Spring has sprung and summer is on rapid approach. Now is the time to plan a respite to a warm and balmy destination where sun, sand and serenity are abundant. Here are seven sunny getaways where endless relaxation, recreational and gastronomic opportunities await.
1. One of my favorite Mexican destinations is Puerto Vallarta.
Whether you are traveling solo, coupled or with family, there is something for everyone with such activities as windsurfing, sailing, whale watching, zip lining, white water rafting, snorkeling, bird observing, biking, and even swimming with dolphins. At CasaMagna Marriott, situated on the Pacific coastline alongside Banderas Curve, there are no commercial or residential properties in sight. Vistas are dominated by the breathtaking beach, pool, and the Sierra Madre Mountains. The hotel spa is an expansive 22,000 square feet-the largest spa in all of Puerto Vallarta. The 18-hole golf course also does not disappoint. Meet a local fisherman on the beach and select which of his catches you'd like prepared for your evening meal.
2. Stay in the states and head west to Catalina Island.
Located 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina is roughly 90 minutes by boat from Dana Point or a 15 minute helicopter ride. This island paradise offers 76 miles of pristine beaches. You can find yourself a vacation rental with some 200 options through Catalina Island Vacation Rentals Company. A villa at Hamilton Cove is a great option. While on the island, enjoy a plethora of activities on land and on sea from shopping and seaside dining to fishing, porpoise and seal watching, snorkeling and kayaking. In January, the highs can be in the 70s with lows down to the 50s.
3. Mexico’s marvelous Yucatan Peninsula.
The Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort is regarded as “perfection on the Yucatan Peninsula” for a reason. This must-see locale gives you stunning, panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea on the southeastern coast of Mexico. There are no shortage of fun activities in this paradise, including snorkeling and scuba/reef diving. Having been named one of Forbes’ “10 Coolest Resorts,” Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort provides luxurious all-inclusive service with its own butler concierge and gorgeous room views of the jungle or ocean front.
4. Get lavished in the luxurious North Miami Beach Aventura neighborhood.
Another stateside option for vacationers is the always-fun city of Miami, FL. In the warm North Miami Beach Aventura neighborhood, you are not far from the city’s trademark parks and 2,400,000 square foot Aventura Mall. If you want to soak up as much sun and luxury as possible while you are there, the AAA 4 diamond-rated Turnberry Isle Miami is a great place to stay. The comforting Turnberry Isle has 408 spacious rooms, gorgeous suites, an extravagant pool area with a 35-foot water slide, and critically acclaimed golf courses. Past guests of the four decade-old resort include President Bill Clinton, Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, and Billy Crystal, among many other A-listers. Join the club!
5. Enjoy the sights and sounds of San Diego County, Calif.
In Carlsbad, you will see first-hand why the “Village by the Sea” is the place to be. The city is located just 35 miles north of San Diego, 87 miles from Los Angeles, and is home to attractions such as the GIA Museum, Legoland California, Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad Village, State Beach, and much more. If you are planning a getaway in Carlsbad, I would recommend a stay at the Hilton Carlsbad Resort, home of the Oceanfront Resort & Spa. With its location directly across from Ponto Beach, find out for yourself why this property has truly raised the standards of San Diego North County stays.
6. Fun times at the Flamingo Las Vegas.
There is never a shortage of activities to do in Las Vegas from casinos to concerts to simply soaking up the sun. If you plan on visiting Sin City anytime soon, you might want your next stay to be at the Flamingo Las Vegas. The newly-renovated hotel features 3,545 rooms and suites, free parking, and plenty of transportation to explore everything Las Vegas has to offer. But before heading out, do not forget to enjoy the Caribbean-style water playground complete with waterfalls and lagoons, as well as its beautiful landscape. If you are so inclined, you can even get hitched at the Flamingo!
7. Live the Hollywood lifestyle–in Florida.
Hollywood, FL may not have much in common with the other Hollywood, but there is plenty to do in this popular beach town. Hollywood’s main attractions include its pristine beaches, Beach Boardwalk, Charnow Park, the Water Taxi, and casinos. Speaking of casinos, the Hollywood inland destination of choice for many tourists is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, celebrating over a decade of entertainment and luxury excellence. The Seminole Hard Rock is considered one of the legendary brand’s flagship locations, with great music memorabilia displays, a casino, the world-famous café, and live entertainment all under one roof to make the most out of your Hollywood experience.
"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.
Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.
By Merilee Kern