The Best Wilderness Retreats In Utah

Continuing our series of the best beaches & luxury hotels in the world, I am now looking at the best wilderness retreats and resorts in Utah. Imagine being one with nature, stargazing into the limitless expanse of the night sky, far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city life. Imagine exploring nature’s architecture, scintillating waterfalls and vertigo-inducing cliffs, and watching wildlife roam freely, as it always had. And now imagine that you can do all that without giving up the small luxuries that you are used to. In this article we pick the most spectacular ways to experience Utah’s great outdoors.

1. Wild West Wilderness in Utah

Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa in Utah, an authentic, 100% Old West hideaway with all the trimmings of a stylish, boutique resort. This red rock resort doesn’t just look like a scene from the movies, it is a scene from the movies with multiple Hollywood blockbusters being filmed in the area since 1949, resulting in silver screen epics like: Rio Grande, The Comancheros and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Hidden in the heart of the gorgeous, red rock wilderness and nestled against the banks of the Colorado River, this upscale 240 acre retreat lies just 17 miles from Moab, Utah and slap bang in the middle of the adventure capital of the West. The accommodation at the resort is not what you’d expect from being in Canyon Country, rather than a standard room, you stay in charming log cabins which offer a mixture of rustic style and luxury with opulent pine beds complete with handcrafted four-posts, cattle horn wall hangings; artsy barbed wire chandeliers and more oak than you would see in a forest along with all the modern amenities you would expect in this level of resort.

The Ranch offers river rafting right on your doorstep as well as morning yoga, hiking and biking trails, limitless photographic opportunities and it’s also close to many Moab attractions like Canyonlands, Arches National Park and many other state parks and off-road terrains. Depending on the season of your visit you can also enjoy ATV rides, horseback riding with authentic, friendly wranglers (the resort even has ponies for younger children), rock art tours, hot air ballooning, scenic road cycling and golf at the scenic Moab Golf Course.

With its excellent one-of-a-kind cabins, spectacular views, therapeutic spa, gourmet dining and riverside pool, this resort really is the point at which luxury meets adventure. Join the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who chose Sorrel River Ranch as a base to explore this beautiful red rock country.

Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa also features in my top 5 best wilderness lodges in North America.

2. Glamping In Utah

Imagine waking up to the sounds and smells of nature in one of the most spectacular places on earth while having all the luxuries you could wish for at your fingertips (including bathrooms!). Moab Under Canvas® gives you an opportunity to experience all the natural beauty of America’s most popular camping destinations in settings so lavish, you will be wondering what took you so long to try this nomad-inspired lifestyle.

This accommodation is within a short distance from the entrance of not one, but two parks. It offers secluded luxury suites with en-suite bathrooms, separate living rooms, bedrooms and a proper king-size bed. Deluxe tents have raised wooden floors and an en-suite bathrooms with towels and spa toiletries. Once you’ve experienced the National Parks in all their glory, you can return to our Luxury Tent Camp and unwind while enjoying amazing views, luxury bathrooms and gourmet meals in the on-site restaurant.

Arches National Park is home to the famous Balanced Rock, La Sal Mountains and the Delicate Arch Overlook. Spend an afternoon admiring these natural rock formations, lit up by the warm setting sun. Otherwise, why not explore the Canyonlands National Park from a bird’s eye view, cruising over the breath-taking Colorado River, as it weaves its way through the largest of the five National Parks in Utah. Dubbed ‘the Mecca of mountain biking’, Utah’s red rock terrain holds a lot of appeal for every traveller.

3. The Ultimate Luxury Resort In Utah

Experience the earth’s beauty at its most basic form in this red-rock, rugged desert-scape. Beyond the few pine-clad mountains, there’s little vegetation in this vast arid region. The unique rock formations have been sculpted by time, water and wind. Visit thered-rock spans in Arches National Park, the sheer-walled river gorges in the Canyonlands and the stunning buttes and mesas of Monument Valley.

Amangiri resort (pictured above) is your second reason to visit this stunning region. Tucked into a protected valley with sweeping views towards the Grand Staircase, The resort is built around a central swimming pool with spectacular views. Blending with its dramatic surrounds of deep canyons and towering plateaus, this wilderness escape could not be more rugged. Amangiri’s Aman Spa features a floatation therapy pavilion, water pavilion with sauna, steam room, cold plunge and step pool, fitness centre and yoga pavilion. Amangiri’s trail system allow guests to explore the region’s striking desert scenery on foot. Aman resorts are one of my favourite luxury hotel brands and you can read about my recent trip to Aman Grand Canal in Venice.

Amangiri in the Utah desert also features in my top luxury wilderness lodges in the world.

You can also read my other top five best articles to discover the best luxury hotels around the world including my pick of the best destinations in Europe for 2017 and the best swimming pools in Europe.

The Best 3 Luxury Boutique Hotels In Brussels

Brussels is one of the most underrated cities in Europe. It is the centre of the EU and offers incredible gourmet dining. It is also worth visiting for its historic and stunning Grand Place or Grote Markt, which is the beautiful square in the centre of Brussels.

The Grand Place is hidden up a maze of lively cobbled and pedestrianised streets packed with local restaurants largely serving seafood, paella and moule frites. Once you find the square, you will be impressed by the ornate, spired 15th-century city hall, as well as a number of antique guildhalls (mostly 1697–1705) with fine baroque gables, gilded statues and elaborate guild symbols.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings there’s a flower market in the square and at other times of the year it hosts Christmas fairs and jazz weekends as well as the famous ‘flower carpet’ once a year. Around the corner from the Grand Place is the Manneken Pis (a famous but small statue of a boy peeing) and it is worth taking a trip to the edge of the city to the site of the Battle Of Waterloo.

My favourite thing to do in Brussels is to drink their excellent beers and to seek out one of their fabulous restaurants such as Comme Chez Soi, with 2 Michelin stars and an unusually charismatic city bistro atmosphere.

Where should you stay in Brussels? Here is our pick of the best 3 luxury boutique hotels. Our first choice, The Dominican, is particularly good and just steps from the Grand Place.

The Best 3 Luxury Boutique Hotels In Brussels

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Nestled just a few steps from the historic Grand Place in Brussels and less than 10 minutes walk from Brussels Central station The Dominican luxury boutique hotel is ideally located…

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The Hotel. is located on the fashionable Boulevard de Waterloo in central Brussels, where most world renowned luxury lifestyle brands are located. The Grand Place and Brussels tourist center are within…

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A great way to arrive into Brussels is by the Eurostar. Simply hop on at London’s Kings Cross and within hours you are in the heart of Brussels. From the…

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10 Best Crowd Free Beach Resorts In The World

My favourite resorts are on a beach and set far away from the crowds, such as Sal Salis, which is the resort to choose if you want red kangaroos grazing around your safari tent and to pop on your snorkel gear before breakfast and paddle into a world of reef sharks, turtles clownfish, manta rays and dolphins.

I also love Le Sereno on the little island of St Barts which is known to attract the rockstar glitterati. It is easily the most exclusive of the Caribbean Islands and comes with a distinctly French flavour. This intimate beachfront hotel overlooks Grand Cul de Sac, the bite-shaped cove on the eastern coast. The beaches on St Barts are peaceful, pristine and white-sand. There are no crowds here as the prices are so high. Unspoiled, exclusive beaching is what this island is all about.

Amanyara resort on Turks and Caicos Islands is also a great choice located along the pristine reefs of Northwest Point Marine National Park, acclaimed for some of the world’s best wall and reef diving. This ultra exclusive escape offers chic teak terraces, shaded loungers, centred on a huge infinity pool designed using volcanic rock all next to a gorgeous beach.

For something more affordable try Fermain bay hotel on Guernsey. I am always a champion of the Channel Islands as they offer an array of glorious beaches, a beautiful hotel set above a hidden cove with crystal clear waters.

Below I list the 10 best luxury, crowd free beach resorts in the world.

10 Best Crowd Free Beach Resorts In The World

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Following my popular review about the upcoming and uber luxury Amanera in the Dominican Republic which will be opening on Monday November 23rd 2015, I am now able to share…

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In the quaint coastal village of Placencia, Belize, Itz’ana Resort, the sister property to Ka’ana Belize, is set to open in 2016. It has a prime location on the destination’s…

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Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan’s Rock is located on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, on the edge of a 4,000 acre expanse of Nicaraguan jungle and on the shores of the…

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Near the top of Western Australia sits the Ningaloo Reef. This reef is incredible, largely because you step directly off the beach and straight onto the reef. We think the…

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The little island of St Barts is known to attract the rockstar glitterati. It is easily the most exclusive of the Caribbean Islands and comes with a distinctly French flavour.

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I can’t imagine anywhere more remote than Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia. Covered in old-growth vegetation, webbed with farmland but little else in the way of human development, and…

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It is no secret that Aman Resorts is one of my favourite luxury hotel brands and Amanyara is certainly one of the best luxury hotels in the world. You can…

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The most northerly reef island of the Great Barrier Reef, and a national park, Lizard Island combines a reef experience with an intimate getaway and there’s only one hotel on…

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Overlooking Hulopoe Bay, this relaxing retreat offers the emptiest hotel beach on the Hawaiian islands. The hotel design is all about views. The main lounge, bar, fitness area, eateries and…

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Guernsey has a very special place in my heart. The clifftop walks, the perfect cobbled harbour-side town of St Peter Port and the empty sandy beaches and smugglers coves keep…

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You may be interested in our best wilderness lodges in the world and best wilderness lodges in America.

The Most Incredible Beach Houses In The World

Let me knock your socks off with an insider look into some of the most incredible beach houses in the world. As you would expect, all of these villas are awe inspiring places. Enjoy lazy days and evenings on the terrace while the sun dips behind the ocean. Rent one of these beautiful villas and you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve landed in paradise!

In our number one spot is the simply glorious Raiwasa Grand Villa (pictured above) with an infinity pool to die for and beautiful, luxury accommodation. Located on Taveuni; the “garden island” of Fiji, it’s perched high above the South Pacific, with awesome 180-degree views overlooking the Somosomo Straight. Surrounding the villa is a lush tropical carpet of green rainforest, swaying palm trees and fabulously colourful tropical flowers. Expect spectacular sunsets and with the total lack of light pollution at night, this villa falls asleep under a blanket of stars.

Number two in our incredible beach house selection is the Pavana Villa, Koh Samui. Located in an enviable beachfront location on Laem Sor bay, in Koh Samui, Thailand, this villa is tucked away from busy tourist areas, fringed with coconut plantations and bordered by powdery white sands and sparkling turquoise waters.

Our third choice is Villa La Tosca in France, which is nestled in the tranquil bay of Arcachon, on the edge of the shore and backing onto lush pine forests. Nearby you will find Cap Ferret, a chic, laid-back seaside town which is popular with French VIPs and celebrities, and great fun to explore on bikes. The Villa itself is a mix of sumptuous and restored features, beautiful interiors, stunning garden and gorgeous eco-pool. At the end of the garden you step through the gate and have direct access to a beautiful beach.

The Most Incredible Beach Houses In The World

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When I think about my dream holiday destination (something I admit I do quite a lot!) it always tends to include stunning ocean views in a tropical paradise, an infinity…

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Sometimes you want the best of both worlds. You crave the peace and quiet of a private villa, but don’t want to forgo the service you’d get at a five…

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Nestled in the tranquil bay of Arcachon, on the edge of the shore and backing onto lush pine forests, you will find the luxury Villa La Tosca.

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Whichever you prefer, you cannot deny that these incredible villas are some of the best in the world.

10 Stunning Resorts In The Middle Of Nowhere

These stunning luxury hotels from across the world are literally in the middle of nowhere. From Australia, across the great continent of America and including some gems in Europe and Asia, these remote resorts are guaranteed to take you away from the masses.

Experience the earth’s beauty at its most basic form in desert landscapes, on clifftop retreats, steps away from reefs, and amongst pine-clad mountains. Amangiri is our best pick in the US right in the middle of the Utah Desert. Sal Salis in Western Australia has such an incredible reef just steps from the shoreline that you won’t believe it is real. The Four Seasons tented camp in Thailand is our jungle pick and for beaches and if you are searching for an unspoiled island, you simply can’t beat Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

Wherever you choose to get away from it all.. add these luxury resorts to your bucket list.

Stunning Resorts In The Middle Of Nowhere

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Experience the earth’s beauty at its most basic form in this red-rock, rugged desert-scape. Beyond the few pine-clad mountains, there’s little vegetation in this vast arid region. The unique rock…

Read More

In “Accommodation”

Near the top of Western Australia sits the Ningaloo Reef. This reef is incredible, largely because you step directly off the beach and straight onto the reef. We think the…

Read More

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Bring out the adventurer in you by heading to the Golden Triangle in Thailand. The Golden Triangle is a name that was introduced by the CIA in the 1920s, when…

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I can’t imagine anywhere more remote than Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia. Covered in old-growth vegetation, webbed with farmland but little else in the way of human development, and…

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Ride a camel and sip champagne while watching The Rock’s sunset glow, Uluru is all about adventure and outback escapism. Longitude 131° offers luxury tented pavilions floating over rust-red dunes.…

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Trout Point Lodge is a wilderness retreat in Nova Scotia at the heart of the UNESCO SW Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve and a picturesque 45 minute drive from Yarmouth Harbour,…

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El Questro Homestead in the Kimberley, Northwest Australia, is a frontier, a place where cattle ranches are the size of European countries. It has ochre-red expanses of desert and forested,…

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In “Accommodation”

The most northerly reef island of the Great Barrier Reef, and a national park, Lizard Island combines a reef experience with an intimate getaway and there’s only one hotel on…

Read More

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I enjoy a Western movie although I probably couldn’t pick John Wayne out of a line-up, but I am far more a fan of is immersing myself in the great…

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If you are looking for a completely unique wilderness retreat, hotels do not come more remote, and at some times of the year, desolate, than Manhaussen Island Resort.

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You may be interested in our best wilderness lodges in the world and best wilderness lodges in America.

Review: British Airways Gatwick South First Class Lounge

Being brutally honest, in looks and seating alone, the First class lounge at Gatwick South is no better than the Business Club Lounge at Gatwick South which I have already reviewed with pictures. In fact the seating on offer is pretty much identical, although the room itself is a more intimate space.

What the First Class lounge does offer over the Business lounge, is a quieter atmosphere and arguably a better view of the planes. You see, the Business lounge is partially overlooking an airport road and the top of part of the terminal, the First lounge is at the better end of the building and has uninterrupted views of the planes.

Of course, the food is also better in the First than in the Business lounge. On the side there were delicious cakes (not unlike those in the Business lounge, but they were put out earlier in the First lounge). There was a choice of 3 delicious cakes in the First lounge; Victoria Sponge, Chocolate and Humming Bird.

Food Menu In The BA First Lounge At Gatwick South

In the buffet area (which was smaller but of higher quality than that in the Business lounge), there were tasty looking dishes in silver vats:
Honey Roasted Bacon Loin with Parsley cream sauce.
Moroccan Spicy Beef.
Kedgeree Fishcake with Mango Chutney.
Spinach & Mushroom Gnocchi.
Desserts and fresh fruit.
There were also some salmon and egg sandwiches, cold ham, chicken and cold salad.

You could also have the following a la carte hot food bought to your table:
BA Burger with Aberdeen Angus beef.
Hoisin Duch & Oriental vegetable wrap.
Roasted New Season Cauliflower.
Macaroni Cheese.
Chicken Jalfrezi.

Plus Chocolate or Vanilla Ice cream.

Other Bits:

There was also a business area within the First lounge with a photocopier. I assume there were showers much like those in the Business lounge too.

Which Is Best – The First Or Business BA Lounge At Gatwick South?

The First lounge has a better view and food – although there was plenty of nice food on offer in the Business lounge. The First does have the edge, but the difference is marginal.

British Airways features in my top Business Class Airlines and I compare British Airways Club World Vs Virgin Atlantic Upper Class including the Galleries Lounges Vs Virgin’s Clubhouses. If you enjoyed this review you may be interested in my other airline reviews and airport lounge reviews.

British Airways

Best Beaches In The World: Funauki Beach, Iriomote Island

Almost completely covered in jungle and mangrove swamps, Iriomote is a wild island. Its few villages are sparse and predominately focused near the ferry terminal that shuttles visitors from nearby Ishigaki Island. Take a guided walk along one of the jungle trails and you’re likely to encounter some of the many untouched and unnamed sandy coves that indent the island’s coastline.

To see why this island has been designated a national park, take a guided kayak tour to Funauki Beach. This remote stretch of honey-coloured sand can only be reached from the sea. A tranquil environment, it has become a refuge for wildlife, from the rare yamaneko (wild cat) to flourishing coral reefs and populations of manta rays.

Funauki’s powder-fine sand is ideal to laze on, shaded by the boughs of the mango trees that stretch down to the sea. From here, the jungle-clad coast rises steeply, keeping the beach hidden from nearby Funauki village, a settlement of about 50 people. Take a picnic and you can enjoy an afternoon snorkeling the reefs before kayaking back to civilisation.

You may also be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States.

Top 5 Must Do Tours In Switzerland

Switzerland has a lot to offer; spectacular mountainous scenery, lakes, ski resorts, quaint villages and historic cities; and of course, chocolate! For a helping-hand exploring this fabulous country, sightsee the luxury way with an exclusive tour; Unicorn Zurich offer a range of tours all making great use of their range of luxury vehicles. They are also available for stretch limousine hire, luxury sports car rental and VIP airport pickups. Read on for our top 5 must do tours in Switzerland…

1. Exclusive Zurich Sightseeing Tour

Let your private driver and tour guide show you the best of this wonderful city. Zurich, located at the top of Lake Zurich, is a top international city, well known for being a global centre for banking and finance. It’s also a wonderful city to explore with picturesque lakes and waterfront promenades. The tour takes in top sights such as the churches Grossmünster and Fraumünster, the pre-medieval old town with its narrow alleys and small boutiques, and also the famous shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse, with its luxury stores and designer brands.

2. Exclusive Lake Geneva Sightseeing Tour

Montreux Riviera stretches along Lake Geneva from Lutry to Villeneuve. Blessed by a Mediterranean climate, this region features historic castles, vibrant towns, lovely countryside and charming hotels. Take a stroll through some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland: the UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyard terraces are criss-crossed with marked trails offering stunning views over Lake Geneva and the Alps. Take the little trains up the steep sections and meander back down. Chillon Castle has stood proudly on its rocky island since the 12th century, appearing to float on the surface of Lake Geneva, it is home to regular exhibitions and cultural events and is the most visited historical monument in Switzerland.

3. Exclusive Day Tour to Titlis, Engelberg

No matter what time of year you visit, you can be sure to catch a glimpse of snow on this tour! The exclusive tour includes a private car and driver as well as a cable car ride. Titlis is a white winter paradise all year round, the tour takes you right to the top of the mountain via cable car to 3028 meter above sea level. Here the views of the Swiss Alps are simply breath-taking. Walk over the Titlis Cliff Walk (the world’s highest suspension bridge), explore the Titlis Glacier Cave, glide over the glaciers with the Ice Flyer and have fun at the glacier park.

4. Exclusive Berne Sightseeing Tour

This sightseeing tour gives you a private driver-guide to help you navigate around Switzerland’s beautiful capital city. Few cities have so successfully retained their historic old towns and Bern’s is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a wonderful place to relax, slow down and enjoy life. The old town’s main attraction is 6km of arcades, one of the longest sheltered shopping promenades in Europe and packed with quaint boutiques and cosy cafes. “It is the most beautiful that we have ever seen,” wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in a letter to his friend Charlotte von Stein during his stay in Bern in 1779. Bern still enchants visitors today with its charm and diverse attractions and events.

5. Experience the Rhine Falls close up

To appreciate the majestic wonder of the Rhine Falls, take this close-up, exclusive tour. The falls are Europe’s largest waterfalls and are situated just outside Zurich. At 150 metres wide and 23 metres high, this unique natural spectacle impresses every visitor; just don’t forget your camera!

Best Wilderness Lodges In The World: El Questro Homestead, Australia

Name: El Questro Homestead

El Questro Homestead in the Kimberley, Northwest Australia, is a frontier, a place where cattle ranches are the size of European countries. It has ochre-red expanses of desert and forested, flooded gorges that are swimming with freshwater crocodiles. Then there are craters, mountain ranges, waterfalls and a coastline so splintered it can only be accessed by boat. Swathes of the Kimberley are Aboriginal tribal lands, looked after by remote communities and dotted with cave paintings.

El Questro Homestead is dramatically situated overlooking the Chamberlain River, perched upon the majestic orange cliffs of the Cockburn Range. This is a sophisticated wilderness retreat, with stylish, contemporary suites offering private verandas, some of which overlook the Chamberlain River. The gardens contain a spa, swimming pool and tennis courts. But staying here is really about immersing yourself in the Kimberley’s landscapes: you can join the homestead’s rangers on trips to far-flung swimming holes, or on hikes and bushwalks among the area’s ridges and river systems.

This wilderness retreat, located in one of Australia’s most wild and beautiful regions, is perfectly located for exploring this remote region. Arrange a helicopter trip to the Miri Miri waterfall, a secluded swimming hole only reachable by air. Fly over the wonderfully named Bungle Bungle mountain range, or travel over to the Argyle Diamond Mine which is the biggest supplier of Diamonds in the world.

You may be interested in our best wilderness lodges in the world and best wilderness lodges in America.

Best Beaches In The World: Kondoi Beach, Taketomi Island

Only 75 miles off the coast of Taiwan, is the island of Ishigaki and few visitors to Japan make it this far out, despite a direct flight from Tokyo. The water around the island is so clear that, flying over it, you can see a ring of coral circling the coast.

A ten minute ferry ride from Ishigaki brings you to the tiny islet of Taketomi. There are no fast-food restaurants or T-shirt sellers here. The residents, in a strong vote of civic pride, have banded together to preserve the culture of their island. You’ll find a cluster of houses with red-kawara (tile) roofs surrounded by hand-packed stone walls and tropical flowers and intersected by narrow sandy roads.

Kondoi Beach is a bleached-white stretch of sand leading into warm, calm water. Aside from a small changing room and a few blue and white parasols, it’s undisturbed. The sea here is shallow enough to swim safely right out to the sandbanks, where the ocean turns a rich emerald green. Travel further around the coast and you might find some hoshizuna (star sand), made from millions of tiny star-shaped fossils.

A lack of motorised transport adds to the laid-back feel on Kondoi Beach. You can hire bicycles or join the local people in a traditional taxi – a cart pulled by water buffalo – to explore the island. It makes an ideal day trip, but choose to stay on the island and you’ll have the beaches to yourself. With evening, the island pace slows to a standstill and the lights switch off one by one, leaving the island in an inky darkness. Venture to the beach and you’ll find it lit by starlight – the streak of the Milky Way is a common sight.

You may also be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States.