Treat Yourself in 2019 With These Over-The-Top Luxury Vacation Ideas

Treat Yourself in 2019 With These Over-The-Top Luxury Vacation Ideas

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Each winter, Virtuoso reveals its annual Virtuoso Luxe Report that predicts the luxury travel trends for the upcoming year, based on the input and experiences of Virtuoso’s wide network of industry-leading travel agents and advisors across 50 countries.

The 2018 report revealed five major trends that are going to influence luxury travel in 2019. These included a destinations’ social media appeal, luxury transportation options, super-unique accommodations, bucket-list experiences and conservation. No matter where luxury globetrotters are traveling next year, these are, according to Virtuoso, the five things that are going to shape their experiences and determine how they pick not only a destination but also how they fill their itineraries.

If one region comes to mind when thinking ‘luxury travel’ it’s the Caribbean & Mexico. Let us help you plan your next beach vacation incorporating these five trends.

1

Social Media Appeal

Not only are more travelers considering how a destination and their itinerary’s activities will look on social media, but they’re also dedicating solid time to posting while traveling. Virtuoso reported that more travelers are now requesting their travel agents and advisors arrange activities like professional photo shoots to create Instagram-worthy content. So, when travelers consider a destination’s social media appeal, they’re not only asking which destinations are the most photogenic and have the most enviable activities to enjoy, they’re also wondering where they can easily hire a photographer to get those awesome shots, without relying on selfies or strangers.

The Caribbean obviously has jaw-dropping scenery and plenty of spots that tourists have yet to swarm, but there are also tons of adrenaline-pumping and luxury activities to make all your followers jealous. As for someone to capture it all, this new demand in the travel industry has given rise to businesses that cater to just this. Take, for example, Local Lens—a brand that specializes in connecting travelers with professional photographers in destinations across the globe. In the Caribbean & Mexico specifically, they serve travelers in popular spots like Cancún, Cabo, Playa del Carmen, Nassau, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Tulum and more. The results are gorgeous, high-quality photos that reflect both your own personal style and the destination, providing just the right post for your Instagram.

2

Luxury Transportation Options

Before you begin enjoying all the island fun, you have to actually get there. Demand for luxury transportation options is increasing, according to Virtuoso’s report, and it goes above and beyond just business and first-class flights. When ritzy travelers arrive in their destination, they expect VIP airport arrival services to avoid hassles in customs and long wait times. Outside of the airport, they expect luxury transfers to their property of choice, often via private helicopter.

As such, many of the islands now offer helicopter transfers to and from where you need to go. This is especially the case in areas where taking a smaller plane or a boat to your final destination is necessary. For example, Caribbean Buzz Helicopters caters to travelers landing at the major airports in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, getting them to their properties and private islands faster, with a little extra fun. They can transport you from St. Thomas airport to St. John in 15 minutes, or Peter Island in 45. Go directly to Scrub Island, Necker Island, Saba Rock and all the rest while enjoying amazing scenic views from above.

3

Super-Unique Accommodations

Courtesy of Rockhouse Hotel

Home shares and lifestyle hotels are no longer the trending buzzwords when it comes to accommodations. Millennial travelers, especially, are looking for accommodation options that go completely outside the box. Travelers want something out of the ordinary and a conventional guestroom with four walls and a ceiling just won’t do. Thankfully, the Caribbean answers this demand with ease. There’s no other region in the world where you can go from staying in a tent to a bubble in just a few hours’ journey.

If you’re just easing into the super-unique accommodations trend, maybe stick with three walls but leave out the fourth? Jade Mountain in St. Lucia gives guests unprecedented luxury, private infinity pools, butler service and an open fourth wall so you never lose sight of the gorgeous Pitons. Or, if you’d rather stay in a thatched-roof hut (that’s still luxury, nonetheless) with direct access to the water, Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, Jamaica, has you covered. The boutique hotel is relatively affordable, with several dozen huts connected by jungle paths sitting right on the water, with just a few feet of open-air standing between you and the crystalline sea.

For a totally out-of-the-box experience, stay at Le Domaine des Bulles in Martinique, “the bubble hotel.” The luxury eco-resort takes only a few guests at a time in clear bubble rooms (don’t worry, you’re set apart from the other guests, so you get your share of privacy), with 360-degree views in the bubbles’ bedroom and living areas. You get all the amenities you need, including access to the property’s spa and your own private plunge pool or hot tub, your choice. While there aren’t ocean views, since the entire experience is meant to make you feel as if you’re in a private oasis retreat, you’re just steps away from the shore.

Even though glamping has been buzzing around travel industry talk for a while, it’s still growing in popularity, particularly among the luxury travel crowd. Anegada Beach Club in the British Virgin Islands does glamping exceedingly well. Your tented suite is situated right on the dunes, with ocean views from not only your luxury tent, but also your hammock and outdoor bathtub.

4

Bucket-List Experiences

When you think bucket-list experiences, your own picks might include ziplining through the rainforests of the Riviera Maya or staying on your own private island for a week of total seclusion…but are you playing it too safe? Virtuoso is seeing an increase in people exploring their passions through bucket-list experiences that some of us might not even think are possible, like private tours of the Vatican or private dinners with local celebrities in your destination of choice. What about a trip to the Olympics, or a private shopping experience with a haute couture designer?

When you look to the Caribbean, you’ll easily find amazing bucket-list experiences. Take windsurfing lessons alongside Olympians in Bonaire, stay in Sir Richard Branson’s digs on the 74-acre private Necker Island, take a snorkeling excursion with a marine biologist as your guide in Jamaica or drag race in the Dominican Republic. Whatever your passion, you can easily find unforgettable experiences in the Caribbean.

5

Conservation

Travelers still want to get up close and personal with nature and animals, that much hasn’t changed, but the way they’re doing so has. Instead of indulging in past tourism behaviors that potentially harm wildlife, travelers are now more conscious of the ways they interact with the local ecosystem, according to Virtuoso. Travelers are looking for vacation options that thrill, without any harmful side effects in 2019.

Sea turtle tourist activities are usually frowned upon because so much of previous tourist activities, like swimming with turtles, resulted in negative impacts on turtle populations. But as conservation tourism becomes more popular, travelers get the chance to view these favorited animals in their natural habitat without directly interacting with them through appropriate regulation of sea turtle habitats, viewing spots and more. In Trinidad and Tobago, you can apply for a permit to view sea turtles. It may seem like a nuisance while planning your itinerary, but it ensures nesting turtles are protected. Similarly, swimming with dolphins causes significant harm to dolphin populations not only in the Caribbean but all over the world. Thanks to conservation tourism, travelers can interact with the animals without harming them, as they join researchers to observe wild dolphins, rather than swim alongside them.

Some travelers look to plan an entire trip around conservation, rather than just enjoying the odd activity here or there. For those, there are volunteer research trips like the Belize Ocean Wildlife Volunteer Program and Puerto Rico’s Coral Reef Volunteer Program.

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