Secluded and Spectacular: 8 Destinations Off the Tourist Radar
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. Guest at the Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel, 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.