14 Classic Escapes for Your Next Getaway, from Coast to Coast
When it comes to a quick getaway, we’re fans of looking at our own backyard for somewhere relaxing, but with a bit of nostalgia thrown in. Some of the country’s best stately resorts—The Breakers, The Greenbrier, and The Point, among them—have been around for decades but still manage to draw in visitors for their rich history, desirable location, and unfussy attention to detail. Here, our edit of historic properties across the US (plus one particularly solid choice in Bermuda), some recently refreshed, others who’ve aged more gracefully, but all intimate-feeling and inspiring, as any trip should be.
While the décor here definitely feels like an Ace, you’ll find none of the urban grunge of the New York location or the woods-y, hipster feel of the Portland and Seattle spots. The building itself is a 1928 art deco masterpiece in the Warehouse District, occupied by a Scandinavian furniture company for most of its existence, and now topped with a pool that’s open year round in the balmy, humid Southern weather here. The moody-but-elegant interiors are decorated (by no less than goop favorites Roman & Williams) in dark gem tones, with perfectly worn leather banquettes and thoughtful art deco accents. As this is an Ace, the restaurant is shaping up to be pretty great as well. Memphis food wizards Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, childhood best friends whose home-style Italian food is infused with a Southern kick, made it their first venture outside of Tennessee.
We’re always happy to check into The Beverly Hills Hotel, lovingly referred to as “the Pink Palace” when it opened in 1912. After all, it’s also home to the Fountain Coffee Room and Polo Lounge. At the latter, iconic banana-leaf wallpaper, latticed mirrors, and squishy banquettes are just the beginning of the appeal: It’s drawn a great crowd for decades, and the food stands up as well. Meanwhile, digging into a milkshake and grilled cheese at the counter at Fountain Coffee Room is one of LA’s most comforting thrills. Most recently, a quiet refresh resulted in a redesign of their beloved bungalows. Fans of the hotel’s golden era needn’t fret, though: Rooms are light-filled, done up in salmon, yellow, sea green, and shades of pink; there are the requisite tech upgrades, too, with flat-screen TVS, touchpad light and temperature controls, and beautiful new bathrooms. (Bungalow 8, dedicated to Elizabeth Taylor, has its own private pool, while Bungalow 22 features a piano—a homage to Frank Sinatra—as well as a patio with a fireplace for outdoor entertaining.)
Originally built in 1896 by railroad tycoon Henry Flagler, the Breakers is OG West Palm. Made up of one hundred and forty acres of prime beachfront, the impeccably manicured property has a real sense of history: the façade mimics an Italian villa, the lobby with its hand-painted fresco ceilings is based on the Great Hall of the Palazzo Carrega-Cataldi in Genoa, and the entryway fountain was inspired by one in a Florentine garden. Tony? Yes, but that’s the point. There are more than five hundred guest rooms on the property, and most recently they’ve opened The Flagler Club, a sort of hotel-within-the-hotel, which features just twenty-five guest rooms, is meant to feel more intimate than the rest of the property, like you’ve just checked into a friend’s guest house for the weekend. (Adam Tihany, who was responsible for The Beverly Hills Hotel, worked on the design.) The grounds are truly labyrinthine, too—with swimming pools, nine restaurants, two golf courses, and a spa. Take a break from the sun and duck into the newly revamped Ocean House, for a lobster sushi roll and the tuna poke bowl.
With an elaborate façade designed to resemble the Doge’s Palace in Venice, this Gothic landmark opened in time for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, offering a members-only respite for the Fair’s well-heeled (and athletically-inclined) visitors. The Chicago Athletic Association operated out of the building for more than a century, until the club closed in 2007—so it was a pretty big deal when design firm Roman and Williams stepped in to re-imagine the massive building as a slick 241-room hotel. Sport is still a prominent theme here, as evidenced by a tricked-out game room and walls of museum-quality athletic memorabilia. And while the stained glass windows, grand ballroom, and general clubbiness were left intact, the brass lighting fixtures and leather furniture (both in-room and throughout the hotel) are welcome additions. There’s also the sexy rooftop restaurant, Cindy’s, a Shake Shack, and three more places to eat and drink. Incidentally, the cozy library at Cindy’s is an excellent place to host a private event—it doesn’t feel at all like a corporate hotel space, and the views of Lake Michigan are jaw-dropping.
On the south shore of Paget Parish, the twenty-six-acre Coral Beach & Tennis Club, which dates back to 1948, is ripe with old Colonial charm and exudes a slow, easygoing pace. Access to the property is limited to members or friends of members, but well worth it for the experience if you can snag an invitation. Coral Beach Club, or CBC as repeat visitors call it, is the kind of place that feels unchanged by time, mostly in a good way: Cottages are quaint and feature a ceiling fan, wicker furniture, pink-and-green upholstered chairs, and chinoiserie. (A note: The bathrooms in many of the rooms could use a fresh coat of paint and an update.) The Beach Terrace, with its iconic yellow-and-white striped umbrellas, is just right for idling with a Dark ‘n’ Stormy in hand as golden hour approaches over the turquoise water and powder-pink sand. Service is warm and friendly, as that’s the Bermudian way, and much of the staff has grown up on the island. Old-fashioned dress code rules still apply—and are politely enforced: Gentleman are to wear blazer and ties with Bermuda shorts and knee socks to meals at the Coral Room; tennis whites are required on the club’s clay courts.
West Virginia’s White Sulphur Springs in the Allegheny Mountains have long attracted travelers to the Greenbrier. (Famous faces included the Vanderbilts, the Whitneys, Babe Ruth, and Bing Crosby.) Here, the rambling 710-room property, which was first built back in 1778, was decorated by the famed Dorothy Draper, whose bold and eccentric style (think: coordinating floral wall coverings and club chairs swathed in floral chintz, gilt furnishings, and black-and-white-marble floors), informs each visually explosive nook and cranny. On the property, there are five golf courses, a casino, clay tennis courts, a three-hundred-seat movie theater, and even a bowling alley to occupy littles. In addition to rejuvenating soaks, the spa menu is extensive, offering everything from a hot stone massage to a lymphatic-system stimulating body wrap.
The historic Jerome has been part of Aspen’s story since it opened as the town’s first hotel more than 120 years ago, selling rooms to silver prospectors for $3/night. Since then, it’s been ground zero for the Aspen social scene, the founding site for local movements including the Aspen Institute, the International Design Conference, and, importantly, the Aspen Ski Company. The hotel was purchased by Auberge in 2012, and though the brand expanded the building and updated the interior, the historic charm is firmly intact—starting with the casual, leather-bound J-Bar, the hotel’s downstairs watering hole that was famously a beloved hangout of everyone from 10th Mountain Division soldiers to Hunter S. Thompson, who used it as his official office when he ran for sheriff of Aspen. Now, the Jerome is also known for Auberge-style amenities like a gorgeously decorated bar, in-house ski rentals through Gorsuch, a luxe spa, and two full-service restaurants. As for the décor, it feels warm and stately, with deep greens, rich leathers, and western touches like plaid and vintage portraits throughout the rooms and public spaces. The location, perfectly situated between the base of Ajax and the river, is just the icing on the cake.
Perched on a private stretch of beach overlooking Little Narragansett Bay and Block Island, Ocean House has all the feel of a storybook New England, grand seaside hotel. While the property has been welcoming guests since the 1860’s, a much-needed renovation back in 2010 put the quintessentially East Coast retreat back on the map. It now houses forty-nine guest rooms and eighteen-suites (among them, the Narragansett Suite, which has its own full-kitchen, is well suited for big groups), each one with a soft palette of whites and blues, save for a floral or Ikat-swathed club chair. Many offer views of the Atlantic and include their own fireplace. Dining options are varied on the property—each one culls from the estate’s own vegetable and herb garden for fresh produce—including everything from New England brassiere-style dining at The Bistro to lobster boils and BBQs at the beachside Dune Cottage. Guests at Ocean House have access to the property’s thirty-two-foot wooden picnic boat (available for private charter and particularly great around sunset), as well as sea kayak and paddleboard rentals, too.
Originally built as a jail in 1851, the Liberty Hotel is one of Boston’s architectural landmarks, thanks to the fact that the dramatic space was reimagined by a team of designers and architects who collaborated closely with both historians and conservationists. So, despite its transformation in the 2000’s, much of the building remains unchanged, which sounds off-putting, but in person, the total effect actually feels strangely magnificent. The center of the hotel is a soaring, ninety-foot atrium; light spills in from all the interiors, and the hotel affords stunning city- and Charles-River-views. The wrought-iron work windows are still there; the catwalks are now elegant black iron-railing balconies, and the exercise yard a garden courtyard. For dinner, head to Scampo, helmed by Boston-based chef Lydia Shire, where she infuses Mediterranean flavors into her Italian dishes. (Also: homemade bread baked in a tandoor oven, and, wait for it, a mozzarella bar.) For a nightcap, head downstairs to Alibi, which previously served as a Charles Street jail’s historic “Drunk Tank,” and where now a cocktail menu includes strong drinks like the Gordon Gekko (rye, blood orange liqueur, orange bitters), plus a solid wine list.
The Mayflower Grace, formerly a school, built in the 1800’s, is now a modern countryside retreat and consistent siren song for worn-out New Yorkers who make the two-hour drive on weekends. The rooms are the kind you won’t want to leave: Overstuffed chairs, feather-topped beds, and softly printed toile wallpapers are design hallmarks here, which all add to the feeling that you’ve descended upon the guest room of your most hospitable aunt. The twenty-thousand-square-foot spa is a real draw, offering mind-body treatments, like the “Japan”—ninety minutes of vigorous exfoliation and a shiatsu-inspired massage. (In colder months, the Spa House pool is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and heated to a pleasant 86 degrees.) For those who are more inclined to be outside, the resort sits on fifty-eight acres and a network of trails through nearby Steep Rock Reserve. There’s also a tap room for casual eats, as well as a more seasonally-driven formal restaurant, The Mayflower Dining Room.
Perfectly secluded and endlessly hospitable, The Point is a modernized, five-star throwback to the on-the-low decadence of the 1930’s, when William Avery Rockefeller set out to build the stunning seventy-five-acre resort. It’s considered one of the Great Camps—one of several grand log mansions built by Gilded Age elites to escape New York City and interact with nature, canoeing, hiking, and socializing in the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. All amenities (outdoor pool, tennis courts, unlimited libations), activities (ice skating, boating), and meals (served in the Great Hall in the company of other guests) are included in the rate. As far as accommodations go, the beautifully appointed log cabins, roaring fires, and strict kids-free policy meet all the requirements for a luxe Adirondack retreat.
Novelist Sinclair Lewis bought this 1975-era farmhouse in 1928, after his journalist wife Dorothy Thompson promised to marry him on the condition he purchase the three-hundred-acre Vermont property. Now an adults-only, all-inclusive luxury hotel, Twin Farms 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’s art collection, which includes pieces from David Hockney and Jasper Johns, is outstanding. You’ll find ten 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: While not for kids, it’s a special place for a romantic getaway.
Nantucket is one of those places you could spend hours watching the tide, and doing little else. The White Elephant—slighter larger than a B&B, yet cozier than a resort—sits on Nantucket Harbor just a ten-minute walk from the town’s main drag. The resort began as a string of cottages in the 1920’s—a passion project helmed by local Elizabeth T. Ludwig—and has undergone a few other transformations since then meant to usher in a new crop of guests to the fourteen-mile-long island. The only downside? There’s no beach, but guests can be shuttled to them with ease. Visually speaking, the property is pure New England charm: grey shingles, planters overflowing with hydrangeas, and a bright blue chaise-dotted lawn. The rooms are tastefully done up in a white-and-cream palette with furnishings in blue Ikat and nautical-themed art work; French doors look out to the harbor in many of the rooms. Nantucket reds are most certainly acceptable for dinner at Brant Point Grill (or BPG to locals), the harborside dining restaurant on the grounds. Here, seafood dishes and various cuts of steaks prevail (among them, grilled wild caught salmon served with olive oil poached fennel), as well as New England Lobster, for which they’re best known. The property re-opens for the season in mid-April.
Zero George Hotel (so-named for its address, which actually is 0 George Street) is made up of five restored historic homes that all face each other around a quaint, landscaped courtyard. Two of them are actually transplants that were moved here from another part of town—ask the concierge for the full story, which is fascinating and fittingly Charlestonian. The buildings have all the appeal of old Charleston, but the rooms themselves feel modern, with a neutral color scheme, cozy beds, and big, bright bathrooms, plus verandas for looking out into the common space. The original 1804 carriage house plays host to the lobby and a recently renovated kitchen, where chefs host cooking classes and a wine-and-cheese happy hour that’s an excellent perk of any stay. Outside, there’s a row of Instagram-ready bicycles for guests to borrow and explore Charleston’s meandering blocks. (You’re in walking distance, too, of some of the city’s best restaurants like 167 Raw and Husk.)