LONDON, England, Tuesday March 7, 2017 – The travel professionals at Conde Nast recently selected their Top 10 Destinations To Watch For 2017, based mainly on countries boasting diverse attractions with new, improved or previously overlooked features.
Selections ranged from “the state that has it all” – California in the United States, to Britain’s most remote island – where Napolean died in exile – St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Making its mark for the Caribbean was Belize, which, according to Conde Nast Traveller, “deserves to be permanently on our list of top holiday destinations; it is so utterly beguiling, so heavenly.
“But for 2017, there are a couple more reasons to go, should you need them. Francis Ford Coppola is opening up his private Caribbean island, Coral Caye, which you can now stay at (or rent the whole thing, if your crew is party-sized).”
Coral Caye is a two-acre island, covered in jungle, with thatched wooden cottages and outdoor showers and hammocks strung between the palm trees.
Eight miles from the mainland, it is part of 200-odd cayes and atolls that make up the 185-mile Belize Barrier Reef, the second longest of its kind in the world.
The style is rustic with just two wooden cottages and a large sand-floored Great House decorated with conch shells, Mayan carvings and musical instruments.
Two resident caretakers lay on meals and watersports, while personal attendants are also available.
There’s also a 25-minute speedboat transfer from Coral Caye to Turtle Inn, a family-friendly Coppola resort in Placencia with home-made Italian food, a spa and 20 Balinese-style cottages.
Meanwhile, another Hollywood heavyweight is also opening up his private island in Belize: Leonardo DiCaprio, who is turning his Blackadore Caye into a luxury eco-resort.
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Here, more sophisticated accommodation in dark wood and marble, will be inspired by Mayan ruins. “Like heaven on earth,” said DiCaprio of the island.
Also making Conde Nast’s Top 10 were Cambodia; Denmark: Hampi, South India; Paphos, Cyprus; Canada; The Maldives, and Chile.