Bucket-List Travel

Consider these lesser-known destinations for the year ahead.

Avid travelers, intrepid adventurers, and culture enthusiasts eager to make up for lost time are circling their calendars for this year and beyond. But with the masses also looking to vacation with friends and family, the world’s most in-demand travel destinations and experiences are likely to be busy and crowded. Here’s a look at some of the world’s best under-the-radar travel options.

Historic Hot Springs and Via Ferratas in the American West

Active travelers looking to take their adventure game to another level are seeking out via ferratas (Italian for “Iron Way”), climbing routes that employ steel cables, rungs, and ladders affixed to natural rock formations. One of America’s newest and most expensive via ferratas is found at Castle Hot Springs, a historic resort north of Phoenix that has been revitalized in recent years to become one of the country’s most luxurious destination resorts. After walking across a 200-foot long aerial walkway high above the cactus-strewn canyon floor, guests recover in one of three therapeutic hot spring pools, with temperatures reaching 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Visitors to Colorado can explore the 720-mile, Historic Hot Springs Loop, which incorporates five inviting destinations in the western part of the state. The 19 hot springs facilities offer unique features such as vapor caves, hot pots, terraced pools, and gigantic travertine formations. Highlights include the charming alpine town of Ouray, known as the “Switzerland of America,” and historic Pagosa Springs, which offers a convenient base in The Springs Resort & Spa, where guests enjoy access to 24 soaking pools ranging from 83-114°F. Overlooking the picturesque San Juan River, the pools are filled with mineral water from the resort’s “mother spring,” which has been measured to 1,002 feet deep, making it the world’s deepest measured geothermal hot spring.

The tony ski town of Telluride offers one of the country’s most jaw-dropping via ferrata routes, thousands of feet above the town’s famed boxed canyon. Guides are not required, but with its challenging course, featuring metal ladder rungs bolted onto a sheer cliff face, not to mention gorgeous views of Bridal Veil Falls, the course is not for the faint of heart.

Luxe Tropical Wellness in Lanai

The Hawaiian island of Lanai, which gets only a fraction of the visitor traffic received by neighboring Maui, is famously owned by the tech mogul Larry Ellison. Travelers often feel like they have the island to themselves, as crowds are rarely found across its pine-clad forests or glimmering shoreline. Ellison’s newest contribution to the island, Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, is a secluded wellness enclave that distills preventive health science, data, and research into simple paths for everyday living. Guests can explore untouched wilderness, burn off calories in an outdoor adventure park or via myriad fitness and movement classes, and refuel with meals by Nobu, highlighting sustainable, local ingredients. Or guests can venture over to the island’s other destination resort, the oceanfront Four Seasons Resort Lanai, where the stunning grounds contain memorable spaces for R&R, namely stunning lagoon-style pools and museum-quality botanical gardens.

Next-Level Thrills in Alaska

Best known for its world-class salmon fishing, the majestic town of Ketchikan is home to Salmon Falls Resort. Situated at the southernmost entrance to Alaska’s iconic Inside Passage, the resort offers numerous intriguing activities, most notably float plane fishing in which, after a scenic chartered flight, guests land in remote spots to enjoy one-of-a-kind guided fishing experiences. Due to a lack of cruise ships and a decrease in charter fishing excursions, the wildlife watching and fishing is better than ever. The resort’s other bucket-list experiences include bear watching tours, wildlife watching boat safaris, salmon cooking demos, and wine pairings with salmon roe.

Located in a remote spot in Alaska’s Denali National Park, the Sheldon Chalet attracts big spending mountaineers—three-night packages cost around $35,000 for two guests, inclusive of a helicopter “flightseeing” tour, gourmet meals, five-bedroom luxe accommodations, all gear and equipment, and more. Once properly fitted with a climbing harness, snowshoes, helmet, and poles, guests attend the chalet’s glacier school. (No previous mountaineering experience necessary.) Others may simply prefer to relax around the fireplace or warm up in the sauna with views of Denali’s summit.

Situated 60 miles west of Anchorage, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge lures adventurers with its heli-skiing and other hair-raising pursuits; owner and heli-ski pioneer Mike Overcast opened the lodge with Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe. Guests can tackle the only via ferrata in Alaska, or go bear viewing in a vintage 1956 Turbine Otter plane.

Reflections in the beautiful blue waters of Horseshoe Lake at Denali National Park in Alaska.

Reflections in the beautiful blue waters of Horseshoe Lake at Denali National Park in Alaska.

New Options, Spread Apart in the Maldives

Luxury travelers looking to enjoy world-class scenery and relaxation in private, secluded environs have long flocked to the Maldives. But with roughly 1,200 coral islands spread over 35,000 square miles, the destination offers an endless array of new locales to explore.

Located in Raa Atoll on Muravandhoo Island, Joali Maldives is one of the destination’s splashiest new openings, as well as its first immersive art resort. The 73-villa property places a distinct focus on design, having utilized the Istanbul-based design firms Autoban and Atolye4n, and Tokyo-based Studio Glitt. When not luxuriating in the postcard-perfect waters, guests take holistic wellness journeys and go on yachting excursions to spot whales and manta rays.

Another relative newcomer, the Vakkaru Maldives resort is memorably situated within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll. A tropical wonderland filled with more than 2,300 fully grown coconut trees, the resort’s Work Well package—which includes a bespoke fitness program, personal assistant, and access to a private, oceanfront office—is perfect for executives looking to “work from home” in one of the world’s most scenic offices. Available to guests who book a stay for 21 days or longer, each Work Well residency includes a complimentary upgrade to a bigger villa with a well-equipped study.

For the ultimate private luxury experience, big spenders can buy out one of the Maldives’ priciest and most decorated options—for $35,000 per night. The small private island of Naladhu offers blissful seclusion; there are 20 elegant houses, each with a private pool and 24-hour dedicated butler service. The buyout includes exclusive access to other islands, and guests can enjoy activities such as deserted island picnics, private yacht cruises, in-room spa journeys, and more.

Joali Maldives is a high-end resort and immersive art experience at the same time.

Joali Maldives is a high-end resort and immersive art experience at the same time.

Hard-to-Reach Caribbean Highlights

With its natural hot springs and tropical rainforests, Dominica is one of the Caribbean’s hidden gems. The mountainous island nation is home to some of the region’s most spectacular rivers and canyons. Participants jump into secret waterfalls and natural pools, descend into deep gorges, hike through lush jungle, and rappel down giant waterfalls to drop into the water below.

Serious hikers make the trek to the island’s awe-inspiring Boiling Lake, the second-largest of its kind in the world. The journey to the lake—an ancient, natural cauldron of bubbling water that’s more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit—takes visitors through lush jungles, natural springs, and sulfur pools. The island is also home to the Caribbean’s first long-distance walking trail, the 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail. With 14 contiguous segments, the trail can take experienced hikers nearly two weeks to complete in its entirety. Family-friendly and suitable for all types of hikers, the trail takes visitors through the island’s history, including indigenous Kalinago villages and ruins from 18th-century French settlements.

Over in the British Virgin Islands, eco-minded visitors to Oil Nut Bay on Virgin Gorda can try their hand at turtle tagging. The scenic island resort, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic on the other, sits in a turtle-rich environment. Turtle tagging boating adventures allow guests to swim alongside green sea turtles and partake in free diving to safely catch the turtles alongside a researcher. Turtles are measured, tagged, and released, and guests can then follow their adventures even after returning home.

A sailing paradise with 60 islands and cays, the British Virgin Islands are best explored on the water. Voyage Charters recently launched Electrified, its first solar-powered charter yacht and the first sustainable sailing option of its kind in the destination.

Those looking for a truly out-of-the-ordinary diving experience should head to Virgin Gorda’s Mountain Point, home to the islands’ newest diving mecca, the BVI Art Reef. In 2017, the Kodiak Queen—one of only five surviving ships from Pearl Harbor—was intentionally sunk with a large-scale sculpture of an 80-foot kraken. The project was created by a group of artists, engineers, scientists, and donors (including Sir Richard Branson) to raise awareness of ocean conservation. The site is a coral out-planting platform, which is facilitating a thriving new reef habitat while rehabilitating vulnerable marine life such as the goliath grouper.

Speaking of Branson, the islands’ most famous ambassador, his private island retreat, Necker Island has been fully restored after the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Those visiting in 2021 will be among the first to experience the island following its pricey restoration; in addition to two additional guest rooms in the Great House, three giant wind turbines have been installed, furthering the island’s commitment toward sustainability. Aquatic types pass the time with underwater sea adventures, while landlubbers can enjoy everything from private yoga and tennis to cave exploring. The starting rate for exclusive hire of the entire island, which includes use of 20 bedrooms, is $105,000 per night.

Dominica in the Caribbean offers lots of hiking and climbing options for all levels.

Dominica in the Caribbean offers lots of hiking and climbing options for all levels.

Source Sotheby's International Realty Blog https://www.sothebysrealty.com/eng/bucket-list-travel-april2021 

Houseguest: Episode 3


As the owner of a communications agency, Public Relations executive, Lois Najarian O’Neill is no stranger to the hustle and bustle of New York City life. She is the ultimate high-powered executive balancing a successful company while raising two children.

In this episode of Houseguest, Lois trades skyscrapers for mountains, as she visits The Berman Buckskin Ranch in Telluride, Colorado.

Watch Lois discover tranquility and explore new hobbies through her inspiring retreat in the mountains.

Houseguest: Episode 2

In this episode of Houseguest, Alicia and Jim visit Turtle Tail, a spectacular tropical compound in Turks & Caicos located on a private peninsula. Watch how this couple discovers the dynamic fusion of home and nature found at this breathtaking estate.



Extraordinary Properties | Wine Country Edition


Examiner.com recently published an article highlighting their wine and food adventures in the Finger Lakes region of New York last summer (including The Thirsty Owl, whose outlet we have just down the road from our office in Saratoga Springs!) Indeed, this region is recognized internationally as first-rate wine country with it’s endless lines of vines, collection of crystal clear lakes and rolling green hills. With over 100 vineyards located around Seneca, Cayuga, Canandaigua, Keuka, Conesus and Hemlock lakes, the main grape varieties include Riesling (for which the area is renowned), Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Vidal Blanc and Seyval Blanc. Check out four of our fantastic Finger Lake listings below!


11205 W. Lake Road, Pulteney NY | $399,000

Home, sweet home, on Keuka Lake! This beautiful hillside property features gorgeous lake views and 20 feet of lake frontage to enjoy and develop. The home is spacious and light-filled; perfect for family living or as a rental property. Situated on a private 2.7 acre wooded lot, but still only a short walk to two local wineries, it exemplifies Lake Living at its best!


566 Snell Road, Geneva NY | $590,000

This enchanting estate sits on 7 private acres in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Central NY, just minutes from the charming village of Geneva on the shores of Seneca Lake. Impressive stone pillars flank the entrance to the long driveway, creating a private sanctuary for year-round living or a country/vacation home. Built in 1910, this 5,424 square foot home features exquisite architectural details but has conveniences for modern living. The majestic barn has over 7,000 square feet, and the grounds are very mature and trees are well-placed. Revel in the enjoyment of the stream, woods, meadows and abundance of wildlife; if you value solitude and peace, this is the place for you.

8973SLakeRd8973 S.Lake Road, Hammondsport NY | $649,900

Savor the sunsets on this gorgeous east-side Keuka Lake home; private and quiet, yet you can still walk to town. This property boasts 159 feet of level lake frontage and two over-sized docks: one for sunning, and one that is a covered boat house. There is ample outdoor living space with a spacious covered deck with ceiling fans and electric, creating the perfect setting for viewing the lake come rain or shine! Inside, enjoy the open floor plan and lake views from every room and decks on each level. Meticulously maintained, this home is move-in ready!

84EGeneseeSt84 E. Genesee Street, Skaneateles NY | $885,000

This property presents the best components of a multi-faceted lifestyle; waterfront living, the convenience of nearby village shops and restaurants and the benefits of lower taxes and maintenance free condo living! This 2 bedroom waterfront condo has amazing views of the Lake and is sleek, elegant and move-in ready. The 121 feet of waterfront with dock and steps into the water provide easy enjoyment of the lake, and boat mooring is also available.


Extraordinary Properties | Mountain View Edition

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” – Dr Seuss

Given Select Sotheby’s International Realty’s vast coverage of New York State, it’s no surprise that our listing portfolio is a cornucopia of magnificent mountain properties. There is something euphoric about the views, enthralling about the elevation and enchanting about the sense of peace and serenity. From the Catskills to the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, here are four properties that present unique and distinctive mountain lifestyles.


675 Ploutz Road, Roxbury NY | $5,999,000

This spectacular Catskill Mountain Estate offers almost 450 acres of prime and pristine mountain and valley land. Numerous trails, streams and a pond help to make this property a truly private retreat. The magnificent home features views in every direction, and the large rooms create bright and open spaces for entertaining or simply relaxing by the fire. A truly one-of-a-kind location with unrivalled panoramas.


80 Whalen Drive, Warrensburg NY | $895,000

Sitting like an exquisite gem high above the town of Warrensburg, this 46-acre mountaintop property provides unrivaled panoramic views all the way to the High Peaks. Picture yourself floating serenely in an infinity pool on the edge of the property with the wilderness of the Adirondacks beneath you. Give a little TLC to the existing uniquely designed Adirondack/Japanese style home, or we can recommend an architect/builder to help you build your own custom home. The property has gated private drive and a cell tower which provides monthly income.


329 Sky Hi Road, Thurnam NY | $539,000

This year-round home is settled on the original site of the historic Sky Hi Ranch. The just-over 2,000 square foot house has a spacious open floor plan on the first floor, a wide deck overlooking Crane Mountain and a large screened-in porch with a stove, perfect for 3 season enjoyment. With 156 acres of uninterrupted wild Adirondack acreage, there is no limit to the outdoor recreational activities and potential use for this property. There is an established network of trails throughout the property, perfect for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling or exploring by ATV. This is an ideal year-round getaway for the outdoor enthusiast.


48 Racoon Ridge, Keene Valley NY | $250,000

Nestled atop a foothill of New York’s High Peak Mountains, this property has views like no other. The 2.7-acre camp boasts trees and wildlife galore, and inside the home there is plenty of room for both family and friends – all just minutes away from what has been noted as the best hiking and fishing in the state. The town of Keene Valley is quaint and friendly with restaurants and shops, farm stands and gourmet food stores. Close to Lake Placid and Lake Champlain, this area is beloved by people worldwide.

PS – Check out the latest edition of our Portfolio Magazine, featuring the best of Mountain Lifestyles.

Extraordinary Homes | President’s Week Edition

The sales are bountiful and the schools are empty – it must be President’s Day week! Originally instated in 1885 as a celebration of George Washington’s birthday (as which it still observed in some states), it is more commonly recognized as a celebration of all the United State’s sworn in leaders, both past and present.

The dwelling of a President is many things: Refined. Sophisticated. Majestic. Stately. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has called many Presidents residents since John Adams in 1800. The White House is a true American icon, and one of the most renowned and recognized mansions in the world. While we can’t quite compete with its rich history, illustrious roster of past tenants and little black book of dignified guests, we’ve had three unique and distinctive “white” houses of our own recently hit the market. Check them out, below!


55 Julian Way, Lake Placid NY | $1,995,000

Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Forest Brook Manor is truly a one-of-a-kind estate. Settled at the end of a long, meandering driveway and perched atop a cleared hill, this 8,000 square foot mansion affords 360 degree panoramas of the High Peaks in each and every room. As part of the Whiteface Club and Resort, future owners will be able to enjoy the extensive amenities of the resort and the community including golf, tennis, cross country skiing and lake access. Built in 1940 with a traditional floor-plan and quality construction, the 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms and 6 fireplaces make for a warm and welcoming atmosphere for friends and family alike.


359 Mckie Hollow Road, Cambridge NY | $749,000

Butternut Farm sprawls across 245 acres of forested mountains, rich farmland and open fields. The farmhouse itself is colonial in style, and it radiates warmth throughout with wide plank floors, un-spoilt woodwork, classic built-in bookshelves and a screened porch overlooking the tree-encircled pond, fields and mountains. Set back on a secondary road on the back side of the New Skete Monks’ acreage, this property presents a rare opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of pastoral Washington County.


177 Palatine Church Road, Fort Plain NY | $349,000

This historic Mohawk Valley colonial estate has been lovingly and meticulously restored and is encapsulated by exceptional views. Each of the three bedrooms, including the master, have their own fireplaces and en-suite bathrooms, making them the perfect retreat at the end of the day. Outdoors, you’ll find organic acreage, a stocked pond, a flagstone patio and a barn perfect for the keen hobby farmer.


Extraordinary Homes | Valentine’s Day Edition

Cupid, get ready to take aim and fire – it’s almost Valentine’s Day! While we prepare for the hustle and bustle of overcrowded restaurants and overbooked theatres, what could be nicer than retreating for the night to your own private paradise? Check out three of our listings below that aptly emulate the classic romance and timeless elegance that’ll make the best part of going out coming home.


134 Mirror Lake Drive
134 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid NY | $9,999,000

Moments from the charming Village of Lake Placid, nestled on it’s on private peninsula on scenic Mirror Lake, sits this extraordinary estate. An architectural wonder of 11,000 square feet, no detail was overlooked in its construction and design. It’s quintessential rustic charm is married to the ease and comfort of seemingly every modern amenity imaginable, right at your very fingertips. Nothing has been overlooked in creating a domestic paradise which is at once private, but not secluded; elegant, yet casual; classic, yet completely contemporary; and remarkably spacious while remaining astoundingly intimate.



18 Skyline Drive
18 Skyline Drive, Bolton Landing NY | Price Upon Request

Live like a true King and Queen in this captivating castle overlooking the Queen of American Lakes, Lake George. Poised mountainside and set down a 2000-foot-long driveway, indulge in the ultimate regal majesty. Romeo and Juliet stained glass welcome you in and lead through to a Great Room of incomparable opulence, with 25-foot-high beamed ceilings, a fireplace flanked by armored knights and 180 degree panoramic views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Upon retiring upstairs, the lavish master suite is royally adorned and boasts a 2-story tower sitting area, a window seat overlooking the lake and a Shakespearean balcony overlooking the Great Room. A one of a kind stately residence, resplendent with finery, it is truly a treasure beyond words or measure.



6 Rippleton Road
6 Rippleton Road, Cazenovia NY | $2,490,000

Dissolve into the calm, quiet and natural elegance of the Central New York countryside. Built in 1824 by the brother-in-law of John Lincklaen, the founder of Cazenovia, the Meadows Estate exudes old-world romantic charm. Hold hands and take a stroll through the perennial gardens, the ornamental apple orchard or the shade garden; paddle out into Chittenango Creek or Cazenovia Lake in a two-person canoe; or indoors, snuggle up in front of one of the ten fireplaces. Relish in the seclusion, but enjoy the nearby convenience of the village filled with shops and restaurants. The Meadows presents a rare opportunity for a historic country house that is move-in ready.