated butlers. With its five restaurants always open, you may never see another soul during your meals, which only enhances its air of exclusivity and privacy. This is the truest luxury that Laucala offers: complete privacy and the freedom to enjoy an outstanding range of activities with spontaneity, from a round of golf on the island’s David McLay Kidd-designed, championship-level,18-hole, 72-par championship course (PGA professionals are available to assist golfing guests) to surfing, beachside horseback riding or exploring on one of the resort’s fleet of vessels, such as the elegant Riviera Open Flybridge, or one of 12 other sporting boats.

Laucala Island is located in the South Pacific in the archipelago of Fiji Islands; 179° West, Latitude and 18° Southern Longitude, Laucala Island, Fiji Islands

SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Mandarin Oriental Canouan Photo Credit: Mandarin Oriental Canouan

MANDARIN ORIENTAL, CANOUAN

Located in St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Canouan Island is a remote island hideaway that is fast becoming one of the most sought-after luxury destinations in the world. On an immaculate stretch of the island’s powder-white Godahl Beach that is protected by the Caribbean’s largest natural-living coral reef rests Mandarin Oriental, Canouan, an island gem with elegant colonial-style suites and chic, Italian-designed patio villas. As soon as you arrive via yacht, private flight or the Mandarin Oriental’s own six-seat resort jet, prepare to relax doing whatever works for you. Swim in the large infinity pool; sail on a catamaran or snorkel in Tobago Cays; visit Mustique; walk the beaches of Mayreau; or see where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed on the Grenadines’ 32 islands and cay archipelago. Play night tennis on one of three floodlit courts or a round of golf at the only championship, 18-hole course in the Grenadines (a par-72, Jim Fazio-designed affair that has one of the world’s longest par-3s at 305 yards); indulge in a spa treatment; or eat your heart out at one of the resort’s six beach-themed eateries, which include the private Castaway and the Hamptons-esque bar, Turtles. This resort is redefining the idyllic island getaway, and we could not love it more.

Canouan Island, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines

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