Escape to these Winter Wonderlands
Now that the holidays are over, it may seem premature to plan another getaway. However, weekend and week-long hiatuses are great to reset and uncover motivation when the winter months grow tedious.
While longer vacations seem more restorative, studies show that shorter bursts are more beneficial. It is like a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout: periods of work with short periods of rest in between.
According to TED, there are four ideal qualities of a restorative vacation: relaxation, detachment from work, control, and mastery experiences. The first two are self explanatory — effortless activities that yield positive effects, such as sitting on the beach reading a book and turning off your cellphone. Unplugging from all business interruptions provides the most rest. Additionally, deciding how to employ your time, energy, and attention restores control. Finally, mastery experiences are “engaging, interesting things you do well.” When you are challenged by a task you enjoy, accomplishing it is more rewarding. In fact, those who engage in these endeavors often feel more fulfilled.
The long weekends in January and February are opportunities to escape. Anticipate your burnout, so when you get there you are already on your way!
Here are 11 great places to unplug, refresh, and refuel. They are all accessible within five hours from New York.
Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, California // A beautiful drive from San Francisco through Napa's vineyards leads you to this beautiful compound. Savor a few grapes, or if that is not your thing, enjoy a delicious meal at Bottega in Yountville. While you are in St. Helena, make sure to sneak a peek of Dennis Quaid’s grounds in the 1998 film, The Parent Trap.
Bernardus Lodge & Spa, Carmel Valley, California // This desert resort is a sheer sanctuary. Spend the day at the spa, play croquet, and go for a walk on the beautiful premises. Carmel-by-the-Sea and Pebble Beach are proximate for an exciting day trip. Easily accessible from both San Francisco and San José International Airports.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills // My favorite. You feel like a princess while staying at The Pink Palace, especially if you are staying in one of the newly-renovated bungalows, such as the one inspired by Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs home. Spend the day in a private cabana by the pool, and have a true Hollywood dinner at the Polo Lounge. Make sure to get a soufflé too — they serve a different flavor every night!
The Little Nell, Aspen // Roll out of bed from your ultimately cozy and luxurious room, and fall right into the gondola. Make sure to dress yourself appropriately before arriving at the top of the mountain, though! The resort is named after a mining clan located a little further uphill, but is far from mining conditions and will live up to your highest standards.
Hotel Eden Rock, St. Jean, St. Barths // The Beverly Hills Hotel of the island. This is the place to luxuriously renew, swim in hypnagogic turquoise water, and be catered to by the excellent service you deserve.
The Breakers, Palm Beach // A classic. Strut up and down Worth Avenue with your Ralph Lauren and Chanel shopping bags, spend the day at the pool or playing golf and tennis, and have dinner at the fabulous Table 26°. Eddie and Ozzie, the owners of this most buzzed about locale, are beyond charming and are remarkable restauranteurs, not to mention chefs! Keep an eye out for any helicopters, it could be POTUS!
The Lowell Hotel, New York // An Upper East Side gem, with the grace found only between Madison and Park Avenues. And trust me, I am familiar first hand with the splendor of this hotel, as I spent my childhood playing in the penthouse. Be sure to reserve a table at Vaucluse, a sophisticated French restaurant a little further East on 63rd Street.
The Mayflower Grace, Washington, Connecticut // In only two hours from Manhattan, you will find yourself wandering this country paradise. Both the accommodations and surrounding areas are breathtaking, in addition to the esteemed spa. The Mayflower Grace is even more magical in the snowy winter months.
Brown’s Hotel, London // One of the most posh hotels in the ever-contemporary and cool British city. Nestled in sophisticated Mayfair (its streets remind me of Madison Avenue in the upper 70s), both the hotel and location are ideal for a lavish London leave. Be sure to stop by Browns Fashion, also in Mayfair, to peruse collections of the city’s most innovative designers.
The Ritz Paris, Place Vendôme // There is no place more famous or more elegant. After four years of renovation, The Ritz reopened its doors in June 2016. Have a magical time in the City of Lights, staying in the same prestige as Jean-Paul Sartre and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. There are too many places for me to insist you visit in Paris...
Staycation // Another great option is to pretend you are embarking on a journey…when instead you are planning a sojourn at home. Staycations are wonderful for being in the comfort of your own home and enjoying everything that is yours.
While these hotels and resorts serve as great escapes, exploring cities is an integral part. Stay tuned for ALB’s travel guides, coming this spring!
Header image, the beach on Ocean Avenue — yes, that Ocean Avenue — in Carmel-by-the-Sea.