Best luxury short breaks in Ibiza
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20 Luxury Short Breaks for Special Occasion Holidays

From Ibiza to Iceland, Santorini to St Emilion, I’ve got 20 luxury short breaks to mark that special occasion in style.

Bucket list holidays are one thing, but sometimes we don’t have the time to embark on a two or three-week trip to a far flung destination. I am often asked about luxury short breaks to celebrate a big birthday or special occasion. I have chosen 20 holiday ideas that are easily accessible, but are also luxury destinations that are ideal to mark that milestone in your life.

InstagramI have included luxury hotels, unique experiences, as well as some top class adventures that I think you will love! And, if you are looking to travel further afield or for a longer duration, this post might be of interest:

Read: 25 Bucket list holidays around the world

We are fortunate to have such a great choice of luxury short breaks that are easily accesible from Ireland, I hope you will find one here to suit you.



Luxury Short Breaks in Europe

1. Book a room with a view in Positano

driving the Amalfi Coast is one of Europes best travel experiences

Positano is an iconic place to celebrate a special occasion. Even if you have been fortunate to visit the Amalfi Coast, you probably stayed in one of the nearby towns of Sorrento or Amalfi. A stay in Positano, is a bucket list experience in its own right, but to have a room with a view of the Bay of Naples is the ultimate way to mark that special occasion. 


The five-star celebrity hangout Il San Pietro de Positano is regarded as the best hotel in Positano, but it will have a price tag to match. However, there are many alternatives to choose from – the location and views are arguably more important than the five-star rating.

Read: The ultimate guide to the Amalfi Coast, and where to stay 

Read: The 10 best movies to showcase Italy



How to get there:

Fly direct to Naples with Ryanair or Aer Lingus. Transfer time to Positano is one hour and twenty minutes, but the Amalfi Coast is one of the world’s best scenic drives, so you may decide to hire a car instead.

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2. Stay inside the city walls of Dubrovnik

The medieval city of Dubrovnik should be on everyone’s wish list. It is so well preserved and looks like something straight out of a fairytale.

There are many great hotel choices both inside and outside the walled city. If visiting for a short break it is good to stay inside or at least very close to the Old Town. 


The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik is the closest luxury hotel to the Old Town, and is located just minutes from the beach. Set in a historic building, this hotel blends old world charm with contemporary style beautifully.


Alternatively the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik’s location – set into cliffs with panoramic sea views, is a great choice for spa and beach lovers, and a 15-minute walk will take you to the city walls of Dubrovnik’s Old Town. If visiting with friends, there are some gorgeous villas inside the walled city, see lots more in this post:

Read: The best places to stay in Croatia



How to get there?

Dubrovnik can be reached direct from Dublin airport with Aer Lingus and Ryanair, and from Cork airport with Aer Lingus.

Read my top tips on discovering Dubrovnik

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3. Stay at the Splendido Hotel, Portofino

Best hotels in Europe - Splendido Hotel, Portofino

We had a pleasure of  staying at the Splendido Hotel for an overnight escape about 20 years ago, and it is still one of my top travel experiences. It is one of the world’s best hotels and it also happens to be located in one the most idyllic locations in Italy.


Set on a hillside overlooking the bay and colourful buildings of Portofino, the Splendido not only offers outstanding service and lavish furnishings, but it is less than 10 minutes walk from the pretty harbour and its multi-million Euro yachts.

Splendido Mare, is its little sister, which is more reasonably priced and is located in the harbour. Guests have also access to facilities of the Splendido hotel, and a complimentary shuttle connects the two properties.



How to get there?

Ryanair have announced direct flights to Genoa this winter, so there has never been a better time to visit. Transfer time from the airport to Portofino by car is approximately 40 minutes, which makes it an ideal destination for luxury short breaks.

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4. Book a villa holiday in the Algarve


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Sometimes special occasions are best celebrated with friends or family, and a villa holiday in the Algarve is a great way to do it. Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago are the most popular areas for villa holidays, however look to the resorts of Alvor and Lagos if you prefer a more low-key vibe. 


Villa Casa Aggi is a luxurious detached villa with a large outdoor pool and bright modern interiors. It is only 15 minutes walk to the superb Meia Praia beach, and a short drive from the historical town of Lagos, which has a great selection of shops, bars and restaurants.



How to get there?

Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly regularly from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Ireland West airports. Transfer times vary depending on the resort you choose. 

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Search Casa Aggi here


Search Vale do Lobo


You will find these and lots more in this post:

Read: 25 luxury villas in Portugal to inspire your next trip away



5. Stay at a Château in St Emilion, France

Saint-Emilion, France

Combining wine tasting with a stay in a French Château is my idea of the perfect luxury short break. There are several wine tasting trails to choose from – the Alsace and Loire Valley trails are probably the most famous, but the picturesque villages and charming Châteaux on the Bordeaux trail took my breath away.


We stayed near the UNESCO World Heritage village of Saint-Emilion many years ago and loved it. The home of Pomerol, Margaux, as well as countless lesser known vineyards, this region is a little piece of heaven.

The Château Hôtel Grand Barrail is surprisingly good value, but for the ultimate bucket list experience check out the Hôtel de Pavie. Located in the heart of the village, this old stone building is steeped in history and boasts a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant. This hotel is on my Europe bucket list and I can’t wait to stay there one day.

Read: Europe bucket list – my top 20 travel experiences in Europe



How to get there:

Fly direct to Bordeaux with Aer Lingus or Ryanair, or if time allows take the ferry so you can bring some wine back with you! Brittany Ferries sail from Rosslare and Cork to Cherbourg and Roscoff respectively, while Irish Ferries sail from Dublin to Cherbourg.

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View Château Grand Barrail 

View Hôtel de Pavie



6. Combine culture and sophistication in Istanbul

best luxury short breaks in Europe at Four Seasons Bosphorus Istanbul

Istanbul is a city that is on my own wish list. Where else can you visit Europe and Asia on one trip? As well as exploring the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar, its diverse cuisine and bustling nightlife is sure to please. 


There is only one place to stay if you are looking for a luxury short break for a special occasion and that’s the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus. As the name suggests, its idyllic location on the banks of the Bosphorus ensures epic views of Europe and Asia from morning till night.


What was once a 19th century Ottoman palace, this hotel combines historical architecture with lavish decor beautifully. With an indoor and outdoor heated pool, as well as a garden with spacious terrace, you may forget you are in a city hotel at all. If you can manage to tear yourself away from its beautiful surroundings, you can take the hotel shuttle bus or a water taxi to the old town.

How to get there?

Turkish Airlines fly regularly to Istanbul from Dublin airport. Transfer times by taxi to Four Seasons Hotel at the Bosphorus is 35 minutes.

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7. Celebrate in style in Ibiza 

Best luxury short breaks in Ibiza

Contrary to what you might think, Ibiza is not just for 18-30 year olds. If you are looking for luxury short breaks in top class hotels with celebrity-style hangouts, Ibiza is where it’s at. Party all night in the chic Ibiza Town or catch the best sunset in the original sunset bar, Café del Mar.


The adult-only Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel is the most popular for those looking for lively celebrations, while the Robert de Niro-owned Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay is ideal for those who want to be away from the hustle and bustle, and also like to enjoy great food. The latter is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels in the World.

Read: My top picks for a girls weekend away



How to get there?

Ryanair fly regularly to Ibiza during the summer months and transfer times by taxi to Ushuaia and Nobu Hotel is only 6 minutes and 15 minutes respectively.

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View Ushuaia here


View Nobu Hotel



8. Take the Orient Express from London to Venice

orient express bucket list holidays

The legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is the most famous train journey in the world. Step back in time to the 1920’s and enjoy top quality dining and superb service in a unique setting.


London to Venice is the most iconic journey, and what better way to complete this Europe bucket list holiday than a stay at the famous Cipriani Hotel Venice, with a Gondola ride thrown in for good measure.

Read: The top things to do in Venice and where to stay

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9. Book an Eiffel Tower room in Paris

Eiffel Tower Room at Le Walt Hotel, Paris

You can never go wrong with a weekend in Paris. With numerous daily flights and inexpensive airfares, Paris is one of those cities that you can fly off to at a moment’s notice! Take a cruise on the Seine, stroll around the pretty streets of Montmartre, and shop till you drop at Galeries Lafayette.


However, a special occasion, deserves something a little more special. Why not book an Eiffel Tower room at Le Walt, or if money is no object, book a suite at the Shangri-La.

Read: My Paris travel guide, the top things to do in Paris and where to stay

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10. Book a luxury suite in Santorini

a cave stay in Santorini is on every Europe bucket list

The popularity of Santorini was taken up a notch over the last few years with the introduction of direct flights from Dublin. There many different accommodation choices to choose from if planning luxury short breaks for a special occasion. 


Many hotels are built into the caves which lead out to a private jacuzzi, where you can enjoy the stunning sunsets and Caldera views. 


The Aliko Luxury Suites tick all these boxes and more. Aliko Suites have luxury written all over them, from the beautifully furnished domed area to the large private terrace with comfortable loungers. They also offer a pillow menu, bathrobe, slippers and a fully stocked mini bar.


Another alternative, if you can manage to get availability, is a favourite with Celebrities – Cavo Tagoo. All modern suites here include either a hot tub or a private pool, and the hotel can arrange boat trips and private cruises to explore the rest of the island.

However, if you prefer a self catering option, I have some gorgeous Airbnbs in this post:

Read 10 amazing Airbnbs in Santorini – caves, windmills and private pools

How to get there:

Fly directly to Santorini with Aer Lingus or Ryanair and take taxi or transfer to your hotel.

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Aliko Suites here 

Cavo Tagoo here 



11. Stay in a Glass Igloo at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland

Glass Igloo at Kakslauttanen with the Northern Lights.

Not all special occasion holidays need to include sunshine or city breaks. A stay in the iconic glass igloos at Kakslauttanen Arctic is sure to tick more than one item off your Europe bucket list. Its location places you in a prime position for viewing the Aurora Borealis.


Although this natural phenomenon can never be guaranteed, the location of Kakslauttanen, 250km north of the Arctic Circle in Finland’s Lapland, means the odds are certainly in your favour.


The Glass Igloos offer a memorable opportunity to watch the magic come to life through the thermal glass. But if you’re staying for a few nights, I would recommend having a look at the Kelo-Glass Igloos which combine the cosy amenities of a log cabin, including private sauna and fireplace, with the spectacular glass roof above the bedroom.

The Glass Igloos at Kakslauttanen are on every Europe bucket list

The best time for viewing the northern lights is from September to March, and the winter months offer an array of exciting snow activities such as husky safari, cross country skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling. A short stay in an igloo in Lapland is one of the best luxury short breaks for special occasion holidays.

Read: How to see the Northern Lights through your own glass igloo



How to get there:

Fly via Helsinki to Ivalo Airport. Kakslauttanen Resort is located 38km from the airport and can be reached either by taxi or car rental.

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12. Relax at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Iceland is an ideal destination for luxury short breaks from Ireland, but if you want to make your trip even more memorable, book a stay at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon. This exclusive suite hotel is nestled into the stark volcanic landscape and encircled by the mineral rich waters of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon.


During your stay you can gain unlimited access to the Retreat Spa, the Retreat Lagoon, the Blue Lagoon, and Blue Lagoon Ritual. Enjoy unique spa experiences such as an in-water massage, the steam cave, or beauty treatments using the Mineral-rich geothermal Blue Lagoon water.


The views through the large glass windows in each of the suites offers a dramatic scene of moss-covered lava fields, and the interior décor compliments the outside beautifully.

The time of year you visit will also determine the dramatically changing landscape, and who knows, if you’re lucky enough, you might even be treated to a display of the Northern Lights.

Read: Top things to do in Iceland



How to get there

Fly direct to Reykjavik airport with Icelandair or Play Airlines from Dublin airport. The Blue Lagoon Retreat is located 37km from the airport and can be reached either by taxi or car rental.

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13. Book a room with a view in Venice

luxury short breaks in Venice

The unique floating city of Venice is one of best destinations for luxury short breaks. There are so many iconic sights, that simply wandering around its streets and canals will captivate you. However, sipping a latte on St Mark’s Square and taking a gondola ride through the canals have to be done too! 


There are many luxury hotels to choose from – the St Regis is probably the best but expect a price tag to match. The legendary Danieli Hotel can often be reasonably priced despite its superb location and five-star rating. Its three buildings date back to the 14th, 19th, and 20th centuries, and are connected by covered bridges.

Read: Top things to do in Venice and where to stay



How to get there

Venice can be reached from Dublin airport with Aer Lingus and Ryanair, and from Cork airport with Ryanair.

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View Danieli here


View St Regis here



14. Go 5-Star in the South of France

luxury short breaks in the South of France

The South of France is the sophisticated choice for luxury short breaks. Nice is a good option as it has a gorgeous old town, a long sandy beach and is located just 7km from the airport.


For the ultimate bucket-list experience, check-in to to the famous Le Negresco Hotel on Promenade des Anglais. This 100 year old Belle Époque palace is a landmark in the city, and has housed many guests including Queen Elizabeth II, Grace Kelly and James Dean.

Antibes is also a favourite with the rich and famous, and the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is often referred to as one of the best hotels in the world.


The train hugs the coast so take time to visit Cannes, St Tropez or even Monaco, and if  you really want to splash out you can go by boat. Although hotel prices can be expensive, airfares to Nice are usually good value, and dining out is not as expensive as you may think.



How to get there?

Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly regularly from Dublin to Nice. Use the super tram service from the airport, or hop in a taxi and you will be at your hotel in minutes.

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Le Negresco


Hotel Cap Eden Roc



15. Stay in a Cave in the ancient city of Matera, Italy


Matera is not only visually stunning, but staying inside an ancient cave in a luxury hotel is a unique experience. It is one of Europe’s most fascinating cities and is a great choice for luxury short breaks for special occasion holidays. 


The 4-star Palazzo Del Duca Luxury Hotel is one of the most popular hotels in Matera. The deluxe junior suite comes with an arched entry, and a fully marble bathroom with the shower inside a natural cave.

For a special occasion check out the unique 5-star Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort, which is made up of 21 historic dwellings. Find out how to get there, and why I think it deserves a place on this list of luxury short breaks in this post:

Read: A magical weekend in Matera – Italy’s best kept secret

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16. Laze at Lani Suites Lanzarote

Luxury short breaks in Lanzarote at Lani's Suites

If you are looking for luxury short breaks in the winter time, and fancy some sunshine, then look no further than the five-star Lani Suites in Lanzarote. This adult-only boutique resort has just 25 luxury suites with seaviews, and the hotel has direct access to the beach.

Read: Why Lanzarote is my favourite Canary Island



How to get there?

There are regular flights from Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports with Aer Lingus and Ryanair. Just let Lani’s Suites know when you are arriving and they will arrange a complimentary airport transfer for you.

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17. Ski in Switzerland

luxury short breaks in Switzerland

If a ski holiday is your way of celebrating in style, this luxury chalet might just do the trick. It is superbly located, with ski-in ski-out accommodation during the winter, less than ten minutes walk to the centre of Zermatt and just 150 meters from the ski bus station. With two bedrooms a sauna, an outdoor jacuzzi and a large heated terrace, it is the perfect choice for luxury short breaks with friends or family.

Read: Luxury Airbnbs in Europe to inspire your next vacation

See more here 



Luxury Short Breaks Outside Europe


18. Book a weekend in New York


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New York is one of those cities that even if you have visited before, it is still a super choice to mark a special occasion. There are always new attractions opening up, and there is so much to see and do in the city that never sleeps.

Read: Top things to do in New York


I have lots of accommodation options in this post, including the iconic Plaza Hotel, but New York is the type of place that no matter where you stay, you are guaranteed to find an iconic location to celebrate in style. 

Read: My ultimate guide on where to stay in New York




19. Holiday like a Celebrity in Dubai


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Love it or hate it, Dubai is a great destination to celebrate a special occasion. Everything in Dubai is bigger and better than anywhere else! There are countless luxury hotels to choose from as well as some bucket-list experiences. Cruise around Dubai on a luxury yacht, enjoy a dining experience at the Burj Al Arab Hotel, or try a hot air balloon ride over the Arabian desert. 


Depending on your own individual style, choose Atlantis, The Palm for some fun aqua adventures, the Address Dubai Marina to be close to Dubai’s vibrant nightlife, or Nikki Beach Resort for a short break away with the girls. 

Read: Top 10 things to do in Dubai

Read: Top tips for a family holiday in Dubai

Atlantis, The Palm
Address Dubai Marina
Nikki Beach Resort
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20. Marvel at Niagara Falls

luxury short breaks to Niagara Falls

It may surprise you to know that Niagara Falls is located just 90 minutes from Toronto, and with daily flights from Dublin it is easily accessible for a luxury short break.


You can choose to stay in Toronto and book a day-trip to Niagara, or book a hotel overlooking the Falls for the complete bucket-list experience. Another option is to book a two-centre holiday – a few nights in Toronto followed by a night or two at Niagara.

There are many great hotels in Toronto including the Four Seasons and the Shangri-La, but when it comes to Niagara Falls, it is vital you book a hotel with a Falls View room.

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I hope one of my luxury short breaks will help you plan a special trip away soon. Please note that hotel facilities are subject to change. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, where I  receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional charge to you. 


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