So right this very second I’m in the air, jetting off to Malaysia for two-and-a-half weeks of fun in the sun. Hooray! I absolutely can’t-bloody-wait to be sipping cocktails by the pool, and updating you on our hotels, meals, and sightseeing.
But it’s not really fair that I’m on a plane bragging about it, is it? So, if you’ve been dreaming of a relaxing resort holiday but haven’t got your butt into gear yet, fear not! I’m here to make some recommendations.
Here are ten super affordable luxury resorts you can book right now. Go on, go!
Centara Ras Fushi, Maldives
There’s no point even making this list without a Maldives option. The Maldives are sometimes seen as a “one day” destination… a honeymoon or special event, something to justify springing all that cash on. But the Centara Ras Fushi is actually not that expensive! It’s technically categorised as a four-star property. But when you’re drinking delicious cocktails prepared for you by amazing staff in the middle of the freaking MALDIVES, you won’t be questioning the luxury you find yourself in.
I’ve sent so many clients here, and it’s popular for a reason. It’s still all-inclusive. There’s still all the amazing activities like water-sports, PADI diving, and the incredible spa treatments. But with a price tag that won’t make you scream.
Getting to Centara Ras Fushi is a piece of cake – just a 25-minute speedboat ride from Malé Airport which will be organised for you when you book.
This one is adults-only though, so any kids will have to stay with the grandies.
Le Meridien Ile Des Pins, New Caledonia
Le Meridien Ile Des Pins is situated on its own private island in the New Caledonia Barrier Reef, just by the actual Ile Des Pins (or Isle of Pines). The reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site so it’s really, really worth a visit.
Like any Le Meridien property, the service is top notch. Dining options are not numerous but they are certainly delicious – think a wondrous fusion of French and Melanesian cuisine. And super-fresh seafood!
Clean, crisp whites feature in the rooms, which are really spacious even in the lead-in Superior option. If you want to splurge a bit, book your own Bungalow right on the beach.
To get to Ile Des Pins, you can catch a short domestic flight (about 25 minutes) or take a Fast Cat which halves the price. Both options do involve some logistical negotiation, so the best thing to do is to incorporate a stay in Noumea (New Caledonia’s capital) as well. The Le Meridien Noumea is also gorgeous – it has French Riviera vibes with tropical island attitude.
Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa, Fiji
You’ll find Koro Sun on the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji. When looking at a map, that’s the island north of the mainland (Viti Levu) that to me kind of looks like a hummingbird. To get here, take a short flight from Nadi to Savusavu and a transfer will pick you up.
Spend your days swimming, participating in water sports, or going for a round of barefoot golf. There’s also the option to explore local villages which is an absolute must.
This resort is great for kids. A kids club and nanny service are features, and one of the two pools has a waterslide! However, there’s also an adults-only area. The Edgewater Beach Club features an infinity pool and swim-up bar, and the Edgewater Bures are a great couples option. Or, splurge a little and book a Floating Bure!
Jetwing Blue, Sri Lanka
Negombo, where this hotel is located, is a beach town just north of Colombo. Given the late arrival of flights into Colombo from the Asia-Pacific region, Negombo is a really popular place to start an itinerary. It means you can relax a bit on the first day and recover from your flight in style.
Something I also really like about this property is its sustainability practices – have a look at their website to find out more.
Jetwing has been a favourite of my clients for a few years, especially since tourism in Sri Lanka is really taking off. While this one is the original, Jetwing properties can now be found all over Sri Lanka. They are an affordable option for someone who still wants to travel with all the trimmings.
Angsana Lang Co, Vietnam
Lang Co is a small village in central Vietnam – sitting just North of Hoi An Hue on the coast towards Hue. It’s accessible via the Hai Van Pass, a coast road that gives the most incredible views. I always recommend clients travel along this road between the cities if they can – it was one of the most memorable highlights of my first trip to Vietnam. To get to the Angsana, fly into Da Nang and arrange a transfer to the hotel.
The Angsana gives you the opportunity to laze on the beach or the huge free-form pool or go for a round of golf in beautiful surrounds. But it’s also perfectly situated for exploring UNESCO Heritage Sites and the fascinating culture of Vietnam.
The Andaman Langkawi, Malaysia
You’ll be seeing a full review of the Andaman pop up in a few weeks. In the meantime, know that it’s luxurious, relaxing and really good value for money.
Like working out? Then The Andaman is for you – CNN listed their 24-hour gym as one of the world’s top ten gyms with a view! If that’s not your thing on holiday, sit back and relax with a cocktail and watch the stunning sunset over the Andaman Sea. Or try stand-up paddleboarding or head on a guided nature walk.
Langkawi is an easy flight from many of the other hubs in South East Asia. There aren’t any public transport facilities in Langkawi but a transfer can be easily arranged through the hotel. Or, you can do what we did and hire a car.
Centara Grand Beach Resort Krabi, Thailand
The second Centara property to make the list – they’re just really good at providing a luxurious experience that still remains accessible. My favourite thing about the Centara Grand Krabi is the huge limestone karsts that surround the pool, giving you a constant reminder of where you are. It’s almost like living in prehistoric times… but with a delicious breakfast buffet.
The thing about Krabi is you can be so close to all the action, but also feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s divine. To get to Centara Krabi, which is actually in Ao Nang, you can fly into Krabi airport then take a taxi to Nopparatthara Pier (this takes about 40 minutes). From the pier, the resort is a 15-minute speedboat transfer away.
The Anantara Hua Hin, Thailand
Okay, I’m an absolute sucker for an Anantara property. This one is no different. The moment you walk in you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to a scene from The King and I: old-world Siamese luxury with modern touches.
The free-form pool features a swim-up bar (with a delightful happy hour, of course) and the various restaurants are a pleasure to dine in. I usually steer clear of Western food in Asia but the Italian restaurant here is one of the best I’ve ever eaten in. The rooms are really spacious and the beach is clean, and it’s an easy drive into town to explore.
Just like the Jetwing Blue, the Anantara Hua Hin is the original that birthed a legend. Sure, that means some of the facilities here are a bit older, but the charm is the key here and everything is clean, comfortable and super enjoyable. And like the Andaman in Langkawi, the Anantara provides incredible views out to the Andaman Sea.
To get to Hua Hin, book a transfer from Bangkok. The drive will take you a couple of hours on smooth highways.
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Okay, we all know Atlantis, so there’s no need for me to really sell it to you. But I think what surprises people is just how affordable the lead-in rooms can be. And if you’re flying Emirates, call them up (or get your travel agent to do it) and book the accommodation through them and it’ll be even cheaper and a transfer will be pre-booked too. The best part of this is that you can do it as a stopover, combining Dubai with another option elsewhere in the world… and potentially breaking up a long journey.
So, now you’re here. What can you do? Everything! Forgetting all the incredible activities on your doorstep in Dubai. Just at the hotel, you can enjoy a huge waterpark, swim with dolphins and sea lions, eat at Nobu… or dance ’til dawn at one of the nightclubs.
Le Meridien Pyramids, Egypt
I know, when you think of resort destinations you don’t immediately think “Egypt!” But this is different.
Just outside Cairo is Le Meridien Pyramids (and yes, the second Le Meridien property on the list. They do affordable luxury well). The big drawcard here, other than the service, is the view. The pool looks out onto the Pyramids of Giza. Yep. That’s right. Can you imagine?!
The view is right, the price is right, and the service is right. And because of recent events in the Middle East, Egypt needs the tourism – it’s crucial to their economy. (To read more on the general theme of the importance of tourism, check this post out) So go on, book it in. You’ll love it.
Natura Cabana, Dominican Republic
This list has been dominated so far by Asian properties. Okay, yeah, I love Asia. But it’s also an incredibly affordable region. But for those of you flung further away, how about this one?
The Dominican Republic is a short (ish – depending on your embarkation point) flight from the States. Natura Cabana seems really secluded, but it’s an easy ten minute taxi ride from the town of Cabarete.
Natura Cabana is really unique and sure, it might not be everyone’s idea of luxury… but it’s definitely mine. Bright blue water with waves crashing into a secluded beach; private cabanas; yoga by the sea – yes, please! A surfing beach is an easy walk away and in nearby Cabarete you can try zip-lining, windsurfing, scuba diving… the list goes on.
So what are you waiting for?!
You can sit on your computer constantly googling “affordable luxury travel” or “cheap luxury travel” or whatever, OR you can hurry up and book one of these spectacular places.
Trust me, you won’t regret it.
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