Escape the crowds at these four luxury properties – USA TODAY

Dave Stamboulis  |  Special to USA TODAY 10Best

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With the “new normal” changing the way we travel, opportunities can be a bit more limited, not to mention that travelers are becoming more discerning, often opting for more private and personal stays. Hotels and resorts may no longer be just a place to stay, but actually a destination in and of themselves.

With this in mind, here are some once-in-a-lifetime destinations from which to pamper yourself silly, truly escape the crowds and perhaps even actually enjoy being “locked down.”

North Lodge at Coworth Park – Ascot, U.K.

Part of the Dorchester Collection, the North Lodge at Coworth Park features a private restored gatehouse cottage set in an idyllic country garden, set just a stone’s throw down the road from Heathrow Airport. The property here has an illustrious history, built in 1776 for a merchant of the East India Company, later occupied for three generations by aristocrats, and then home to Lord Stanley for 50 years before being restored and turned into an elegant and refined stay.

This prestigious home is suitable for a large family or group of friends, and boasts three en-suite bedrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen and a roll-top copper bathtub, along with a beautiful private garden to picnic or barbecue in. Throw in personal spa treatments in your own room or a private chef for a masterclass and you’ve got all the trappings of royalty.

Beverly Hills Hotel – Beverly Hills, California

The Beverly Hills Hotel predates Los Angeles, built in 1912 as a place for people to stay while looking for property in the yet-to-be city. Its Polo Lounge and swimming pool became fixtures on the Hollywood star and deal-makers scene, and now the legendary hotel has been restored to feature 23 private and exclusive bungalows, designed to feature elements inspired by their most renowned guests, such as Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Howard Hughes.

If you opt for Bungalow 1, this was Marilyn’s fave, and the elegant trappings even come with a library of her films and books. This bungalow features a gold-leafed ceiling, sumptuous soft linens, curved silhouettes and, perhaps most befitting a Hollywood prima donna, a champagne bubble bath and Chanel N°5 amenities in the marble-floored bathroom.

You can also opt for exploring Los Angeles with a Ride and Seek experience, where a car key for a Bentley GTC Mulliner Edition, the evolution of Marilyn’s prized ’56 Thunderbird, is hidden somewhere in the bungalow. Those in need of a clue to its whereabouts can receive one in exchange for a charity donation of $250, which will benefit the Covenant House, a non-profit organization that assists over 4,700 youth affected by homelessness each year.

Villa del Lago – Lake Como, Italy

For the perfect lakeside escape, why not head to Italy and settle in at serene Lake Como, where the Mandarin Oriental’s Villa del Lago offers you a three-bedroom villa spread out over four floors. The villa here comes with a verdant garden, a terrace with an open-air whirlpool tub and a private dock to go with the enchanting lake views. Both kids and adults are catered to with a games room, table football and wet bar, and there is even a library with a fireplace to go along with the private kitchen and almost 4,000 square feet of living space.

Villa del Lago is set in a centuries-old botanical park, and besides the luxurious personal trappings, the resort offers lakeside dining, spa treatments and even private bespoke experiences, such as renting a vintage 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta, boating on the lake, learning how to mix the perfect Negroni or even bake a real Neapolitan pizza. Stay any longer and you’ll be a dapper local in no time.

Kocatas Mansion Suite – Istanbul, Turkey

History and hospitality combine with luxury where East meets West at the Six Senses’ striking Kocatas Mansion Suite. It’s set in the prestigious Sariyer district on Istanbul’s European side, overlooking the famed Bosphorus as it heads toward its final curve into the Black Sea. The Kocatas Mansion was built in the Ottoman era and named after its former owner, who was the Minister of Justice and founder of Kocatas Water.

The suite here features Ottoman interior design and includes high ceilings, a working fireplace, mesmerizing wall murals, a tub in the marble bathroom and even modern amenities like Marshall speakers and a Smart TV. Best of all, you get your own private GEM, Guest Experience Maker, who looks after you throughout your stay. It may be hard to tear yourself away from the dreamy Bosphorus views and personalized service, but the rest of Istanbul also does await.

Whether it be Asia, Europe or the Americas, these world-class suites in once-in-a-lifetime destinations are sure to fill a few travel fantasies and cravings, get you away from the crowds and assure some well needed escape and rest.

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