Whether you are looking to unplug, pioneer a new family tradition or celebrate the season in style, check into a luxe destination far from the beaten path. Read the article here and in the current issue of QUEST magazine.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Soak up the sun at one of South America’s most exclusive beach resorts in one of Uruguay’s most extraordinary locations. Punta del Este’s varied coast is home to countless beaches leading into the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean—making its shores perfect for sunning and swimming. From the marina, board a yacht or sailboat to explore the waters or visit the city for sophisticated shopping, gourmet restaurants and a bustling nightlife that keeps the city warm, even after the sun goes down.
Where to stay: Fasano Las Piedras | Barra de Maldonado, Punta del Este
Nestled in one of Uruguay’s most stunning locations, the modern bunker-style accommodations of Fasano Las Piedras represent tradition, quality and taste among Punta del Este’s countryside.
Don’t miss: Board a rowboat from the mainland and head to the exclusive La Caracola Island to sip caipirinhas and nibble on fresh seafood by the shore at the private club.
Barefoot luxury meets rustic village life in the simple 16th-century coastal town of Trancoso. When you aren’t taking in the sun on one of the handful of beautiful beaches, head to the Quadrado, Trancoso’s main square, for live music and beachside bars. The UNESCO-protected main square is bordered by brightly-colored homes and anchored by a traditional, whitewashed church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
Where to stay: Uxua Casa Hotel | Historic Quadrado square, Trancoso
Rustic elements and modern luxury blend seamlessly in the quiet, sustainable retreat of Uxua Casa Hotel in the tranquil fishing village of Trancoso.
Don’t miss: Swim in one of the natural swimming pools created by reefs at low tide at Praia do Espelho, Trancoso’s most famous beach.
The classic city of Rome has a long history with a strong influence on art, food and religion, and, during the holiday season, the city proudly displays its culture. St. Peter’s Square is abuzz with excitement and tradition as locals and tourists from around the world flock to see the large Rockefeller-esque tree and life-size nativity scene next to it. In the heart of the city, you’ll find Piazza Navona’s traditional Christmas market, complete with a carousel and handcrafted nativity sets.
Where to stay: Hotel de Russie | Via del Babuino, central Rome
Ideally positioned between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, this elegant hotel is just minutes from some of Rome’s most famous sites and holiday markets, making it the quintessential place for ringing in the new year.
Don’t miss: Attend the famous Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Christmas Eve to ring in Christmas Day.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Remnants of the legendary Angkor Empire permeate the ruins of Angkor Wat, the massive complex, which shelters a number of ancient structures. Visit Ta Prohm, a temple that over time has been reclaimed by the gnarled roots of trees. After temple-hopping, there are countless cultural villages to visit, Khmer cooking classes, shopping and entertainment options.
Where to stay: Park Hyatt Siem Reap | Sivutha Boulevard, Siem Reap
Within walking distance of vibrant markets and nightlife, the Park Hyatt Siem Reap is a pristine hotel, ideally located to explore some of Cambodia’s most treasured historic sites.
Don’t miss: Visit the floating village on Tonlé Sap Lake to see different Khmer households, markets and fisheries, and for the chance to witness the villagers move their home to a new location by boats.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Once the royal seat of the Lan Xang kingdom, this city blends tradition and contemporary culture while remaining quiet and charming. The city is the gateway to a number of silkweaving villages and hill-tribe settlements along the Mekong River. Enjoy a glimpse into the Buddhist religious practice and traditional lifestyle of hill-tribe groups in the region, considered the center of Lao culture.
Where to stay: La Résidence Phou Vao | Phou Vao Hill, Luang Prabang
The intimate luxury boutique hotel overlooks the lush tropical vegetation on Mount Phou Si and sits just outside historic Luang Prabang, providing a serene getaway.
Don’t miss: Explore the picturesque Tad Se waterfall on a private excursion
Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
Neighbor to Sasakwa Lodge, the Singita Serengeti House, an exclusive-use home, offers a unique and completely private safari experience. By day, discover the Serengeti with a private guide and vehicle, returning to the retreat to feel pampered by the refined interiors and exceptional staff. The private retreat overlooks a popular waterhole, providing exceptional game viewing from the comfort of loungers on the deck. In the evening, watch the sky come to life as dusk turns to night and millions of stars dance along the Milky Way.
Where to stay: Singita Serengeti House | Sasakwa Hill, Grumeti Reserves
Located on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill, this private retreat is perfect for families or small groups wishing to explore the Serengeti at their own pace.
Don’t miss: Travel with a dazzle of zebra or journey of giraffe as you explore some of the most remote areas of the Grumeti Reserves on a horseback safari.
For more information about adding one of these destinations to your itinerary, contact your Travel Professional. To read the current issue of QUEST magazine online, click here, and be sure to stay up to date on all of QUEST’s online content by following the QUEST Facebook page.