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If you don’t know what Bulgaria, London, Milwaukee, Montana, and New Zealand have in common, it’s my pleasure to remind you that they’re all places some of my well-traveled colleagues identified as worthy family vacation destinations for 2012.
Given that a new year is upon us and my friends are still well traveled, I called on them again to identify destinations that family travelers might want to add to their short lists in 2013.
Kangaroo Island: Yes, Things Are Hopping There
If Hobbit tourism catches on the way John E. DiScala (aka the very frequent flier better known as Johnny Jet) predicted last year, the New Zealand town of Matamata will still be a destination to watch for 2013. If Tolkien travel is not your family’s thing, but you’re still intrigued by the Southern Hemisphere, DiScala has another nomination for you: Kangaroo Island. “It’s in south Australia, just a 15 minute flight from Adelaide,” he points out, “and it’s known as Australia’s ‘zoo without fences.’” As you might expect, you’ll get an eyeful of kangaroos and wallabies there, as well as koalas, seals, and the whimsical-looking echidnas (spiny anteaters). DiScala also says the island’s Southern Ocean Lodge is one of the world’s best places to stay.
Perhaps the best news is that Kangaroo Island is not yet on the radar of U.S. family travelers. “I was there in October, so no U.S. families were traveling,” DiScala says, “but they will be there, as it’s just now getting known. It’s the new Tasmania.” Read more
Every so often, an email will pass through our inboxes that makes us question, is this real? We have encountered romantic proposal packages, ‘round the world jaunts aboard private jets, hotel stays in swanky penthouses, and more, all worth your offspring’s college tuition. Or a second mortgage. We rounded up a few of the most expensive, over-the-top packages because sometimes it is fun to imagine, what if? Or maybe you have a thick stack of G’s burning a hole in your wallet waiting to be spent.
Take, for instance, this luxury cruise from Six Star Cruises: Coming in at a whopping 1 million pounds (that’s $1,581,000), this trip cruises around the world for 124 days (which breaks down to 8,000 pounds a day). For UK residents, the voyage begins with a helicopter transport from your home to a London airport (in transit, enjoy caviar worth 4,000 pounds per kilogram and sip on 1,000-year-old tea leaves) before you board a private charter to Los Angeles. The ship stops in 28 locales, including French Polynesia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Australia, and South Africa.
Forget ashram-style deprivation: Nirvana and high thread counts go hand in hand at these well-appointed retreats that welcome the bendy yogi and the curious novice alike. Flowing classes, indulgent spa therapies, and dazzling surroundings? Just say om.
LESS THAN $1,500
A mountainside hideaway enables guests to explore Costa Rica as well as the inner self.
RETREAT In airy pavilions at Pura Vida Retreat and Spa overlooking the capital San José, instructors teach a variety of yoga styles, from slower, less flowing Iyengar to the more dynamic vinyasa and power flow varieties.
RELAX Guests with sore muscles can find relief at the spa, where therapists offer treatments such as Cloud Forest Magic, a holistic, deep-tissue massage that incorporates aromatherapy and a detoxifying steam for the body.
The Luxury Situated on a private island in Turks and Caicos, a 35-minute boat ride from Provo, Parrot Cay is a favorite retreat for the rich and fabulous (odds are good you’ll encounter Keith Richards during your stay). The resort’s 71 rooms and villas sport four-poster beds, private sundecks, and free Wi-Fi. Take advantage of superlative spa services, free yoga and Pilates classes, and beachside water sports (like kayaking and windsurfing). If you’re planning a family vacation, note that kids eat free all summer.
The Value Through October 31, Parrot Cay is offering a “stay 4, pay 3” deal that brings starting rates down to $337.50/night. Even better, spend 7 nights at the resort and you’ll only pay for 5 – meaning rates start at just $321/night.
The Catch There are a limited number of rooms in the lowest price category.
The Details 877-754-0726; www.parrotcay.como.bz
For general trip-planning information, see our Turks and Caicos Travel Guide.
The Setai Spa, South Beach, Florida
There are heaps of beautiful spas in Miami, but I like how close this one is to the beach and the Love Potion No. 9 kind of theme: Couple’s Love Ceremony includes a 60-minute Couple’s Ancient Balinese Massage followed by a Love Bath – a soak in a Love Potion-filled tub with rose petals. Champagne and canapes included. $500 per couple. Photo above courtesy The Setai. www.setai.com/thespa
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