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Woman meditates next to a still pool and temple-like structure overlooking the vast rainforest

Secluded and Spectacular: 8 Destinations Off the Tourist Radar

Article by Jen Murphy 07.10.2017

Forget the well-worn tourist paths and crowded beaches. These stunning destinations offer the ultimate in luxury and seclusion.

1. Sintra, Portugal

There’s no more fitting base from which to explore Sintra’s ancient castles and lavish palaces than Penha Longa Resort. Once the retreat for the Portuguese royal family, today the resort is set within a 545-acre national park and the grounds are home to a 19th-century palace as well as a 14th-century monastery. An award-winning 27-hole golf course winds past historical ruins. After a round, guests can be pampered at the spa or indulge with a Michelin-star meal.

2. Ubud, Bali

While many of Bali’s beaches have been overrun, Ubud still maintains an undiscovered, trapped-in-time feel. Nestled in the heart of Ubud, surrounded by terraced rice paddies and ancient shrines, Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a tranquil setting to unplug and recharge. The Balinese spa has an in-house healer, and yoga classes are held at a riverfront pavilion. Spend lazy days by the pool or have the staff arrange cultural excursions to witness a traditional Barong dance performance — or visit local artisans.

3. Dove Mountain, Arizona

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain feels like an oasis in the Sonoran Desert. Located just north of Tucson, the resort is minutes from outdoor adventures and bucket-list sites. Experience giant saguaro cacti in Saguaro National Park, or explore the beautiful oasis of Sabino Canyon. There are endless trails to hike and bike, and the resort’s Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course is world class. For a dose of culture, all you have to do is visit the spa. Treatments draw on the ancient therapeutic rituals of the native Hohokam people.

4. Herzliya, Israel

Perched high above the largest marina in Israel, The Ritz-Carlton, Herzliya is one of the most stylish escapes in the Mediterranean. Every room has its own balcony with views of the yacht dotted waters below. A rooftop pool offers the utmost privacy for sunning and swimming. Within a two-hour drive guests can visit UNESCO heritage sites or float in the Dead Sea. Foodies will love eating their way through Tel Aviv’s markets, hummus spots, and buzzy restaurants.

5. Krabi, Thailand

Krabi’s dramatic limestone cliffs and postcard-perfect beaches have lured crowds of climbers and backpackers in recent years. Set on its own private stretch of beach, Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a haven on the shores of the Andaman Sea. Villas feel like mini-palaces with sundecks and outdoor bathtubs surrounded by gardens. By day explore the jungles of the national park or take a longboat and have a picnic on Hong Island. At night, watch the sunset by the pool and indulge in an authentic Thai meal at Sri Trang restaurant.

6. Dorado, Puerto Rico

Originally conceived by Laurance Rockefeller and a playground for Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor, the newly reimagined Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve still maintains midcentury touches and an air of exclusivity. Each guest has a dedicated butler who can book reservations for dinner at Mi Casa by star chef Jose Andrés or a couples massage at the spa. A cabana at the infinity-edge pool is the best spot to watch the sunset over the palm-fringed Atlantic coast.

7. Lake Oconee, Georgia

Looking for a slower pace? An escape to Lake Oconee, located 75 miles outside of Atlanta, feels like a return to carefree summer camp days. The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee has a waterfront setting and lodge-inspired rooms and cottages. The array of activities makes scenic locale perfect for multigenerational getaways. From fishing and kayaking to a sprawling spa and five championship golf courses, all ages can keep busy. Don’t miss the opportunity to dine under the stars lakeside in Adirondack chairs in front of your personal chimenea bonfire.

8. Al Wadi Desert, United Arab Emirates

Long a home to nomadic Bedouin tribes, the Al Wadi Nature Reserve is a backdrop of Arabian dreams, with rolling sand dunes, rugged mountains and an infinite sky that fills with twinkling stars at night. Guests at the The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert can hide away in the luxury villas inspired by Bedouin tents and fill their days with falconry shows, camel caravans into the desert and guided nature walks to spot Arabian Oryx and gazelles. Nearby forts and abandoned villages provide a snapshot of the Emirati past, while the resort’s restaurants, lounges and spa offer modern indulgences.

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Plan Your Stay In These Destinations

  • Penha Longa Resort

    Location Sintra, Portugal

    Experience A quintessential retreat among rolling hills and mountain lakes.

    • A palazzo estate steeped in history
    • Unlimited championship golf experiences
    • Set within a 1355 monastery
  • Bali, Ubud, Mandapa

    Location Bali, Indonesia

    Experience A sanctuary set among rolling hills, a river and rice terrace.

    • Discover hidden templates and lush forests
    • Romantic, private dining experiences
    • Wellness programs for mind, body and soul
  • Dove Mountain

    Location Marana, Arizona

    Experience A luxury wellness resort that heals through eco-holistic remedies.

    • World-class hiking and mountain biking
    • Spa therapies honed by ancient remedies
    • #1 Spa in Arizona by readers of Condé Nast 
  • Herzliya

    Location Herzliya, Israel

    Experience A luxury hotel experience at the foot of the Mediterranean sea.

    • Guestrooms reveal seaside views
    • Most elegant Kosher restaurant in Herzliya
    • An authentic Turkish Hammam spa
  • Phulay Bay

    Location Krabi, Thailand

    Experience A luxurious spa sanctuary with an aura of serenity and surrender.

    • Unique private dining experiences
    • Local and cultural activities
    • Discover the natural scenery of Krabi
  • Dorado Beach

    Location Dorado, Puerto Rico


    • Family-friendly West Beach with dining at Encanto Beach Club and Grill
    • The quiet East Beach near Positivo Sand Bar and COA
    • Land- and water-based activities with Ambassadors of the Environment
  • Reynolds, Lake Oconee

    Location Lake Oconee, Georgia

    Experience Enjoy fishing, waterskiing, jet skiing, paddle boarding & more

    • 75 miles from Atlanta on 30 acres of shoreline
    • Lakeside cottages, championship golf, locally inspired cuisine
    • Recently renovated infinity pool and spa
  • Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert

    Location Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert

    Experience Romance and relaxation, adventure and natural beauty.

    • Located in a unique 500 hectare nature reserve
    • 101 private luxury pool-villas
    • Local and International cuisine, destination dining experiences