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“Special” is an overused adjective. People often say that they want to go somewhere special or unique for their honeymoon, anniversary or annual holiday. But then they end up at a typical beach resort or standard bed-and-breakfast in a historic village or in wine country. There is nothing wrong with these types of venues, especially if you have had good experiences at a particular place in the past. Of course you will want to return so that you can try to relive those good times. However, if you want to go somewhere truly special - somewhere that is unlike anywhere else on earth - these three destinations are for you....

Hidden Five-Star Hotels

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First, however, we have to mention that the trait that makes these places so special is their location. All three are characterized by iconic, untouched landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. But there is also another very important element: at least one of the resorts or hotels in each of these destinations has two major ingredients: style and luxury. Your "adventure in uniqueness" won’t have to include pitching a tent or foregoing any sort of comfort whatsoever.

Here are the three best places for a perfectly unique vacation.

Mount Etna, Sicily

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Sicily might not be as accessible as the other regions of Italy, but it draws some tourists with its nature, Old World charms and iconic sights. The most iconic is Mount Etna. This volcano is still active and is arguably the most recognizable Italian attraction south of Rome. Many tourists come to Italy's second-largest island just to see the volcano.

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For a more immersive experience, you can stay right on the slopes of the famed peak. Monaci della Terre Nere is a renovated 19th century estate with classic stone architecture, balconies, gardens and plenty of style. You can see Etna while surrounded by the boutique hotel's own olive groves, vineyards and herb gardens. Also, because of its slope-side location, it is possible to see all the way down to the Mediterranean from Monaci's grounds.

Big Island, Hawaii

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The island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, is the state's largest land mass, but it is less crowded than its more-popular neighbors, Oahu and Maui. The northern part of Hawaii is a kind of tropical island Eden where nature and tradition are still alive and thriving. You won't find massive resorts here, but you will find plenty of fruit plantations and farms.

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One of these historic estates has been turned into Hawaii's most unique resort. The Puakea Ranch features four bungalows, spread out on a large plantation property. The resort sits at about 400 feet of elevation, meaning that guests can watch the rugged coastline while they are surrounded by the quaintly charming inland landscapes. Though the four bungalows have been renovated, they still retain the same atmosphere that made them so attractive in their heyday.

Lord Howe Island, Australia

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Lord Howe Island sits in the Tasman Sea between mainland Australia and New Zealand. This remote land has stunning ocean vistas and beautiful seaside cliffs. Lord Howe is known as a place of "perpetual spring." Throughout the year, temperatures only move a few degrees. It is almost always between 20 degrees C (68 degrees F) and 25 degrees C ( 77 degrees F). The best place to stay on the island is the Capella Lodge. Designed so that guests are surrounded by amazing views, the Lodge, which only has nine suites, puts you in the middle of an untouched paradise. Capella's gourmet restaurant, full menu of spa treatments and modern decor make it feel like an urban five-star hotel on the inside. On the outside, however, is the remote splendor of Lord Howe Island.


These are stand-out examples of remote vacation venues, but they are not alone in their uniqueness. You can find this style of one-of-a-kind venue all over the world. Browse Venuelust to see what else is out there.

Your turn

What characteristics should a one-of-a-kind vacation venue have? Use the comments section to share your thoughts with us and our readers.