Best Luxury Destinations for 2014

It’s often said that luxury is in the eye of the beholder. What some may find extravagant may seem merely pedestrian to someone else. Still, others think of the opportunity to indulge in truly unique experiences few are afforded as the ultimate luxury.

Hotel lobby at Palace resort, luxury in Mexico

Whatever your definition of luxury is, you can be assured of two things when it comes to travel in 2014. One, you can find the luxury you seek all around the globe, and two, your travel professional can help you find just what you’re looking for.

A recent survey of Travel Leaders’ front-line agents revealed that the luxury their clients desire the most – by a wide margin – is to have deluxe accommodations. But this is followed by the desire to enjoy bragging rights through unique and exciting activities offered in the places they visit.

Since getting there is said to be half the fun, it should come as no surprise that third on the list is first or business class air travel, which can help set the tone of a truly memorable journey from beginning to end.

Where are these discriminating travelers choosing to go during 2014? Here are the luxury travel destinations being booked most often by Travel Leaders agents throughout North America:

1. Mexico. While Mexico remains a favorite choice of sun-seeking travelers on a budget, there are a growing number of luxury waterfront properties from which to select along the county’s Caribbean coast, which includes Cancun and the Rivera Maya; and along the Pacific coast, from Los Cabos to Puerto Vallarta. Some of most venerated hoteliers have fashionable addresses in the capital, Mexico City, which provides a multitude of culture and high-end shopping amidst spectacular history.

2. Australia. In addition to Australia’s fabled cultural cities led by Sydney and Melbourne, an abundance of Aussie culture includes some of the best vineyards on earth. But a luxury tour of the Outback may appeal to the adventurer in you – at the country’s “Red Centre,” visitors can experience the peaceful, yet humbling Uluru (Ayers Rock) in lux accommodations. For divers and even snorkelers, there’s nothing like the fabled Great Barrier Reef, which provides ample opportunities to get up close and personal with an array of aquatic life unlike anywhere else in the world.

Best Luxury in Europe

3. European River Cruising. Enjoy the luxurious comfort of a river cruise ship as you glide from one charming town to another along Europe’s historic rivers – such as the Seine, Rhone, Rhine or Danube – or through the historic canals of The Netherlands. The deluxe vessels not only provide gourmet meals and surprisingly spacious accommodations, but they also feature a wide variety of excursions that can transport you even deeper into some of Europe’s most fabled places.

4. Italy. A hands-on epicurean food tour of Italy is a perfect complement to the country’s renowned luxury accommodations. Imagine sampling and learning to cook with truffles in Bologna; balsamic vinegars in Modena; ham, pancetta and aged parmesan in Parma; pizza margherita in Naples; and fine Chianti in Tuscany.

5. Mediterranean Cruising. Several luxury cruise lines regularly sail the Mediterranean, including Crystal, Silversea, Seabourn, and Regent Seven Seas. Some itineraries offer overnight stays in selected ports, giving you more time to explore and enjoy the local culture.

To put a little or a lot of luxury in your vacation plans for 2014, talk with your travel professional.