Use it or lose it – your vacation days, that is. Lots of people find themselves right now with a champagne problem: unused vacation days that are about to expire. It’s not too late to book an escape, though. Our correspondent Meredith Lepore has curated a list of 9 of the best luxury destinations for a COVID-19 safe last-minute vacation trip before the end of the year 2021.
the best luxury destinations for a last-minute vacation trip before the end of 2021
It is amazing how different this year looks compared to last year. Though we are technically still in a pandemic, last year most of the world prepared to be without their family for the holidays. Travel was still very much a taboo conversation as well as somewhat impossible to pull off easily.
But this year we have been giving a drastic contrast and we couldn’t be happier. You can put away the Zoom screens (for a bit) because travel is back, baby![white_box]
Join our community
For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.
sign up now >
The U.S. lifted restrictions on travel this month from an extensive list of countries including Mexico, Canada, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, South Africa, Iran and most of Europe (26 countries in fact.) UK visitors are now able to travel to the US for the first time in nearly two years.
where to go for a luxury trip before year end 2021
In other words, luxury travel is back and then some. Travel advisors and experts from the Global Travel Collection (GTC) recently shared some insights from travel bookings at “Elevate,” the international virtual conference and trade show. They found that luxury travel is being redefined.
Luxury also looks a bit different in this new world. Kamala Cummings of In The Know Experiences shared that her clients are looking at travel as a means to rejuvenate their souls. They’re seeking experiences and accommodations that are infused with gastronomy, art and fashion. Sustainability is also something clients are looking for.
There is also a bit of a departure with these trips away from classic five-star hotels – though those are certainly still popular- and towards unique properties and small boutique hotels. Domestically, luxury clients are looking for properties outside of major cities. What the pandemic has shown is we need more hotels in these areas, Ashley Les of Protravel International said.
And people are willing to spend more on those experiences. For many people it has been almost two years since some clients have taken a trip, said Scott Davis of ALTOUR, so they’re willing to pay more for their next vacation.
With all of these trends in mind, here are a few luxury travel ideas to ride out the rest of 2021 – and use up all of those vacation days you have left over- and enter 2022 with new, fresh eyes.[white_box]
Curated road trips are the new luxury travel trend 2021
read more >
9 of the best luxurious trips to take before the year ends in 2021
1. Explore the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji
Talk about a unique experience, the premier eco-adventure luxury destination in the South Pacific, just reopened and offers many special packages including the Dive and Rejuvenation package.
Guests can sleep in an authentic Fijian bure, dive in some of the most beautiful waters in the world, leisurely snorkel and explore the area via sea kayak, and even escape to a private island for a picnic. Take a day trip to the mangroves, a pearl farm, an authentic Fijian village, or hike through a tropical rainforest and discover a hidden waterfall.
Located on the island of Vanua Levu overlooking the tranquil waters of Savusavu Bay, you will have the ultimate adventure here.
2. Have yourself a grand old time at Le Fouquet’s in Paris
It is no fluke that Emily in Paris was one of the top-rated shows on Netflix last year. Americans have a love affair with Paris and the pandemic did not slow it down. Le Fouquet’s will fulfill all your Parisian fantasies. The last luxury hotel in Paris to still be owned by a French family has an underground spa, rooftop speakeasy, renovated guest rooms overlooking the Champs-Élysées, and a winter igloo pop up that just launched for the winter.
You can also experience the new menu concept at Le Joy, the property’s garden restaurant. Head Barman Stéphane Ginouvès (Best Craftsman in France) created a cocktail menu with herbs grown exclusively within 2.5 miles of the Champs-Elysées. And you will definitely get your bread, cheese and pastry fix as Le Fouquet’s is also home to the archetype of all French brasseries, called Le Fouquet’s brasserie, founded in 1899 — and the established host of Cesar Awards after-party every year.
3. A holiday trip to NYC and upstate New York
Then again, there is always New York. And New York City does it right during the holidays. Go see the tree at Rockefeller Center, or the Rockettes kick their legs up so high and then grab a sundae at Serendipity’s. Or check out the amazing lights at iconic restaurant Rolf’s.
on-site cosmetic treatments
Or maybe you just need a little pampering? Well, if you stay at Crowne Plaza HY36 you don’t even need to leave your room to get a little botox. The hotel has partnered with Velour Medical to offer their guests home cosmetic solutions, including Botox, Filler and Blood Facials, Kybella, Microneedling, PRP Scalp Injections and chemical peels as well as COVID testing.
The first-of-its-kind partnership allows guests to book services directly at the property during their stay. “This bespoke partnership with Velour comes just as many employees are coming back to their New York offices,” says John Beck, general manager at Crowne Plaza HY36. “We aimed to provide travelers and commuters with the option for a bit of pampering and beauty rest before returning to the office or traveling for work — or simply to help them make a post-pandemic debut.”
“Crowne Plaza HY36 is a true urban oasis, which makes it the perfect place to conduct our aesthetic treatments,” says co-founder Sari Katz. “Even though cosmetic procedures are such a hot commodity, there are no other hotels providing similar services to guests at this scale. We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to team up with a renowned hotel brand to expand access to New York’s most sought-after beauty and medical services.”
the andaz barbershop
Or you could head down to Andaz 5th Avenue to check out their first-of-its-kind partnership with barbershop innovator, Fellow Barber. Fellow will be doing all of the in-room amenities for the hotel starting this December (the first time they’re partnering with a hotel) and to celebrate, they’re doing a fresh spin on the traditional 5th Avenue holiday window display — a Fellow Barber pop-up will be taking over Andaz 5th Ave’s street-level artist-in-residence space Dec 16-23 and providing complimentary cuts to Frontline Workers. They’re also rolling out a secret menu item at their newly reopened Bar Downstairs and Kitchen – a festive Fellow Cocktail with a portion of proceeds going to Feed the Frontlines.
Then take a quick train ride to trendy Hudson, NY and check into the brand new The Amelia Hudson. Opened late summer 2021, The Amelia is a design-forward property featuring eight distinct guest rooms, a library, common spaces, and a seasonal outdoor pool surrounded by lush gardens – all designed with an emphasis on good feng shui (a nod to owner Shannon Wu’s Chinese heritage). And you will feel like quite the intellectual as the hotel has collaborations with the Bard College Conservatory and Asian American Writers Workshop.[white_box]
Holiday gift guide: The 25 best ideas in 2021 for frequent travelers
read more >
4. Have your own White Lotus in Hawaii
What could be better than an amazing end-of-the-year trip to Hawaii? Hopefully your trip won’t be quite as dramatic as The White Lotus but it would be fine if it was just as aesthetically pleasing. Check out the newly renovated (and reopened as of July 1, 2021) Turtle Bay Resort (they filmed Forgetting Sarah Marshall there!). It is a major surfing hotspot but also a super luxurious hotel.
Some attractions are private Ocean Bungalow accommodations that provide privacy and distance, skill-based experiences like surfing with world champ Jamie O’Brien, a restaurant from Michelin star chef Gilles Epie who uses produce from the on-site farm.
5. Enjoy all the splendor at The Cliff Hotel in Jamaica
If you are looking for something tropical but not quite as far as Hawaii check out The Cliff Hotel , a private enclave established upon a spectacular five-acre bluff on the western-most point of Jamaica in Negril. With breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and Negril Cliffs that is the perfect destination for a long weekend getaway.
The property boasts a natural saltwater pool nestled in the cliffs; a main pool with lounging pods; Blue Mountain Coffee Scrub SPA Treatment at the serene KiYara Spa offering a bespoke menu of signature treatments, facials and body therapies. Be sure to also check out the hotel’s signature restaurant, The Zest.
6. Shop the day away at Bal Harbour and stay at the St. Regis
Jet down to Bal Harbour in Miami to check out the famous Bal Harbour Shops which are currently undergoing a $550-million renovation. The Bal Harbour Shops, just north of Miami, store offerings include Gucci, Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel.
And be sure to treat yourself to a meal at the mouth-watering Le Zoo and Makoto. As for accomodations The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is a haven of oceanfront elegance with butler service, day villas and an extensive wine cellar. Pamper yourself at the St. Regis Remède Spa with its marble heated floors, ocean vistas and treatments like chakra balancing crystal massage.[white_box]
10 best travel destinations for a luxury skip-generation vacation
read more >
7. Rent your own private island in The Maldives
And last but certainly not least why not just rent your own island? Velaa Private Island in the Maldives offers travelers the opportunity to celebrate the holidays in unparalleled luxury. Designed by award-winning Czech architect Petr Kolar as “an elegant fusion of Maldivian culture with contemporary luxury, intimate with Maldivian nuances” guests arrive by seaplane and can then stay at one of the 47 private villas, houses and exclusive residences.
Starting off festivities on December 20th the resort will celebrate their 8th Birthday with a Gala Cocktail Party and Birthday Gala Dinner. Guests will enjoy pre-dinner drinks and specialty Velaa cocktails, followed by an exquisitely prepared dinner on the beach, surrounded by undisturbed ocean views and an outstanding live music performance. Other activities include a Gingerbread House Opening Ceremony, an appearance by Santa, A Japanese and Maldivian gastronomical journey, a beach barbeque and New Year’s Eve and Day celebrations to boot.
9 luxury destinations for a last-minute vacation before year end 2021
That’s our take on where to go for the best COVID-19 safe luxury destinations for a last-minute vacation trip before the end of the year 2021. Use it or lose it! What’s at the top of your list, dear reader?
join our community
For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.
This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links.
Meredith Lepore is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire Magazine, Women’s Health, InStyle, Architectural Digest, The Observer, and Travel & Leisure. She earned her Masters in journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time, and enjoys reading, jogging, spinning, and playing with her small dog, Otis.