For many travelers, the idea of a "road-trip" is synonymous with "roughing it." But, this need not be the case. Come with us on a nomadic journey as we uncover highlights of four of the world’s most beloved locations: Italy, New Zealand, the American Southwest, and the South of France. As these detailed itineraries show, some of the rarest luxuries await along the winding road.
9 Days in New Zealand.
Nature, golf, and outdoor adventure collide in this elevated itinerary on New Zealand’s North Island.
It’s difficult to come to New Zealand and not be mesmerized by its volcanic landscape, dense forests, and unusual flora and fauna. Exploring the 665-mile-long northern island is best done in a rugged SUV equipped for activities and adventure. Begin at the southeastern end of the island at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, in Hawke’s Bay.
This sprawling property, tucked among vineyards and dramatic cliffs overlooking the sea, is renowned for its golf, with each hole on the Tom Doak–designed course overlooking the ocean, and for its therapeutic spa, with treatments that incorporate local ingredients such as Manuka honey.
All of the 23 accommodations incorporate neutral-toned furnishings, complemented by natural linens and rustic wood; room types vary from the romantic Hilltop Suites, with views over the golf course and the Pacific, to the expansive four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage secreted within the property’s farm.
Settle in for four days to experience the area’s activities, both on property and off. Hike, sightsee off-road in an ATV, go birdwatching, herd sheep on the nearby 6,000-acre beef and lamb farm, try your hand at clay-bird shooting, horseback ride through the emerald-carpeted landscape, or relax in the resort’s rural setting. Make sure to bring a solid camera with you—the best souvenir might be your photographs of the stunning scenery.
Next, head north about five hours to Auckland for a city stay at the new Cordis property, an urban hotel with wellness in mind. Here, the 411 rooms cater to a range of travelers with standard rooms starting at 300 square feet, junior suites that offer kitchenettes, and grander accommodations boasting up to 1,266 square feet of living space. Modern in design and amenities, the hotel perfectly reflects Auckland culture. Spend three days touring the city’s chic, European-inspired restaurants, shopping the local boutiques and art galleries, and visiting the national museums.
Continue your journey north just three and a half hours to Kauri Cliffs, sister property to The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, and the perfect end point for an active Antipodean itinerary. This 6,000- acre boutique property welcomes guests with soothing suites warmed by cozy fireplaces and views of the farm landscape and ocean, as well as a jaw-droppingly beautiful two-bedroom, 4,200-square-foot Owner’s Cottage with its own infinity pool and tropical garden.
For a break from adventure, take advantage of the endless space to enjoy some solitude. When you’re ready to get moving again, enjoy land-based fishing from the beach (the chef will prepare any fresh catch for dinner), horseback riding, and, of course, golf on the David Harman– designed course overlooking the dramatic cliffs. Spend your final night with an early-evening custom barbecue on the nearby pink-sand beach, where a private chef from the property will create a memorable meal with local grilled seafood or lamb and some of the region’s finest wines.
10 Days in Italy.
Spend a week and a half exploring some of the Boot’s best waterfront destinations.
From the northern lakes to the central rivers and southern coast, Italy has a wealth of waterways that provide the idyllic setting for an extended vacation. Arrive in Milan and have the Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como (formerly known as CastaDiva Resort & Spa) arrange for a car to shuttle you an hour north to one of Lake Como’s most charming and prestigious properties. The property is the perfect base camp for day cruises around the lake on one of the hotel’s vintage boats, exploring, lounging, and basking in the pastoral setting. Don’t miss its expansive spa, the largest in the region.
After a few days acclimating to the laid-back Italian lifestyle, rent an Italian sports car and head south to Florence. The four-hour drive will seem all too quick behind the wheel of a Ferrari or Maserati, both of which are manufactured in the town of Modena—just two hours outside of Florence. Car enthusiasts might want to make one more stop near Bologna, for a tour of the popular Lamborghini museum, as well as a feast on the region’s famed Bolognese.
Head into Florence in time for sunset as you check into the Hotel Lungarno and bask in the gorgeous riverfront views of the Arno. Head to the Picteau Lounge Bar (named by melding the last names of two artists whose works adorn the walls, Picasso and Cocteau) to enjoy the premiere setting overlooking the river and Ponte Vecchio while sipping a cocktail.
Off property, arrange for a private tour of the Uffizi, burn off the gelato by climbing to the top of the Duomo, then come back to rest and recharge in one of the hotel’s 65 rooms. A few days traipsing around town will have you ready for a coastal getaway.
Although it’s just a four-and-a-half-hour drive to the docks of Naples, a bevy of worthy stops along the way could make for a much longer journey. Make a quick stop in the walled town of San Gimignano to peek at art from the prestigious Galleria Continua before heading back onto the highway to Rome. Stretch your legs around the city with a quick walk from the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps, where any of the coffee bars around the piazza make for wonderful people watching.
Just two hours more and you’re in Naples, the last stop before hopping a boat to Capri. Swap your car for a private boat to shuttle you 45 minutes to the unbelievably stylish island. Steep rocky cliffs make beaches a rarity, but views are in abundance. Enjoy them from the Capri Palace, a sprawling property nestled in a secluded corner of the island.
Spend the days walking the hilly streets, basking in the sun, and dining on some of the finest seafood in the Mediterranean. Save time for must-visits like Amedeo Canfora, which has been making its custom sandals since 1946, and Aurora, one of the island’s oldest and best restaurants, perfecting its pizza recipe for more than 100 years.
Back at the property, experience the Capri Beauty Farm by Mytha Spa, home of the renowned Leg School®: a clinic that treats and pampers lower limbs. On your last afternoon, enjoy lunch at Il Riccio, the Michelin-starred restaurant that overlooks the Blue Grotto and echoes the view with a vibrant turquoise palette.
13 Days in The American Southwest to the California Coast.
An excursion from the desert to the Pacific in just under two weeks offers something for everyone.
Hiking may not be for everyone, but no one can resist taking in the picturesque Arizona Sonoran Mountains from every vantage point. A great place to start lies just 25 minutes north of Tucson and escape to The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. The sprawling 6,200-acre community borders a nature reserve and includes 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature golf, more than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, and countless saguaro cacti, which are native to the region.
Nature extends into the spa as well, with treatments incorporating local healing gemstones, herbal curatives inspired by the practices of Native American healers, and restorative therapies that draw extracts from the desert flora.
The spacious accommodations feature modern Southwest–inspired designs, with the Casita Village rooms ranging from 1,133 to 2,010 square feet. Spend three nights golfing, wandering through nearby Tucson, and working on your uphill stamina with gentle treks through the surrounding mountains.
Next, head straight north to Sedona. Marvel at the red sandstone mountains and their miraculous curves and colors. Formed hundreds of millions of years ago from the shells of sea creatures turned to limestone, the canyon walls are made of layer upon layer of stone. Nothing can capture the raw beauty of the landscape until you’re there in person, and it’s worth an extended stay of four nights to fully absorb its grandeur.
Check into the nearby L’Auberge de Sedona and immerse yourself in the region’s spiritual setting. The Native American land is said to be home to four main vortexes, a crossing of energies believed to have spiritual significance. Allow the guides to tour you through the property, noting the nearby trees that are believed to grow in arcs and bends from the power of the vortices.
Outdoor enthusiasts can go off-roading in a 4x4 and catch aerial views via helicopter or hot air balloon. Of course, the nearby Grand Canyon can be accessed in a variety of ways, perhaps most leisurely via a two-hour train on a day excursion that leads to the South Rim.
On the property, the spa is the best place to explore more unusual treatments, such as the Forest Bathing experience and Sound Healing. The recently renovated lodge offers some of the region’s most enticing accommodations, with its light-filled Lodge rooms and expansive cottages that cater to a variety of traveler needs.
It’s just eight hours to the West Coast, and the new Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito awaits. The 16-acre property had been resting for more than a decade, anticipating a transformation into the area’s newest oceanfront destination with six dining venues and 161 guest quarters in the form of cottages and bungalows, all with a modern New England beach aesthetic.
Let your hair blow in the property’s ocean breezes and spend some time checking out the antiques and design shops of nearby Montecito and Summerland, including William Laman, Michael Haskell, and the new outpost of Garde.
Before heading out of town, stop at Pierre Lafond and stock up on gourmet car snacks for the ride north along the Pacific Coast Highway. The winding road should take about four hours, but the inevitable stops for pictures of waves breaking against plunging cliffs could easily make it an all-day excursion.
Spend the remaining two nights doing nothing at the uber-romantic Post Ranch Inn, a must-stay resort for even the most seasoned traveler. Just 39 rooms and one residence hover over the dramatic California cliffs in the organic-luxe lodge. With no televisions, no alarm clocks, and no children under 18, the retreat is heaven for those looking for refuge.
Should you choose to leave, explore the region’s natural hot springs and local shops and galleries, many of which maintain a strong hippie influence. No place is better to wine and dine than on property, though, where the acclaimed restaurant and wine list are attractions on their own.
7 Days in France.
Take a seven-day trip through the South of France, filled with food, wine, and culture, while resting up at the region’s storied properties.
Begin your journey at La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa, Paris. Located in the heart of the 8th Arrondissement, just steps from the Arc de Triomphe and Élysée Palace, this property feels like a private home with 40 rooms ranging from 540 square feet to more than 2,100 square feet, all with oversized bathrooms and dedicated butlers. If the plush beds of Pierre Cardin’s former residence don’t have you feeling good as new in an instant, some time spent in the subterranean spa, with its 52-foot-long indoor pool, hammam, and treatments from the Swiss Nescens anti-aging science brand, should do the trick.
Any stopover to the City of Lights requires a pilgrimage to the Louvre and the spectacular shops on the Left Bank, but make sure to check out some of the city’s newer attractions, like the stunning restaurant Balagan and the boutique hotspot, Septime.
Pick up a rental car on your last day in town and get an early start on the eight-hour drive south. Stop in Lyon to experience the Parc de la Tête d’or—one of country’s largest urban parks—and famed street art, before continuing on to Aix-en- Provence, the quintessential French countryside escape, filled with fields of lavender and vineyards primed to produce rosé.
The Hôtel Le Pigonnet (The Hotel Collection) has everything you’ll need for a seriously divine rest. The 18th-century Provençal manor home, with its manicured gardens, century-old trees, and pristine pool, has been a hotel since 1924 and famously hosted local artist Paul Cézanne as he painted on the grounds. Spend three nights enjoying the exquisite local produce and wines, meandering through the town and bicycling through the countryside.
Finally, head east to Cannes. Forgo the more direct highways and instead drive along the coast, marveling at the historic homes and architectural masterpieces that dot the hillsides—from medieval castles to the iconic futuristic Bubble Palace once owned by Pierre Cardin.
Although the town comes to life for the annual film festival held every May, the summer months make it a prime yacht haven, while its off-season still allow for a quiet coastal escape. The InterContinental Carlton Cannes has been hosting the elite since 1913, and named many of its suites after its star guests. Spend the day walking around the town’s quaint shops before heading to the hotel’s light-filled lobby lounge for small bites and an aperitif. Then, take a lasting impression of the Belle Époque along with you as you head to the Nice airport for your flight home.