Luxury for less: 10 once-in-a-lifetime holidays for all budgets

7 January 20228 min read

White sand beach with palm trees and turquoise sea in the Maldives on a sunny day

Please note: this article is sponsored by our partners at TUI. The links on this page will take you directly to the TUI website.

Holidays of a lifetime don’t need to break the bank. Opt for a package deal (that’s flights and accommodation) and you can save serious amounts of cash.

Not convinced? We’ve tapped our partners at TUI to bring you a range of fantastic deals. There’s something for every type of traveller, from hard-core sun worshippers dreaming of the Maldives to retail therapy addicts keen to splash the cash at Dubai’s most luxurious shopping malls.

*All deal pricing below is accurate as of January 7, 2022. Prices are subject to change. Deals are subject to TUI’s T&Cs. Always check FCDO travel advice before booking your holiday.

1. Marrakech, Morocco: TUI BLUE RIU Tikida Garden

Holidays to Morocco’s ‘Red City’ mix luxury and culture in the most brilliant of ways. Inside the bustling UNESCO-listed medina, lively squares and spice-scented souks are a flurry of colour and chaos, while opulent palaces, all mosaicked and lush with gardens, hint at the luxuries you can enjoy yourself.

Find these frills away from the busy medina at the adults-only TUI BLUE RIU Tikida Garden, located just outside the city centre in the Palmeraie neighbourhood. When you’re not sunbathing by one of the hotel’s two outdoor pools, you’ll want to head to the Tikida Spa for a traditional treatment in the hammam.

Discover your deal: Stay 6 nights at the TUI BLUE RIU Tikida Garden with all-inclusive board from £437pp. Flights departing Gatwick on Saturday, March 12.

2. Costa Rica: RIU Palace Costa Rica

Active holidays are what its all about in Costa Rica. One minute you’ll be chasing waterfalls through dense emerald rainforests and the next, coming face-to-face with tropical wildlife.

Get a taste for it from the stunning shores of Playa de Matapalo. This secluded spot on the northwest coast enjoys a near-private beach that’s often only shared by two sister RIU hotels. Stay at the RIU Palace Costa Rica for a touch of luxury – think sunken, in-pool sun-loungers, a swim-up bar and five à la carte restaurants – and pepper your stay with shots of adrenaline. Watersports included in this all-inclusive resort range from windsurfing and kayaking to snorkelling, and there’s a zipline-slash-wildlife centre nearby.

Discover your deal: Stay 7 nights at the RIU Palace Costa Rica with all-inclusive board from £1057pp. Flight departing Gatwick on Wednesday, January 26.

3. Sri Lanka: Taj Bentota Resort & Spa

Sri Lanka’s size means you can stay on almost anywhere on the island and still manage to squeeze in many of the country’s best bits on a full day guided tour or two. However, if you’re looking for luxury, the southwest coast is the one – it’s not for nothing that you can find an idyllic spot known as Paradise Island here.

As for your holiday base, make it the luxe Taj Bentota Resort & Spa, right on the shores of the sweeping Bentota Beach. Many of the hotel’s rooms boast beautiful sea views, as does its huge outdoor pool. You can recuperate from a day of adventure at the Jiva Spa, which has an extensive menu of traditional Indian and contemporary treatments.

Discover your deal: Stay 10 nights at the Taj Bentota Resort & Spa with breakfast included from £1447pp. Flights departing Manchester on Wednesday, April 20.

4. Cancun, Mexico: Haven Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

With warm Caribbean waters lapping mile-after-mile of sugary white sands, Cancun exudes paradise without even trying. Add eons of history in form of ancient Mayan ruins, adventures in the Yucatan’s rainforests, and exotic wildlife beneath the waves, and a holiday in Cancun easily becomes one for the books.

For a quieter luxury stay, leave the frenetic Hotel Zone to the revellers, and retreat further down the coast to the lavish, adults-only Haven Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa. Here, luxe touches include suites as standard, private hot tubs and à la carte dining – all included in the price. This beachfront hotel seamlessly blends into the beach beyond, where you can also try out watersports such as hobie cat sailing, windsurfing and parasailing (for a fee).

Discover your deal: Stay 7 nights at the Haven Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa on an all-inclusive basis from £1484pp. Flights departing Birmingham on Monday, April 25.

5. Phuket, Thailand: Avista Grand Karon Resort and Spa

Credit: TUI

Basing yourself in Phuket means you’ll have the best of both worlds, with easy access to its surrounding islands as well as its famously colourful markets and nightlife.

If you’re looking for a good spot to experience it all, head to Avista Grand Karon Resort and Spa located on Phuket’s southwest coast. Perched above Karon and Kata beaches (both within walking distance), this sophisticated hotel boasts ocean views, a shimmering freeform pool complete with a swim-up bar and water jets, and a luxurious Thai spa. Stay here to be close to the Big Buddha, one of Phuket’s top sights and Phuket Old Town, around half an hour’s drive away.

Discover your deal: Stay 7 nights at the Avista Grand Karon Resort and Spa with breakfast included from £1200pp. Flights departing Heathrow on Sunday, March 20.

6. Dubai, UAE: Atlantis, The Palm

Once-in-a-lifetime doesn’t get more over the top than Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm. Famous the world over for its ridiculously extravagant features – from its very own aquarium and waterpark to celebrity restaurants and one of Dubai’s best spas – a stay at the Atlantis is an experience in itself.

While you could easily spend your holiday in Dubai without leaving the Palm (or indeed, the Atlantis), you’d be missing out. Conquering the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, shopping up a storm at Dubai Mall and discovering a completely different side to the city in Old Dubai are all worth leaving your sun-lounger for.

Discover your deal: Stay 5 nights at Atlantis, The Palm on a half board basis from £1655pp. Flights departing Heathrow on Wednesday, January 26.

7. Barbados: Colony Club by Elegant Hotels

Credit: TUI

Barbados is all about the sun-soaked beach break – helped along by the fact that every beach on the island is public, which means plenty of space to spread out your towel.

Whether or not you manage to visit many of them is another thing entirely – when you stay at the Colony Club, there’s more activities on offer than you’ll know what to do with. If you want to get on the water, try sailing, paddleboarding or a fishing trip with one of the hotel’s chefs, who will then cook up your catch for dinner. Prefer to stay dry? There’s garden tours, art and cooking lessons, and tons of fitness classes, from Zumba to yoga, all included in your stay. Tying it all together is the hotel’s impressive lagoon-style pool, which winds through the property all the way down to a quiet beach.

Discover your deal: Stay 7 nights at the Colony Club with breakfast included from £1861pp. Flights departing Manchester on Thursday, April 21.

8. Dominican Republic: Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa

Credit: TUI

Whatever your idea of paradise – whether that’s splashing beneath waterfalls, perfecting your putt, or just spending day after day on powder-white sands – you’ll find it on a holiday in the Dominican Republic.

For touch of luxury alongside your holiday activities, stay in the exclusive Cap Cana area, where a handful of sprawling resorts are hidden away from busy Punta Cana. Make the pool the centre of your holiday at Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa, an adults-only pad that opens onto a stunning beach. There’s also nine restaurants, a world-class spa and a popular evening entertainment programme. If you’re fond of a day on the fairway, the views are as irresistible as the challenge at the nearby Punta Espada golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus.

Discover your deal: Stay 10 nights at Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa on an all-inclusive basis from £2442pp. Flights departing Gatwick on Saturday, March 10.

9. Mauritius: LUX* Belle Mare

Stick to the beaches that fringe Mauritius and you’ll barely scratch the surface of this Indian Ocean paradise. There’s a densely forested interior to explore, an internationally influenced cuisine to with nods to India, China, Africa and Europe to indulge in, and the lively capital of Port Louis, a hub of shopping and dining.

Get the experience in miniature at the swish LUX* Belle Mare on the island’s east coast. Here, you’ll find one of the longest – and loveliest – beaches in Mauritius sweeping out behind the resort, a split-level pool and handful of impeccable restaurants, alongside a rum bar with some hundred choices.

Getting out on the water is an obvious pick for daytime activities, with windsurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding all included, but the resort also hosts farm-to-plate experiences at its on-site greenhouses and cycling tours to quaint villages, markets and the Bras d'Eau Forest.

Discover your deal: Stay 10 nights at the LUX* Belle Mare with breakfast included from £2035pp. Flights departing Gatwick on Thursday, March 24.

10. The Maldives: LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas

Credit: TUI

Over-water villas, private islands, swaying palms, blindingly white sand… if you have some serious cash to splash on a luxury holiday, it’s got to be the Maldives.

Soak up that deserted island feel at the swish LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas. You’ve got 4km of pristine sands – and just 193 rooms – on this private resort island, meaning there’s a good chance you’ll have whole swathes to yourself. Accommodation checks all the Maldives boxes too, with both over-water villas and beachfront bungalows to choose from.

Need more holiday inspiration?

Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll narrow down the best destinations and deals for your holiday!

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