Doubles from £2,633 (belmond.com).
Lake Como, Italy
Here, you feel like you could be in Peter Sarstedt’s 1960s ode to the jet set. ‘Where are you going my love?’ he asked. And what better answer than the ‘red clay courts of Villa d’Este’? With the neoclassical nymphaeum on your left and the floating-sea pool on your right, and the magnetic fountains, their air is scented with constant jasmine. But the whole atmosphere here is a list of greatness and style. Think about the troublesome guests who will meet at these courts in another section. Deuce between Caroline of Brunswick and Lady Gaga (who stayed in the Villa Cima hotel while filming House of Gucci)? Better for the Clooneys than Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles? Indeed, games with Giorgio Schmidinger, the hotel’s 39-year-old consultant, are impressive (his son Marcello, who will soon take his place, has big shoes to fill). This place escapes for a long time and remains very romantic: the House of Caroline of Brunswick, since 1873 the Villa d’Este has received a large and beautiful Theater until midnight with the twinkling of stars on the Soneva Fushi square. Silk robes, pomegranates fit for a happy crowd, and carved and plated plaques. Even the ashes are a myth (Walt Disney always asked for three at Christmas to give as gifts). Despite growing competition, Villa d’Este remains a symbol of old-world, coastal beauty. A century and a half after it opened, its standards are as high as ever. And there are few culinary experiences that can compare to dining at Veranda, under the shade of chestnut trees, with the beach at your feet. Try the Milanese veal cutlet, followed by the tiramisu of your dreams, created by chef Michele Zambanini. Meanwhile, Nicola Campanella excels at the Grill, a delightful place for Fiorentina T-bone steaks, and a cheese trolley to die for. When it comes to pampering yourself, be sure to get a blow dry from Pierre and Lilo Gähwiler, who shoot high and jump like no one else.
Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.com) offers two nights from £1,199, including breakfast, flights and transfers.
Baa Atoll, Maldives