The Good Life for Less
Savvy travelers will find that the good life doesn't need to cost a pretty penny with these luxurious steals. Whether you travel on the off-season or plan a trip with friends to save some money, there are numerous ways to plan a high-end vacation on a shoestring budget.
You don't need a trans-Atlantic flight to get a taste of Paris. For a fraction of the cost, visitors head to Canada's Quebec City for a truly French experience. Francophiles will flip for the chic boutiques, romantic cobblestone streets, stately castles and French food like Swiss and Raclette cheese fondue. The city's landmark hotel Le Chateau Frontenac sits on a hill above the St. Lawrence River offering stunning views of this charming city.
The difference between first class and business class on Asia's elite Singapore Airlines may be a few thousand dollars, but the impeccable service is just the same. Save some money and fly business class. The airline's Singapore Girls provide their trademark quality service to passengers in both first and business class. Business class passengers also have access to great food and wines, a personal 15.4 inch LCD television and a reclining seat that turns into a comfy flat bed for a mid-air snooze.
New York, New York
The Gramercy Tavern is one of Manhattan's finest restaurants, known for its cozy atmosphere and refined American cuisine. To get a taste of the best without paying premium prices, sample the local delicacies for half the price during a lunchtime feast. The restaurant's 5-course lunch tasting menu is half the price of an evening meal and just as delicious.
Perched atop a cliff overlooking the ocean in Negril, Jamaica, the Caves is made up of grottoes and cliff-side villas and suites that provide privacy and fantastic views. All-inclusive meets all-out luxury at the Caves which puts a high-end twist on the concept of endless food, drinks and activities from water excursions to yoga classes.
The 5-bedroom Beach Escape Villa at Sandy Point is a steal compared to prices at Anguilla's toniest resorts. There are 2 bedrooms in the main house and 3 private guest suites on the property, making it a great choice for a group of friends. Each bedroom has a private balcony or terrace if you need an escape from your companions. The villa has its own pool and private beach access for daytime relaxing on the sandy white shores. Restaurants are just a short walk away or you can save some dough and prepare a feast of local fresh fish in the fully-equipped kitchen or outdoor grill area.
Climb aboard Rovos Rails for a luxurious tour of South Africa. Riding the Rovos Rails is like an opulent trip back in time with Edwardian decor, fancy dinners and a relaxed atmosphere. The trip from Pretoria to Cape Town takes riders through the breathtaking scenery of the African Bush. Riders can enjoy a cocktail in the observation car while watching the exotic sights and wildlife roll by. At night, the well-appointed Presidential Suite is the swankiest option with 172 square feet, a private bathroom and shower and a personal bar. The Pullman Superior compartment is better on a budget but still features special touches, like beds that convert to a sitting area during the day.
British Columbia, Canada
Whistler is a skier's dream with over 200 trails of fine powder spread out over the 2 mountains that make up Whistler Blackcomb. Thanks to Mother Nature, Whistler's cold season lasts a bit longer than at other ski havens. This means that skiers can still hit the slopes well into spring and bargain hunters can find good deals after the high season ends in February. The prices don't just drop on the slopes -- rooms at the luxe Fairmont Chateau are lower during the spring ski season, too.
The yachting lifestyle can be attainable thanks to private charters and a little help from your friends. The Equinox Yacht becomes a steal if you can share the cost with a group of like-minded friends. This 81-foot super yacht has 3 bedrooms that accommodate up to 7 people for overnight trips. There's a stocked bar, plenty of deck space and the coolest water toys including wave runners, wakeboards, water skis, fishing gear and snorkeling equipment. The ship travels around the Bahamas and takes advantage of a 24-foot private tender to access remote and private islands.
Los Cabos, Mexico
Cabo's Las Ventanas is a favorite with Hollywood A-listers who are frequently photographed chilling by the resort's infinity pools. Travelers with a B-list budget can squeeze in a trip during Cabo's shoulder season, the warm summer months. It's sure to be a bit more hot and humid, but you'll barely notice the weather with a personal butler tending to your needs.
New York, New York
Chef Jean Georges welcomes New York's Restaurant Week as a chance for new diners to experience a noteworthy meal for a steal. Twice a year the prices are slashed at the renowned chef's restaurants, including this flagship spot in New York. The 3-course lunch or dinner is sure to feature the chef's trademark quality and high-end ingredients like Foie Gras, truffles and even caviar.
La Bastide de Princes
Provence, France, is one of Europe's most popular destinations, but also one of the priciest. A stay in Provence is possible if you forgo the deluxe resorts and opt for a charming chamber d'hotes, or bed and breakfast. The intimate La Bastide de Princes is a family-owned guest house with 5 rooms, indoor and outdoor pools and a great view of the countryside. There are even cooking classes with the owner so you can master the art of French cooking and bring a taste of Provence home.