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Jody Thompson
December 2016.
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What are the most luxurious holidays I can book right now?
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One of the most lavish destinations in the world is Velaa Private Island. It’s in the Maldives (pictured above), and it's truly breathtaking. It was created by billionaire Jiri Smejc and his wife Radka to be the most exclusive and opulent place on earth, whilst also giving guests a Robinson Crusoe-esque feeling when they stay there. Naturally, it has a price tag to match. Some of the rooms are £20,000 a night.

  • Not your average cocktail bar: Avi Pool Bar at Velaa Private Island

If you can afford it, you get a butler, exquisite food, every sporting facility and spa service you could dream of and some of the best scuba diving in the world. There’s even a resident marine biologist to answer any questions you might have.

If you’re a diving fan, another of the world’s most swanky destinations is also in the Maldives. The Four Seasons Explorer is a floating resort – a 39-metre, three-deck catamaran for a maximum of 22 guests. You can dive with the dolphins and manta rays, then have a massage on deck when you get back on board while a private chef whips up dinner.

It’s the ultimate marine odyssey – but then you feel like a movie star when you’re in the Maldives wherever you stay. It’s all just totally idyllic. Paradise. [Prices start at $1,300/£1,055 per person per night]

  • The Four Seasons Explorer, tastefully hiding itself behind palm trees to preserve your fantasy of being a castaway. Hey, that’s what you’re paying for…

If you fancy something more regal, The Royal Mansour, Marrakech is built and owned by the King of Morocco – and guests are treated like royalty. Even though I went there on an EasyJet flight, there was a representative at the bottom of the steps of the plane to meet me. They then whisk you through security and drive you straight there. It’s just stunning, an amazing building with beautiful Moroccan architecture.

  • “Stunning, amazing”: The Royal Mansour, Marrakech

All ‘rooms’ are individual palatial riads (a traditional Moroccan house centred around a courtyard) situated in the hotel grounds, and many have rooftop pools. Service is impeccable and the whole experience of staying there is sheer opulence. [Short breaks start from €2,070/£1,740 for two nights for two].

If you want to holiday like an A-list celebrity or Premier League footballer, the One&Only The Palm in Dubai will give you the kind of luxury you’re after.

  • Pool’s gold: The One&Only The Palm in Dubai

The Palm is situated on the beachfront and because it’s a low-rise building, it feels more intimate than many of the fancy hotels in the Emirates. A lot of Dubai is glitzy, glam and over–the-top – but this hotel is more tasteful than most. Plus, it’s got a world-class spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Dubai is not to everyone’s taste, but you can get really cheap flights there right now (some are only £300), so it’s a more accessible place for a ritzy holiday.

  • You know what the outside looks like, but this is the inside… the Skyview Bar at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s insanely opulent 7-star hotel

However if you really want to push the boat out, it’s got to be the Burj Al Arab. It’s Dubai’s 7 star hotel and describes itself as the most luxurious hotel in the world. Its Royal Suite is certainly one of the most expensive at around £20,000 a night, but then if you want gold plated iPads, a cinema room and a revolving bed, you’ve got to cough up. Even ‘normal’ rooms are extravagant duplex suites with gold leaf décor, plus a butler and chaffeur-driven Rolls Royce thrown in as part of the service.

  • Eden Rock St Barts: make sure you don’t sit on Rihanna’s towel

And finally, I’d recommend Eden Rock St Barts, the favourite destination of the likes of Rihanna, Bono and Pippa Middleton. It’s been voted Best Hotel in the World in this year’s Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards too. The place is perfection, from being chauffeured there from the airport to the impeccable service at the hotel. It’s right on a beach with turquoise waters and white sand and many suites have their own pools too should you tire of the Caribbean sea…

Find out more about high-end travel at The Luxury Spa Edit.