The very first trip I booked for my #1 client was for a week on Kauai, so Hawaii holds a place of honor in the history of Nine Muses Travel. It continues to be an oft-requested destination because each island is so different, each easily deserving a week of its own (at least) to appreciate the Hawaiian culture, diverse landscapes, charming towns, and beautiful beaches. We can fit in more than one island on your trip, but then again, why not just keep coming back? Many places around the world are more delightful each time you return to rediscover them, and your personal life perspective may be different than the last time you visited too. Here are some great places to never fully cross off your list!
Excerpt of Virtuoso article by Amy Cassell updated on 11/2/2021 can be found HERE.
There’s nothing wrong with seeing the same place twice. You can't possibly see all of New Zealand in one two-week trip, for example, and we’re strong proponents of the annual Hawaiian jaunt or long weekend in Paris. We’ve gathered eight repeat-worthy vacation destinations, plus some ideas for your first time and your next time in each place. (We won’t stop you from planning a third, fourth, or fifth visit, either.)
Machu Picchu + Peru
It may be Machu Picchu that carries Peru to the top of many wish lists – it’s this year’s Travel Dreams Tournament champion – but that’s just the beginning.
First Time: Fly into Lima and spend a few days sampling the city’s culinary gems before heading to the Sacred Valley on your way to Machu Picchu. Guests at the 85-room Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel can access the stone city first thing in the morning via a 25-minute bus ride or a one-hour walk.
Next Time: Before the Inca flourished here, several other civilizations called Peru home, including the Chachapoya, who built the sixth-century settlement of Kuelap – one of the largest pre-Inca ruins in South America. Big Five Tours & Expeditions customizes trips to the area, including an 11-day adventure that features a Kuelap visit, a hike to a hidden waterfall, and more.
First Time: The more time in New Zealand, the better. Your travel advisor can work with Southern Crossings, a Virtuoso on-site tour connection in the country, to line up the essentials: A day or two in Auckland, a soak in the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools outside Rotorua, a helicopter tour from Queenstown to Milford Sound, and a road trip to the South Island’s Franz Josef Glacier, for starters. Next Time: Getting around New Zealand is easy – daily flights and ferries connect the North and South islands, and your GPS works almost everywhere – but all that transit is still time-consuming. Base a return trip at Minaret Station Alpine Lodge – a four-chalet Southern Alps escape accessible only by helicopter – and fill days with flightseeing adventures, farm tours, guided hiking excursions, and more.
This is the Italy we’d leave it all behind for: famed vineyards and storybook villages, frescoed museums and medieval stone bridges. And you know what’s really fantastico? The region’s cuisine. First Time: Check into the 80-room Hotel Savoy – which recently emerged from a six-month renovation – and spend at least four days there. Suggestions: guided tours of the Accademia Gallery (home to Michelangelo’s David) and the Uffizi, a day trip out of the city for winetasting or truffle hunting, and plenty of free time to wander, stopping for selfies in the Piazzale Michelangelo and bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine steak) at tiny, white-tableclothed ristoranti. Next Time: Beyond Florence, Tuscany is defined by charming hilltop hamlets – Siena, Radda, and Pienza, to name a few – and the winding roads that connect them, dotted with turreted castles and monasteries-turned-hotels. Butterfield & Robinson’s six-day Tuscany group biking tour covers all of the above, with stops for winetasting and multicourse lunches along the way.
First Time: Unpack on Crystal Cruises’ 980-passenger Crystal Serenity for an eight-day Barcelona-to-Civitavecchia sailing that calls on Majorca, Monte Carlo, Olvia, and more. Next Time: Some favorite small towns are just beyond the Med’s popular cruise ports.
Life revolves around the water, so whether you’re hiking on Kauai, whale-watching off the coast of Hawaii Island, or lazing the afternoon away on a secluded Oahu beach, be ready for some sunshine. First Time: Pick one island to begin: Most require at least five days for maximum enjoyment. Maui is a good choice for first-timers – it’s a crowd-pleaser. The 50 rooms at Montage Kapalua Bay on the northwest coast have koa wood furniture, neutral color palettes, and private lanais with daybeds. Next Time: Laid-back getaways are already Hawaii’s specialty, but Lanai takes them to new levels. The 140-square-mile island’s rugged landscape and sparse population set it apart from its neighbors. Make the 213-room Four Seasons Resort Lanai your home base – it fronts Hulopoe Bay, a designated marine reserve.
First Time: An initial trip to the City of Light is all about classic experiences and must-have meals. Check into the 28-room Hôtel Esprit Saint Germain and make your way down the list: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre-Dame, the Latin Quarter, and a dinner cruise on the Seine.
Next Time: French poet Charles Baudelaire described the flaneur as a passionate wanderer, a stroller of city streets. This is the best way to see Paris, and the pressure’s off on round two, when you’ve already checked the icons off your list. Get lost in new corners of the city, such as the Place du Tertre in Montmartre in the eighteenth arrondissement, where Renoir and Picasso kept their studios, recommends Hasting. If you want to supplement your aimless wandering with a little bit of guidance, your travel advisor can work with Chocolatine, one of Virtuoso’s on-site tour connections in Paris, to customize a stroll based on your interests.
First Time: The dry season (April through October) is the best time for a South African safari, and you’ll want to plan for at least ten days on the ground. Fly into Johannesburg to kick jet lag and explore the city before heading to the 32-room Londolozi Private Game Reserve for a week of game drives, photography lessons, and voluntourism opportunities. Cap off your trip with a few days in Cape Town. Next Time: On a return trip to South Africa, head into Kruger National Park. Later, extend your time on the continent by jetting off to the beach –to Mozambique post-safari for some secluded relaxation.
First Time: Two nights in Athens, time for the requisite Acropolis and Parthenon visits, plus dinner at the Hotel Grande Bretagne’s GB Roof Garden. Then head southeast to Mykonos and Santorini, the twin stars of many Greek Isles fantasies – and home to some of the country’s best hotels and restaurants. Next Time: There are more than 200 inhabited Greek islands, and your advisor can help you choose the best one for your travel style, such as Naxos for amazing beaches or Lefkada for inspiring culture. Advisors can work with Eclectic Greece, one of Virtuoso’s on-site tour connections in Greece, to secure a villa rental. Villa company Onefinestay recently added Mykonos to its portfolio, including Super Paradise One, a whitewashed, five-bedroom beauty with an infinity pool overlooking Super Paradise Beach.
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