Luxury Vacations In The Mediterranean
What makes a place specifically cut for the needs of the luxury traveller? Some people claim it is the Michelin stars and the thread count that matter the most. Others seek gold taps, marble bathtubs, and high accommodation standards.
Although comfort factors do play a critical role in the overall experience, luxury travel is, to me, all about being granted access to the most authentic adventures about a destination. It has to do with being provided with the right balance of flexibility, independence, local insight, unrivalled levels of gastronomy, sumptuous accommodation, attentive service of the highest levels, customisable ventures, and exclusivity.
Simply put, to be given the chance to luxuriate in culture, sit back, and enjoy the experience, feeling totally comfortable in losing yourself in the selected destination, knowing that every single aspect will exceed your expectations.
In this regard, I am more than confident to say that the most pampering options in the Mediterranean come down to the four following, after spending an entire summer sailing the Mediterranean and cruising in between its most exclusive luxury destinations.
Monte Carlo, Monaco – Mediterranean’s most royal child
With places of exclusive luxuries, such as the Casino de Monte Carlo and the Monte Carlo Yacht Club, Monte Carlo is one of the most well-known destinations associated with luxury vacations. Designer stores offering an upper level of shopping experiences, upscale restaurants serving luxe dishes, and airport helicopter rides to Monaco are some of the details that stood out from my visit to the spectacular city on the southern French coast.
Of course, its accommodation options could not have been anything but royal-like. This time, I chose to stay at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort and enjoyed every bit of it. Bringing various atmospheres and styles to the most elegant forefront, this chic and contemporary hotel with stunning Mediterranean views certainly managed to meet my desires to the dot.
But, there was more to it all than just high levels of posh and glamour overall. Monte Carlo stole my heart with its adorable architecture. Buildings with charming old-style exteriors and historic facades, atmospheric cities steeped in history, and a Parisian vibe throughout definitely give Monte Carlo a unique glow that seems to radiate straight from its exuberant palaces and reach every last corner of this beautiful dot on the map.
Paros, Greece – A true Queen in the Mediterranean
In my humble opinion, there is no Mediterranean destination more premier than Paros for the VIP traveller. Never expecting to feel so flabbergasted in my life by how much such a small island could encompass all aspects that define luxury vacation, I left the stunning Greek island with a tingling sense of “I want more”, as my wishes and needs for authentic and exclusive moments were constantly growing bigger the more I stayed on the island!
Absolutely mind-blowing architecture featuring whitewashed houses with distinct cubic-shaped houses, blue-dome churches overlooking the shimmering Aegean Sea, friendly locals always ready to share a glass of locally-made ouzo shots, extremely high levels of pampering, wish fulfilment regardless of one’s requirements through extensive concierge services, and the most spellbinding sugary shores and crystalline waters were on the other end of this experience.
For my accommodation, I chose a luxury villa from Kinglike Concierge and was impressed by the world-class facilities and amenities on offer. My rental came with perks like a steam room, a yoga room, a private gym, a massage room, and, of course, a private pool, lots of dining and sitting areas, and a fully equipped kitchen for my culinary ventures.
Sailing across the Cyclades islands with a stylish catamaran and my loved ones, enjoying fine dining options starring local dishes given an interesting twist that respects the roots of the recipe, nice strolls along the pier and the harbour with hypnotic sunset views in the background, and mingling with the locals at festivals, feasts and events that take place almost year-round were among the best memories I have created at Paros.
Mallorca – A shining star in Spain’s Balearic Islands archipelago
Although I have been to other Spanish elite destinations, including Ibiza and Formentera, Mallorca hit a different string, primarily for exuding a profound sense of place. Exceptional beaches with shallow waters for the little ones, beautiful coves for romantic escapes, unique cuisine and culture, specialised local experiences, and unique boutique hotels providing all the means for a gorgeous, luxury stay in impeccable style are just some of the things that set Mallorca apart from other Spanish parts (and even other Mediterranean luxury vacation destinations so to speak).
Speaking of accommodation options, the overall experience during my stay at the Belmond La Residencia was, indeed, nothing short of outstanding. For the luxury traveller, this means a world-class resort with deluxe gym facilities, a top-tier spa, an impressive dedication to art (there are countless sculptures from famous Spanish sculptors adorning the majestic hotel), and food experiences that take gastronomy to an upper level, among others.
Also ideal as a boating destination, you can have phenomenal endeavours in the middle of the Mediterranean while lunching aboard a luxury yacht, lounging on the deck or snorkelling the cobalt waters with magnificent views of Mallorca’s most picturesque towns, seaside villages and idyllic landscape, featuring vineyards, lemon orchards, and majestic mountains.
As for your after-dark ventures, you will find lots of magical spots to entertain yourself, including chic restaurants extremely focused on dishes made with local products, artisan shops, elegant cafes, stylish clubs, and cocktail rooftop bars with heart-stopping sunset and sea panoramas.
Corsica – Justifying its nickname “The Island of the Beauty”
My trip to this absolutely nurturing child of the Mediterranean family had two parts, one cruising along the southern part of Corsica and another exploring northern Corsica via a private helicopter ride. In the first case, you’ll be right to assume that I was greeted with fantastic sea views from onboard a luxury super-yacht, before reaching the marvellous Bonifacio citadel tucked along a set of imposing limestone cliffs.
Romantic caves, such as the Cave of Sdragonatu, pine forest-covered areas in between craggy mountain ranges, and then comes Domaine de Murtoli, a private beach-front luxury estate that lays the table for authentic experiences down to the core. The chic cottage unit I spend most of my time in while out and about Corsica provided utmost privacy and proximity to delightful villages specialising in local delicacies, such as goat cheese, olive oil, and other artisanal products.
The second part of the journey involved bird’s eye views of Corsica and a sensory-rich introduction to the island’s rich cultural history and heritage. The luxury yacht-filled marina sits in the shadow of the most iconic 13th-century citadel, while the so-called “garden of Corsica”, La Balagne village, enchants with its orchard trees and olive groves. As for the main attraction for all nature lovers, the Scandola Nature Reserve, one instantly understands why it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the first minutes of their visit there.
Sumptuous, alluring, and totally ravishing the Mediterranean Sea knows how to caress the senses of even the most discerning luxury traveller. Lavishness, exclusivity, authenticity, and privacy are given in abundance and in just the right proportions, without ever overpowering the overall experience.