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Affordable Luxury Trips

© The Somerset on Grace Bay
The Somerset on Grace Bay, Provo, Turks & Caicos

Close to Miami but with all the allure of a far flung atoll, the Turks and Caicos is legendary for its looks—and notorious for its prices. Luxury hotels abound, with average room rates hovering around $700 per night, which makes this little-advertised find in the private, quiet and residential-oriented Somerset on Grace Bay all the more appealing: The Providenciales resort has 14 luxury garden view rooms, complete with kitchenettes, starting at just $275 per night.

© Axel Hotels
The Axel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The first five-star gay hotel to open in Latin America, The Axel in Buenos Aires (which also bills itself as "hetero-friendly") is as flamboyant and fairly priced as luxe South American lodging gets. Situated near San Telmo in the Argentine capital city, the hotel features a glass-bottom pool that doubles as a ceiling in the lobby. Rooms are predictably stylish—white or minimally colored with angular glassy bathrooms. It's the second brain child of Spanish entrepreneur Juan Juliá, whose flagship hotel is in Barcelona. Double rooms start at $198 per night.

For more information: The Axel

© Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises
Ubud Hanging Gardens, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Pass on an overpriced over-water bungalow in French Polynesia. Instead, suspend yourself over a lush jungle in the rice paddy dotted surrounds of Ubud at a luxury escape on Bali. All 38 villas at this five-star Orient-Express property feature private plunge pools overlooking the Ayung River, with rates from a refreshing $270 per night.

For more information: Ubud Hanging Gardens

© Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises
Librisa Spa, Cape Town, South Africa

You could opt for euro-priced wine therapy in the vineyards of France and Italy. Or, you can head to the land of the rand for indulgent spa treatments that cost a fraction of their European equivalents. The newly opened Librisa Spa at the Mount Nelson Hotel (part of the Orient-Express group) offers three-hour treatments that include aromatouch massage, facials, full body wraps with green clay and wild mint and lunch in the hotel's Oasis Restaurant for around $235.

For more information: Mount Nelson Hotel

© Spa Vilnius
Spa Vilnius, Druskininkai, Lithuania

Once the stomping grounds of winter weary Russians looking to pamper their bodies with the area's legendary mud baths inside austere medical-oriented sanatoriums, the spa scene in Druskininkai, Lithuania, is growing ever more international and indulgent. Check into Spa Vilnius, a four-star spa hotel, where decadent three-night wellness getaways include lodging, meals and 14 spa treatments that run the gamut from wine baths and honey massages to Chinese foot massages and chocolate peels. Baltic Holidays can arrange trips for around $486 per person.

For more information: Baltic Holidays

© Hotel Telegraaf
Hotel Telegraaf, Tallinn, Estonia

Top-notch luxury at a fair price is a thing of the past in former Eastern European bargain cities such as Prague. But not Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Surrounded by buildings that date to the 13th century, this new five-star hotel is thoroughly modern. The luxurious rooms overlook a quiet courtyard and the hotel's indoor pool (housed in a solarium), steam bath and Finnish sauna facilities are complimentary for guests. Rooms from $294 per night.

For more information: Hotel Telegraaf

© Jochen Tack / Alamy
Baltic Beach Hotel, Jurmala, Latvia

Boris Yeltsin and other Russian bigwigs frequented this oceanfront luxury hotel that's less than 20 miles from Riga in Jurmala, Latvia. But the recently refurbished five-star Baltic Beach Hotel bears none of its former Soviet austerity. This stretch of the Gulf of Riga nearly freezes over in winter, but come summer Jurmala's long sandy beaches are packed with lovely Latvians and intrepid jetsetters in full bronzing mode. The hotel's world-class spa offers hundreds of treatments that use local sulfur spring products, but rooms start at just $210 per night.

For more information: Baltic Beach Hotel

© The Bristol
The Bristol, Panama City, Panama

Costa Rica is out. Panama is in. And for serious luxury at fair rates in the capital city, no spot compares to this luxury boutique hotel (and member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World). Located in the financial district, the Bristol is a good base for doing what so many other savvy Americans are coming to Panama for these days—seeking out smart real estate investments in the beaches and mountain villages of one of Central America's most buzzworthy nations. Rooms start at $335 per night.

For more information: The Bristol

© SeaDream Yacht Club Luxury Cruises
Sea Dream Yacht Club, Mediterranean Cruises

Seven-day Mediterranean itineraries on this luxury yacht with ports of call in Portugal, Morocco and the Canary Islands start at $3,699 per person, based on double occupancy. All meals, alcohol and gratuities are included, and dollar-pricing leaves the bullish euro out of the equation. And with a passenger list of just 55 couples and 95 crewmembers, the five-star service on board is always personal.

For more information: Sea Dream Yacht Club

© Canals of France
Luxury Barge Cruise, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

The best way to soak up the vineyards and castles in "the next Provence" is aboard a luxury barge on the Canal du Midi. Six nights on the Tango costs approximately $5,000 per person, but that price includes drinks and multi-course gourmet meals prepared by the boat's owner, Captain Daniel Sak, who graduated from cooking school in France. Day trips to nearby wineries, olive oil makers and historical sights are also included. The three-person crew is big enough to meet the needs of the six passengers.

For more information: Canals of France

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