Last-Minute Getaways (with Availability)
While the idea of a no-fuss staycation can be alluring, especially around the chaos of the holidays, nothing beats actual travel. And it’s not too late to change your mind (or your plans): Whether you’re looking to relax on a beach, hit the slopes, or book a trip to Paris, we’ve got you covered with some not-too-shabby spots—all of which still have availability.
For some, it’s not really winter without the promise a crackling fire and a flurry.
1535 NE Butte Rd., Jackson Hole | 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. Because the views of the Rocky mountains and the plains below are the focal point, all 40 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.
4143 Cedar Ave., South Lake Tahoe | 530.208.0180
Kids will go nuts for this hip, affordable, inn-like spot in South Lake Tahoe, and for good reason: You’ll find forest wallpaper, fake campfires, tented beds, Coleman-style lanterns, steel bunk beds and… Xboxes. Each of the 50 rooms has a different look, but they all revolve around a cabin-like theme—with plenty of modern (and eco) flourishes. The emphasis is on shared experiences here, as many of the rooms come with bunks, and you’re encouraged to mingle with the other guests at communal dinners, the fire pits, and in the rooftop hot tub. Rooms start at relatively low prices, which tends to attract a younger crowd. Definitely pack ski gear, as it’s a few short paces to the Heavenly Gondola; and a Swiss army knife, for hikes, adventures, and getting lost (a “Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook” comes with every room).
16 Blantyre Rd., Lenox | 413.637.3556
Originally built in 1901, Blantyre was modeled after the owner’s family’s ancestral Scottish castle, complete with ivy-covered turrets, towers, and gargoyles. The décor here is fittingly lush—i.e., exactly what you’d expect to find in an English country manor. You’re supposed to spend your days relaxing in overstuffed armchairs by the fire, before descending to the dining room for canapés and champagne, and then a long, formal dinner (the dining room calls for jackets for gentlemen, and something a bit dressy for ladies). While high season here is spring-through-fall (in fact, the hotel was only winterized in 2005), if you come during the colder months, you’ll find a quieter stay—plus, they provide equipment for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-skating.
590 Ocean Ave., Newport | 401.849.3800
While we’re big fans of this hotel all-year-long, it’s pretty great when the weather warms up. Grace Kelly’s favorite private beach is on premises—along with a 19th-century lighthouse—and you can rent the hotel’s yacht to picnic on a nearby island. Whether you opt for a room perched on the hill (beware, the walls in the hotel-proper are thin), a chalet by the harbor, or a beachside cottage, they are all beautifully appointed (and individually decorated) with stunning water views. Perks vary from room to cottage, including gas fireplaces, under-floor heating, whirlpool tubs, and private beaches/harbors. The two hotel restaurants—which source ingredients from on-property—are some of Newport’s best.
210 Main Rd., Joe Batt’s Arm, Newfoundland, Canada | +1.709.658.3444
The relationship between the Fogo Island Inn and the beautiful community and physical landscape in which it exists is pretty incredible. Conceived as a social enterprise to support the tiny, yet sturdy outport community on the island, it provides jobs, celebrates local cuisine, and donates all of its proceeds to community programming. The inn itself is a gorgeous, simple, modern building that juts out in juxtaposition to, yet somehow at harmony with, the rocky outcroppings of the landscape. For visitors, the quaint quality of the place inspires plenty of hand holding: In the summer and fall, you can hike the idyllic trails in search of wild berries and local wildlife, like caribou, foxes, puffins, and migrating whales—in the winter, you’ll find ice fishing, picturesque snowfall, and plenty of cozy fires. The décor (not surprisingly, all of the furniture was built by the locals) is modern but cozy, with Scandinavian-feeling wooden shapes and warm, hand-made quilts. As you might expect, the views out of the wide, modern windows are nothing less than jaw-dropping.
6490 Andermatt | +41.0.433.446.290
It takes no more than two hours to get to this five-star Swiss chalet 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. While it’s obviously the ideal spot for skiing (and après-ski), snow-boarding, and other snow-centric activities, summertime in Andermatt has its own charms (hiking, golfing, fishing, cycling…) 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.
222 Beaverwood Rd., Saranac Lake, New York | 518.891.5674
Perfectly secluded and endlessly hospitable, The Point is a modernized, 5-star throwback to the on-the-low decadence of the 1930’s when William Avery Rockefeller set out to build the stunning 75-acre resort. All amenities (tennis courts, unlimited libations), activities (ice skating, boating, snowshoeing), 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.
452 Royalton Turnpike, Barnard | 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.
48123 Highway One, Big Sur | 831.667.2331
Nestled amongst the Redwoods on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, Ventana is kind of hard to beat. While the beaches and hikes of Big Sur are a bit of a siren song, it’s hard to budge from the property’s two on-site pools, Japanese soaking tubs, and nap-inducing hammocks. There are tons of trails to pick from—redwood forests, waterfalls, and paths along the coast—meaning that hiking boots are an essential. The hotel runs a one-hour walk each day around the property starting at 10 am, and you can also book more challenging hikes with local guides. While the rooms are modern in look and feel, the wood-panelled interiors and redwood floors are a constant reminder that you’re in the woods. Most rooms and suites come with a private deck and fireplace, and some include a hot tub. The views of the Pacific and through the hills are spectacular. Take Note: Ventana is adults-only.
130 Wood Rd., Snowmass | 970.923.8000
Nestled at the base of family-friendly Snowmass (and conveniently ski-in-ski-out), the Viceroy is probably one of Aspen’s best options for those traveling with kids in tow. Amenities like complementary ski valet and plenty of suite options with multiple bedrooms, full kitchens, and in-room washer/dryers make the arduous process of getting the littles dressed, sun-screened, and out to ski school. If that weren’t enough, there’s also full-time daycare service in the hotel and a heated outdoor pool that’s open year-round. Once kids are out the door, head to the poolside NEST Public House for a miles-long craft beer list and a more grown-up vibe.
From Napa to Tuscany, these quiet retreats offer a cozy winter respite (within driving distance of a big city).
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 two Michelin Stars, 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.
13520 Les Baux de Provence | +33.490.544.020
Locals Patrick and Edith Saut spent the better part of a decade transforming this 250-acre working farm into an idyllic country retreat they could call home, smack-dab in the middle of wine and olive-oil country. Just an hour from St. Remy, Avignon, and Arles, Domaine de Manville has 30 guestrooms, a swimming pool, spa, and an 18-hole golf course surrounded by olive groves. Meals can be taken on the terrace at the more relaxed Bistro, or at the more formal, La Table, where chef Matthieu Dupuis-Bauma serves up seasonal dishes like stuffed sole, artichokes a la barigoule, slowly roasted tomatoes, and apricots paired with rosemary honey harvested on site. During the week, guests who want to get a flavor for local life can accompany the chef to the local markets in town and return to the kitchen for a hands-on cooking class. In the fall, there are winery tours by bike at the area’s nine surrounding vineyards.
Agios Stefanos, 23070 Monemvasia, Peloponnese | +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.
301 Little Lane, Sedona | 928.282.1661
Get sucked into the energy vortex in Arizona 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.
4200 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Canyon Sands | 760.770.5000
Before you set up camp by one of the resort’s retro-glam pools, be sure to explore the winding pathways and sprawling grounds of this desert oasis: You’ll find outdoor fire pits, hammocks, cricket courts, and the Gene Autry Villa (the cowboy crooner’s former residence is always available, for a sizable fee). Much like the rest of the property, each of the 131 guest rooms and 14 suites are decked out in color-happy accessories, geometric throw pillows, and other mid-century elements, courtesy of Jonathan Adler’s interior decor skills. The PSYC Spa and its Moroccan-themed indoor pool (no kids allowed) are the ideal sanctuary for whiling away a rainy afternoon with the hotel’s signature Pimm’s Cup in hand.
Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino | 888.767.3966
Situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val D’Orcia, this centuries-old estate south of Siena is truly incredible: Beyond the fact that you walk amidst remnants of walls from the 1100s, it’s surrounded by Brunello di Montalcino vineyards, there’s a world-class golf course, on-site truffle hunting, and the food is unbelievable. There’s a fancy restaurant, but there’s also a casual pizzeria—and kitchens in the villas where you can feast on bread and incomparably sweet tomatoes. While it’s plenty romantic, they have a lot of activities (including cooking classes) for kids. Note: The resort itself is closed for the winter, but you can book one of their ten villas and arrange excursions and in-villa experiences through a private concierge.
113 Washington Ave., Santa Fe | 888.767.3966
This boutique hotel was opened with a traditional blessing ceremony, proving it’s not just its name that honors the area’s early native Anasazi tribe—it’s also reflected in the Inn’s ethos and interiors. Textiles, paintings, carvings, and baskets handmade by local Native American talent fill this intimate space, where adobe walls, rich wood floors, and kiva fireplaces are found in every room. The building, a former Santa Fe penitentiary, was renovated with the environment in mind; the toilets and showers are environmentally sound and the toiletries are organic. The rooms are small-ish, but there’s a cozy communal living room with a fireplace where you can order a cocktail after 11am. And the Plaza is just steps away.
10000 Champion Dr., Washington | 979.277.7750
Set within 300 acres of lush green meadows and rolling countryside, Dos Brisas is a Spanish-style ranch offering up a little bit of rural Texas (with plenty of foodie and outdoor activities)—that said, it has all the amenities you’d expect in the city. After trying your hand at cheese making courses, wine tastings, and cooking classes, take a breather at one of the nine Spanish-style Haciendas or Casitas. The on-site restaurant sources organic and seasonal ingredients from Dos Brisas’ very own farmland and orchards. It also happens to be the only Forbes five-star in the entire state of Texas.
Taplow, Berkshire | +44.1628.668561
This majestic, centuries-old estate—once owned by William Waldorf Astor—has 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.
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).
2423 First Ave., Downtown | 206.448.4721
This is the original: the founders of the Ace Hotel fell in love with a former maritime workers’ hotel in Downtown Seattle—built in 1909, so they kept the loft ceilings and hardwood floors intact—and re-purposed it to start their own, first-ever hotel in 1999. Like all their locations, this is a place to rest and a place to see and be seen. (Bonus: Their accommodations are dog-friendly.) Take a pied-à-terre with a shared (“private upon entry”) bathroom option for a free-spirited, low-key stay right in the heart of Seattle—on the cusp of Downtown and Belltown, you’re within walking distance of the waterfront, Pike Place Market, and the Space Needle—or for a more luxurious (yet still relatively low-key) experience, take one of their deluxe rooms, which may boast iconic street-artwork by the likes of Shepard Fairey and KAWS, as well as better-than-bare-bones amenities (including an ensuite bathroom).
79 Crosby St., Soho | 212.226.6400
This exuberant Firmdale Hotels offering is sort of the perfect mix of over-the-top design flourishes and straight-up excellent hospitality, which makes it an instant hit for kids. Dotted with dog statues and bright colors, the rooms are fun, rather than stuffy, and there are lots of considerations for little ones: Adjoining rooms, cots, pint-sized bathrobes, a kid’s menu (and 24-hour room service), plus babysitting service. There’s also an on-site screening room.
11-3 Chikko, Otaru | +126.96.36.19911
With close to 300 guest rooms (the ocean-view suites are well worth the splurge), five restaurants, and one massive mall, Grand Park Otaru is essentially a playground for adults. There’s a great breakfast buffet and fresh-baked pastries for days, but it’s the just-caught seafood offerings you’ll find on neighboring Sushi Street, that deserve the bulk of your attention. And while the accommodations are as five-star as it gets (deep soaking tubs, in-room tea-making stations), the hotel blends into Otaru’s port town quaintness pretty seamlessly. Plus, it’s situated 30 minutes from Sapporo and within walking distance to the Otaru Chikko railway station, making it the ideal home base from which to explore Hokkaido.
5 Connaught Rd., Central | 852.2522.0111
The suites here have an elegant and modern Chinese look to them, with huge windows that open up onto a balcony that wraps around the entire space. The views from all the way up there are incredible. The massive bathrooms have both a huge jacuzzi and a steam room. Non-suite guestrooms are all similarly decorated with Chinese antiques and modern furniture. And while you may not want to leave the confines of your room, there are ten restaurants and bars in the Mandarin Hotel to work your way through, including the M Bar, which is one of the more trendy places to go out.
225 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills | 310.860.7800
Plush Spanish colonial décor blends well with high-tech features (electronically controlled lights and drapes, huge LCD televisions, and iPod docking stations) to make this a slick but overwhelmingly comfortable stay. The elegant Scarpetta restaurant, an off-shoot of Scott Conant’s Italian of the same name in New York, is a really special place to dine after a day of treatments in the two-story spa. For this much luxury, expect a luxury room rate.
921 Canal St., French Quarter | 504.524.1331
This is everything you’d expect from a Ritz—and specifically a Ritz in New Orleans. It is opulent, exceedingly comfortable, and packed with a full slate of amenities, including one of the city’s best spas and a kid’s club.
252 High Holborn, City of London | +44.20.7781.8888
While Holborn is a little bit random, London’s first, ultra-luxurious Rosewood Hotel has all the makings of a classic, from the grand courtyard entrance, to the Asian-inflected, but still very stately British décor, to the splashy Holborn restaurant and Scarfe Bar (featuring illustrator Gerald Scarfe’s humorous wall murals).
25 E. 77th St., Upper East Side | 212.744.4300
Here, you’ll get access to New York fantasy life, from 24/7 exclusive access to Bergdorf Goodman, Laduree macaroons at the bedside, custom bikes for touring the city, and Jean Georges Vongerichten-crafted picnics to go (he runs the The Mark’s restaurant). The rooms themselves are gorgeous; revamped by Jacques Grange, the interiors are sleek, and just a little splashy.
108 E. Superior St., Magnificent Mile | 312.337.2888
For many years this was GP’s all-time favorite city hotel. The rooms and suites are spacious and beautifully turned down with great views of central Chicago. It’s definitely more of a traditional hotel with everything you’d expect—a great big pool, a wonderful spa, and perfect service.
19 Avenue Kléber, 16th | +188.8.131.52.28.88
The Peninsula’s grand outpost in Paris delivers all the luxurious elegance we’ve come to expect from the brand. Housed in a 19th-century building perfectly suited to its style (it opened as a grand hotel back in 1908), the Peninsula is the kind of place where you can trust that no detail is spared—you’ll find enormous bouquets of fresh roses on every spare surface, an extremely attentive staff, and a guaranteed good night’s sleep in their beds. While the spa, bar, and main dining rooms are lovely, our favorite spot is the rooftop restaurant, which offers a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower.
Herengracht 542-556, Grachtengordel | +31.20.718.4600
Spread out over six stunning buildings on the banks of one of Amsterdam’s most memorable canals, the Waldorf Astoria is just as much a historic landmark as it is a supremely plush place to stay. The rooms and suites are reflective of the unique surroundings, meaning that no two are the same—though the elegant décor and awe-inspiring views are consistent throughout. The central location means most sights are just a short stroll away—that said, the Guerlain spa (complete with an indoor pool), a four-deep restaurant roster, and the immaculately manicured gardens make spending a day on property very compelling.
149 Wentworth St., Harleston Village | 888.466.1886
Proof that you don’t have to go too far to be completely transported, a stay at Charleston’s Wentworth Mansion is the closest one might come to traveling back in time. The 126-year-old property makes exceptional use of its historic elements, opting to set up the spa—where you can indulge in everything from a couple’s massage to a detoxifying seaweed wrap—in what used to be the stables and the famed Circa 1886 restaurant in the former carriage house overlooking the garden. Most of the 21 rooms come complete with original fireplaces and porches, while the rooftop cupola offers unbeatable views of the city.
Let’s be honest, there’s no better way to start the New Year than with a tan.
3550 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea | 808.879.1234
The new Andaz Maui is a relaxed and affordable changeup from the Wailea beach big-hitters (Four Seasons, Fairmont…). Designed by David Rockwell, we hear the open-air lobby is insanely cool: You enter on a footbridge that crosses an infinity pool to arrive at a sandpit (where you’re encouraged to remove your shoes) while checking in…on an iPad. It’s super contemporary—even the apothecary-style spa, which means your therapist will custom-blend locally grown herbs, plants, and fruits for your treatment. Oh, and in addition to Ka’ana Kitchen, an onsite restaurant with a great breakfast spread, Morimoto is here, too. There are also lots of beachside activities, from boogie and paddle board rentals to snorkeling gear (which can be deployed right in front of the hotel), all of which are included in your resort fee. They book up fast, so make a reservation at the kiosk off the beach right when you check in. Friends have also told us that it’s worth taking advantage of the hotel’s car service for exploring Wailea, as the über situation is still pretty few-and-far-between.
Blvd. Tiburón s/n, La Playita, San José del Cabo | +52.624.104.9000
Shortly upon arrival at El Ganzo, a whitewashed contemporary boutique hotel overlooking the San Jose Del Cabo Marina, you start to get the feeling you’ve beat the system: Look out from your room’s glass terrace, and there’s not a single resort in sight. The airy rooms are outfitted in bold, modern four-poster beds and industrial furniture made especially for the hotel. There’s a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the bay with sushi on order, though if you’d prefer a secluded beach, it’s just three minutes away via the private boat service provided by the hotel. Hit the spa, the gym, the recording studio, any of the bars and restaurants on site, and you’re pretty much set for a full weekend of total seclusion, away from the Cabo crowd.
Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 7 Mz 10, Punta Ballena, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.145.6400, 888.281.3171
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. They’re still fresh off a full redesign following Hurricane Odile.
28500 Overseas Hwy., Little Torch Key | 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.
Hayman Island Great Barrier Reef, 4801, Australia | +61.2.9308.0500
Otherworldly sunsets and unfettered access to the Great Barrier Reef aside, historically, One & Only resorts are all about the experience, meaning that a stay on this private island at the northernmost tip of the Whitsunday archipelago isn’t just part of a trip, it is the trip. Of the 150+ guest rooms, a good chunk of the suites are designed so you can roll out of your four-poster bed and step directly into a private pool before heading out to snorkel nearby Blue Pearl Bay or hopping a seaplane to explore the reefs from above. The four on-property restaurants can quell just about any hankering from Italian to Pan-Asian, but to really up the wow factor, ask for a gourmet picnic to-go and enjoy it on a remote island. Thanks to a recent top-to-bottom overhaul (the property has existed in various incarnations since the 1950’s) this is also one of the more modern-looking of the One & Only outposts, a huge plus for those with a minimal aesthetic.
Carretera Transpeninsular Km 7.5, Centro, San José del Cabo | +52.624.146.7000
If the words Cabo San Lucas conjure visions of Sammy Hagar doing tequila shots, let the words One & Only Palmilla replace them with dreams of tropical paradise. Originally built in 1956 as a 15-room luxury escape for the President of Mexico, it’s been transformed over the years into a 115-room resort with lush gardens, a pristine beachfront, and top notch service, food, spa, and amenities (think welcome tequila and pillow menus for everyone; personalized robes and an iPhone to communicate directly with the butler when you check into a villa). They experienced extensive damage from Hurricane Odile, but are open and thriving once again.
Val des Pitons, Soufriere, Saint Lucia | 800.235.4300
Each room has a private plunge pool, if you’re feel too lazy to wander down to the Caribbean, but should you make the effort, it’s one of those resorts where the main activity is ordering piña coladas to your beach chair while taking in the epic view. Kids love it here: There’s sailing, snorkeling, zip lining, and ATV-ing, plus a Sugar Club (and Spice Club, for teens), which puts on treasure hunts, sand castle building, and coconut bowling.
1260 Channel Dr., Montecito | 805.969.2261
There’s not a lot to hate about this Four Seasons hotel: It’s sited along Montecito’s best beach, and it occupies a rambling set of Spanish Colonial bungalows and buildings that are lushly landscaped in a way that makes every room feel a bit like a hideaway. Though the on-site pool is lovely, hotel guests can pay a bit extra for access to the members-only Coral Casino Club right across the street, which boasts an Olympic-size swimming pool that’s great for kids.
State Road, Rio Grande | 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.
40880 Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Playa La Ropa | +52.755.555.5500
The biggest draw to this luxury boutique hotel is the long, private stretch of white sand beach on the nicest part of Playa La Ropa. Lounge under the oceanside palapas with coconut palms from the tropical gardens swaying overhead and a cold piña colada in-hand.