Few times of the year are more convenient for a winter beach getaway than the New Year's holiday. But as destinations from St. Barth's to Jose Ignacio swell with packed hotels and impossible-to-penetrate restaurants, an elite crowd of island resorts exist where you'll never fight over a table or require a strategy for snagging a sun lounger. This season Aman Resorts brings its latest island offering to the north coast of the Dominican Republic with a hedonistic beach development caught between the sea and a 2,000-acre forest all but unknown to luxury travelers. A master-planned destination resort, Amanera opens on one of the island's sandier shorelines with mile-long beach framed by the brand's first-ever golf course and series of private residences.
While December and January bring humidity and afternoon rain to the South Pacific, The Brando delivers a stylish island refuge along a 3-mile wide lagoon that's 30-miles northeast of Tahiti. A sandy and palm-tree swathe of paradise, manta ray swim over your toes as a coral reef teams with sea life and wild parrots squawk for you back ashore. A total of 31 villas exude an island charm of thatch roofs and teak decor with plunge pools and private buggies to access the property's two restaurants, organic garden and wellness center. A step-up in luxury, Laucala in nearby Fiji is owned by Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz. A face-off of style and sustainability envelops this bespoke luxury resort accessed by posh King Air along a private landing strip. Its 25 Fijian-style villas are cast among deserted beaches with working coconut plantation and 240-acre farm that covers a quarter of the island. While we prefer the Overwater Villa with private boat, all accommodations feature free-flowing architecture with outdoor bathrooms, private gardens and infinity-edge pools ignited in Tikki torches by night.
In the Maldives, resorts such as Cheval Blanc Randheli tout the most luxurious accommodations in the northern atoll and plethora of restaurant options as well as a private seaplane. But some still prefer the more relaxed luxury of Soneva Fushi with its diverse amenities like an on-site observatory, glass making and cinema under the stars. But our favorite island getaway is across the Indian Ocean along the northern stretches of the Seychelles where North Island lures the world's top jetsetters for $10,000-per night sojourns that rarely yield a complaining guest. Whether non-stop from Paris or an add-on to an African safari, North Island offers a removed eco-elegance of open-air villas and wildlife infrastructure of 100lbs sea turtles and migrating African geese. Days are spent preening poolside, dining at the beachfront piazza or exploring removed white sand beaches with picnic basket stocked with Veuve and Alsatian brie at what many consider the world's chicest island resort.