5 Luxurious Resorts for When Price Is No Object

Jerold Leslie

BOSTON (MainStreet) -- The world's finest vacation resorts offer it all -- exotic locations, first-class service, comfy accommodations and yummy meals.

"It's really a combination of everything -- the setting, the ambiance, the services and all of the extras," says Bruce Wallin of luxury lifestyles magazine The Robb Report, which recently compiled its first Robb Report 100 List of the poshest resorts around the globe.

Some two dozen Robb Report writers and editors teamed up with industry experts to pick the greatest vacation spots available to the price-is-no-object crowd.

"Really what we were looking for is the kind of place that would be the ultimate experience for Robb Report readers -- very exclusive properties, places like private islands that you might not find on other top 100 lists," Wallin says.

Of course, a vacation at one of the world's 100 best resorts doesn't come cheap.

Prices at properties that made the list range from $250 a night off-season at Canada's Four Seasons Whistler resort to as much as $51,000 a night (breakfast included) at Italy's Villa d'Este.

"The properties on our list succeed on all fronts -- and their prices reflect that," Wallin says. "Some of the properties in Mexico, South America and parts of Southeast Asia and India might offer lower prices, but it's very rare that you're going to find a top 100 resort at a bargain price."

Here's a look, in order of price, at five of Wallin's personal favorites from among Robb Report 100 winners. Unless otherwise noted, prices are for two adults and include all meals, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Musha Cay, the Bahamas

Price: $37,500 per night (up to 12 people)

An exclusive resort owned by celebrity magician David Copperfield, Musha Cay consists of five super luxury guesthouses across 11 private islands some 85 miles from the Bahamas.

You rent the entire resort at once for $37,500 and up per night, with a four-night minimum.

For that lofty price, you and your guests will enjoy four dining areas, an outdoor movie theater, more than 40 private beaches and a game room that includes a billiards table that once belonged to legendary magician Harry Houdini.

But what really sets Musha Cay apart are the optional "adventures" Copperfield's staff -- and sometimes the magician himself -- provide.

For an extra fee, they'll use the islands as the backdrop for a giant treasure hunt or a "spy game" for your guests, complete with real helicopters, laser beams and special-effect explosions.

"It's a Caribbean paradise with everything you would expect -- great beaches and beautiful foliage -- but because it's David Copperfield's property, they put on all of these elaborate events," Wallin says. "There's really nothing else like it on Earth."

Check out all of the details here.

Laucala Island, Fiji

Price: $3,800 to about $35,000 a night per villa

The one-time private estate of late swashbuckling magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes (whose ashes are interred there), Laucala Island is now an exclusive resort owned by Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz.

The South Pacific island hosts just 25 luxury villas spread out over 12 square kilometers, so you'll enjoy the ultimate in vacation privacy.

But the resort also has plenty of great shared facilities, from a hilltop spa to an 18-hole championship golf course built by legendary designer David McLay Kidd. Guests can also choose from five dining areas -- or enjoy a private meal in one of the island's secluded beach coves.

"Laucala Island is just an amazing, extravagant, no-expense-spared resort," Wallin says.

See the resort's website for information.

King Pacific Lodge, Canada

Price: $9,750 for three nights

The King Pacific Lodge is a floating resort built on a barge its operators tow onto the shores of Princess Royal Island along northern British Columbia's Pacific coast every summer.

Located some 300 miles north of Vancouver and accessible only by seaplane (included in your hotel room's price), the resort offers incredible boating, fishing, whalewatching and sightseeing in the middle of the Great Bear Rain Forest.

"The King Pacific Lodge is perhaps the closest you can get to an upscale African safari lodge experience in North America," Wallin says. "There are no roads for almost 100 miles in any direction, but you're surrounded by bald eagles, bears and humpback whales."

The lodge has just 17 rooms, but guests enjoy king-sized beds, sunken tubs, an elaborate spa and an upscale restaurant that uses locally produced ingredients.

"The King Pacific Lodge isn't the most luxurious resort in the world, but the food and the service are what you'd expect in any five-star city hotel," Wallin says. "It's got this implausible combination -- a wilderness setting, plus service that makes its mark among the best hotels in the world."

For details, click here.

Singiti Lebombo and Sweni Lodges, South Africa

Price: About $3,050 and up per night

These two lodges on private land within South Africa's Kruger National Park offer the chance to go on incredible wildlife safaris during the day, then enjoy five-star accommodations at night.

Located near the South Africa/Mozambique border, the resorts mix traditional African furnishings with upscale amenities such as Murano glass chandeliers.

The exclusive properties have just 21 suites between them, but guests can enjoy guided safaris from early morning until late at night. That gives you plenty of chances to check out some of the park's more than 800 species of wildlife, from crocodiles to African elephants.

"You're staying some place as nice as any hotel in New York or Paris, but are in the middle of the African bush and able to go out with experienced guides every day on safari," Wallin says. "It's really an ultimate experience."

See Singiti's website for information.

Ballyfin, Ireland

Price: About $1,240 to $3,600 per night

An Irish baronial estate originally built in the 1820s, Ballyfin reopened as a five-star boutique hotel last year after some $50 million of renovations.

Located some 60 miles southwest of Dublin, the 600-acre property has just 15 guest rooms.

The site combines 19th century charm with 21st century amenities such as a spa, an indoor pool and flat-screen TVs that are subtly worked into the furnishings.

"You feel like you're staying in an Irish nobleman's quarters, but everything is brand new or perfectly refurbished," Wallin says. "It's kind of the best of both worlds -- a classical feel, but completely updated for the modern traveler."

The heavily wooded estate features horseback riding, hiking, falconry, clay-pigeon shooting and a 28-acre lake for boating and fishing.

Two-star Michelin chef Fred Cordonnier will cook your catch for you -- or make you a meal featuring vegetables, eggs, honey and other products raised on-site.

Check out all of the details here.