Eight pricey getaways
POSTED: Saturday, January 12, 2013 - 5:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, January 12, 2013 - 5:04am
CNN — Imagine kicking back on a private island in the Bahamas where the staff caters to your every whim.
Yes, it's a pipe dream for 99 percent of us, but let's imagine. Put that bank balance out of your mind. Now conjure up a snorkel and flippers.
To find some of the most out-of-this-world destinations for jet-setters in 2013, CNN.com asked Robb Report editorial director Bruce Wallin for ideas.
So keep this list handy in case of a fat financial windfall:
Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
Located on a private 350,000-acre game reserve, the Singita Grumeti Reserves has only four small lodges on the property.
The four-bedroom Serengeti House, which is listed on its blog, quietly opened to guests in December and includes its own chef, guides, tennis court and pool.
"The lodges themselves are as nice as Four Seasons New York, if not nicer," says Wallin. "The wildlife is great, and the service and food is incredible. It's one of the nicest places in the world to stay."
Serengeti House rates start at $8,500 a night for up to four guests during high season (parts of December and January and all of June, July and August), with additional charges for five to eight guests. Pay $84,500 to rent the house for a week for up to eight guests.
Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
The dream of an Australian couple living in Cambodia, the exclusive Song Saa Private Island resort opened in March. With just 27 villas on two small islands in the Koh Rong archipelago, the resort offers diving, snorkeling, nature trails, kayaking, fishing and boat trips to surrounding islands.
Song Saa also has a relationship with the Amansara resort in Siem Reap, allowing travelers to stay there while visiting Angkor Wat's ancient temples.
High-season villa prices starts at $1,595 a night for the one-bedroom Jungle Villa. Rates include food, beverages including beer and house wines and spirits, guided tours and the use of kayaks, boats and snorkeling gear.
Four Seasons Around the World
Imagine jetting around the world via private 757 airplane, visiting some of the world's most extraordinary sites with travel experts and staying at Four Seasons hotels at your destinations. Customs is a breeze for such world travelers.
Four Seasons featured two around-the-world trips in 2012, each 22 days long, and is already taking reservations for next September's trip. The 2013 journey includes stops in Japan, China, the Maldives, Turkey and Russia. Only 76 spots are available.
Double occupancy costs $70,950 a person, and the single supplement is an extra $8,650.
Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay, Bahamas
Want a vacation for up to 24 family members or best friends that goes beyond luxury?
Consider Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay, owned and developed into a beach resort in the Exumas by world-famous magician David Copperfield.
You and your guests can take part in a treasure hunt, spy challenge or other theatrical adventures designed by the team behind Copperfield's magic shows. Of course, the resort also has beaches, a swimming pool, tennis court, outdoor movie theater and nature trails.
Rent out the whole resort, which consists of five houses on the main island. Rates start at $37,500 a night for up to 12 guests with a four-night minimum, including all meals and beverages. The resort can host up to 24 guests for an additional fee.
King Pacific Lodge, Northern British Columbia, Canada
Accessible via privately chartered plane from Vancouver to Bella Bella with a transfer to float planes for the final leg, King Pacific Lodge is in the middle of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest.
The lodge actually floats: Built from cedar, fir, pine and stone on a barge, King Pacific is only open June through September. It has 17 guest rooms and suites, a spa, deck and pool. Prices start at $4,900 (Canadian) based on double occupancy for three nights and include all meals, beverages and use of the lodge facilities.
The Great Bear Rainforest, home to the Gitga'at people (part of the Tsimshian Nation), is host to many nature activities, including kayaking, fishing, whale watching and wildlife watching.
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Puerto Rico
The Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, isn't a newcomer to Puerto Rico. The resort, which opened is doors on December 12, is on the site of Laurance Rockefeller's former estate near San Juan. The property continued his environmental legacy by setting aside some 75 percent of its 1,400 acres as green space.
All 100 guestrooms and 14 one-bedroom suites are on the beach.
"Su Casa," a restored four-bedroom beachfront villa, was the original hacienda. Restaurant and beachfront dining feature the talents of acclaimed chef Jose Andres. The spa offers a tree-house option for massages.
Rates start at $1,499 a night based on double occupancy.
Sitting at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the Irish countryside, Ballyfin was named in the Robb Report's "Best of the Best 2012."
Originally the home of Sir Charles Coote, the Regency mansion reopened as Ballyfin in May 2011 with 15 guest rooms. Built in 1822 for Coote's family, the 614-acre estate was later sold and served as a Catholic school.
Purchased by a Chicago businessman in 2002, it underwent a nine-year renovation that upgraded the technology while keeping the Old World elegance and charm.
The resort is closed in January and February (reservations can still be made during that time), and it reopens for the season on March 8. Daily weekend rates for March and April, including meals and amenities, start at 915 euros ($1,206 U.S.) a night for a deluxe room, based on double occupancy.
The recent reopening of the Hotel Jerome, one of the oldest U.S. luxury hotels west of the Mississippi, is just one of the reasons why Aspen is a top U.S. spot for high-end travel, says Wallin.
Even without the renovation, Aspen was already a magnet for the rich and famous. St. Regis Aspen reopened in December 2011 after a $40 million redesign. And the five-star lodge Little Nell just opened Element 47, which Wallin says may be the best restaurant in town.
"Aspen has long been the country's most glamorous ski destination, so it's hard to say it's undergoing a revival -- it never really waned in popularity in the first place," says Wallin, "But with all the new restaurants, renewed hotels and other developments in the area, Aspen is probably the best it's ever been as a luxury destination. "
At the St. Regis Aspen, the winter season starting rate for a standard guest room, based on double occupancy, is $899 a night. Hotel Jerome's winter season rates start at $695 a night based on double occupancy.