Three Hot Spots for Luxury Travel

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July 25, 2014


When the world beckons, honest travel advice from a trailblazer is worth its weight in gold.

 

That’s why those with an appetite for adventure and luxury travel turn to Andrew Harper, pen name of the editor-in-chief of the Hideaway Report, a private monthly publication for sophisticated travelers.

 

Harper, a seasoned and discerning mystery shopper, reviews the destinations he visits in this newsletter. He reveals how well — or how poorly — hotels, restaurants and cruises meet his high standards.

 

You can bet changes were made at a guest ranch lauded in many popular travel publications after Harper wrote in his newsletter, “The staff seemed strangely passive, almost sleepy. No one was actively rude, but no one was conspicuously helpful, either. On the basis of our stay, some retraining is in order. And the chef needs to invent another salad.”

 

The Hideaway Report covers the globe, as do its readers. “It’s a given that affluent people in places like New York go to London as often as Los Angeles,” Harper says. “On vacation, they want to go somewhere more exotic, glamorous and unusual. They want an adventure, and that’s why they’ll head to Burma, Chile and Southern Africa.”

 

Here’s why those three locations are hot spots for luxury travel:

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July 25, 2014


Luxury Travel Hot Spot No. 1: Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Thanks to easing of a nearly five-decade military dictatorship, this jewel of Southeast Asia is frozen in time, with untouched 1950s architecture and little tourism. “It’s unspoiled and idyllic, from white-sand beaches in the south to rice fields and mountains in the north,” Harper says.

 

Who is Andrew Harper?

 

You can explore teahouses, Buddhist shrines, monasteries, cave temples and open markets.

 

Keeping pace with a fascination for the region, well-known resorts like Shangri-La are proposing and building luxury hotels to compete with the teak-laden colonial Belmond Governor’s Residence, operated by the worldwide travel company formerly known as Orient-Express. Last year, Belmond launched a second grand ship — the Orcaella with 25 cabins, including 17 suites — to travel the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers.

Luxury Travel Hot Spot No. 2: Botswana and South Africa

Safaris in Botswana and South Africa, specifically the region northeast of Johannesburg, feature the most prolific and pristine wildlife areas of Africa. “It’s highly likely you’ll see the so-called ‘big five’ of game — rhino, lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo — before heading to a spacious, air-conditioned camp or lodge with your own swimming pool, fine cuisine, and the bells and whistles of the finest hotel suite,” Harper says.  

 

He recommends hiring a specialist safari company to guide you through your adventure. To enhance your experience, request a private tour guide or arrange private charter flights that can transfer you from lodge to lodge.

 

To extend your stay, travel about 1,000 miles south (or a two-hour flight) to Cape Town, South Africa. “There’s wonderful stuff in Cape Town, the vineyards, fantastic food, untouched nature and whale watching. It’s a bit like Northern California 30 years ago,” Harper says.

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July 25, 2014


Luxury Travel Hot Spot No. 3: Chile

The almost 3,000-mile-long and 112-mile-wide spine of South America, Chile offers vast geographic diversity, from the ocean to the Andes mountains to the globe’s driest desert.

 

It’s in the Eastern Time zone, so for many, you don’t need to worry about jet lag. “When the weather is horrible in Boston or Chicago, you get on a plane, fly overnight, wake up and walk into summer,” Harper says.

 

To the north, the Atacama Desert reveals awe-inducing geysers, cathedral-like rock formations and, thanks to run-off from snow-capped volcanic peaks, llama, vicuña, ibis, flamingos and puma.

 

Chile’s central region has a Mediterranean-like climate that’s ripe for grape growing and winery savoring. Its capital, Santiago, feels like a smaller Buenos Aires, with tree-lined boulevards

and low-slung neoclassical façades, Harper says.

 

Farther south, Patagonia offers glaciers, windswept steppes and vertiginous mountains.

 

Best of all, no matter how remote the accommodations, excursion companies like Awasi and Explora offer unmatched comforts and your own guide, driver and four-wheel-drive vehicle to take you hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching or wine tasting.

 

“Chile has come of age for sophisticated travelers,” Harper says. 

 


Clients of The Private Client Reserve who receive the fall/winter 2014 issue of Reserve magazine will also receive a complimentary copy of the Hideaway Report. Subscriptions to the Hideaway Report are available at andrewharper.com/join/.

 

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