Jetset Awards: Jetset Christina’s Top 10 Resorts of 2019
Ok Jetsetters, I don’t know about you but as the year winds down, I start to get super excited about what exciting travels 2020 will bring. I’ve been scouring the best end-of-year travel deals and brainstorming all the places I want to go this year, but I’ve also been reflecting over all of the INCREDIBLE places I visited over the past year. Every year, at the end of the year, I do a list like this, which you can think of as basically my Jetset Awards™ for the hotels that blew me away this year. (You can check out 2018’s Jetset Award winners on this post here).
In 2019, I was so incredibly lucky to be able to experience some of the most beautiful resorts in the world, but these ones on this list are a cut above all of the rest.
These resorts are the best of the best.
Here are the top resorts I think should be at the very top of your travel bucket lists for 2020
The Four Seasons Sayan Bali was my #1 favorite hotel experience this year. My fiance Kenny and I got engaged in Bali, and celebrated the weekend of our engagement at this jungle-luxe oasis. I could not imagine a more perfect, relaxing place to celebrate our love. It is an ideal choice for honeymoons in Bali, with its secluded, river-front, serene vibe and unbeatable service and location in Ubud.
Two Four Seasons in a row? Yep. And they top my Jetset Awards list for a reason. If you’re a FS person, you know that the service at these hotels just can’t be beat. No matter where you are in the world, you can count on an extraordinary vacation/ And when you couple that FS brand with gorgeous rooms, unbelievable food, and the best location in Maui? You get the FS Maui.
This hotel has long been a favorite Hawaiian getaway for celebrities, actors, singers and athletes, and almost every A-lister has stayed here. But even if you’re not an A-lister, this hotel should be on your bucket list. It’s perfect for a honeymoon, a babymoon, a family vacation or even a destination wedding (K and I are getting married here next year!!!).
This summer, we stayed in Kirini Santorini – one of the Leading Hotels in the World, and it was the best Santorini hotel imaginable. It’s only around 40 rooms, and feels like a complete oasis of its own, just 5 minutes outside of much-busier Oia. It’s secluded, private, and beautiful. The rooms are definitely the nicest I found in Greece, with super-plush king sized beds and spacious cave-style suites that scream luxury. Aside from its beautiful location and rooms, the food & wine were to die for – the champagne buffet breakfast (included in your room rate) was SO good, and the perfect way to start your Santorini day. The service was fabulous – and they even give each guest a bottle of delicious Santorini wine at check-in. (They clearly know the way to my heart!).
When I think about the most beautiful hotels in the world, I am not sure it gets any better than this hotel. If you’re looking for where to stay for luxury in Cartagena, this boutique luxury hotel is one of the Leading Hotels of the World (which in my experience are ALWAYS amazing) and is stunning and charming at the same time. It’s composed of three beautiful white houses, connected with bright clay rooftops, and a gorgeous view of the Cartagena clocktower, but let’s be honest – the pool was my favorite part.
Standard rooms are beautiful, but the premium rooms with private plunge pools or jacuzzis are definitely worth the splurge. Check rates here at Hotel Casa San Agustin.
If you were to ask me the most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed, this private 8-bedroom villa in Cabo is probably it. Ultra-modern and effortlessly beach-chic, this stunning villa is the ULTIMATE in luxury accommodations in Mexico. There are 2 infinity pools and a hot tub at Mantea Casa (overlooking the most beautiful view of Mexico that I have ever seen), and 8 impressive, spacious, luxe bedrooms. There’s a private gym, stocked with anything and everything you can imagine (no, seriously, it’s better than my gym back home). There’s even a sauna, with windows looking out onto the Pacific. There’s an outdoor shower, an indoor shower with more shower heads than you could even imagine. Every corner of the villa feels like a dream. There’s surround sound, which you can hook up to your own Spotify playlists and control the music for each and every room of the house. There’s a private chef. There’s a private bar and bartender, pouring up the most delicious Mexican cocktails you can imagine, or whatever you’re feeling like that day. The staff isn’t just friendly, they feel like your friends. Their goal is to be invisible, until you need them, but you’ll find they are always there the second you need them, as if reading your mind when it’s time for another cocktail, or an afternoon snack of fresh guac and chips. It’s amazing. The service is next-level, and raises the bar on any luxury resort in the world.
Did I mention that if you stay at Mantea you also have access to their private yacht? Yeah…
5. Mystique Santorini
Mystique Santorini is just 5 minutes walking from downtown Oia, but feels tucked away in a secluded paradise all its own (you can see it from Kirini, they’re in the same area). I loved Mystique so much we didn’t want to leave the hotel! But luckily it’s within walking distance to all kinds of activities in Santorini – from the downtown Oia, to Immoudi Bay, to wine tasting.
This resort is what Greece dreams are made of.
Okay so it’s not technically a resort, but this year I traveled to the Philippines aboard Windstar Cruises and it was INCREDIBLE!!! This luxury cruise line is everything mainstream cruises are not, and it’s really more of a yacht than a ‘cruise’. I’ve always been a fan of luxury cruising, because it’s such an efficient way to travel – I mean hello, your five-star floating hotel IS your transportation, does it get any better? Especially when you’re traveling to places like Europe or Southeast Asia where you want to see A LOT in a little amount of time.
The Windstar yachts are small (like 100 people) and they are so luxe, the food is literally five-star food at every meal (and they are so incredibly good with dietary and health requests, I actually LOST weight on this cruise, since the food was so healthy and good, even though it was unlimited!!)
The Windstar clientele is definitely younger than most cruise lines (maybe around an average age of 40-60 vs over 60 on a lot of cruise lines) – especially on its summer routes, which I love. It’s definitely an active luxury cruising crowd, and it’s so much fun!!! I highly recommend Windstar Cruises, even if you feel like you wouldn’t like cruising, because it’s definitely a different (way better) experience than any other cruise I’ve been on.
This Auberge hotel is such a gem! It’s been the heart of Aspen since 1889 and has a luxury-meets-wild-west vibe that I am HERE FOR. Everything about this hotel screams Jetset, from the year-round outdoor hot tub with heated robes and slippers and mountain views, to the incredible restaurants, to the comfy, spacious rooms with to-die-for bathtubs. I loved the history, charm, and friendliness of this place. It’s easily the best hotel in Aspen, but it doesn’t act snooty at all.
This boutique, understated inn tucked away in Forestville, California blew me away on my trip to Sonoma this year. Farmhouse Inn is a beautiful luxury hotel in California wine country boasting a Michelin star restaurant, complimentary fire pits and s’mores, a dreamy jacuzzi and heated pool, and adorable bungalows with the most comfortable beds ever. The hotel is only a 10 minute drive from some of the most DELICIOUS wineries in Northern California – Flowers, Williams Selyem, Gary Farrell, Twomey, etc! You’re also only 20 minutes from Healdsburg, another of my favorite regions (which you can read all about my vacation in Healdsburg and what to do in Healdsburg here)
9. Karma Kandara Cliff Front . Pool Villas, Bali
300 feet above the Indian Ocean, but with a private beach all its own, Karma Kandara is the epitome of Bali beachfront relaxation, and it’s an amazing choice for a hotel in Uluwatu. Their private villas are surrounded by tropical gardens and feature stunning views, and their beach club (that you have to take a cable car to get down to), is one of the best in Bali (so much so that lots of others besides hotel guests come for the day and pay for a day pass!).
Aside from its picture-perfect location and gorgeous modern colonial architecture, one of the very first things I couldn’t help but notice about this resort was just how happy everyone was. Not only the staff, (who of course beamed happiness and a dont-worry-be-happy attitude in true Excellence – and Jamaica – fashion), but the vacationers!!! Everyone at the resort was just radiating vacation. They were all smiles, drinks in hand, ready to take part in the upbeat poolside activities (like pool olympics, aqua aerobics, or a dance-off), and mingling with other happy vacationers. People were a little sunburnt, a little tipsy, and a LOT of happy. We had so much fun exploring Jamaica and staying here.
Which of these is on your 2020 bucket list? Comment below!
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