Having George Clooney as a neighbor may be a dream scenario for many, but with celebrity-adjacent destinations come celebrity-seeking tourists. Instead of these crowded places, visit peaceful places instead offering luxury and breathtaking views.
Lake-side Bliss: Instead of Lake Como, Visit Lake Atitlán
Having George Clooney as a neighbor may check the box in many people’s bucket list, but when celebrity-adjacent destinations also come with celebrity-seeking tourists, Lake Atitlán is a solid alternative to Lake Como. Miles away from the more popular Central American tourist destinations, yet conveniently only a direct flight away from most major US airports, Guatemala City and the nearby Lake Atitlán offer affordable luxury and a secluded, peaceful retreat for travelers who value a dose of culture with their vacation experience. For a traditional Guatemalan experience, visitors can stay at Casa Palopó, an authentic private home turned boutique hotel that makes for an unparalleled getaway. Perched on the hills surrounding the spectacular Lake Atitlán — famous for its natural beauty, three majestic volcanoes and 12 colorful Mayan villages that dot its shores, Casa Palopó boasts an exclusive 15 guest rooms, uniquely adorned with colorful walls, Latin American artwork and handwoven textiles made by local artisans. Instead of dishing out thousands for a sunset sail around Bellagio, travelers can spend the day exploring the vibrant lakeside indigenous villages, interacting with local artisans and taking part in art projects to empower the local community. Casa Palopó is also the first and only Relais & Chateaux property in Guatemala, guaranteeing an escape as exclusive as it is unique. So, for those seeking a lakeside retreat that is both accessible and affordable, a trip to the “Land of Eternal Spring” is calling!
South Florida Charm: Instead of Miami, Visit West Palm Beach
While Miami and its beaches may be world-famous, not everyone is up for the buzz and bustle that come with spending a few days in the Magic City. For a tropical getaway that includes beach time, culture, live music and plenty of local South Florida charm, without the over-touristed usual suspects, West Palm Beach offers everything and more! A few miles north of the 305, and easily accessible via Brightline train, boat or car, West Palm Beach is a traditionally classic city that also offers plenty of appeal for young professionals and modern travelers visiting the Sunshine State. With new hotel concepts like The Ben West Palm shaking up the hospitality scene by introducing downtown’s first water-facing rooftop, Spruzzo, in addition to new food halls, breweries and restaurants all around, there is a new energy being injected into the city. West Palm is quickly developing a new identity that caters to much more than snowbirds and golf aficionados- and is an attractive destination for travelers who appreciate culture, music festivals, sporting events and a booming culinary scene.
Deep Blue Sea Adventure: Instead of Australia, visit South Andros
While the ‘land down under’ is a popular choice for those looking to explore the forests of the sea, travelers can look closer to home for an experience that’s on par with some of the best in Australia by venturing to the off-the-grid island of South Andros for an exotic tropical escape. Easily accessible by just a 20 minute flight from Nassau, South Andros Island is the largest Bahamian island, but least inhabited. With the third largest coral reef in the world, divers can explore a kaleidoscope of exotic marine life that runs into the Tongue of the Ocean, a deep ocean trench that begins about 70 feet deep and depths of more than 6,000 feet. Tucked away between lush mangroves and untouched powder-white sands, visitors can stay at Caerula Mar, a luxury boutique hotel opening this November with 18 oceanfront suites and six private villas — designed by a HGTV Canada reality power couple, it’s the first new hotel in more than two decades and is putting the island of South Andros on the map!
Overwater Bungalows: Visit Flores instead of Bora Bora
For a relaxing getaway that is both luxurious and accessible, Flores, Guatemala tops the list as a destination that offers French Polynesia luxury at a fraction of the price (and the flight across the globe.) Similar to popular honeymoon hotspots known for their overwater bungalows, Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel boasts 19 spacious bungalow suites that boast rustic charm, bounded by ultimate jungle bliss- and are accessible in under 4 hours from most major US airports! Each suite hovers over the Quexil Lagoon and includes peek-a-boo bathrooms with rainfall shower heads, as well as a stunning private deck with a large jacuzzi for guests to relax with a glass of wine in hand while listening to the natural sounds of the jungle. The deck overlooks unobstructed vistas of the water and the lush greenery of the rainforest, so if catching the most beautiful sunset of all time is on your bucket list, here’s the place to do it. Fun fact: Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel's bungalow suites were built in a way that had minimal impact on nature, creating paths in which the least number of trees were cut down and establishing itself as one with nature.
Arctic Adventure + Northern Lights: Instead of Reykjavik, visit South Iceland
Instead of heading to regular old Reykjavík, active travelers should swerve South to chase waterfalls and for better odds and viewing of the Northern Lights in the adventure capital of Iceland in Hella. Hotel Rangá a secluded countryside retreat without the interference of artificial light, is unequivocally the best place to marvel at the beauty of the Aurora Borealis. The hotel is also home to an advanced observatory with a roll-off roof and two high-quality astronomical telescopes - perfect for the nights when the Northern Lights may not visit. It is the pet project of one of the island's most well-known astronomy experts, who is on hand on clear nights to guide guests through a stellar star gazing experience. Staying in South Iceland also means visitors have easy access to adventure through the country's nearby myriad of natural wonders from its highlands and volcanoes to its hot springs and waterfalls. Take an ATV to a glacier ice cave, hop in a super jeep to the black sand beach, ride an Icelandic horse through a lava field or get behind the reins of a dogsled to venture through the vast and magnificent land of fire and ice. After a long day of activities, there's no place better to relax than by cozying up in one of Hotel Ranga’s continent-themed suites - from Africa to Antarctica, noshing on seasonal Nordic fare at Restaurant Rangá or by soaking in the hotel's outdoor geothermal hot tubs. Visit www.hotelranga.is.