The top ten picks for luxury adventure resorts in Europe, Asia and Oceania each utilize their unique location, culture and activity to offer once-in-a-lifetime vacations:
Mountain resorts are prime spots for outdoor activity and breathtaking vistas. Arlberg slopes in Austria have become “the cradle of Alpine skiing” ever since Thurnhers Alpenhof came into the scene. Know for it’s unrivaled snow sports – 80 mountain railways/lifts, 260 km prepared slopes, 180 km virgin snow slopes – this winter destination provides service to match the splendor of panoramic alpine views. A free-of-charge instructor is on hand to give tips and the gourmet food is exactly what’s needed after a day of snow and spa.
Another winter-time resort that becomes equally impressive during warmer seasons is the Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Graubhenden, Arson, Switzerland. Here guests can golf at the highest 18-hole course in Europe and take a hot air balloon tour afterwards. A complimentary Arosa card means free admission into many local spots while various land and air transportation options make getting around an ease.
Medieval towns set a unique backdrop for The Banyan Tree in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China. Golf awaits between horseback, bike or foot excursions into Baoshan Stone Village. Natural sights like the Tiger Leaping Gorge and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain add fascination to the already stunning medieval setting.
Immerse yourself in the bamboo jungles of Thailand by visiting Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. At Chiangmai Rai guests are at the intersection of three countries and many cultures. Among the things to do are all-terrain vehicle excursions, Hill tribe visits, jungle trekking, nature walks and river boat excursions. There are also opportunities to interact with some favorite local residents – the elephants.
Gayana Eco Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, has dedicated itself to preserving and re-generating marine ecosystems. This resort promotes non-motorized water sports and has a PADI certified dive center to accommodate divers of all skill levels. Guests can experience underwater marvels through snorkeling, kayaking and canoeing. Outside of the water there are mangroves to explore, jungles to trek through, and lots of sun to soak in.
In the mystic deserts of Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarters a luxury gem can be found – The Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort. The experience is rich and picturesc, from the Anantara Spa to sun-kissed camel rides across impressive dunes. Private villas are decorated with Middle Eastern fabrics and artifacts. Wind-down time is made exquisite with four gourmet dining venues, a kids club, business center, library and more.
On the edge of India’s Rathambore Tiger Preserve is luxury resort Oberoi Vanyaviles, where guests stay in sophisticated tents featuring finely embroidered canopies, luxury bathrooms and private outdoor decks for sunbathing. When relaxing at the spa you’ll take in the scent of nearby fruit groves. In the luxury dining hall local specialties are prepared and served among the hand-painted fresco ambience.
Few locations are as magnificent as the Himalayas in Shimla, India, where the Wildflower Hall forms a tranquil sanctuary. This appropriately named fairy tale resort is the former residence of colonial era Lord Kitchener. The original artwork has been kept while the property has been renewed to accomadate private spa suites and pavilions. Trails wind through fragrant pine forests and gourmet picnics envelope guests in old world charm. Among the virgin woods of Pine Cedar guests are invited to river raft, trek, mountain bike, ice skate, play billiards or try archery.
Adventure characterizes New Zealand, and Matakauri Lodge is situated at the heart of it all in Queenstown. On the banks of Lake Wakatipu this luxury resort offers 12 mountain view suites and villas as well as the four bedroom owner’s cottage. Horse riding, trout fishing, scenic flights and tours of wineries are made available through the spa resort where knowledgeable staff consult with guests on where to river raft, bungee jump, jet boat, hike, heli-ski and more.
The Royal Pines Resort, Australia, is a world renown destination for golf enthusiasts. The 21-hole golf course with state of the art driving range has earned host privileges for the Australian PGA championship through the next 5 years. Conference and event facilities cater to groups while the day spa and soon-to-be-completed gymnasium make the resort a Gold Coast relaxation leader.
[photo credit: Sofitel So Mauritius Bel Ombre via photopin cc]