Nestled in the Alps’ Engadine Valley lies St. Moritz, Switzerland’s preeminent ski and social destination. Known globally as a playground for stars and the wealthy, this luxury getaway is nonetheless accessible for ordinary folks looking to holiday in style. The resort town is most affordable in the autumn, when the unparalleled beauty of alpine fall color coincides with reduced rates and smaller crowds.
St. Moritz seamlessly blends urban sophistication with natural marvels. Skiers come here to kill world-class slopes like the Piz Bernina, the highest peak in the Eastern Alps, located just south of town. The high-altitude resort has a natural advantage with its nearly year-round sunshine and some of Europe’s most reliable snowfall, ensuring its mecca status among discerning winter sports enthusiasts. It can even claim its own unique sport, “skijöring”—a heart-stopping ski-and-horse variation on dog sledding for St. Moritz’ boldest athletes.
Prepare to see and be seen at St. Moritz as you sample champagne and caviar in the town’s boutiques and cafés, listening to live jazz amidst the snow-capped Alps. The town is a gem for people-watchers fascinated by the jetsetter lifestyle, openly displayed by the town’s revolving cast of ritzy tourists. Of course, anyone with the means may partake in St. Moritz’ affluent culture.
There’s nothing like shopping on Via Serlas, a prestigious avenue in the heart of town featuring a who’s who lineup of the giants of the international fashion scene, from Cavalli and Gucci to Vegna and Vuitton. This is the place to purchase designer jewelry, fine wine and perhaps the last ankle-length fur coat you’ll ever need.
Destination: Tahiti in the South Pacific
On the opposite side of Planet Earth lies an equally sunny and much warmer paradise: French Polynesia and its “Queen” island, Tahiti. The largest island in its archipelago, Tahiti is a timeless slice of South Pacific hospitality, indigenous culture and the world’s bluest waters.
Accommodations are designed for true luxury on the island, matching the high standards set by the natural environment. The most popular haven, the Tahiti InterContinental Resort is a destination in itself, providing all the amenities necessary to complete the perfect South Pacific tour. A Green Globe-certified hotel committed to sustainability, the InterContinental offers a full-service Deep Nature Spa and an Aquatic Dive Center, as well as convenient access to the capital city’s lively open markets, luxury boutiques, rare pearl shops and hot nightclubs.
A water sports paradise, Tahiti is the perfect destination for learning to sail, dive or surf with its ideal tropical climate, which helps to explain the lively culture and economy that flourishes on the island. The ocean is warm all year long, while the air is ever-cooled by the ocean’s steady trade winds.
Soft, black sand covers Tahitian beaches, an artifact of the island’s volcanic origins. Towering above the beaches are rugged highlands harboring miles of lush tropical gardens and sublime waterfalls, which lucky travelers may explore by boot, Jeep or helicopter. Another sort of garden grows under the waters surrounding the island: Coral reefs, whose subterranean shapes and colors inspire divers in search of a memorable deep sea adventure.
Tahiti, the very name synonymous with luxury, beckons lovers of sun and sea to enjoy the clarity of leisure in paradise. The island’s big-hearted congeniality draws the world’s wanderers to sample her fragrant, azure lagoons and the organic wonder of the Polynesian highlands.
For other premier luxury vacation destinations, David Pearson recommends that you check out the travel section of FirsttoKnow.com.
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