As we usher in 2012, many of us also start to think about our travel plans for the year. Should we go somewhere tropical? How about an exotic vacation far away? Or perhaps beaches far from your typical tourist traps?
Travel consultant Jody Bear of Bear & Bear Travel has over 30 years of experience traveling the globe seeking out the latest hot spots and destinations for her prestigious clients, and she has been on the Condé Nast Traveler Specialist list for 10 years running. She offers up some great ideas for your 2012 travel plans. Here’s what she recommends…
If you’re seeking a spiritual destination with a dose of luxury, the St. Regis Lhasa in Tibet should be on your bucket list. Your days can be filled with magnificent monasteries, dramatic landscapes and an extraordinary culture, but you can come home to luxurious accommodations, a 24-hour butler, incredible pool and spa, wine bar and a choice of restaurants that serve other things besides yak meat! FYI: The reflexology treatment I received for my altitude sickness not only cured me, but was one of the highlights of my trip!
South Beach is SIZZLING
The Surfcomber Doubletree is now a Kimpton Hotel and has been completely remodeled into contemporary cool.
Speaking of cool, check out the recently opened Dream Hotel. The Z, which was the old Regent, is no longer under wraps or under the radar, and Red, built in 1939, is now a red-hot-mama of a hotel. Be on the lookout for the SLS (the old Ritz Plaza), due to open in the spring. They added a luxe pool, bungalow suites and José Andrés/Philippe Starck restaurant and lounge.
The old, historical Royal Palm will be reincarnated into the new, improved The James Royal Palm.
If you want to impress your friends, Foursquare them from ‘midtown’ (north of downtown Miami) where all new restaurants, boutiques and art galleries are cropping up.
Punta del Este was last year, Jose Ignacio is now, but if you’re looking for the next hot spot in Uruguay, head to La Pedrera or Cabo Polonio. Both are Bohemian in spirit, laid-back chic in style and the virgin, untamed beaches make for a perfect combo.
Been There, Done That … NOT
Go to Croatia before the word gets out! The island of Korcula is a fabulous, exclusive retreat and the Lesic Palace is one of the deluxe hotels cropping up in Croatia – it’s about time! Take my advice and get to the island of Vis or the old fisherman town of Komiza before Mr. ‘Zagat’ or Mr. ‘Michelin’ does … these restaurants are the best-kept secret in the Mediterranean!
Remember when the only place to go to for a meaningful boot camp experience was The Ashram? The only problem was the accommodations were as brutal and bare as the program itself. Well, now you can have your cake, or tofu, and eat it too! The Ranch At Live Oak in Malibu offers a week-long, results-oriented intensive fitness and wellness program. You still can’t opt out of the 10-hour daily exercise routine, your strict vegetarian diet consists of 1500 calories a day, you will be alcohol, caffeine and processed sugar deprived, but the accommodations are fabulously monastery-chic, the cuisine is gourmet farm-to table fare (so you won’t even notice that you are being HEALTHY), the programs are personalized and the staff is the best at what they do. What’s the best part? A significant weight loss, a toned body and a new lease on life!
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