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In choosing this selection of places, our specialists considered what makes a true getaway. For us, it's staying somewhere that's tucked away and private, with individual charm, character and touches of luxury.

It’s also about escaping to a beautiful setting be it beachside, high in the mountains, shrouded by jungle or surrounded by the emptiness of the desert. Our choices below, each one hand-picked by our specialists from their travels, mix both.

Some of our suggestions are out-of-the-way havens in well-known destinations. Others give you the chance to travel to somewhere truly remote and secluded.

Cruise the remote rivers of Indonesian Borneo

Orangutan, Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan
Orangutan, Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan
You can also sleep on deck to watch the night sky and occasional shooting star.

Living aboard a private traditional wooden klotok boat for three or four days, this cruise winds along the Sekonyer River in Indonesian Borneo's Tanjung Puting National Park.

Wild orangutan, proboscis monkeys and gibbon, among many other species, frequent the river banks, and you can spot them as you relax on deck. You’ll stop several times a day to trek through the park's ancient rainforest, to get closer to the native wildlife.

As darkness falls and the generator is switched off, the crew will leave you alone with the sounds of the jungle and the glow of the fireflies. (Sometimes thousands can congregate and light up one tree, flashing in unison like a Christmas tree).

You can also choose to sleep on deck, under a mosquito net and in complete privacy, to watch the night sky and occasional shooting star.

Klotoks are the traditional river boat in Indonesia. Comfortable yet simple, they range from vessels where you sleep on deck to air-conditioned models fitted with a private cabin and en suite facilities.

Mosquitos are night-time visitors, but coils and nets are provided, and the crew will make sure your net enclosure is free of any insects before you head down for the night.

Getting to Tanjung Puting

Take a 45-minute flight from Semarang to Pangkalan Bun in Kalimantan, a region of southern Indonesian Borneo. After a short 20-minute drive to the port, you’ll meet your private crew and guide before setting out into Tanjung Puting National Park. An hour or so later, the boat docks for your first trek into the jungle in search of orangutan.

When's the best time to visit Tanjung Puting?

It’s called a rainforest for a reason, but the drier season is May to October. However, the jungle is at its most lively in December and January, and you'll encounter fewer people at the orangutan feeding points (although it never gets too busy). Overall, Borneo is a fantastic year-round destination that you can combine easily with the beach on other Indonesian islands.

The river cruise experience is part of our Ultimate Borneo trip idea.

Spa escape in Bali

Spa Village Resort Tembok
Spa Village Resort, Tembok, Bali
In the evening, set sail on a Jukong, a traditional Balinese boat, where you can look out for the outline of Mount Agung and the occasional school of dolphins.

The Spa Village Resort is set on Bali's tranquil, and much less developed, northeast coast. It stands close to a black volcanic sand beach, characteristic of this part of the island. You can stay in one of the private plunge pools villas that face the ocean.

The beach has a quiet feel and you can swim in the sea (though it's not the best place for snorkeling on the island). Most people tend to stay by the infinity pool, or they choose a spa treatment in one of the peaceful locations around the grounds of the resort.

Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here. For me, they epitomized the friendly nature of the Balinese. Stargazing in the pool is encouraged — you'll float out on a bed to wonder at the night sky, whilst listening to gentle music.

In the evening, set sail on a Jukong, a traditional Balinese boat, where you can look out for the outline of Mount Agung and the occasional school of dolphins.

Getting to the Spa Village Resort

The resort is about two and a half hours by car from Denpasar Airport. The drive is very scenic, passing Mount Agung, the Water Palace and many rice paddies.

When's the best time to visit Bali?

Average year-round temperatures are between 79 to 84°F, May to September is the dry season, and October to April is wet season. As you are by the sea, it does feel cooler and there is a light breeze by the pool.

A stay at this spa escape can be included in our Bali uncovered trip idea.

Stay at a crater's edge in Tanzania

Zebras grazing in the Ngorongoro Crater
Zebras grazing in the Ngorongoro Crater
In the evening zebra often leave the crater floor and wander up to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge to graze.

In the evening zebra often leave the crater floor and wander up to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge to graze. Wild buffalo are also known to feed around the lodge, which sits on the rim of a 20 km wide volcanic crater, or caldera, as it's also known. (A volcanic caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature, usually caused by the collapse of land, usually as a result of an eruption).

There are estimated to be around 25,000 mammals resident in the volcanic caldera, including large herds of wildebeest and prides of lion and the highly endangered black rhino.

In your suite at the lodge you'll find a living room with a roaring fire, paneled walls, chandeliers and wall to ceiling windows.

Game drives from the Crater Lodge have an advantage because you can get to the crater floor before those staying further afield and enjoy the first part of the day without any crowds. Game drives are conducted in 4x4 safari vehicles.

Getting to the Ngorongoro Crater

You can fly to Lake Manyara airstrip, 1½ hours away, and the lodge will pick you up from there. Alternatively it can be included in a private safari around northern Tanzania and you will be driven there by your private guide.

When's the best time to visit Ngorongoro Crater Lodge?

The Northern Hemisphere summer, which is winter in Tanzania, is an excellent time to go. Daytime temperatures are warm and the weather is dry, but due to the lodge’s position at 2,300 meters above sea level, the evenings are chilly.

A stay at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge can be incorporated into our Ultimate wildlife trip idea.

Horse riding in the desert in India

Mihir Garh, Rohet
Mihir Garh, Rohet, Rajasthan, India

Meaning 'sun fortress', Mihir Garh is a retreat located in the middle of the desert in Rajasthan, India. There are private terraces for sleeping under the stars, a spa, Jacuzzi and infinity pool. The suites on the ground floor rooms have their own small plunge pools whilst the first floor suites have a Jacuzzi.

Dining is an intimate affair with just nine suites and there is a beautiful dining room and barbecue terrace where you can taste the chef's own recipe curries and marinated lamb dishes. Other experiences available include camel safaris, royal picnics by the lake, culinary workshops, or horse riding on Marwari horses from the owner's own stables.

The retreat is an ideal place to relax after a tiger safari in Ranthambhore National Park or visiting the majestic fort and market in Jodhpur.

Getting to Mihir Garh

Mihir Garh is a half hour drive from Jodhpur in the heart of Rajasthan. Jodhpur has a small domestic airport with flights direct to Delhi and Mumbai.

When's the best time to visit Rajasthan?

September through to March is a good time to visit Northern India although December and January can be rather cool. Visiting over Diwali in October or November is a particularly special experience.

A stay at Mihir Garh can be incorporated into our Classic Rajasthan trip idea.

Relax in a bath overlooking Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

Villa, Azur Lodge, Queenstown
Azur Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand
Have a soak in the tub whilst gazing out over the scenery or relax by the open fireplace in the spacious lounge.

Perched on a hill, just outside of Queenstown, Azur lodge enjoys views over Lake Wakatipu. Every room faces the mountains and lake beyond. Have a soak in the tub whilst gazing out over the scenery, particularly nice in autumn, or relax by the open fireplace in the spacious lounge.

The accommodation is in nine individual villas, nestled among the native bush that surrounds the lodge. Each villa has a superking bed, lounge area with fireplace and private decks overlooking the lake and delicious breakfasts are served up every morning by the lodge chef.

Azur Lodge is an ideal base for exploring Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, or taking advantage of the numerous outdoor activities available in Queenstown.

Getting to Azur Lodge

Fly into Queenstown or get the ferry across Marlborough Sounds and travel down through beautiful South Island.

When's the best time to visit New Zealand?

Spring is a lovely time to visit New Zealand before it gets too hot and busy at popular tourist sights. Autumn is also picturesque with the leaves turning.

A stay at Azur Lodge can be incorporated into our Classic New Zealand trip idea.