A-List Escapes

Now that you know how to travel like a star, why not do your summer shopping in a star-studded location? Who knows, you might even get to spot celebs catching up on some R&R! Start packing; we’re sending you to three of the most glamorous hideouts. 

The Kingdom of Bhutan
The Low-down: In the landlocked state of Bhutan, a smile on your face is more valuable than a coin in your pocket. And this isn’t just a saying; it is a commitment of one of their kings to the concept of Gross National Happiness. Sounds like a fairy tale? Well, it should with a land that calls to mind a fantasy land.

Nicknamed The Land of Thunder Dragon, The Kingdom in the Clouds and The Last Shangri-La, this country invites those in need of a reality check (which seems like the perfect idea for those who’ve let fame and success get to their head). With a majority of Buddhist population, it’s the ideal destination for those who want to connect with their inner self.

X-Factor: The reasons for visiting Bhutan are manifold. It has a rugged and mountainous landscape with snow-capped peaks and glacier-covered terrain in the north, spurs of the Himalayan peaks in the centre and heavily forested foothills and subtropical plains in the south. Bhutan has long maintained a policy of strict isolationism, both culturally and economically and as a result its culture is one of the oldest and well-preserved ones in the world.

In fact, it has only been in the recent decades of the 20th century that foreigners have been allowed to visit the country and only in limited numbers. The extensive range of touring and trekking holidays in Bhutan have been developed to offer unlimited opportunities to enjoy the warmth of the people, the unique cultural heritage, as well as the stunning mountain vistas and untouched wildernesses.

Best For: Don’t be fooled by the largely simplistic aura of Bhutan. With a USD200 tourist fee per day, it is one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world. There are several luxury lodges that make up for the otherwise modest setting.

Amankora in Paro will enhance and nurture your journey, creating a stay that takes you to the soul of the land in country-styled luxury. Uma Paro in the same district is also frequented by stars. The Taj Tashi in Thimphu pays homage to Dzong architecture, along with world-class service and outstanding cuisine.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The Low-down: Water signs, this one’s for you. What began as a small fishing village, Cabo is one of the top tourist destinations. Filled with adventure and plenty of sun, it’s no wonder this city is the ultimate hotspot for vacationers all year round. This tropical hideaway is luxurious enough to spoil even the most seasoned traveller.

Capturing the essence of the Baja Peninsula, this Mexican city is a must-visit, especially between November and February. There are three districts in Cabo: San Jose del Cabo, where you can find the old world charm of Mexico spotted with resorts; Cabo San Lucas, the entertainment hub where the famous arch rests; and The Corridor, which is the highway that connects both towns now lined with condos and golf courses that hug the stunning coastline.

X-Factor: By night, Cabo San Lucas is one of the hottest party towns in North America. The glittering nightlife and a plethora of dining options make the ‘main town’ an all-time favourite. It isn’t nicknamed Cabo San “Loco” without reason! If you’re out to party in this town, you’ll be caught saying, “I did what last night?!” very often! It’s crazy out here, so prepare to toss your inhibitions at home.

That’s not all Cabo has to offer of course. It’s bustling with water sports aficionados. You name; it they’ve got it!

Best For: Extravagant resorts like One & Only Palmilla. Expect luxury, privacy and service beyond your wildest imagination. Celebrities love this place. Good luck sneaking a photo here, the security is tight! Other A-list favourites here are Esperanza An Auberge Resort, Las Ventanas, ME by Melia Cabo and The Nowhere Bar.

The Low-down: City vacations are no longer limited to London, New York, Paris and Milan. Hollywood has got a whiff of Middle Eastern luxury and its inmates are pouring in by the scores. With opulence in every corner, amazing beaches, shopping destinations and desert safaris all in the same city, Dubai is now topping the A-listers holiday spots.

From a trading port to global gateway in 25 years, the Middle East metropolis of Dubai sprung up out of the desert sands. Once centred on the bustling Dubai Creek, from where old dhows still sail to Iran, the city now sprawls south towards the United Arab Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi.

X-Factor: While oil revenues fuelled its early development, now trade and tourism power this city-state’s phenomenal growth rate. Travellers come for sun, sand, shopping and a touch of the exotic; and Dubai delivers. While it might not have the ancient sites of Cairo or Damascus, Dubai just gets on with making history as one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

Forget the world’s tallest tower and its manmade islands; what the city really knows how to create are headlines. It has managed to turn itself into a must-see location. Dubai has its virtues. So if you find yourself with 24 hours (or more) in the city, you’ll have no shortage of things to do.

Best For: Anyone who has visited Dubai before will have quoted, “It’s the perfect place for any one with disposable money.” People visit the ultramodern city for one reason — to splurge! Whether you are staying at Atlantis The Palm Hotel & Resort, Burj Al Arab or at Armani Hotel Dubai in the world’s tallest building, the way to make the most of your trip is by indulging in the luxury on offer.

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