Quick Weekend Getaways for Girlfriends, Kiddos, and Couples
For many of us, it’s not a true vacation unless we’re getting out of dodge for at least a week—but in reality, a 72-hour respite in a fantastic location can be all that’s needed to hit the reset button. So in the spirit of efficiency, we’ve rounded up a few particularly memorable weekend destinations—most of which are within an hour’s trip from a major airport—that make for ideal get-in/get-out getaways, whether you’re looking to kick it with some girlfriends, occupy the littles over break, or carve out some QT with your SO.
Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa
A one-stop shop for all things wellness, Miraval Arizona is the kind of place you can go on a girls’ getaway and return home feeling totally recharged. Tucked in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the resort’s rugged, cacti-dotted surroundings are the backdrop for a host of activities, including horseback riding, hiking, and botany-focused tours. Meanwhile, the spa comes with its own army of healers, wellness practitioners, and massage therapists. All programs are fully customizable, offering guests the option to pick and chose the components of an ideal day, which could include meditation and reiki in the morning, aerial yoga in the afternoon, and a hot stone massage in a temperature-controlled outdoor tent to round-out the day. Early next year, Miraval is launching the Retreat—a collection of twenty-two residences equipped with indoor-outdoor showers and private pools—each designed for larger groups traveling together, or those seeking a bit more living space.
There’s a unique mix of bustling urban energy and laid-back California cool found in downtown San Diego, and this hotel occupies a corner spot that’s right in the middle of it all. Moderately sized with a boutique feel, The Pendry is within walking distance to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. If you don’t want to leave the grounds over the weekend, the near picture-perfect rooftop pool offers some of the best views in the city, while the adjacent restaurants, Lionfish and Provisional, serve up excellent seafood & steak and fresh California dishes, respectively. If you’re looking to detox from the night before, it’s worth the 20-minute trek north to the bohemian town of Encinitas where you can spend the day indulging in organic facials, acupuncture, and color readings at the wellness-focused Four Moons Spa.
In recent years Charleston has gathered buzz for its food scene and the influx of cute design hotels. The conveniently located The Restoration makes for the perfect spot to call basecamp for the weekend while you explore the city’s ins and outs. Comprised of five different buildings (one of which dates back to 1822) that served as row houses, a vinyl record shop, a department store, a telegraph office, and a restaurant/bar in past lives, today it’s an upscale boutique that boasts classic Southern design with clean, modern touches. Three of the hotel perks here include coffee from Toby’s Estate, organic facials at The Amethyst Spa, and a complimentary bike share program—and it’s a stone’s throw from Basic Kitchen, one of Charleston’s recent and well-received additions to the food scene that serves seasonal local food and fresh juices in bright, clean-lined interiors.
Rosewood Mayakoba is a huge resort that’s very well run and well-manicured. You’re surrounded by water, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and freshwater lagoons on the other, which you traverse by boat to get around. (You can always get around by bike, which is popular with guests.) It’s hard to get a bad room as they’re all villas—private plunge pools, sun decks, and outdoor showers come with each. (They’re really spacious and great for friends traveling together.) If you want to hole up at the spa every day of your visit, you wouldn’t be blamed—it’s a totally special space, housed on a private island overlooking limestone lagoons and offering up an extensive menu of Mayan-influenced spa treatments and rituals. Come evening, be sure to book a spot at La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen—an 18-seat dining experience under a large Ceiba tree on the property’s 20,000-square foot garden where everyone from hotel guests and staff dine together on a menu crafted from locally-sourced produce and sip wines and tequilas from the region.
The William Vale
Williamsburg newcomer the William Vale is an all-balcony building, meaning guests have a stellar view no matter their room’s orientation—we recommend a corner suite—the all-glass bathroom (lie in the tub and take in the Manhattan skyline), and beautifully appointed living room are so worth it. The interior décor is quirky and modern—geometric prints and patterned tiles paired with mid-century furniture. Located in what was once a neighborhood of abandoned buildings, adjoining Wythe Street is now packed with incredible breakfast spots (try Meyers Bageri or Sunday in Brooklyn), bars, and boutiques. What makes this hotel ideal for a girls’ weekend is how in keeping with the neighborhood’s creative spirit, it regularly hosts events from chakra healing to meditation and letter pressing. If you’re looking to let loose, the rooftop bar, Westlight, is packed to the rafters—it’s a great way to start or end your night.
Wm Mulherin's Sons
Housed in a former whiskey factory, staying here feels like you’re spending the night in a chic artists’s loft, which makes it a good fit for traveling with friends. Each of the four rooms are spacious and considered, with custom woodworking and furniture that marries with the original detailing of the space. Best yet, the hotel’s located in Philly’s revived Fishtown neighborhood, which has seen an influx of some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and art galleries. After a day spent walking along the historic cobblestone streets, head back here for a cozy dinner capped off with cocktails at nearby Root Resto & Wine Bar.
A short drive from San Francisco, and a quick flight from LA, Napa Valley continues to be a favorite–and easy—weekend getaway for us West Coast winos (and foodies) that offers some of the most breathtakingly romantic settings. Calistoga Ranch takes this to the next level with its stunning grounds and pool—and since it has its own cabernet-producing vineyard, you can get the full wine country experience without even leaving the property. Each of the fifty rooms has a fireplace and a private deck, and occupies its own secluded lodge nestled in the lush canyon, which guarantees optimal of privacy. The service is at peak here: the hotel’s team offers rides to any location on the grounds (a necessity if you’re trekking up to the lauded Lakehouse Restaurant at the top of the mountain), and they’ll help you arrange tastings if you want to explore more of what the valley has to offer.
Located in a remote area outside Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Gold Coast, Imanta is easily one of the most secluded and romantic resorts we’ve visited. The surroundings are idyllic, with the soft-sand beaches meeting 250-acres of dense tropical rainforest. This is the kind of place where you can horseback ride through the jungle and end up on the beach. It has a strong wellness bent, evident in the open-air Jungle Spa where you can indulge in treatments based on Aztec healing methods and ancient herbs. To top it all off, the views are stellar, to say the least: End the day at the Observatorio Bar where you can sip cocktails while taking in the sunset (it’s all almost too good to be true, but it is).
Fogo Island Inn
Staying at the Fogo Island Inn feels a lot like being at the end of the earth, in the best way possible. The remote location (perched on the Northeast coast of Newfoundland) and starkly beautiful landscape is incredibly romantic. Conceived as a social enterprise to support the tiny, yet sturdy island community, the inn celebrates local cuisine and donates all of its proceeds to community programming. The structure itself is a gorgeous, modern building that juts out in juxtaposition to—yet somehow at harmony with—the rocky outcroppings of the landscape, offering breathtaking views out of the wide windows. For lovers, the quaint quality of the place and it’s sheer isolation inspire plenty of hand-holding moments: depending on the season, you can hike the trails in search of wild berries and local wildlife, like caribou, foxes, puffins, and migrating whales, or go ice fishing and cozy-up next to an outdoor fire. The décor is modern but warm, with Scandinavian-feeling wooden shapes, and warm, hand-made quilts.
Post Ranch Inn
The wild mountain terrain and 360-degree coastal views of Big Sur provide a fitting, and obviously romantic—backdrop to Post Ranch Inn’s eco-conscious surroundings (the property is powered by sun panels year-round and guests are chauffeured in Lexus hybrid vehicles). Sprawled out over jagged cliffs—it’s a dramatic 1,200 foot drop to the Pacific Ocean—and shrouded in semi-permanent fog, the resort is comprised of small dwellings, including cliff, tree, and peak houses. Even two days spent here can recharge the weary: the rooms are TV-less and guests can take part in the complimentary activities, such as daily yoga, guided nature hikes, and access to the infinity and swimming pools. Since you must be at least 18 to stay, there’s a like-mindedness here that permeates the energy: this is a place to relax, take in the grandeur, and ultimately reconnect with a beau.
Here in the countryside outside London is yet another example of how Nick Jones and his team can literally do no wrong. Tucked in the rolling fields of Oxfordshire, Soho Farmhouse is a compound that includes a, well…farmhouse, several luxury cabins, stables, and a velvet-laden screening room. The décor mirrors the other branches–so members will feel instantly at home–with plenty of country-chic details thrown in (note: green hunter Wellies at guests’ disposal). There’s a ton to do here, from swimming in the heated outdoor pools or lake (the latter is stocked with row-boats for day use), to indulging in the spa. For total privacy, book one of the cottages, equipped with bicycles, rainforest showers, and wood burning stoves, all of which make it pretty hard to leave.
Malibu local Matthew Goodwin (an architect who grew up surfing at First Point across the street), his creative director wife Emma, and New York-based business partner Alessandro Zampedri are behind the significant revamp of the historic Surfrider, from downtrodden motel to Aussie-inflected, boutique surfer bolt-hole (a quick drive up the PCH from Santa Monica feels like entering another world). The twenty-room hotel is luxurious, airy, and light-soaked, boasting custom furniture, reclaimed teak floors, imported tiles, and Italian linens. Each room has an ocean-facing balcony and hammocks, plus Grown Alchemist toiletries in the bathroom. By day, visitors have their pick of Malibu’s beaches (the hotel will set you up with everything you need for a day on the sand, and transport you there in their vintage Land Rover), surf spots, and romantic hikes. By night, the guests-only roof deck bar and restaurant—complete with fire pit, cozy seating, and uninterrupted ocean views—is the ideal spot to settle in with a lover and watch the sun descend over Surfrider Beach.
Traveling with Littles
Kids will go nuts for this 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 bunks and… Xboxes. Each of the fifty 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 $89 a night, 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, in jest of course).
Buttermilk biscuits with a view. Equal parts luxury hotel, world-class kitchen, and working farm, this 4,200 acre foodie resort in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is a slice of heaven for families hungry for rest, relaxation, good music, and, of course, incredible Southern cooking. Aside from being one of the most beautiful working farms in the country, the property is the perfect getaway for families with kids big and small. For littles, Camp Blackberry operates through all the holiday seasons, and activities include painting, cooking, outdoor adventures—camp counsellors pick up and drop off the kids leaving parents with a full day of alone time. There are endless outdoorsy activities for the whole family like hiking through the woods, paddleboarding, horseriding, and biking.
Montage Deer Valley
In true Montage form, there is nothing understated about this palatial resort nestled in the Utah mountains. While the main event is obviously on the slopes, there’s plenty for those who aren’t inclined to strap on skis or are too small to do so. The spa is excellent but it’s the kids club that’s the real draw for parents, with snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice-skating on the roster of activities. The hotel has a variety of family-friendly dining options too, meaning you don’t have to leave the property if you don’t want to: Apex serves a hearty skier’s brunch buffet daily (try the gluten-free banana bread), while Yama Suhi, overlooking the Empire lift, serves a solid mix of rolls and sashimi as well as sake flights. Downstairs, Daly’s Pub has a rec-room feel with a dartboard, vintage arcade games, and even a bowling alley, plus a menu of shareable brick-oven pizzas that are sure to please. Plus, from 4pm to 5pm in the winter months, and 8pm to 9pm in the summer, the hotel offers gourmet marshmallows (cinnamon, anyone?) for roasting on the open fire pits—the perfect way to round off an evening with the littles.
Palihouse Santa Monica
The concept behind Palihouse (which has a second location in West Hollywood) is genius: The rooms, which range from studios to two-bedrooms, are built for longer stays, with a small kitchen and generous living space. So while, like any hotel, you can book them for a few days—the big rooms are especially great for people traveling with kids—they can also be reserved for up to three months if you feel like settling into the West Side. The décor is warm and comfortable, with dark walls, white linens, and mid-century furniture. Having an on-site kitchen is a godsend when travelling with littles and nearby Santa Monica offers endless entertainment. Riding the ferris wheel, a day on the beach, or a cycle down the boardwalk to Venice are perfect, energy-consuming, kid-friendly activities that will have little ones falling asleep early, leaving an evening open for a grown-ups only dinner.
Since its original owners first broke ground on the building in 1907, The Plaza, with its opulent décor, luxe suites, and location right along the edge of Central Park, has been a monumental presence in the city. F. Scott Fitzgerald (a regular himself) staged Gatsby’s confrontation with Tom Buchanan in a Plaza suite, Frank Lloyd Wright famously lived there for several years while he oversaw the construction of the Guggenheim Museum, and, of course, there’s Eloise, forever immortalized with her own pink suite at the hotel and an afternoon tea in her honor (a lovely treat for kids and tweens). All of the rooms and magnificent suites are decorated in the original style of the building. The proximity to Central Park is perfectly suited to little travellers with boating on the lake (in the summer), and ice-skating (in the winter) for outdoorsy entertainment in the big city.
The Stanley Hotel
Built in 1909, The Stanley was famously the inspiration for The Shining, and the hotel plays right into its reputation, offering a “night spirit tour” that features dark corners of the property where paranormal activity has been recorded. If you can get past the haunted element, it really is by far the nicest place to stay in Estes Park, especially if travelling with kids. Plus, it’s only a few miles from the park entrance, and a partnership with Kent Mountain Adventure Center means you can actually book guided hikes and other park activities along with your room. For the littles (and the grown-ups), there’s snowshoeing, back-country and cross country skiing in winter, while in the summer the hiking and wildlife viewing is just out of this world.