Tax season is upon us here in the U.S. If you played your cards right last year, that (hopefully) means a big tax refund. You could do something sensible with that cash like save for your kids’ college education or fund your 401k. Or you could splurge on a ridiculously unnecessary, bucket list vacation. Assuming you decide on the latter, here are three destinations worth blowing this year’s tax return on.
Sandals Royal Caribbean (Jamaica)
Caribbean resorts tend to be bland, uninspired, and homogenous: swim-up bars, watered-down cocktails, and conga-lining around the late-night chocolate buffet. For years, the Sandals Resort chain has been no different, but their latest Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay is jaw-dropping. It’s proof that you needn’t travel to Bora Bora or Maldives to find stunning overwater bungalows. Every one of the property’s Tahitian-style villa features butler service, floating hammocks, a private infinity pool, glass floors, and two outdoor showers. What’s more: their “all-inclusive” program is actually all-inclusive. Every last thing is included in the $4,300 (USD) nightly rate and, honestly, shouldn’t it be?
Peter Island Resort (Tortola, British Virgin Islands)
Perhaps an overwater Caribbean villa just isn’t disco enough. If you happen to be a Saudi oil baron or Jay-Z, you might want your own vacation compound. Peter Island Resort is an 1,800-acre private island off the coast of Tortola. While its luxurious oceanfront suites are nothing short of stunning, the real draw for travelers seeking seven-star accommodations is the Falcon’s Nest Villa. This absurd, 21,645-square-foot complex combines six full suites, 10 bathrooms, and offers every imaginable luxury amenity. Think: an infinity pool with a three-story, grotto-style waterfall, a full-time staff (including chef, butler, housekeeper, and a chauffeur), a private spa and gym, and a state-of-the-art media room. Guests can even request a no-fly zone during their stay to keep those pesky paparazzi drones at bay. The nightly rates aren’t publicly available, but, frankly, if you have to ask …
The North Pole (via Quark Expeditions)
Believe it or not, there are still a few “undiscovered” destinations in the world. If your idea of bucket list travel centers around going where (almost) no one has gone before, check out Quark Expeditions. For almost $30,000 (USD), you can board an elite icebreaker vessel and set sail for the North Pole — maybe the planet’s last pristine outpost. The nuclear-powered 50 Years of Victory takes a limited number of passengers on a 14-day, fully guided round trip tour from Helsinki to Earth’s northernmost reaches. Daily excursions include polar bear spotting, private helicopter rides, and tethered hot air balloon flights — all at 90 degrees north. Until commercial space vacations become mainstream, this is the most “off the beaten path” destination currently available.