Pack Your Passport for These Six Singular Fall Destinations

By August 19, 2016 Lifestyle, Travel No Comments

An upclose shot of a frolicking grizzly bear, an afternoon in a vintage safari camp, and an island only accessible by private plane or yacht: These aren’t your average vacations.

Between crisp mountain air and white-sand beaches, there’s nothing quite like the outdoors and the luxurious indoor spaces that dwell among them. But finding locations high on experience and low on crowds? Well, that is a rare find indeed.

It’s also why we can’t help but fall in love with autumn travel: a season when, for much of the world, summer crowds have dissipated and temperatures are a lot more mild.

Your passport may be already tattooed with myriad nations’ stamps. But just in case you’re still in need of a few out-of-the-ordinary fall vacation ideas, we’ve rounded the season’s best kept secrets around the globe:

1 For the Sunseeker

Laucala Island, Fiji

Ideal Time to Visit: August – September

Crowds aren’t a thing here on Laucala, where the Island houses only 25 villas, each with a unique theme.

After purchasing the island from late publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes, Red Bull’s tycoon Dietrich Mateschitz transformed the private isle into an exclusive resort destination. And as private resorts go, this one is pretty remote: It covers just 15 percent of the island, with no neighbors to speak of.

Exclusively accessed by private plane or yacht, the entire island can be rented for USD $150,000 a night. Fijian food is served nightly at Seagrass, one of two restaurants on-property. Guests can also watch native dancing, dive in subtropical cerulean waters, or hike past the sugar-sand beaches to volcanic cliffs. Our favorite feature? The complementary massage upon arrival.  

2 For the Time Traveler

Cottar’s 1920s Luxury Safari Camp, Kenya

Ideal Time to Visit: August – October

Who says time travel isn’t possible? Established in the mid-nineties, this 1920s Safari Camp has  its own 6,000 acre private conservancy. Here, you can return to the golden era of colonial adventures in the midst of the Serengeti, Loliondo, and Masai Mara reserves — a collective home to the largest concentration of terrestrial wildlife on earth. Zebras, wildebeests, and lions? Check, check, check! Visitors can witness the Big 5 on a guided safari and from August through September, when several species make their annual migration.

Run by Africa’s oldest established and continuing safari family, Cottar’s spans more than five generations and also provides the highest number of Golf Safari Guides within one Kenyan camp. No wonder Brad and Angelina secured the entire camp for their entourage on a trip in 2009. We recommend riding in the vintage wooden car or oxen-pulled wagon for a game drive. After a day’s excursion, you can return to your white canvas tent, tune in that gramophone and dance in the savannah’s evening air.

For the Discrete Vacationer

Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, Nicaragua

Ideal Time to Visit: June – October

Built by Nicaraguan billionaire Don Carlos Pellas, Mukul Beach Golf & Spa might just be  Central America’s most exclusive hideaway. Meaning “secret” in the Mayan language Tzotzil, Mukul offers utmost discretion among its 12 clay-tiled villas and 23 bohio huts with their own plunge pools. The hillside rooms give guests the feeling of living in treetop houses, 300 feet up from Playa Manzanillo, with views of a green canopy just outside each wooden deck.

Ninety percent of the art and decorative objects displayed in public spaces at Mukul were made in Nicaragua. We recommend the private helicopter ride to colonial Granada or the Flor de Caña (the owners’ award-winning rum distillery), or Cerro Negro volcano. After surfing the world-class waves on the Emerald Coast, unwind with one of six global themed spa treatments available at the resort. The spa menu ranges from soothing quartz and stone rituals in the Crystal Spa Temple to an Indian herbal scrub within the Healing Hut. 

For the Wellness Enthusiast

Castel Monastero, Italy

Ideal Time to Visit: August – October

Just outside Siena, this Tuscan hamlet is a renovated 11th Century monastery renowned for its royalty-approved spa treatments and Michelin-star fare. Guests with discerning palates can try the tender Chianina beef created by none other than Gordon Ramsay. Villas are adorned with a peaceful fresco scene of vineyards, rolling hills and timeless castle courtyards. Guests may also venture on horseback across the Tuscan countryside. Special entertainment opportunities include a night under the stars listening to Andrea Bocelli’s lyrical repertoire or an afternoon drive through the Chianti Region in a Ferrari 458 Spider.

Among its standout features, this Medieval retreat attracts globetrotters for its world-acclaimed “royal” spa treatments by Dr. Mosaraf Ali, physician to Prince Charles. Partake in a three-day detox or slimming program for starters, or indulge in cooking classes, truffle hunting expeditions, and wine tasting hours. Buon appetito!

For the Desert Wanderer

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, United Arab Emirates

Ideal Time to Visit: October – March

If Aladdin could dream up an oasis, we’re pretty sure it’d look something like the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, a certified eco-luxury retreat outside Abu Dhabi. Located in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, the first National Park of United Arab Emirates, this retreat introduces guests to the territory where species once driven to the brink of extinction are now thriving. The resort’s name “Al Maha”, Arabic for “oryx”, pays tribute to the wildlife whose habitat it neighbors.

Guests can cool off under the toasty desert sun in an azure pool and embark on an afternoon ride on Arabian horses. Grab the keys to a 4×4 and drive over the sand dunes while catching sight of the Arabian oryx and gazelles nearby. From lessons in archery and the art of falconry to soothing spa treatments, this tent-covered retreat offers plenty out of the ordinary. Oh, and of course an afternoon camel ride is a must.

For the Wilderness Explorer

Sonora Resort, Canada

Ideal Time to Visit: August – October

How about the sight of grizzly bears splashing around in salmon-filled rivers? These striking brown beauties make a rare appearance in late August, September and October, descending on the Orford River to feed on spawning salmon. This is just one sight to catch while venturing through photogenic British Columbia. Nestled between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland, Sonora Resort rests on its own island here, and hosts an endless list of alpine summer activities. Guests can touch down in a helicopter on a glacier or listen to humpback and killer whales via hydrophone.

At Sonora, crisp air and wilderness adventures are the order of the day. Choose to raft on the churning waters (Tides can vary up to 14 feet, forging incredible tidal rapids!), fly-fish on the calm river spots, and putt a game of Storey Creek golf. Guests can also grab a few top-line cameras and lenses from the resort for capturing those Kodak moments.


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