As a twenty-something traveler, it’s rare that the thought of glamour and luxury crosses my mind in my travel planning. I usually prefer to focus on seeing unique places, historical sights and interacting with locals and spend very little time in my chosen accommodations anyway.
But once in awhile, when I’m soaked through, tired and weary, I can find myself fantasizing about a more glamorous way of travel. I’m lucky to have experienced the best of both worlds. I’ve traveled on a tight budget, trekking through Eastern Europe for up to three weeks at a time where my budget only allowed for hostel stays and super market meals. (That hostel in Budapest where everyone including the staff was drinking and blasting music in the common area until 6 a.m. was a low point). But I’ve also enjoyed some incredible trips where the service and accommodation were top notch. (Yes, Riad Anayela, your palatial suites and views of Marrakech still fill my dreams!)
Top Glamorous Destinations to Visit in 2016
As I currently live in the rainforest where I have to forge a rushing river just to get in my morning run and creepy crawlies such as spiders, moths and even a scorpion often join me in my bedroom, I have to admit a more opulent way of living and traveling does fill my day dreams. Here’s a look at some beautiful and glamorous destinations you can enjoy in 2016 without stretching your budget too much.
Just across the border of Spain on the Basque Coast of France lies the seaside town of Biarritz. The beautiful beaches of Biarritz are a beacon for fun and adventure and the nightlife nearby is well renowned. If you’re looking for surf and sandy beaches, you can’t really beat this part of France. Apparently Ernest Hemingway thought so too. It is a well-mentioned destination for the characters in The Sun Also Rises.
The French Riviera
Of course, the most glamorous place in France has to be the French Riviera. A collection of the most expensive yachts in the world is located just off the coast of the French Riviera. If owning a yacht isn’t quite in your budget, you can charter one and explore the epic coastline in search of sun, fun and celebrities. If your budget is tighter like mine you can enjoy the sight of the yachts from docks in places like Cannes and Cot d’Azure, or even the independent micro state of Monaco.
If you like the glitz and glamour of wintry landscapes, then Gstaad has to be your go to destination. Switzerland is a beautiful place to explore as a travel fanatic, and Gstaad is by all means palatial. Located in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, this resort town is home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. Still learning your favorite snow sport? Not to worry. It’s also home to some of the world’s best ski and snowboarding skills. Daniel Craig fans, listen up. Gstaad is also thought to be a favorite haunt of some of the Bond cast over the years.
Morocco is one of those places you don’t necessarily expect to be glamorous when you arrive. But I can say from personal experiences that there are some incredible areas with private palaces that you must add to your must-see list. Marrakech is home to bustling street stalls and souks, or markets, but just a few steps away, you can find the opulence and charm that the movies have captured so beautifully. Stay at a Riad while in Marrakech to really feel like you are stepping back in time to an ancient world of glamour.
Beverly Hills, California
Now that my brother Sean is studying at USC, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Southern California. And Beverly Hills is the center of SoCal’s beauty, opulence, and celebrity. The Hollywood movie industry has made many of its residents mega rich. The hotels are among the best in the world, and the houses are some of the most beautiful mansions you will ever see, homes to such celebrities as Taylor Swift, Bruce Willis and the Hiltons. Then there is the shopping! You can spend your millions quite easily here, or just window shop down Rodeo Drive. I love that so much of what you see here actually feels like it is movie-ready.
Just once in awhile it is nice to see how the ‘other half’ live and glamorous vacation hotspots don’t need to cost you any more money than your regular travel destinations. But if you want to live the life of luxury, sometimes it’s worth that extra investment. After all, there is that old saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” And Rome could be the most historic glamorous destination of them all.
What destination are you most looking forward to visiting in 2016? Let me know in the comments below!