Rapt in luxury: a selection of extravagant holiday vacation spots

If you dream of a holiday steeped in extravagance — a visit to a tropical beach, a dash down a private ski slope or an evening in a whiskey room stocked with rare single malts — a number of notable new hotels may fulfill your dreams. Creature comforts and stellar service await.

L'Apogée Courchevel



It has been one year since the ultra-chic L'Apogée Courchevel opened at the top of the 1992 Olympic ski jump in the town of Courchevel in the French Alps. It's the first ski resort from luxury hotel group Oetker Collection (which includes the Bristol in Paris and Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France), and its understated elegance is a standout in a village that already features 18 five-star hotels. Rooms have a rustic aesthetic, with furs on the beds, leather travel trunks and wool plaid carpets. A private ski-in, ski-out service delivers guests to and from the slopes. The hotel's restaurant, Le Comptoir, offers a view of pristine slopes while serving artisanal cheeses and hearty fare ideal for après-ski.

Extravagant touches include use of the hotel's custom-made skis, warmed ski boots each morning, chalets staffed with private chefs — and world-class skiing.

Rooms start at about $1,130 a night;



If white sandy beaches and clear turquoise lagoons are your idea of heaven, you might want to consider Maalifushi by Como. Located on pristine Thaa Atoll, the resort is accessible only by speedboat. Guests can view coral, reef fish, manta rays and hammerhead and whale sharks while snorkeling, surfing or scuba diving. Over-water suites and villas with thatched roofs stand above a shallow lagoon, and each offers a private terrace for slipping into the sea. The holistic spa has over-water treatment rooms and offers daily yoga classes, as well as private instruction in meditation and pranayama breathing techniques.

The two open-air restaurants on the property feature Maldivian specialties and Japanese fare, as well as seafood barbecues and a thali evening that highlights southern Indian cuisine. Picnics are available should you wish to explore the island.

Rooms start at $650 a night in low season (May-July);

The Marly

Cape Town, South Africa

Situated in the fashionable Camps Bay neighborhood of Cape Town, the Marly Boutique Hotel offers 11 luxury suites with views of the sea and the Twelve Apostle mountains. The five-star hotel's sleek gray-and-white décor is modern and airy, and the ocean-facing suites have large balconies with outdoor showers and whirlpool tubs. When you emerge from your room, there's a pool and a library; cafes, shops and night life are nearby.

The clubby UMI restaurant overlooks Camps Bay Beach and features sushi and modern Japanese fare. In the morning, stop at the hotel's Belle Bistro & Bakery for coffee before strolling the palm-lined promenade by the ocean.

Rooms start at $250 a night;




Perhaps your New Year's resolution includes a visit to the United Kingdom? Head for the Scottish countryside, where Wimbledon champion (and native of Scotland) Andy Murray has converted a Victorian Perthshire mansion into a luxury boutique hotel on the 34-acre Cromlix estate. If you're lucky enough to book a room for New Year's, you can enjoy a traditional Hogmanay celebration that includes a Scottish breakfast, gala dinner and fireworks, followed by a day of clay pigeon shooting and tennis.

The 15 rooms and suites at Cromlix are named after famous Scots such as Robert Burns, Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and the Queen Mum. Guests can also book the one-bedroom Gate Lodge. Several of the rooms include silver or copper claw-footed tubs, and all of them feature views of the countryside or tennis courts.

The property's restaurant, Chez Roux, is overseen by French chef Albert Roux and features a French menu with locally sourced ingredients such as Scottish wild mushrooms and seafood. Of course, there's a whiskey room stocked with rare single malts; a private loch where guests can fly-fish for brown trout; falconry; archery; and outdoor garden games.

Rooms start at about $320 a night;



It took more than four years for artisans — many borrowed from the Louvre and Versailles — to restore the 19th century building that is the opulent new setting for the Peninsula Paris, which opened Aug. 1. Formerly the Hotel Majestic, the historic building near L'Arc de Triomphe is where George Gershwin wrote "An American in Paris" and was a favorite of Pablo Picasso and Marcel Proust. Today, the seven-story hotel houses 200 luxurious rooms and suites, five of which feature private rooftop gardens. Each guest suite includes a bedroom, living room and bathroom, as well as walk-in dressing rooms and closets.

If you've come to Paris to shop, a fleet of BMWs, Mini Coopers and Rolls-Royces will ensure that you can get around the city. For a break, you might want to try the afternoon tea in the Belle Epoque-style Lobby restaurant. For an entirely different dining experience, the Peninsula offers the Cantonese Li Li restaurant, with an interior inspired by French and Chinese opera.

Rooms start at about $1,375 a night;


Las Vegas

If South Beach merged with the Las Vegas Strip, the result would be the Delano Las Vegas. Intimate and stylish like its South Beach sister property, the boutique hotel is betting that a personal, understated approach to luxury will be a winner. A dramatic stone entryway, inspired by the city's surrounding desert, greets guests at the reception area, which is distinguished by a striking 126,000-pound boulder from the Nevada desert. Rooms offer spa-style baths and sweeping views of the Las Vegas skyline.

The Delano also caters to four-footed guests, with dog-friendly suites complete with doggy menus and butler services. Creature comforts for the rest of us include cocktails and conversation at Franklin, where guests can enjoy craft beers, artisanal cocktails and wines with live entertainment. The hotel's urban eatery Della's Kitchen turns out dishes with seasonal and regional ingredients — many from Delano Las Vegas' greenhouse. In early 2015, the Rivea restaurant will open, serving French and Italian cuisine from Alain Ducasse with rooftop views of the Las Vegas Strip.

Rooms start at $119 a night;



Istanbul, Turkey

With the opening of the ultramodern Zorlu Center last year — home to Turkey's largest performing arts center as well as a shopping mall — the Istanbul neighborhood of Zincirlikuyu has become one of the city's hottest destinations. In September, the modern Raffles Istanbul opened in the Zorlu Center with 181 luxury guest rooms and suites that offer panoramic views of the historic city. The hotel has embraced local artists, with their commissioned paintings, sculptures and video installations found throughout the property. An art concierge is available for tours of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, art galleries and the new contemporary art space, SALT.

Rooms from about $360 a night;



Set to open this month, the Ritz-Carlton Bali sits on 31 acres of lush beachfront property in the enclave of Nusa Dua. The resort features 313 villas and suites, with 10 cliff-side villas with private pools and terraces that offer dramatic views of the Indian Ocean.

The spa is set in a traditional Balinese garden and includes a Balinese bathing pool. Families can use the Ritz Kids club, where children can explore the local culture and environment.

Guests will be able to join the chef in the market-to-table experience with a morning market tour of the fresh, local seafood in Kedonganan village. Back at the hotel, dining options will include the Indonesian restaurant, Bejana, as well as Raku, which serves sushi, sashimi and other Japanese-style tapas.

Rooms will start at $430 a night;