Last Minute Holiday Getaways (with Availability)—and What to Pack
This late in the season, spontaneity is tough, but not impossible. Here, we’ve rounded up trusted destinations—each is a manageable drive or direct flight from a major city—that still have availability.
Let’s be honest, there’s no better way to start the New Year than with a tan.
28500 Overseas Hwy., Little Torch Key, FL | 800.343.8567
Lush tropical plants tower over the thatched-roof bungalows on the private white sand beach of this luxury resort on Little Palm Island. No phones, TVs, or kids under 16 make it a romantic, secluded retreat with not much else to do besides lounge or learn how to deep sea fish or sky dive. The resort’s SpaTerre offers delicious sounding treatments inspired by the area, like coconut sugar scrubs and margarita-infused pedicures. They also offer massages on the beach for optimal relaxation.
Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 7 Mz 10, Punta Ballena, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.145.6400
This is a big, classic-style resort done well (it is an Auberge, after all), with an especially remarkable spa—we were particularly into the Four Hands Two Hearts massage. It’s definitely a place to be pampered—from the time you are greeted by a personal concierge at the resort with a house margarita to days spent by the pool, where intermittent mini massages, chilled bottles of water, and frozen fruit sticks are given without asking. The clifftop location on Punta Ballena (“Whale Point”)—between two private beaches overlooking the Sea of Cortez—is dramatic and stunning, especially in winter months when you can watch the humpback whales migrate past. The casitas and suites are as luxe as to be expected from an Auberge property but with muted colors and soft, natural handwoven rugs and blankets, and Mexican artwork.
State Road, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico | 787.809.8000
Despite the name, the tropical rainforest this resort is set inside is the bigger draw. This is a place to come if you’re into guided tours through the forest led by local marine biologists, a bird sanctuary, bike paths, etc. Kids can hang out in the Iguana Club if they don’t want to trek. It has all the upscale amenities you’d expect from a St. Regis property, including their signature butler service (they unpack your bags), a Remède Spa, an oceanfront golf course, and good food.
Agios Stefanos, 23070 Monemvasia, Peloponnese, Greece | +30.27320.66300
Step back in time and settle into a restored Byzantine mansion on an 18-acre estate perched overlooking the castle rock of Monemvasia in East Peloponnese, Greece. Log some serious hours in the Ottoman-style Hammam and try treatments that incorporate local olive oil, honey, and ingredients derived from grapes or fill your schedule with activities like hiking, biking, and wine tasting—depending on the time of year, you can even join the grape or olive harvest efforts. Or, there’s also the very appealing idea of just doing nothing at all.
Carretera Federal Cancún Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico | +52.984.875.8000
Rosewood Mayakoba is a huge resort that’s very well run and well-manicured. You’re surrounded by water, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and freshwater lagoons on the other, which you traverse by boat to get around. It’s very family friendly here, with a bunch of pools and a kids club. It’s hard to get a bad room as they’re all villas—private plunge pools, sun decks and outdoor showers come with each. Also, people come for the top-notch golf course, where they host the only PGA event in Mexico. While we generally don’t love a massive resort, this place does it right.
Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit, Mexico | +52.329.291.6000
There’s not a lot to complain about here. Tucked along Mexico’s stunning Riviera Nayarit, this big-ish resort offers multiple pools, multiple private beaches, one of the Four Season’s fabled clubs for kids, and access to some of Mexico’s best snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing. There’s also whale watching in Banderas Bay and a great spa, as well as plenty of locally-sourced seafood and Mexican fare on the menu.
Think light: sandals, swimsuits, a few beach-to-bar separates.
Applique Top goop, $395
ANN TAYLOR Metallic
Tassel Necklace Ann Taylor, $69.50
- MIU MIU Sunglasses Miu Miu, $360
Printed Bikini Top Net-a-Porter, $110
Printed Bikini Briefs Net-a-Porter, $90
Straw Hat Madewell, $42
ANN TAYLOR Elephant
Charm Bracelet Ann Taylor, $49.50
- K JACQUES Caravelle Sandal goop, $300
Jersey Pant III goop, $130
Normandy Blouse goop, $198
Mini Industry Bucket Bag goop, $295
- LOEFFLER RANDALL Miki Lace-Up goop, $250
THE ROW Ilma Ribbed
Cashmere Sweater Net-a-Porter, $1,420
Mineral Sunscreen for
Body, Broad Spectrum
SPF 30 goop, $24
THE SLEEP SHIRT
Sleeveless Shirt Top
and Pleat Short Set goop, $295
FLAGPOLE SWIM Kelly
Rash Guard Net-a-Porter, $450
Melissa Dress with
Flower Embroidery goop, $1,300
EDDIE HARROP The Voyager
Textured-Leather Weekend Bag Net-a-Porter, $1,235
For some, it’s not really winter without the promise a crackling fire and a flurry.
6490 Andermatt, Switzerland | +41.0.433.446.290
Though it’s still relatively new, this five-star Swiss chalet has already gained a pretty impressive reputation as one of the best hotels in Europe. It takes no more than two hours to get here from Zurich or Milan, but the picturesque ski-town locale is just remote enough to feel worlds away. The “Asian-Alpine” vibe (wood-paneled walls, dim lighting, soaring ceilings) is the doing of architect Jean-Michel Gathy and feels refreshingly cool rather than overdone. Each of the 105 iPad-controlled rooms has its very own fireplace, cashmere throws, and a sprawling bath stocked with Aqua di Parma products. It’s the ideal spot for skiing (and après-ski), snow-boarding, and other snow-centric activities in the adorable town, like figure skating and sledding. The spa—it’s more of a separate wellness compound, really—is home to Finnish saunas, a gorgeous swimming pool, steam baths, and a lengthy treatment menu. Stop by the massive humidor cheese room or wander the spectacular wine library before hitting up the larger of the two on-site eateries for a stellar assortment of traditional Asian, European, and Swiss fare (we hear the daily breakfast spread is no joke). The 40-seat sushi restaurant offers a deep Japanese beer menu to round out a meal of super fresh sushi, sashimi, and tempura.
9100 Marsac Avenue, Park City, UT | 435.604.1300
In true Montage form, there is nothing understated about this palatial resort nestled in the Utah mountains. While the main event is obviously on the slopes, there’s plenty for those who aren’t inclined to strap on skis (or want to recover from a yard sale on the mountain). The spa is great, there’s a kid’s club for little ones who are cold-averse, and there’s snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice skating on the roster of activities.
1535 NE Butte Rd., Jackson, WY | 307.734.7333
Aman resorts are known for impeccable service and some of the most stunning (and remote) locations in the world—no big surprise, but this one fits the mold perfectly. Set into a butte overlooking Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons, it’s a pretty ideal venue for skiing, though during warmer months, it offers great hiking, rafting, and horseback riding, where you might happen upon deer, bald eagles, and even black bears. It also has an excellent spa. If you come in the summer, pack jeans, a cowboy hat, and boots for horseback riding, along with hiking boots and river gear. Because the views of the Rocky mountains and the plains below are the focal point, all 29 suites are decorated in neutral tones that won’t distract you from the outdoors. Along with decks and outdoor seating, each suite features a daybed in the bedroom, and a soaking tub that’s positioned next to floor-to-ceiling windows. Don’t skip out on the heated outdoor infinity pool overlooking the surrounding plains. Keep in mind that Amangani is also within striking distance of Yellowstone National Park.
25790 Peramola, Lleida, Spain | +34.973.470.266
Mother Nature blessed this idyllic little corner of Catalonia with rugged mountain ranges, lush greenery, and plenty of open space for all manner of outdoor activities (in the winter there’s bird watching and snowshoeing, and you’re a short drive to the Pyrenees’ cozy ski resorts). But more than anything, it’s the on-site restaurant—specializing in traditional Catalan cuisine—that has travelers booking return stays upon checkout at this family-owned hotel. (The land has been in the Pallares family since 1763). Though not particularly memorable, the guest rooms are spacious and come with all the modern amenities needed for a comfortable stay. But the truth is, with so much to explore you won’t be spending much awake time indoors.
452 Royalton Turnpike, Barnard, VT | 802.234.9999
Originally a country home for journalist, Dorothy Thompson and her novelist husband Sinclair Lewis, this adults-only, all-inclusive luxury hotel still has the feel of a bohemian writer’s retreat. Woodsy, outdoor activities including cycling, canoeing, and picnicking (skiing in the winter) are all on offer. Indoors, Twin Farms’ art collection, which includes pieces from David Hockney and Jasper Johns, is outstanding. You’ll find 10 individually themed cottages dotted throughout the Vermont forest, which means that you might end up in a fisherman’s lodge, or a Moroccan respite with mosaics and a tented ceiling. Meanwhile, the chef prepares a fresh, set menu daily, and consults you on your preferences before you arrive. The customized meals and wine pairings are part of the all-inclusive package. You can eat at the Main House, or in your cottage. Take Note: This is a special place for a romantic getaway, not for kids.
109 River Birch Ln., Hawley, PA | 570.685.8500
It’s not unusual (or frowned upon) to spend the entire day in a bathrobe at this modern lodge in the Poconos, as the focus here is on the spa. Along with its 27 treatment rooms, there are saunas, steam rooms, soaking pools, and even a high-tech “hydro massage water wall” for working out any remaining kinks. And for those who don’t naturally gravitate to the massage table, there are exercise classes throughout the day along with hiking, biking, and fly fishing in the lodge’s secluded surroundings.
When warmth is priority #1, a suitcase stuffed with heavy knits, no-nonsense layers, and ski gear that works just as well on the slopes as off is your best bet.
THE ELDER STATESMAN
Bunny Echo Ribbed
Cashmere Beanie Net-a-Porter, $250
OAKLEY Flight Deck
(Asia Fit) Oakley, $180
Shelter Hoodie Aether, $265
Session GoPro, $199.99
THE SHARPER IMAGE
Reusable Hand Warmers
(Set of 2) Bed Bath & Beyond, $9.99
Sweater Tory Burch, $250
Out and About
Boots Madewell, $110
- AETHER Vertex Aether, $375
Ski Mittens Net-a-Porter, $190
Riot Facemask Burton, $34.95
Aran Turtleneck goop, $975
Waffle Henley L.L.Bean, $49
- FILSON Duffle Filson, $285
Slouch Jean goop, $250
Zora Sneaker goop, $295
UNIQLO Women Heattech
Knee High Socks Uniqlo, $12.90
BANJO & MATILDA
Beach Pants goop, $350
- DE MAMIEL Altitude Oil goop, $44
The bigger cities, New York, Paris, and London in particular, are magical this time of year (and the tree in Rock Center stays up until well after New Years).
Palazzo Papadopoli, Calle Tiepolo 1364, Sestiere San Polo, Venice, Italy | +39.041.270.7333
Sited on the Grand Canal, the just opened Palazzo Papadopoli-turned-Aman-resort looks hands-down insane: Built in the 16th century, it’s surrounded on both sides by gardens, and topped by ceilings painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. All in, it’s clearly a total once-in-a-lifetime hotel.
Lehendakari Leizaola 29, Bilbao, Spain | +34.94.428.0000
Melia Bilbao takes up prime real estate in the center of Bilbao, walking distance from the Guggenheim Museum and the breathtaking Doña Casilda park. Its jewel tone-dipped guest rooms are furnished with modern elements and make for the ideal five-star home base from which to explore all that Basque Country has to offer. But even more impressive than the the hotel’s sculptural interiors is its in-house restaurant, Aizian. Chef José Miguel Olazabalaga’s traditional Basque menu has earned him high praise from foodies and a Michelin star. For those seeking a more chill atmosphere, head to Q lounge for tapas and cocktails.
Avenida Presidente Masaryk 390A, Polanco | +52.55.3300.3900
At this 35 room boutique hotel, the international design firm Yabu Pushelberg has done an outstanding job of tastefully incorporating Mexican motifs into a contemporary setting, beginning with a stunning spiral rosewood staircase leading from reception into the hotel’s breakfast room and spa. Each of the rooms and apartment-like suites feature this same attention to detail when it comes to decor, with custom-made furnishings, luxurious marble bathrooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout. In keeping with the hotel’s recurring theme of tastefully incorporating Mexican tropes, the spa features a menu of massages and treatments featuring indigenous ingredients and ancient practices. In addition to that, it’s also home to two great restaurants, Anatol and Dulce Patria, which is among the best city restaurants serving up contemporary Mexican cuisine.
35 E. 76th St., Upper East Side | 212.744.1600
Open for business since 1930, The Carlyle is just a few blocks from Central Park and Museum Mile. And you can’t check-out without stopping for a drink in the Bemelmans Bar, which has murals painted by Ludwig Bemelmans, the author of the Madeline series. This is one of the best hotels in the world in terms of service, décor, comfort, and amenities.
25 Avenue Montaigne, 8th | +220.127.116.11.66.65
After procuring three adjacent buildings, The Hotel Plaza Athenée just underwent a significant expansion: Marie-José Pommereau, who undertook the hotel’s Royal Suite renovation in 2012 (i.e., Paris’s most expensive stay, at €20,000 per night), oversaw a majority of the update.
33 Park Lane, Mayfair | +44.20.7629.8888
In addition to the exquisite floral displays, large, luxurious rooms with views of Hyde Park, and a range of dining options, The Dorchester is one of our favorites for high tea in London, as it has a full-on traditional English feel.
When exploring a city on foot, versatility is key, meaning pieces that can be easily peeled off and outfits that go from day to night with a simple shoe swap.
Coat Matches Fashion, $932
WHITE + WARREN
Plush Rib Beanie goop, $132
LE SPECS Jealous Games
Cat-Eye Acetate Sunglasses Net-a-Porter, $70
Cotton-Chambray Shirt Net-a-Porter, $220
Gold-Plated Cuff Net-a-Porter, $785
Pearl Jacket Club Monaco, $90
Poplin Blouse Matches Fashion, $382
WHITE + WARREN
Swirl Travel Wrap goop, $330
Skinny Jean goop, $200
3.1 PHILLIP LIM Pashli
Mini Satchel goop, $750
Suitcase Bloomingdale’s, $675
Binx Flatform goop, $490
VALENTINO X GOOP
Printed Tee Shirt goop, $950
ZARA Tuxedo Style
Blazer Zara, $99.90
NILI LOTAN Paris Pant
Italian Stretch Twill goop, $345
- NINE WEST Fiana Nine West, $89
Strapless Jumpsuit goop, $645
Cardigan Jumper goop, $1,065
- ILIA LIPSTICKgoop, $26
These retreats are within driving distance of a big city—perfect for those hoping for a quiet NYE.
572 N. Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA | 760.969.1800
Situated just off Palm Springs’ main drag, this Moorish-themed hotel revolves around the main pool (it’s a good pool). It’s kind of a party hotel, but in a nice way, which means that while there’s generally always a scene, it’s not particularly loud and the hotel itself is really nice. While not officially kids-free, you won’t see any Swimmies in the pool. The Moroccan-themed restaurant, The Purple Palm, is excellent. It’s named for The Purple Gang, a primarily Jewish group of mobsters from the ’30s (Al Meriweather, one of the original members, built the resort in 1936 as their clubhouse, which included a secret, underground lair).
5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, CA | 858.756.1123
This is California’s only Relais & Châteaux property—a recent $30 million dollar renovation includes an immaculate spa with high-end, organic, wellness focused treatments (facials with Spirulina, sea salt/olive oil scrubs before your massage), a manicured 45 acres of gardens with hiking trails, complimentary Porsches to take for spins around the horse ranch rich San Dieguito Valley, and, of course, the rooms. The 49 casitas are stocked with amenities (private outdoor jacuzzis, free mini bars) and the kind of small details that elevate any stay. There are lots of activities for kiddos, too, as well as fitness-oriented wellness retreats.
Taplow, Berkshire | +44.1628.668561
This majestic, centuries-old estate—once owned by William Waldorf Astor—has just undergone a major two-year revamp and is now, more than ever, totally transporting and perfect for an overnight splurge (it’s really close to London). Everything from the long gravel driveway into the property, to the dark wood paneled interiors hung with distinguished guests’ portraits, feels cinematic and grand, though the easygoing service makes guests feel right at home. In keeping with the rest of the hotel, rooms are tastefully turned out in period furnishings, with all the amenities you’d expect of a Relais & Chateaux property. Weather permitting, don’t miss drinks on the terrace overlooking the manicured English gardens below and the woodlands that stretch all the way to the Thames.
301 Little Lane, Sedona, AZ | 928.282.1661
Get sucked into the energy vortex in Red Rock country’s lap of luxury. Head directly to L’Apothecary Spa where their therapists can create oils, salts, scrubs, and other skin and bodycare products at their herbal blending station full of herbs, flowers, and essences that could be the cure for what ails you (or at the very least, very, very relaxing). When you’re not at the spa, hang out in your creekside cabin or get cozy by the fireplace in the lodge. Be sure to take in the starry skies.
180 Rutherford Hill Rd., Rutherford | 707.963.1211
Set up on a hill above an endless—and undulating—vista of vineyards, Auberge du Soleil has been maintaining the luxury standard in Napa for 30 years. Though it’s since spawned two sister hotels (Solage and Calistoga Ranch), Auberge du Soleil is the reigning patriarch in Napa Valley, particularly when it comes to old-school indulgences and creature comforts (the other two spots are a bit more modern and laidback). Here, the cottage-like rooms are organized into private little villages (they all feature patios and terraces). With a Michelin Star, Auberge’s main, global-inflected restaurant draws a crowd that swells well beyond hotel guests—the Japanese breakfast is particularly dreamy. Don’t miss the spa: While hotel treatments often aren’t that great (particularly for their generally inflated price-tags), this was one of the best massages we’ve ever had, particularly because it was followed by a soak in the outdoor bathtub. Meanwhile, Quintessa Winery, one of our favorites, is just across the street.
Località Vicarello, 1, Poggi del Sasso, Italy | +39.0564.990447
Though it offers incredible views of the Tuscan countryside and an excellent spa, the 12th-century castle-turned-hotel is really about food. The owner, Aurora Baccheschi Berti, is a world-class chef who specializes in Northern Italian cuisine (check out her cookbook here). In addition to whipping up a daily breakfast spread she holds cooking classes (fresh pasta making, for example) using organic ingredients grown right on property. There’s also a working vineyard and an olive grove where you can witness the harvests firsthand.
The point of a country retreat is to keep things as low key as possible; snuggly onesies, flannels, and stretchy separates do just that.
GARRETT LEIGHT Dewey
Sunglasses Barneys, $315
RIVET & THREAD
in Harvey Plaid Madewell, $89.50
Diamond Heart Studs goop, $1,075
- CLUB MONACO Lopi Ski Club Monaco, $160
Fair Isle Socks Madewell, $28
Sweater goop, $875
AETHER W L/S Merino
Base Layer Crew Aether, $90
Ultra Silk Shadow
Print Legging Carbon38, $220
DE MAMIEL Winter
Facial Oil goop, $114
- KULE The Boyfriend Kule, $128
- APL Techloom Pro Sneaker Bandier, $160
ADIDAS BY STELLA MCCARTNEY
Ess Puffa Jacket Bandier, $320
- ANN TAYLOR Blanket Scarf Ann Taylor, $69.50
S’WELL Grey Stone Large
Stainless Steel Bottle East Dane, $45
Skinny Jeansgoop, $425
JOE FRESH Quilted
Winter Boots Joe Fresh, $69
Bag Shopbop, $118
Cashmere Jumper Club Monaco, $489
Olympia Soft Bra in Black Mode Sportif, $40
THE SLEEP SHIRT
Short Sleep Shirt goop, $265