Our definitive list for anyone who’s ever said or heard: “This is the Hamptons of…”
As any urbanite can tell you, the secret to living in a bustling city is regularly getting out. And just as America has its Nantuckets, Malibus, and Hamptons for exactly that purpose, countries around the world are sprinkled with equally swank escapes—spots where wealthy townspeople own or rent homes to get away from the commotion of city life. These areas represent the loveliest (and, in many cases, the most under-the-radar) beach, country, and mountain retreats on the planet—and, of course, they’re more than happy to welcome you for your own getaway.
Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Cindy Crawford, Goldie Hawn, and Halle Berry all reportedly have homes in this chichi region a few hours outside Toronto. It’s sprinkled with pristine lakes, towering forests, granite cliffs, and crisp, pine-scented air—and all the glorious recreation that comes with such unspoiled land. Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery, a sprawling 67-year-old farm and vineyard, contains hiking and snowshoe trails and holds tastings; and Bigwin Island, a private resort destination in the Lake of Bays, offers public golfing (a few months out of the year, anyway) on an 18-hole course designed by famed golf architect Doug Carrick. For some true Canadian hospitality, stay in one of Sherwood Inn’s cozy cottage suites, and pencil in some time to partake of the Vintages Dining Room and full-service spa.
When limeños (people from Lima) need a break from the frenetic city of 8.5 million, they drive three hours south through the California Desert to this seaside town. Rich with indigenous history, jaw-dropping natural landscapes, and that emerald-seas-and-white-buildings aesthetic typically ascribed to Greece (not to mention beachy weather year-round), it’s a perfect yin to Lima’s yang. Book a stay at Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection Resort, for sandy coast lines and fresh ceviche; charter a sailboat to the Ballestas Islands (blanketed in penguins, pelicans, and sea lions); learn about the area’s rich history at the newly remodeled Museo Julio C. Tello; and feel dazzled and small in the Paracas National Reserve’s dizzying sandy desert.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
This resort region curves southward from Melbourne to Port Phillip Bay—a patchwork of pasture, beaches, bushland, vineyards, and national parks. And while it’s always been luxurious (spendy B&Bs abound), hip new restaurants and hotels have begun cropping up like wildflowers. Pt. Leo Estate, a scenic vineyard, stunning sculpture garden, and snazzy restaurant all in one, opened in late October, and this spring saw the debut of Jackalope, a modish boutique hotel marked by an ebony infinity pool, an inventive fine dining restaurant, and a 20-foot-tall sculpture of the mythical creature standing sentry at the front door. Established in 1889, the Flinders Hotel is a local icon that fits seamlessly into the region’s new look, thanks to a recent renovation cueing contemporary, light-filled interior design and an adjacent locavore café that offers cooking classes.
Valle de Bravo, Mexico
When moneyed residents of landlocked, densely packed Mexico City need some air, they head west to this lush vacation spot, built around Lake Avándaro and surrounded by wooded mountains. Colonial mansions and municipal buildings line its cobblestone streets, with the San Francisco de Asis Church, built in the 17th century, anchoring the town’s plaza. Water sports and sunny meals on the lakefront are popular to-dos, and visitors flock to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, where millions of the migratory tiger-striped butterflies alight each year. Las Luciernagas, a light-soaked B&B, has just five rooms, not to mention a colorful garden, a cozy fireplace, a hot tub, and an eye-popping view of the valley below.
This quaint, colorful town on the Çeşme peninsula serves as the nation’s Hamptons: Wealthy Turks, mainly from Istanbul and Izmir, descend upon it for the weekend or the entire summer, drawn to its sparkling, sandbar-bottomed beach, its luxe boutique hotels, and its century-old vineyards. With cobbled streets and whitewashed homes (accented with poppy wooden shutters), it’s an exclusive area largely devoid of foreign tourists. Book a tastefully minimalist room at Taş Otel, a 130-year-old Greek mansion that features a backyard pool and the kind of to-die-for breakfast Turkey is known for: made-from-scratch jams, olives from the hotel’s garden, and eggs carted in from a nearby village.
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