When you hear the word luxury, what do you think of? Infinity pools, private butlers, those episodes of MTV Cribs where celebrities would have a whole fridge of Cristal?
The mega wealthy aside, the idea of a luxury holiday is relative and all within the feel and exclusivity you place on something. A boutique hotel can be luxurious, a 7-course meal can be luxurious, and a well-made cocktail can make you feel like you’re in a Bond film. But none of the aforementioned has to cost the same as a down payment on a house; there is such a thing as ‘luxury on a budget’.
We’ve found the seven best destinations for unique, classy and exclusive food, drinks, hotels and culture so you can create your own bespoke luxury holiday – so you can tailor it exclusively for you, on your budget.
Basking in the ambience of Berlin
Berlin is known for many things; it’s underground culture, it’s rugged and often brutalist architecture and its varied and complex culture. It’s the perfect place for luxury on a dime, because if it was good enough for David Bowie and Iggy Pop, then it’s good enough for you. Explore the Charlottenburg Palace grounds, an impressive 17th-century palace that holds some of Berlin’s most exquisite gardens, art and collections of antiquities. Save money by getting a Berlin Welcome Card which offers discounts, or free entry, into a number of museums and also allows you to free travel throughout the city!
KAYAK Luxury Food Tip: Hidden in a traditional Berlin courtyard is Italian gem Lavanderia Vecchia which serves a set menu of 9 courses for only €60 per person. P.S. 1/2 a litre of wine or two beers is included in that price. Seriously.
KAYAK Luxury Accommodation Tip: The H10 Berlin Ku’damm is located in the beautiful area of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and has unique styled rooms in keeping with the boutique vibe of the hotel.
KAYAK Luxury Activity Tip: In typical Berlin fashion, a spa is a must-see but especially the Liquidrom which holds regular DJs mixing techno beats while you float in the gorgeous pool at the top of the building.
KAYAK Luxury Food Tip: Near Edinburgh Castle is TIMBERYARD, rave-reviewed for its locally sourced cuisine and rustic setting, it’s a steal at only £50 for a luxurious four-course dinner.
KAYAK Luxury Accommodation Tip:The Inn Place is reasonably priced but is at the centre of historic Edinburgh, built in 1850 it’s moments from the famously haunted Greyfriars Cemetery – which we covered in our article Britain: Off the Beaten Track.
KAYAK Luxury Activity Tip:Pickering’s Gin Distillery has been making this particular elixir in Edinburgh for over 150 years. Glimpse behind the scenes and get a bit tooty at the same time on one of their tours.
Feeling Grand in Gran Canaria
With 60 kilometres of beach on this island, it’s obvious why people flock to Gran Canaria in droves when it’s warm. But this vibrant and historic island is much more than just beaches and cheap cocktails. Travel to Vegueta, a neighbourhood that has been around since the 15th century and has some of the rarest buildings you’ll find in Spain. Venture off the beaten track to the Tamadaba Natural Park, 7,500 hectares of highlands and cliffs that travel down the coast – a true gem and something tourists don’t venture to enough.
KAYAK Luxury Food Tip: On the south side of the island in San Agustin, is where you’ll find the Italian gem Il Vespino Vecchio, a perfect mixture of fine dining and hearty Italian meals.
KAYAK Luxury Accommodation Tip: The Bed & Chic Las Palmas may only be 3-stars, but it’s received a 9.1/10 from 897 reviews making it one of the cheapest and most well-rated hotels on the island. Live the high life on the rooftop terrace or unwind by the pool.
KAYAK Luxury Activity Tip: Discover the gorgeous Palmitos Park botanical garden and zoo. Nestled inland by Los Palmitos, it will require a car to get there, but for £6 a day car rental anyone can afford it.
Perfectly Perfect in Prague
There’s something inherently magical and romantic about Prague. Perhaps its reputation as a cultural and literary time-stop is what makes it such an amazing place to visit. Hey, if this place helped produce Mozart, Mucha and Kafka then it’s gotta be good for your creative soul. Walk up the Castle Steps to get an impressive view of the entire city, and perhaps even encounter a few street musicians. Act like a Prague local and wander down the Náplavka riverbank at dusk to grab a bite and a drink.
KAYAK Luxury Food Tip: Try Sansho, an Asian ‘casual fine dining’ restaurant that adheres to the ‘whole animal’ policy. Meaning their menu uses every part of an animal rather than only a portion.
KAYAK Luxury Accommodation Tip:The Hilton Prague is near the city centre, classically designed – so everything you’d expect from a Hilton. However, the Hilton Prague doesn’t come at an eye watering price so take advantage of this rare opportunity of luxury for less.
KAYAK Luxury Activity Tip: Every trip needs an infusion of culture, and the Meet Factory in Prague is the perfect place to get acquainted with Czech art.
Whiling away time in Warsaw
Featured in our previous article as one of the Top 5 Cheapest Summer Holidays in Europe, it’s no surprise that one can live large on little in Warsaw. The hustle and bustle of Poland’s capital city is juxtaposed against the rich historical architecture that tells the story of Warsaw’s fascinating and, sometimes tragic, past. Visit the Rynek Starego Miasta, Warsaw’s gorgeous Old Town Market Place that was painstakingly rebuilt to its original glory using the existing rubble of its previous incarnation.
KAYAK Luxury Food Tip: Sample some traditional Polish cuisine in an actual castle. The Warsaw Barbican is one of the few remaining relics from the city’s storied past, inside the Barkabakan Restauracja you’ll find succulent polish family recipes with the most expensive dish topping out at £16.
KAYAK Luxury Accommodation Tip: Located in the middle of Warsaw, opposite the Palace of Culture and Science is the Polonia Palace Hotel. A mixture of Polish tradition with elegance this four-star gem will only set you back £60 on average.
KAYAK Luxury Activity Tip:The Neon Muzeum isn’t something every tourist does, but it’s a sight to behold. After the death of Stalin, Poland embraced its new cultural freedom and neon was big everywhere. See some of the most unique graphic art in the largest collection in Europe.
Ahhh, sun, sea and tourists? Okay, Mallorca may not seem the luxury destination you envisioned, but there’s more to this town that stag dos and hen parties. Mallorca is a gorgeous part of Spain with show-stopping beaches, great views and remote mountains hiding lesser-known gems and tourist-less spaces for the discerning traveller. Visit Banyalbufar for a taste of authentic Mallorca, this sleepy town has spectacular views and is also the heart of the artificial pearl industry so make sure you pick up some hand-crafted jewellery.
KAYAK Luxury Food Tip: Serving unpretentious but fancy seafood fare right by the Port de Soller, Kingfisher Restaurant is the perfect luxurious treat that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
KAYAK Luxury Accommodation Tip: Located near Palma city centre in Playa de Palma, is the HM Balanguera Beach, aptly named it’s a stone’s throw from the beach. Or if you’re not a fan of sand, then the two outdoor pools located near the luxury bar is a cure for whatever aisles.
KAYAK Luxury Activity Tip: Nothing says luxury like a rooftop bar, Sky Area is decadently decked out with cream sofas, suited-out waiters and champagne galore.
Ballin’ in Bucharest
Romania’s shining star and the capital city still doesn’t receive the same amount of tourists as its European neighbours like Budapest and Prague. But that doesn’t mean that Bucharest shouldn’t be on your ‘to-do’ list. This city eloquently mixes the modernity and the tradition of the country with its pristine parks, excellent museums and grand architecture that is available to see on every street corner. Take the Stavropoleos Church, an 18th-century Greek church that looks as vibrant and intricate as the day it was built – a prime example of Bucharest’s surprising and romantic nature.
KAYAK Luxury Food Tip: One of the oldest and most photographed restaurants in town is the Caru’ cu Bere. Established in 1879 it’s a treat for the eyes and ears, as well as a culinary delight.
KAYAK Luxury Accommodation Tip: Almost a tourist attraction in itself due to its fantastical appearance, the Grand Hotel Continental is a five-star steal at around £70 a night.
KAYAK Luxury Activity Tip: Living up to Bucharest’s previous name as ‘Little Paris’, the tiny passages of Pasajul Vilacrosse- Macca look like they were transported from the French capital. Have a coffee or beer at one of the cafes and sit back and relax.
Note: These rates are based on search queries made on KAYAK.co.uk on August 1st, 2017. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.