It’s a rare day for me when I’m not dreaming about travel. Sometimes it’s jet-setting to a small exotic island in Fiji, other times it’s the city streets of Tokyo or to South American countries where dancing reigns supreme; whatever the daily choice, my passport is always close at hand. With the new year looming over our heads, many of us are making resolutions and lists of things we’d like to accomplish this year.
Curious of where the other JustLuxe editors would travel to if they had the chance this year, I queried each to find out where their dream 2014 travel destinations would be. These are their picks and mine, and here's to hoping we make some of these a reality soon.
Rob Gautereaux, Founder & Owner
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
"This was an easy decision for me, my choice is St. Thomas; but I also know exactly how I’d like to get to the island: the Predator 84 motor yacht. Because if you’re going to arrive anywhere, you should always try to do it in style."
Though small in size (roughly 32 square miles), St. Thomas is one of the U.S. Virgin Island’s most cosmopolitan locales, so there’s plenty to see and do. Golfers will enjoy the world-renowned Mahogany Run Golf Course, while beach goers can relax on the sandy beaches of the Caribbean destination. Don’t forget to pack your party clothes either because St. Thomas sizzles with an array of nightlife venues from clubs and bars for imbibing to Frenchtown’s fine restaurants and more local hot spots offering live music.
JL's Hotel Pick: The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
Courtney Driver, Executive Editor
The Kingdom of Bhutan
"This is really difficult for me! There are so many amazing destinations in our world, each with its own spectrum of flavors, scents, sights and people; each with its own allure. I have always said you could give me a ticket to anywhere, and I'd go. While all of Southeast Asia is high on my list, a visit to the Taktshang temple would be the ultimate for me, so Bhutan has to be my pick. At least for now."
The fact that it is called “The Land of the Thunder Dragon,” already gives you an idea of how interesting and unique this place is. The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is chockfull of culture, myths and legends that add to the country’s draw for tourists. However, to visit, you’ll have to pay a tariff of around USD $250 a day to see its sights. While striving to maintain its remarkable identity and deep history, Bhutan is slowly starting to become a more contemporary country. And its people are said to be fun-loving, vibrant and well-educated.
JL's Hotel Pick: Amankora
Christy Stewart, Managing Editor
"A vacation, what’s that? While I’ve definitely racked up my fair share of air miles this past year, the thought of a real vacation sure does sound fabulous right about now. But where to? I think I could go for two weeks of uninterrupted and unplugged sun worshiping on the white sand of Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia, Greece."
Kefalonia (or Cephalonia), remains one of Greece's truly Greek locations, meaning it is not a highly touristic destination. While it is the largest Ionian island, it remains the least developed, and visitors go to its shores for relaxing vacations without the chaos of more urban and cosmopolitan isles. In 1953, an earthquake shook up the city and demolished most of its structures, so today, much of what you’ll see are newer buildings. Hiking, cycling, and horseback riding are all part of the activities that can be done in Kefalonia. Also, Lefkas, Zante and Ithaca are just a boat ride away in case you want to check out other Ionian treasures.
JL's Hotel Pick: Perantzada Hotel
Mila Pantovich, LifeStyle Editor
"While I immediately want to just shout out Montenegro, I should probably go somewhere new in 2014 and next up is definitely Macedonia (more specifically, Bitola). My paternal grandmother was from Bitola and my namesake is buried there, so it's a pretty big spot on my continuing cultural and familial exploration. Plus, I can always cheat and head back to Montenegro's coastline for some sunbathing on the best beaches in the world."
Bitola is one of those places that may not be on your radar (definitely wasn’t on mine), but the little city proves to be a great destination for history buffs and travelers looking to admire ancient monasteries, mosques, old churches, historic buildings, and archaeological gardens. It is called “The City of Consuls” because many countries have consulates there. Originating in Bitola, the "Manaki Brothers" International Film Festival celebrates the work of the first film cameraman in the Balkans and his achievements in the art world; it is the only event of its kind in the world.
JL's Hotel Pick: Hotel Epinal Bitola
Marissa Stempien, Fashion Editor
Antarctica, South Pole
"Talk about exotic locales. A personal goal in my life has always been to travel to all seven continents and I won’t count this one out just because it’s freezing cold and filled with ice. I know there are places that are filled with better food, shopping and accommodations, but I doubt any of them could give me the same feeling of awe and appreciation for life than being at the edge of the world. Plus how adorable are penguins?"
If you’re not familiar with how desolate Antarctica actually is, here’s a little insight: It’s a frozen, windswept continent that is so hostile and remote, that it holds no permanent human inhabitants. Aside from that little gem of a description, it is also home to 12 million adorable Chinstrap penguins, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and 90 percent of the planet’s ice. While a great number of visitors to the chilly continent are researchers, many tourists go to experience the untouched regions of the country and see firsthand the incredible animals that wander its snowy terrain.
JL's Cruise Pick: Abercrombie & Kent's Le Boreal Ship
Nicolle Monico, Travel Editor
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
"Admittedly, my first thought was Barbados, but only because I have dreams of one day running into Rihanna on its warm beaches. But if I’m being true to myself, Rio de Janiero, Brazil who be my choice. I like a little bit of culture, city life and beach locale mixed into my destinations, and Rio seems to have it all, not to mention Carnival. See you soon, Rio!"
Its 23 beaches account for nearly 45 miles of sand, and with Christ the Redeemer keeping watch over the land, it’s no wonder that Rio de Janiero is nicknamed the “Marvelous City.” The city is full of life and its people are incredibly friendly and welcoming, inviting visitors in for a traditional meal or happily handing out suggestions for the best local restaurants, sights or shopping experiences. Each year in February since 1840, Carnival has been taking over Rio’s streets with an annual celebration of eating, drinking, live music, floats and parades to kick-off the 40 days of Lent. Considered the biggest in the world, the event attracts two million people per day.
JL's Hotel Pick: Copacabana Palace by Orient-Express
Nicolle is an award-winning writer and Travel Editor using her expertise in the industry to write about luxury travel around the world. You can find her daily searching the web for the latest trends, best new hotels and most beautiful destinations to visit and share with her readers. She's been featured on The Huffington Post, Hard Assets, AMD Entertainment and Remy Martin. In 2014, she was v...(Read More)