The best resorts offer all manner of experiences to cherish – here’s a little inspiration (Photo: Marriott International)

From bouncing over ocean waves on sleek jet skis to unwinding with relaxing treatments at a serene spa, the best resorts offer all manner of experiences to cherish. Here’s a little inspiration on how to take your holiday to new heights.

Get the adrenaline flowing

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At Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu, guests can get the adrenaline flowing with speedboat rides (Photo: Marriott International) 

For some travellers, no holiday is complete without some thrills thrown in. Whether it involves feeling the wind in your hair or donning a wetsuit, a little extra zest and excitement can go a long way. 

As any adrenaline-seeker knows, that rush can take many forms. If speedboats your thing, look no further than the Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu, renowned for its fleet of wave-crashing speedboats – after embarking on a wild ride, soaking up the fine island vistas at top speed, toast the experience with a signature cocktail at Blu Bar.

For those who adore watersports, Mallorca is the promised land. Take a trip to the largest Balearic Island and bask in the beauty of the Mediterranean at The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, where you’re spoilt for watersports choice: take your pick from kayaking, flyboarding, paddleboarding, scuba diving and more. Back on dry land, satiate the appetite you've worked up in real style at the Michelin-starred Es Fum Restaurant. 

If it’s colder climates that get your pulse racing, look no further than Hotel AC Baqueira Resort, Autograph Collection, where you can ski, dine and relax in a 365-day-a-year winter wonderland at the heart of Spain's superb Baqueira resort. Switching from the Catalan Pyrenees to the Swiss Alps, a stay at the W Verbier means a Mountain Concierge is always on hand. Dedicated to enriching your Alpine experience, W Verbier's Mountain Concierge helps you squeeze every last drop of snowy potential from your time on the groomed slopes and freeriding trails of Les 4 Vallées.

Feed your body and soul 

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Swirling wine aerates it, enhancing aromas, while sipping slowly allows the palate to discern intricate flavours and textures – try a tasting at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol (Photo: Marriott Bonvoy International) 

Arriving somewhere new is an irresistible invitation to delight the palate with new flavours and textures – how better to glimpse the soul of a place than through its food and drink?

Greece's food heritage is at rich as its ancient past and Domes of Corfu, Autograph Collection is the perfect place to start a journey of gastronomic discovery. Graze your way around the resort's beautifully balanced collection of restaurants, and don't forget to book a splendid olive oil and wine tasting experience. These gatherings immerse you in the lore of Corfu’s unique grape varieties in the best way possible – a sun-drenched sampling around a lively Mediterranean table.

Speaking of unique moments, Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol, on Cyprus’s glittering southern coast, will take you on a culinary trip through time. Dating back to 800 BC, Commandaria is the world's oldest named wine still in production, and tastings are a must. Not quite so ancient, but just as unmissable, is traditional dessert shoushoukos, which guests can also sample at curated tastings. 

For those who have embraced organic food culture, Italy's Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa offers immersive deep-dives into all things biodynamic at the stunning hillside Podere Concori Biodynamic Winery – go along for the 10-minute ride from the hotel and soak up views over the pristine Serchio Valley with a glass of deliciously progressive Tuscan wine. 

Unwind under the sun 

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The private beach at Cervo Hotel, Costa Smeralda Resort, Sardinia invites guests to blissful days under the Italian sun (Photo: Marriott International) 

True beach connoisseurs know that some of the world's most covetable stretches of sun-kissed shore are tucked away within resorts.

Take Sardinia's Cervo Hotel, Costa Smeralda Resort, whose enchanting private beach promises long afternoons of sun, sea, sand and blissfully little else. The Italian island's reputation among the beach savvy is beyond reproach, as is Crete's, where the likes of Elafonisi’s pastel-pink sands and the dreamy harbour of Falasarna are spoken of in reverential tones. All of Crete's best beaches are reachable from the sophisticated, adults-only Domes Noruz Chania, Autograph Collection – ideally, your first glimpse of them will be from the resort's own sailboat, of course.

Only the best will do in Monaco – and Le Méridien Beach Plaza's gem of a private beach could not better epitomise that spirit. Spend a tranquil day by the shore, before stepping out into the glamorous hustle and bustle of the principality by evening.

Focus on mind and body 


Yoga integrates breath, movement, and mindfulness, fostering physical and mental well-being (Photo: Marriott International) 

We all have our own understanding of what wellness means to us. The best resorts will help us stay true to that understanding, and perhaps even enrich it.

Placing a traditional Turkish hammam at its heart, the divine spa at The Bodrum EDITION celebrates the unparalleled riches of Türkiye's wellness heritage. Feel your worries fade away as their ornate steam bath soothes and relaxes, before you emerge rejuvenated into the The Bodrum EDITION’S gorgeous Turkish Riviera setting.

At the best resorts, you can't wait for the next day to begin – it's a feeling that's cherished at Mystique, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Santorini, where early risers can meet the new day on guided meditative walks as the sun rises above the iconic azure Three Domes Viewpoint in Oia. 

Over in Portugal’s stunning Algarve, the dedicated Wellbeing Programs at Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, Algarve offer the most picturesque of settings for wellness journeys. From three-day yoga breaks to military-inspired signature 'Bootcamp' classes, your wellbeing will soar atop rugged cliffs overlooking the vast blue of the Atlantic Ocean. On the subject of yoga, if wellness is synonymous for you with the mat, then W Ibiza might just be the resort for you – the yoga schedule here is like a roll call of White Island's most sought-after practitioners.

Embrace the beauty of nature 

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At Sheraton Lake Como Hotel, guests are treated to breathtaking panoramic views – not least of the iconic lake (Photo: Marriott International) 

From awe-inspiring mountain ranges to iconic lakes, many resorts enjoy a setting of unparalleled natural beauty – and the very best go to great lengths to show off the local landscape's charms to their guests.

Hot-air balloons are the order of the day at Sheraton Lake Como Hotel, fired up so that the famous lake's dramatic Alpine setting unfurls into a magical 360-degree scene as you gently rise, soundtracked only by the phut of the balloon's burner and the tinkle of sweet birdsong.

Croatia’s Adriatic islands are one of Europe’s prettiest escapes, meanwhile, and they've never looked better than from the deck of a private yacht – exactly the seductive treat awaiting guests at Le Méridien Lav, Split. Hop aboard a sleek Cat Cruiser 45, pour a glass of wine under a balmy summer sun and take in the sublime scenery that surrounds this beautiful resort. 

Play a round on the fairest of fairways

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Golfers checking into The Westin La Quinta Golf Resort & Spa have 27 holes in Spain's "Valley of Golf" to look forward to (Photo: Marriott International)

If holidays for you mean slinging a golf bag across the shoulders and hitting the fairway, many resorts have you covered, some even offering courses that are surrounded by exquisitely beautiful landscape.

Golf-loving guests at The Westin La Quinta Golf Resort & Spa have come to the right place: this is Spain's "Valley of Golf", with the backdrop to your tee shots the rugged Sierra Blanca mountains and balmy Mediterranean Sea. At Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, Algarve, the lovingly manicured greens are perched on a clifftop, sixty metres above the golden beaches below. 

Over on the easternmost tip of Spain's Costa Blanca, Denia Marriott La Sella Golf Resort & Spa's 27-hole La Sella course designed by golf legend José María Olazábal, is a beautiful course surrounded by native vegetation where you can play golf all year round.

Open your mind

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The tranquil gardens of Grotta Giusti Thermal Spa Resort Tuscany, Autograph Collection invite contemplative exploration (Photo: Marriott International) 

Whether it's exploring our own creativity or pausing to appreciate the wonders that surround us, holidays are a precious opportunity to enrich our lives with little moments of pure beauty.

So, paintbrushes at the ready! During painting masterclasses at Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu, you can craft your own snapshots of life beside the shimmering Ionian Sea, where lush forested hills rise either side of this picture-perfect resort. 

With Tuscany home to some of Europe's most alluring sights, a day-trip from the hillside majesty of Grotta Giusti Thermal Spa Resort Tuscany, Autograph Collection can offer untold riches. Wander the storied medieval streets of Florence before stopping by at Uffizi Gallery to see masterpieces by Michaelangelo. Even a brief two-wheeled excursion from the resort, meanwhile, will touch your soul with the sweetness of the Tuscan countryside.

Enjoy life after sunset 


Stargazing connects us to the cosmos, offering a humbling experience as we observe celestial wonders and timeless beauty (Photo: Marriott International)

Resort life is far from over when the sun finally slips beneath the horizon – indeed, you could say it has only just begun.

You might opt for a very special movie night, for instance – guests at the tranquil JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa can sprinkle some silver screen magic with an open-air cinema screening under the stars, the lights of Venice twinkling in the distance.

Alternatively, you might make the stars the main event. At Cosme, a Luxury Collection Resort, Paros, everything you need for a night of awe-inspiring stargazing is on hand – so just sit back and enjoy the show.

Raising the stakes, guests at The Westin Dragonara Resort, Malta, meanwhile, are just a five-minute stroll from the stunning Dragonara Casino, set in a cinematic 19th-century palace thronged with handsome marble columns – perfect for a memorable game of poker or blackjack.

But if games aren’t your thing, then W Algarve's clifftop AIR champagne bar offers unmatched sea views to linger over with your bubbles. Similar vibes await at the resort’s laid-back WET deck, where cold margaritas and caipirinhas are delicious companions to another perfect Portuguese sunset. Across the Mediterranean, stunning 360º views of the White Island accompany aperitivo hour at Glow - Rooftop, W Ibiza's elevated bar, which also boasts a gorgeous infinity pool – best experienced at sunset, naturally.

Let the kids roam free 

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Penha Longa Resort offers a wide range of stimulating and exciting activities for the little ones (Photo: Marriott International) 

With all the excitement of being on holiday bubbling up inside them, keeping vacationing children entertained can be a challenge – but rest assured that the best resorts have all bases covered.

From captivating Camp Nights, Pizza Workshops and Science Classes to virtual escapism in the games room, the Kids Club at the Penha Longa Resort will keep your little ones engaged – while you enjoy the pinnacle of Portuguese hospitality. For teens, there's everything from tennis lessons and cycling adventures to movie nights on offer. 

For budding ballers, the first-of-its-kind NBA Basketball School at the superbly family-friendly The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino is a great way to harness their passion. Afterwards, there’s no better way for them to unwind than by splashing down the three slides at the resort's lively Aqua Park.

It's a very special resort that has its own planetarium, and that's exactly what awaits Ritz Kids at The Ritz-Carlton Tenerife, Abama. Their imagination will be fired just as spectacularly when they step out to explore the natural wonders of this subtropical volcanic island – a whole host of thought-provoking outdoor activities is at their fingertips, from stargazing to watersports.

Published: January 25, 2024

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