Cool Vacations

 

Stats: Americans Taking Short Road Trips Close To Home This Summer

by

 Matt Turner

Jul 23, 2020 12:55pm

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family packing a car for road trip vacation

(Imgorthand/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images) Photo by Imgorthand/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Generali Global Assistance (GGA) has announced the findings of its “Future of Travel” survey conducted by Ipsos, which surveyed 11,000 individuals across 11 countries in the U.S.Europe, and Asia between June 5 and June 12. The “Future of Travel” surveyed respondents in the United States on their upcoming travel plans and preferences when it comes to accommodations, destinations and the mode of transportation they plan to use on their next trip.

Some of the key highlights from this year’s survey are below: 

Planned Travel in 2020: While the coronavirus has slowed down travel, Americans are opting to take domestic road trips over a long weekend to more isolated destinations this summer. Seventy-three percent said they plan to go on a vacation this year, which is lower than Europeans as a whole, of which 81 percent said they planned to take a trip. Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) indicated they would be traveling domestically this summer for their main trip; only 5 percent said they would travel outside the U.S. 

Duration and Budget: For their post-lockdown summer trip, most U.S. travelers said they prefer a long weekend getaway with a few close traveling companions. One-third (34 percent) said they would be taking a long weekend getaway for three to four days this summer, while 35 percent said they would go on a week-long summer trip. One-quarter (24 percent) indicated they would travel with one other person while. Surprisingly, 18 percent said they would travel with four to five people this summer. Americans will budget $2,450 for their main trip this year, close to $650 more than their European counterparts. 

Accommodations: Despite the potential for crowds, hotels were still the most popular accommodation for U.S. travelers. One-third (33 percent) indicated they would stay at a private rental—up 17 percent from last summer. Nearly half (46 percent) of Americans indicated they planned to stay at a hotel this summer. Fifteen said they’ll be going camping.  

Mode of Transportation: Preferences in mode of transport generally matched the shorter domestic trips people indicated they’d take this summer. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) indicated they’d be taking their car to their post-lockdown getaway this summer. One (9 percent) would be using a rental car this summer. One-quarter (23 percent) of U.S. travelers said they would travel by plane this summer. 

COVID-19 Trip Protection: In the wake of the current pandemic, it’s no surprise that most travelers are concerned about the coronavirus on their next trip. While delay and cancellation was still the top reason to buy insurance, COVID-19-related health concerns was close behind.  In fact, 81 percent of insurance buyers think it’s important to have specific info on their COVID status before departure and during the trip. Eighty-seven percent says it important to be covered for emergency medical and hospital expenses. Nine in 10 (91 percent) of Americans find it important to be covered for delays and cancellations.

Destinations: When U.S. travelers do go on their post-lockdown getaway this summer, these destinations were their top choices:

·         32 percent plan to visit friends and family after a long period of self-isolation

·         22 percent plan to take a “well-deserved” beach holiday

·         15 percent preferred a quiet trip to the countryside

 

Princess Cruises Redeploys Three Ships For Summer 2021

by

 Susan J. Young

Jul 8, 2020 11:11am

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Regal Princess Atrium

(Photo by Princess Cruises) The lobby of Regal Princess, a ship that will replace Grand Princess on roundtrip sailings from Southampton, U.K., in 2021.

Princess Cruises changed its 2021 summer season deployments for Alaska and Europe, and will bring Grand Princess to Los Angeles next summer, too. Here's the lineup of changes.  

·         Majestic Princess will replace Regal Princess in Alaska for summer 2021, picking up all of Regal Princess' published Seattle-departing Inside Passage voyages between May and September

·         One exception is Regal Princess' "Alaska Sampler" cruise on May 4, 2021, which will be cancelled

·         Regal Princess will sail from Southampton, England in summer 2021—replacing Grand Princess on 17 roundtrip Southampton voyages to the MediterraneanScandinaviaIceland and other European destinations

·         As a result of that change, Regal Princess' "South Pacific Crossing" and two Grand Princess seven-day Europe cruises will be cancelled

·         Grand Princess will be deployed to the West Coast for a new summer 2021 season and will operate Mexico and California Coast sailings from Los Angeles. Details will be announced later this summer.

Guests booked on Regal Princess' Alaska and Grand Princess' Europe voyages will have their booking automatically moved from Regal Princess to Majestic Princess in Alaska, and from Grand Princess to Regal Princess in Europe, and will receive a new booking confirmation.

Princess said it's enhancing health and safety protocols with input from global health leaders in light of COVID-19 and assessing how they may impact our future itinerary offerings. Actual offerings may vary from what's displayed in the line's marketing materials. 

 

 

Majestic Princess To Sail Mexican Riviera And California From Los Angeles

by

 Susan J. Young

Jun 26, 2020 1:15pm

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Majestic Princess at Sea Editorial

(Fincantieri via Firouz Mal ) Majestic Princess will sail from Los Angeles on Mexican Riviera and California coastal itineraries.

For 2021-22, Princess Cruises is bringing Majestic Princess to its West Coast lineup of voyages from Los Angeles. The ship will sail on seven-day "Mexican Riviera" voyages throughout the season, as well as seven-day "Classic California Coast" voyages in fall and spring. Sales will open July 8.

In total, Princess will have five ships sailing from the West Coast with departures from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Here are other highlights:  

Cruises to Mexico  

In spring 2022, the new Discovery Princess will also join Majestic Princess sailing from Los Angeles on seven-day voyages to Mexico and California. Together, the duo will offer 25 cruises to the Mexican Riviera.

For 2021-22, Ruby Princess will also return to San Francisco, offering three, 10-day cruises to the Mexican Riviera. The ship will call at Cabo San LucasMazatlánManzanillo and Puerto Vallarta.

In addition, Grand Princess and Sapphire Princess will sail seven, 10-day "Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez" voyages, visiting Cabo San Lucas (overnight), La PazLoreto and Puerto Vallarta, roundtrip from Los Angeles.  

Whether ashore or onboard, guests will be surrounded by the local culture with regionally inspired menu items such as ceviche, tacos, mole, margaritas and even a premium tequila tasting. Live Mariachi bands will serenade guests performing traditional songs throughout the ship and younger cruisers can create Mexican crafts while learning about the traditions and customs of the places they’ll visit.  

Cruises to Hawaii

Guests can sail from either Los Angeles and San Francisco on Princess to Hawaii's isles of MauiOahuKauai and Hawaii (Hilo) on Grand Princess and Sapphire Princess (Los Angeles) or Ruby Princess (roundtrip San Francisco).  

During days at sea, activities will include lei-making, ukulele playing, hula dance lessons, Polynesian language classes and even a farewell Hawaiian luau. Menus will also offer locally-inspired cuisine and beverages,

Cruises to the California and Pacific Northwest Coasts

Sailing seven-day cruises from Los Angeles onboard Discovery Princess and Majestic Princess and seven-day cruises from San Francisco onboard Ruby Princess, guests will experience coastal towns and cities including San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Monterey, CA.

Shorter, three-to five-day cruises also highlight these coastal towns as well as Ensenada, Mexico. Guests can enjoy another seven-day cruise opportunity from San Francisco on Ruby Princess that visits the Pacific Northwest including Astoria, OR, and Seattle, WA.  

Princess has also developed immersive shore excursions in collaboration with Bill Esparza, a James Beard award-winning cookbook author and leading expert on Latin American cuisine. Guests sailing the California Coast are invited to sample local cuisine, specifically focused on the Latin American influence in California.

Esparza has developed exclusive culinary shore excursions for Princess in Santa Barbara, San Diego and Ensenada. Princess also offers excursions to the California wine country, visiting local vineyards and winemakers throughout the region.

The line also said it's currently assessing enhanced health and safety protocols in light of COVID-19 and how they may impact future offerings. "Our actual offerings may vary from what is displayed in marketing materials," the line said in a press release.

Captain’s Circle Savings 

Princess Cruises past guests are eligible for a discount off launch fares when they book by November 30, 2020. This discount can be combined with launch and group promotions. These discounts do not apply to third or fourth berth guests.   

 

Map: When will Caribbean islands reopen to U.S. tourism? (updated)

By Gay Nagle Myers 

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Jun 04, 2020

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A map showing when Caribbean nations plan to reopen their borders to U.S. visitors. All info is subject to change.

A map showing when Caribbean nations plan to reopen their borders to U.S. visitors. All info is subject to change. Credit: Jennifer Martins

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Updated July 7.

Several Caribbean islands plan to cautiously reopen to international tourism, joining those destinations that have already reopened or that began phased operations in late May.

However, border reopenings are accompanied by strict new public health protocols and procedures, many of which require air travelers to produce proof of a Covid-free test result administered within 48 hours prior to travel. These plans have been changing as the number of U.S. cases rise.

Here are the latest developments across the region:

• Anguilla: The island's borders remain closed to commercial international traffic through July 14. Check  www.beatcovid19.ai for information and updates.

• Antigua and Barbuda: V.C. Bird Airport reopened June 4, and American began a daily flight from Miami on the same day. Arriving passengers must complete a health declaration form as part of the screening process and submit proof of a negative virus test taken seven days before boarding. Visitors will be monitored for Covid for up to 14 days of their stay and may be required to undergo testing on arrival or at their hotel. Face masks are required in public.

 • Aruba:  The country is re-evaluating its plan to reopen its borders to visitors from the U.S. on July 10. The country reopened its borders for inbound travel for visitors from Bonaire and Curacao on June 15; and the Caribbean (with the exception of the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Europe and Canada on July 1.

Under consideration is the option of restricting travel from U.S. states with high infection rates or increasing the entry requirements for specific states.

Currently, visitors are required to have proof of a negative Covid test done within 72 hours of arrival and fill out an embarkation card prior to departure. Visitors who arrive with no test results will be tested at the airport, followed by a mandatory quarantine at their hotels until test results are received. Mask wearing is mandatory in public spaces.

• Bahamas: The country reopened its borders, airports and seaports on July 1. All incoming visitors must present proof of a Covid-19 negative swab test upon arrival, no more than seven days old. Children under the age of two are exempt. All travelers must complete an electronic Health Visa. The online form is available at https://travel.gov.bs/international. Face masks are required in public spaces, and fines and penalties are in place for those not complying.

• Barbados: Commercial flights from Europe and Canada resume on July 12. JetBlue is tentatively set to return to service July 25 and American on Aug. 5.

Travelers from high-risk countries must take a Covid test within 72 hours of departure and fill out an online Embarkation/Disembarkation card (ED card) prior to arrival. When all supporting documents are uploaded, travelers will receive a bar code via email to clear health and immigration in Barbados.

Those without a documented test result from an accredited laboratory will be tested and will be quarantined for at least 48 hours, pending the test results.

• Bermuda: The island reopened to air travelers on July 1. However, travelers are now required to complete the online Bermuda travel authorization process within 48 hours of departure (it had been 72 hours). A $75 fee is required, which includes the costs of the Covid-19 testing in Bermuda. 

No more than five days before departure, visitors must be tested for Covid and present proof of a negative result upon arrival in Bermuda.

All visitors are tested again upon arrival and must wait in their hotel room for results (usually six to eight hours). If visitors do not have a pre-departure test, they are tested upon arrival and must quarantine in the hotel for three days unil they are tested again. If the test is positive, the quarantine time is 14 days.

Additional Covid tests are required of all visitors on day seven and day 14 at pop-up testing centers with immediate test results.

Face masks are required in public spaces.

 Bonaire: The U.S. is not part of this reopening phase because it is still considered high risk. Bonaire lifted its border closures on July 1 for visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France. A maximum of 1,000 visitors per week is allowed. A negative Covid test must be conducted within 72 hours of the flight's departure for Bonaire.

• Cayman Islands: The borders, airports and seaports on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are closed till Sept. 1, according to tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell. 

• Dominica: The country tentatively plans to reopen its borders to international travelers on Aug. 15. Protocols are due to be released shortly.

 Dominican Republic: The country began a gradual reopening on July 1. International tourists must present proof of a negative Covid test taken no less than five days before arrival. Those who have no test result will be tested upon arrival. Airports receiving visitors include Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Santiago and Santo Domingo.

 Grenada: The country, which had planned to reopen its borders to commercial international traffic on July 1, has announced a more cautious approach. With daily reports of increased rates of infection, especially in the U.S., which is a main source market for Grenada, officials will continue to work on protocols before the country begins to accept commercial flights, according to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell. A newly appointed Covid subcommittee is expected to wrap up its work by the end of July. After that, the government’s decisions on protocols, regulations, quarantine and testing will be guided by an advisory committee.

• Jamaica: Borders reopened to international travelers on June 15. The Ministry of Health & Wellness will work in collaboration with the Airports Authority of Jamaica regarding screenings of arriving passengers. Arriving passengers are required to complete and submit a pre-arrival authorization that asks about possible exposure to Covid-19.

In addition, effective for travel July 10 or later, travelers from Florida, Texas, New York and Arizona must upload the results of a negative Covid-19 test, not older than seven days before the date of travel, to the visitjamaica.com site prior to departure so that their arrival can be approved before they've left the U.S.

Screenings upon arrival will include electronic thermal scans. Face masks and social distancing in public spaces will be required of all persons, including visitors. This includes points of entry, ground transportation and accommodation facilities.

 Puerto Rico: The island reopens to inbound tourism July 15. Arriving passengers must complete a travel declaration from the Puerto Rico Health Department and show proof of a negative Covid test taken 72 hours before departure. If travelers arrive without the test, they will be tested at the airport and must quarantine for 14 days or until a negative result is obtained.

The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew has been extended through July 22. Masks are mandatory in public. Restaurants, spas, museums, theaters and casinos are open and operating at 75% capacity.

• St. Barts: The borders will reopen to tourism on June 22. Visitors must be tested for Covid 72 hours prior to arrival. After receiving the test result, visitors must send proof to their villa agency or hotel before arriving. Visitors with negative test results can move about the island freely once they clear immigration. 

If a visitor arrives in St. Barts without a recent negative test, they will be given a rapid Covid test upon arrival and then asked to self-quarantine in their accommodations until the results are delivered (within 24 hours). If the test result proves positive, the visitor will be moved to the island's quarantine centera set of apartments near the stadium in St. Jean. Local health care workers will take care of the visitor for 14 days or until a negative test is reached.

Many restaurants have resumed dine-in service with social distancing and safe serving practices in place. Beaches are open.

• St. Lucia: Effective July 9, travelers must provide proof of a negative Covid test done within seven days of travel and must complete a pre-arrival registration form. They must also indicate which Covid-19-certified hotel they will be staying in: Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, Sandals Grande St. Lucian, Ladera, Stonefield Resort Villas and Sugar Beach-A Viceroy Resort.

All passengers will be screened at the airport. Symptomatic passengers will be tested and then quarantined at their hotel until the result is received. If positive, they will be in isolation at one of two hospitals. Mask wearing is mandatory in public spaces.

 St. Maarten: St. Maarten postponed all U.S. commercial flights for two weeks, starting July 1, due to the surging number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. Flights from Europe, Canada and a number of Caribbean islands are being allowed.

Passengers will have thermal temperature screening upon arrival and must wear masks at all times in the airport and in public spaces on the island.

Bars, dine-in restaurants with limited seating, salons, souvenir shops and retail stores reopened on June 1 and all remaining businesses opened on June 15.

• Turks and Caicos: Borders, Providenciales Airport and private jet terminals will reopen on July 22. The Grand Turk Cruise Center will remain closed until Aug. 31. Airline partners have confirmed flight service will resume from the U.S., Canada and Europe "as soon as the destination is ready," according to Pamela Ewing, director of tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board.

 U.S. Virgin Islands: The territory reopened to visitors on June 1. New health and safety protocols for all tourism stakeholders have been rolled out in conjunction with the Department of Health and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

 

 

From Conde Nast we bring you some romantic GETAWAYS FROM YOUR EVERDAY right here in the USA.

 

The 18 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the U.S.

18 PHOTOS

by PAUL RUBIO

January 28, 2020

From Minneapolis to Miami.

Everyone has different ideas of what a romantic weekend getaway looks like. It might include a cozy fireplace with a glass of merlot, a memorable farm-to-table dinner, a soak in a hot spring, or a lazy day on a tropical island. No matter how you take your romance, there’s a hotel or resort to cater to your fantasy. From glamping in the Sonoma redwoods (s’mores by the bonfire, anyone?) to watching the spectacle of aurora borealis in northern Alaska to adults-only, all-inclusive sun-worshipping in the Florida Keys, here are our picks for the most romantic weekend getaways in the U.S. And you can visit them no matter the season—whether you’re looking for somewhere to spend Valentine’s Day, or just need a quiet weekend to unwind.

All listings featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission. This gallery was last published in February 2019 and has been updated with new information.

The Point, Adirondacks

Courtesy The Point

The Point, Adirondacks, New York

What’s to love: Go back in time to the Great Camp era of the late 19th century and experience the first harbinger of American glamping at William Avery Rockefeller’s former private estate, The Point, in Upper Saranac Lake. Sleep in one of four rustic log houses, where guestrooms are adorned in period furnishings, a roaring stone fireplace, and bona fide Rockefeller relics. Explore the forested lakeside grounds for active pursuits, from curling, snowshoeing, and ice-skating in winter to hiking, waterskiing, and boating in summer. 

Romance factor: Utmost hospitality and all-natural surrounds recreate a lost-in-time glamour. Staff stand at the ready to pour a glass of Champagne and serve an array of gourmet snacks throughout the day—the all-inclusive policy and the culinary excellence of noted chef Loïc Leperlier and his team make it hard to say no. In the tradition of the Rockefellers, nightly dinner is an elaborate, formal affair and a chance to dress to impress, namely on black-tie Wednesdays and Saturdays. There’s plenty of romance during the day, too. Anticipate morning mimosas at the full-service, private ice bar over frozen Upper Saranac Lake in winter, and a private, multi-course lunch at Camp David, a tiny cabin, hidden within The Point’s network of nature trails, and picture-perfect sunset cruises on a vintage wooden boat in summer. 

Get there: A 75-minute flight from Boston (the only direct flight to Upper Saranac Lake is from Boston on Cape Air); about a 5.5-hour drive from New York City or Boston. 

Mr. C Coconut Grove, Miami

James McDonald

Mr. C Coconut Grove, Miami

What’s to love: If you’re craving warm weather but aren’t necessarily a beach person, come to Miami to experience the city’s booming restaurant, lounge, shopping, arts, and culture scenes. Check into the new Mr. C Coconut Grove, located in the heart of Coconut Grove, a pedestrian-friendly, boho-chic neighborhood in close proximity to downtown. Operated by the fourth-generation Cipriani family, the boutique hotel exudes coastal Italian elegance, with interiors and a handsome color palette recalling the feel of a classic yacht and amenities like a romantic, well-manicured garden, and a sensational rooftop terrace for sunset aperitivos. 

Romance factor: Start your stay with Cipriani’s signature welcome bellinis in the European-styled garden. Take a stroll through the charming streets of Coconut Grove or grab a house bike and ride along the path which hugs Biscayne Bay. Alternatively, take a quick Uber to the Miami Design District for some retail therapy or to Wynwood Arts District to peruse the street art and edgy galleries. Book ahead to score a table on the rooftop terrace at in-house Bellini Restaurant & Bar, toasting to a glorious sunset over the bay and indulging in authentic Italian cuisine. 

Get there: Near the heart of Miami; about a 20-minute ride from Miami International Airport.

Sheldon Chalet, Alaska

Totem

Sheldon Chalet, Alaska

What’s to love: Go completely off the grid and immerse in Alaska’s glacial environs and mountainous glory at this exclusive chalet just 10 miles from the summit of North America’s highest mountain, Mount McKinley (a.k.a. Denali). Explore Alaska’s secluded, frozen splendor by glacier trekking, snowshoeing, sledding, and rappelling, and work up an appetite for feasts of fresh Alaska king crab and Copper River salmon. Despite the far-flung location—getting here requires flying into Anchorage, transferring to the town of Talkeetna by train or car, and then taking a helicopter to Denali National Park—the chalet can be thoroughly experienced in as little as three nights. 

Romance factor: Get under the covers for a private performance of nature’s ultimate light show: aurora borealis. The chalet’s high elevations and upper latitude translate to epic stargazing and Northern Lights viewing directly from the panoramic windows of the bedroom.

Get there: Fly into Anchorage and let Sheldon take over logistics from there.

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Courtesy Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

HOTEL

 

Little Palm Island, Little Torch Key, Florida

 

$$$

RCA 2018

What’s to love: Two and a half years after Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida Keys, the region’s most illustrious resort is re-emerging with a fresh but familiar look and new frills aplenty. Come March 1, couples can once again escape to the celeb-studded, private island paradise known as Little Palm Island and revel in all of its barefoot luxury excess. Each of the 30 redesigned thatched-roof suites exude timeless island elegance, many with four-poster beds and outdoor copper bathtubs. The enhanced dining room doles out sweeping sea views, and private cabanas now dot the oceanfront pool area. The spectacular new SpaTerre complex is underscored by a breezy, two-story atrium and offers Biologique Recherche treatments plus out-of-the-box services like four-hands massages.

Romance factor: Take full advantage of your outdoor shower or bathtub. Stroll the crushed seashell pathways and spot tropical birds, Key deer, and frisky dolphins from the shoreline. Enjoy languid beach days or get active in the water with house paddleboards, Hobie Cats, and twin vees. Reserve private dining on the beach, and consider splurging on a private seaplane sightseeing flights over the Keys, complete with a gourmet picnic basket and Champagne.

Get there: Two and a half hours from Miami International Airport by car to Little Torch Key’s ramp; or 30 minutes from Key West International Airport.

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This image may contain Furniture, Indoors, Room, Bedroom, Bed, Living Room, Cushion, Pillow, and Interior Design

Heather Anne Thomas/Courtesy Blackberry Farm

HOTEL

 

Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee

 

$$$

RCA 2018

What’s to love: Farm life is the good life at Blackberry Farm, a 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains peppered with hill cottages and multi-bedroom homes in styles ranging from country glam to sheer modernism. Expect days filled with on-estate active pursuits like archery, horseback riding, fly-fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and wake surfing on surrounding mountain lakes. Looking for more leisurely pursuits? Book wine tastings, spa treatments, and decadent multi-course dinners at The Barn at Blackberry Farm.

Romance factor: Rise and shine for an epic sunrise over the Great Smoky Mountains. Reconnect with nature, yourself, and your loved one during a 90-minute Deep Healing Woods meditation or yoga session, led by an instructor and performed deep in the woodsy surrounds (read: there will be a short hike first). After, let your muscles relax during a couples’ massage at the Wellhouse spa and consider surprising your better half with a rose petal turn-down service.

Get there: A four-hour drive from Atlanta; around three hours from Asheville; 45 minutes from Knoxville by car.

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Image may contain: Wheel, Machine, Vehicle, Transportation, Bike, Bicycle, Tent, Camping, Furniture, Bed, and Chair

Courtesy Autocamp

AutoCamp Russian River, Guerneville, California

What’s to love: At AutoCamp Russian River, cozy up in a luxury tent or stay warm in a tricked-out Airstream suite, which has spacious walk-in showers and queen-sized beds. Even better than the amenities? Location, location, location. This glamping experience is a short drive from the hiking trails of Armstrong woods, several exceptional wineries, and the small-town charm of Guerneville. 

Romance factor: Wake up to fresh coffee in the Redwood forest, grab a house bike, and do some exploring. In the evening, head out to some of wine country’s most romantic restaurants. For example, experience the pinnacle of Sonoma’s farm-to-table dining at Valette restaurant in Healdsburg, 30 minutes away, with the chef’s five-course tasting menus. Then, cap your night off with a glass of wine while roasting s’mores over the coals at your personal outdoor fire pit—all Airstreams and tents come stocked with complimentary kits.

Get there: Around two hours from San Francisco by car.

Image may contain: Terrace, Wood, Patio, and Porch

Courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

HOTEL

 

Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Hawaii

 

$$$

GOLD LIST 2020

What’s to love: Following a multi-million-dollar refresh in 2016, this iconic Hawaiian resort on Manele Bay resurfaced with a new edge across its 213 guest rooms, as envisioned by Todd Avery-Lenahan of TAL Studio. With the revamp came new restaurants Nobu, Malibu Farm, and One Forty; an adventure center; and the Hawanawana Spa. Three years later, in November 2019, sister property Four Seasons Hotel Lanai at Koele, A Sensei Retreat, debuted its own refresh, high in the island’s pine-clad mountains. The brand’s sophomore Lanai property is all-inclusive and focuses exclusively on wellness retreats, with bespoke programming that includes fitness classes, yoga and meditation, and island activities.

Romance factor: Couples looking for Hawaii’s more traditional waterfront luster should stick to the original Four Seasons Lanai and enjoy amenities such as the adults-only resort pool area, which has cabana cocoons and rock grottoes. Earn extra brownie points by reserving a private catamaran charter from the resort for an epic Champagne-in-hand sunset over the Pacific, and the chance to see humpback whales breaching in the horizon. For the couple that bonds over a healthy lifestyle, consider a feel-good, couples wellness retreat at the newly re-debuted property. 

Get there: A 25-minute flight from Honolulu.

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Bungalows Key Largo Resort

Courtesy Bungalows Key Largo

Bungalows Key Largo Resort, Florida

What’s to love: Opened in December 2019, Bungalows Key Largo is a secluded tropical escape two hours from Miami that will have you reconsidering that next trip to the Caribbean. Drop your car out front: The entrance into the resort is by golf cart, through sandy, palm-studded trails, leading to enclaves of white-washed bungalows and expansive oceanfront. The resort is also home to a multi-tiered swimming pool, a lounger-lined beach, and fantastic eating and dining venues—the design of Fish Tales restaurant recalls Il Riccio from Capri, for example, while feet-in-the-sand Mexican restaurant, Sea Señor, bears a striking resemblance to Si Señor from Punta Mita.

Romance factor: A deviation from the Keys’ no-frills archetype, this detail-oriented, adults-only property in the Upper Keys feels more like a boho chic island retreat. The resort is all-inclusive, so there’s no reason to refuse that second margarita or glass of wine. Every one of the 135 bungalows has an outdoor soaking tub, plus an outdoor rain shower. Before or after treatments in the Asian-themed spa, unwind in the co-ed eucalyptus steam room or Himalayan salt therapy treatment room.

Get there: Two hours from Miami by car; around two hours from Fort Lauderdale or a 35-minute seaplane ride to the resort’s doorstep.

Image may contain: Building, Pool, Water, Hotel, Resort, Swimming Pool, City, Town, Urban, Metropolis, and Office Building

Courtesy Mandarin Oriental New York

HOTEL

 

Mandarin Oriental, New York

 

$$$

RCA 2018

What’s to love: Those looking for the romance of a big city should check into this sleek hotel, located in the north building of the Time Warner Center and commanding spectacular views of Central Park through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms are furnished with 1940s-inspired lacquer desks, Asian-style credenzas, paintings of New York City bridges, and watercolors by emerging artists. 

Romance factor: Wake up to jaw-dropping views of Central Park and the New York City skyline. Book ahead for the eight-course cocktail and food tasting menu downstairs at The Aviary NYC, a sister outpost to Chicago’s famed The Aviary, helmed by chef Grant Achatz and co-owner Nick Kokonas. Allot time for wellness, also: The fitness center has a 75-foot indoor lap pool overlooking the city, and The Spa, with its amethyst-crystal steam rooms, is a destination itself.

Get there: Right in the heart of New York City; about a 45-minute ride from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

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Amangani, Romantic Getaways

Courtesy Amangani Resort 

Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

What’s to love: Treat yourself to the best in Jackson Hole skiing and accommodations at this high-design, wood and stone-hewn retreat smack in the center of Wyoming’s mountains. Revel in easy ski access to nearly 2,500 acres—with slopes for all levels—and lots of après-ski fun in the heated, 115-foot-long swimming pool and surrounding patio. 

Romance factor: Though most come here to ski, we'll understand if you want to stay put and just take it all in. All rooms and suites have balconies or terraces with mountain views of the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, or Snake River Valley. But if you are heading out, consider getting a bird's-eye view of Yellowstone National Park with the private Photo Flight by Helicopter Yellowstone Experience, bookable through an Aman Guest Manager. Or try the full-day Granite Hot Springs Adventure, which includes snowmobiling or dog sledding through the snowy surrounds, a picnic lunch, and an afternoon soaking in hot springs. 

Get there: Twenty-five minutes from Jackson Hole Airport; about five hours from Salt Lake City by car.

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Steven Rothfeld/Courtesy Meadowood

HOTEL

 

Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena, California

 

$$$

RCA 2019

What’s to love: Napa Valley’s superlative back-to-nature experience beckons at Meadowood, a 250-acre forested estate with clusters of cottages and stilted lodges. The resort has myriad walking trails, an adults-only swimming pool, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant (The Restaurant at Meadowood) and a world-class spa (The Meadowood Spa). Beyond the Meadowood gates, look forward to visiting some of the superlative wineries in all of California wine country.

Romance factor: The crackling fireplaces, intimate terraces, and verdant environs makes Meadowood a prime destination for romance. Connect over glorious spa time with the Couples’ Essential Journey in a treehouse suite (with the optional add-on of a chocolate bath). Dine at Chef’s Kitchen Counter (which seats just two), or head to nearby restaurant The Charter Oak for approachable and memorable dishes. (We’re still dreaming of the grilled buttermilk-brined chicken and crispy potato tostones.)

Get there: Around two hours from San Francisco by car; seven hours from Los Angeles.

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Courtesy Dunton Hot Springs

HOTEL

 

Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, Colorado

 

$$$

GOLD LIST 2020

What’s to love: How does an old mining town in the Colorado Rockies evolve into an incredibly special luxury destination? The answer lies in the water—hot springs, to be more specific. Capitalizing on the region’s natural resource, Dunton Hot Springs is a collection of kitted-out individual log cabins with a half-dozen soaking options for enjoying the hot springs to the max. Once you’ve had your geothermal fix, take advantage of the on-site spa treatments, yoga sessions, vineyard, library, and saloon, as well as the expansive wilderness, which is ideal for hiking and horseback riding.

Romance factor: Book the three-night Mountain Romance package to check all the romance boxes—and then some. The package includes all meals and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), Champagne upon arrival, two 75-minute spa treatments, and one half-day privately guided activity for two. Consider adding on the lodge’s Sleigh Ride & Dine, which includes a horse-drawn sunset ride down to Dunton River Camp, where an intimate gourmet dinner for two is served in an original 19th-century farmhouse and followed by a bonfire and cocktails under the stars.

Get there: About two hours from Cortez Municipal Airport; seven hours from Denver by car.

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Auberge du Soleil, Auberge Resorts Collection

Trinette Reed/Courtesy Auberge Resorts

HOTEL

 

Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, California

 

$$$

RCA 2019

What’s to love: Oenophiles will want to head to Napa’s Auberge du Soleil, the adults-only retreat which looks out onto vineyards, olive groves, and the Mayacamas Mountains. (Tip: Wake up early for an epic sunrise as the fog lifts over the valley.) The Michelin-starred restaurant at Auberge du Soleil lays claim to one of the most extensive wine lists in Napa Valley, with more than 15,000 selections. And there are plenty of wine country experiences nearby: 15 minutes away is Stewart Cellars in Yountville, where the Nomad tasting takes guests through all six 2016 vintages of Stewart Nomad cabernet sauvignons, with a dedicated wine educator in the venue’s cozy-meets-modernist library.

Romance factor: All rooms have fireplaces, but book one of the Deluxe Private Garden suites for an outdoor soaking tub and bathroom with heated limestone flooring. Or go up another notch and score one of 1,800-square-foot Private Maisons (Cannes or Monaco), both redone in summer 2019 by noted interior designer Suzanne Tucker. These two specialty suites deliver sublime unobstructed views of the vineyards and surrounding mountains and come with special amenities like a Dom Pérignon champagne at check-in, a complimentary full bar, and a dedicated Mercedes-Benz sedan or convertible for private use throughout the stay. 

Get there: Approximately two hours from San Francisco by car; 3.5 hours from Reno.

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Courtesy The Setai Miami Beach

HOTEL

 

The Setai Miami Beach, Florida

 

$$$

RCA 2017

What’s to love: Miami Beach has its fair share of fabulous, over-the-top hotels, but for a romantic retreat, we're partial to The Setai Miami Beach. The design-forward, all-suite hotel impresses with an understated aesthetic, dimly lit courtyard, oceanfront gardens, and beach views from floor-to-ceiling glass windows. 

Romance factor: Available year round, the Couples Love Ceremony includes a 60-minute Balinese-style couples’ massage, followed by a 30-minute soak in rose petals and Himalayan bath salts with Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. We also love the hotel's trio of temperature-regulated pools and beach club, where you can order excellent food and cocktails from The Ocean Grill restaurant. White truffle pizza and Veuve Rosé, anyone?

Get there: It's a 20-minute car ride from Miami International Airport.

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Courtesy Twin Farms

HOTEL

 

Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont

 

$$$

RCA 2019

What’s to love: Amid the maple and pine trees of Barnard, Vermont—some 75 miles southeast of Burlington—you'll find this 18th-century farmhouse, which once belonged to Nobel Prize–winning writer Sinclair Lewis. Now part of a sprawling 300-acre Relais & Chateaux estate, the original building is accompanied by 10 singular cottages: there's everything from the modernist, Peter Bohlin–designed Aviary with a living-room hot tub to the dog-friendly Log Cabin, which features hand-hewn hickory, oak furnishings, twig work. Anticipate endless farm-to-table feasts courtesy of chef Nathan Rich, whose menus change daily, as well as free-flowing wine and Champagne at this all-inclusive spot.

Romance factor: Cozy up in your cottage all weekend long, requesting anything and everything for the perfect weekend by dialing 125. You can ask for another bottle of cabernet, more wood for the fireplace, or an indulgent, multi-course meal served en-suite, complete with wine pairings. Absorb the serenity of nature on a hiking trail and, later, steam things up with a dip in the heated Japanese-style soaking tub. 

Get there: About three hours from Boston by car; 1.5 hours from Burlington.

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Winivan, Romantic getaway

Courtesy Winivan 

Winvian Farm, Litchfield, Connecticut

What’s to love: In western Connecticut’s share of the beautiful Berkshire Mountains, Winvian Farm is an eclectic 113-acre, 18-chalet retreat, where units are singular in design (in fact, they’re designed by 15 different architects). Expect edgy incarnations of luxury that complement the woodsy surrounds, including a lighthouse in the forest, a two-story treehouse, and a mammoth 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican HH3F helicopter and its accompanying hangar transformed into a posh suite. The property upholds the exalted food and wine hallmarks of the Relais & Chateaux name, and has even pioneered its own cuisine called “seed-to-fork,” where most ingredients are grown or harvested directly on the farm.

Romance factor: Winvian has no shortage of incredible food experiences. Most rooms have at least one wood-burning fireplace, where you can make s’mores and huddle up for warmth. Take a pasta cooking class with Winvian’s executive chef Chris Eddy, who has worked under the likes of celebrity chefs Alain Ducasse and Jean-Michel Bergougnoux. Or sweeten the day with private pastry classes or a decadent chocolate tasting under the direction of award-winning executive pastry chef Jim Hutchison.

Get there: Two hours from New York City by car; 2.5 hours from Boston.

Room 6, Inn at Little Washington

Gordon Beall

Inn at Little Washington, Virginia

What’s to love: Gourmands should check into the Inn at Little Washington by Patrick O’ Connell in his hometown of Washington, Virginia, which sits west of Washington, D.C. The boutique Relais & Chateaux property has a collection of restored historic buildings, including an 1850s Victorian House and a main inn, anchored by a three-Michelin-starred restaurant where O’ Connell is behind the ever-changing tasting menu. Highlights from a recent meal included Duet of Lobster (butter poached and cabbage-wrapped Maine lobster with caviar beurre blanc) and a “Sandwich” of Pan-Roasted Quail with braised endive and huckleberries.

Romance factor: Before dinner, amble along The Field of Dreams, a 20-acre meadow with beautiful mountain views and the perfect spot to catch the sunset. Wow your loved one by booking an in-kitchen experience with O’Connell himself as he guides you through his creative process and showpiece kitchen before serving your experiential, multi-course dinner. (Reservations must be made in advance by telephone.)

Get there: About two hours from Washington, D.C. by car; four hours from Philadelphia.

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Courtesy Hewing Hotel

HOTEL

 

Hewing Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

$$

RCA 2019

What’s to love: Opened in late 2016, Minneapolis’ Hewing Hotel occupies the historic Jackson Building, which was built in 1897 as a warehouse for timber traveling the Mississippi River and a showroom for farm equipment. Traces of the past can still be seen in what is otherwise a thoroughly contemporary, and endearingly Minnesotan, hotel in the city's North Loop. There are cleverly curated in-room amenities like cozy Faribault Woolen Mill throws and a terrific bar with local tipples from Vikre Honor. On the sixth floor is a rooftop bar and cocktail lounge with superb city views. 

Romance factor: Head to the rooftop to warm up in the 24-person cedar-wood sauna. Afterward, take a dip in the heated outdoor spa pool or get comfortable in front of the lobby fireplace, craft cocktail in hand. For dinner, eat in-house at Tullibee, which is popular with locals for its Nordic-inspired locavore dishes. Meats are sourced from the restaurant's own on-site butcher and plates reflect items foraged from Minnesota’s lakes and woods. A recent meal included dry-aged beef tartare with rye, horseradish, and frozen yogurt, followed by celery root agnolotti with duck ragout, autumn sofrito, and mushroom conserva.

Get there: A 30-minute drive from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; a six-hour drive from Chicago.

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