What's Worth It
Spring has sprung and with May 12 right around the corner it’s time to get away! Whether you’re looking to bring the family together or are long overdue for a mom-cation, continue reading for a curated list of what to do and where — you can take it from us.
A Seaside Escape
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Head to Italy’s Amalfi Coast for the perfect seaside escape, especially in May when the weather is mild and tourist season low. Bordered by dramatic cliffsides and a stunning turquoise sea, venture inland among forests of lush greenery or wander down narrow city streets lined with boutiques and hole-in-the-wall patisseries. The greatest trademark of the Amalfi Coast are its 13 villages dabbling the coastline with pastels – so whether you’re looking for luxurious resorts (Positano), ancient villas (Ravello), secluded shorelines (Praiano), or a foodie’s-paradise (Minori), this stretch of paradise has you covered.
Consider a stay at the cliffside Santa Caterina Hotel, a classic 19th century Italian villa infused with Mediterranean zest and antiquated textures. Surrounded by olive groves, fruit orchards, and blossom-laden lattice, enjoy fine hospitality, incredulous on-site dining, and elevator access to a heated seaside pool and dazzling azure coast – all within steps from the Historic Marine Republic.
Flavorful hotspots include: five star Ristorante Franchino in Salerno for traditional Mediterranean seafood by candlelight with a view; David Gelaterias in Sorrento to blend a signature flavor of gelato; Pasticceria Pansa for delectable pastries made with locally sourced lemon and Bar del Duomo next door for an excellent glass of wine or cognac; and Sirenuse Hotel’s Champagne and Oyster bar in Positano, renowned for its signature cocktails and after- hours music.
Activity highlights include: the Path of the Gods, a three-hour walk spanning from Agerola to Positano and named for showcasing some of earth’s most heavenly views; a boat tour through the emerald-colored Grotta dello Smeraldo Cave situated between Amalfi and Praiano; exploring largely overlooked boutique towns like Furore, coated with hand-painted murals depicting life on the coast; hiking or cycling into waterfall-rich Ferriere Valley from Salerno; and admiring it all from the comfort of your window seat aboard the La Circumvesuviana Line from Naples to Sorrento.
When it’s finally time to get away and soak up the dazzling nightlife you missed so much, set sail for Budapest, one of the newest and hottest party capitals in all of Europe. At the turn of the century a group of broke young partygoers filled the shells of abandoned Baroque buildings and outdoor spaces with a party scene like no other. These “ruin bars” are just as popular now as they were back in the day, and with comparable prices too, let down your hair in neon-drenched venues well into the night, fueled by the city’s magnetic energy and a sour palinka or two.
Flavorful hotspots include: Kispiac’s retro restaurant for traditional Hungarian cuisine like stuffed csülök (pig’s trotter) and grandmother’s sweet plum jam roly-poly; the inner 7th district, or the old Jewish Quarter, for the widest variety of bars and nightclubs including vintage-themed ruin Szimpla Kert; and 360 Bar for a curated cocktail venue overlooking the city’s best side (all of it) from the Igloo Rooftop Garden.
Activity highlights include: bathing in the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, the original Blue Lagoon; a stroll along the Danube Promenade for iconic views of Pest and a tour of the Gothic Revival Parliament Building; overlooking Buda from Gellert Hill and exploring the Chapel cave there; descending into the Ladyrinth which once held Count Dracula; and gazing upward inside the Dohány Street Synagogue.
Consider a stay at the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, a monarchical property in the heart of the party district just footsteps from the Budapest Eye. Chic, smart, and a heavenly refresher from the buzzing streets below, catch your breath in a tailor-made suite with iconic views or head to the spa to nurse your hangover in the most fabulous way possible.
A Bucket List Item
Machu Picchu, Peru
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and finally tick off another eagerly-awaited item on your bucket list. Hop on a southbound plane and touch down in Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire, Peru’s number one destination city, and the best access point for the iconic Machu Picchu. Head further south by train to the town of Aguas Calientes and acclimate to the 6,700 elevation for a couple days before tackling the Inca Trail, Salkantay Mountain, or Lares Route to the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Consider a stay at Hotel Sol Y Luna, a quaint property nestled in the foothills and gardens of Urubama, a radiant atmosphere culturally rich around the edges. With a sharp focus on the heritage and art of the Peruvian people, this boutique property was created with responsibly locally sourced materials and decorated top to bottom with an eclectic collection of vintage folk art, clay murals, and down-to-earth South American charm – while offering modern amenities like a terrace Jacuzzi, gym, and 10-course private dining experience so you don’t miss a beat.
Flavorful hotspots include: the Sacred Valley for the most authentic version of pachamanca, a dish of meat, corn, cheese, and potatoes slow-cooked in ancient Incan fashion; San Pedro Market for choclo con queso, tamales, and fresh fruit smoothies; The Wild Rover for the best nightlife, cocktails, and moonlit panoramas in Cusco; Km 0 for all-day breakfast and live music after-hours; and Cafeteria Siete & Siete for exceptional coffee and a traditional Peruvian menu including delectable desserts, all with a view.
Activity highlights include: trekking through the Sacred Valley and its countryside villages, festival center, ruins, and Amazonian lowlands to Machu Picchu for the spectacle of a lifetime; boating alongside Islas Uros, a self-proclaimed island community built entirely on buoyant totora; and exploring Cusco’s abundance of historical and religious sites like La Catedral, Iglesia del Triunfo, Iglesia de Jesús María, Plaza de Armas, Qorikancha, and Templo y Convento de La Merced.
Tel Aviv, Israel
In a country as small as the US state of New Jersey, and balancing somewhere between European modernity and Middle Eastern customs, there’s no question why the capital of Israel is so alive with culture and diversity. Welcome to Tel Aviv, a land as rich in wine as it is religion, known as “the white city” and home to the world’s largest diamond exchange center in the world, this contemporary epi-center has welcomed immigrants with open-arms for ages, creating a colorful blend of cuisines, beliefs, traditions, nightlife, and art. Step onto these ancient sunlit streets and soak up the refreshing vibe of a progressive, utopian metropolis visually frozen in time.
Consider a stay at Carlton Tel Aviv, one of the most nouvelle accommodations in all of Israel and recently refreshed with a full renovation to boot. Situated steps from the city’s cultural and business centers, enjoy stunning views of the marina and shoreline from your spacious 5-star suite without sacrificing convenience. Award-winning breakfast is provided daily, as is the rooftop pool and Jacuzzi to indulge in as you wish.
Flavorful hotspots include: Catit inside the Ottoman mansion for innovative combinations of Israeli, French, Arab, and classic-Mediterranean recipes with a presentation as abstract as the flavors are bold; Manta Ray for creative dishes of freshly-caught seafood in an eclectic beachside atmosphere; Hamalabiya for the best version of Malabi, a middle-eastern rose or vanilla- cinnamon milk pudding; Café Paul’s for roasted-on-site imported coffees; Claro for a traditional Israeli breakfast or Café XOHO to all-day-breakfast like the hipsters do; and Rothschild Boulevard after the sun goes down for an unforgettable night of dancing and drinks, hopping from Rothschild 12 after-hours café to Beit HaAmudim for live jazz to the rooftops of The Prince and beyond.
Activity highlights include: sunbathing and water sports on some of the world’s best shores, such as Gordon Beach for Israeli folk dancing and Banana Beach for bohemian drum circles; wandering the promenade for sea sunsets and music buskers; exploring the oldest seaport in the world, Old Jaffa, and its Clock Tower; taking a religious tour through The Holy Land; browsing the colorful Carmel Market indie stalls laden with dried fruit, fresh fish, spices, and souvenirs; visiting Culture Square for performing arts and Tel Aviv University’s Botanical Gardens; experiencing the electric vibe of an international party scene unparalleled to any other; and although this city is a destination in its own right, don’t forget its close proximity to many other incredulous destinations like Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Eilat, and Petra.
If your thirst for adventure is as great as hitting ‘pause’ on reality, escape to the Caribbean island of Costa Rica, one of the happiest countries on earth. Containing 5% of the world’s biodiversity throughout a varied terrain of valleys, mountains, plains, rainforests, volcanoes, and wetlands, you’ll never run out of inspiration to explore every crevice of this special, exciting country – from surfing to ziplining, spelunking to white water rafting, Costa Rica is the place to be.
Consider a stay at Make Nayara Hotel and Spa Gardens to discover an award-winning paradise in the heart of Arenal Volcano National Park. Immerse yourself in the magic of this colorful jungle and enjoy on-site farm-to-table fine dining, an award-winning spa and outdoor wellness center, and access to a curated menu of eco-adventures departing from the resort daily. Nayara provides an unparalleled authentic island experience, capturing the soul of Costa Rica and delivering it directly to your doorstep.
Flavorful hotspots include: La Oveja Negra for a traditional chifrijo dish of rice, pork, beans, and lemon; seaside Puntarenas for a traditional shaved-ice dessert known as a copo, made with kola syrup and powdered and condensed milk (or step it up a notch with a churchill for thicker cream and fruit); Puerto Viejo Soda Lidia’s Place on the Caribbean side for an entirely different culinary experience including jerk chicken and rice and beans cooked with coconut milk; Apotecario for a perfectly refreshing gin and tonic; and in the sea, catch a tuna snapper or mahi mahi from the shore and ask a local chef to cook it up for you!
Activity highlights include: ziplining, Costa Rica’s most popular activity; a lava field walk around one of Costa Rica’s five active volcanoes; admiring the rainforest above the canopy from the Mystic Hanging Bridge; boating through remote Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge on the Rio Frio; rappelling 350-feet into the heart of a canyon; hiking Corcovado National Park, a must for wildlife lovers; spelunking your way through the limestone caves of Barra Honda National Park; snorkeling on Tortuga Island; and spotting throughout each excursion an abundance of wildlife including parrots, toucans, coatis, agoutis, butterflies, turtles, iguanas, crocodiles, monkeys, and sloths – just remember to opt for daytime, nighttime, whale, and bird watching tours to get the very most out of your wildlife sightseeing experience here in bountiful Costa Rica!
Peace and Quiet in the Country
Amenia, New York
Nestled on the eastern border of Dutchess County just three hours north of bustling Manhattan, seek solace from hectic schedules and crowded stations in a place where time stands still. Here in small town Amenia, rediscover the magic of a slowly setting sun and reading a good book cover to cover. This is where people come to vacate their lives, to wander bare foot through open meadows and explore the outskirts on horseback. A place where colors are brighter, meals more satisfying, and evenings spent creating treasured memories over warm chamomile tea and board games, with no noise but the symphony of crickets outside.
Consider a stay at Troutbeck to blend into the countryside and experience the essence of peaceful New England in its purest form. Recently renovated and hosting upscale service in an intimate and boutique setting, come home to the country to dine beneath wooden rafters, explore open spaces, and enjoy utmost comfort in a refreshingly rustic, down-to-earth country house curated for peace and quiet.
Flavorful hotspots include: Cascade Mountain Winery and Restaurant for a family-owned, hillside fine dining and wine experience; Amenia Steakhouse for daily-cut meats grilled over an open-flame and doused in signature marinade; Monte’s Local Kitchen and Tap Room for wholesome American dishes and an exceptional selection of wines and cocktails; and Back in the Kitchen for homemade desserts like coconut cream pie, fresh-baked ginger molasses cookies, and buttermilk orange-glaze scones.
Activity highlights include: riding horse-back through the lush countryside or along woodland trails; touring the ivy-covered, medieval-styled Wing Castle; sampling hand-crafted, award- winning spirits and on-site mixologists’ concoctions on a rainy afternoon (don’t forget to pick up a jar of bourbon New York maple syrup as a sweet souvenir); biking the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, an abandoned portion of the New York and Harlem Railroad reclaimed by the state’s Office of Historic Preservation; exploring the indie Oblong Books and Music emporium; and heading an hour northwest to the Hudson River, the perfect place to rent a couple of kayaks or canoe for the day.
San Francisco to Napa Valley, California
Your paid time off is piling up and all you can think of is cruising along the pristine Cali coast, shades on and windows down – after all, what better way to welcome spring? Starting off in the Golden Gate state of San Francisco, follow the shimmering shores to Oakland then into the furthest reaches of Napa Valley. This route can be done in a dayor a week, depending on how much time you can (or want) to spend.
Consider a stay at Loews Regency to kick off your road trip in the heart of sparkling San Francisco with style and sophistication in a room with stellar Bay and bridge views. Head east across the Oakland Bay Bridge to Fairmont Hotel’s Claremont Club and Spa to experience a classic Oakland-style urban resort. And after you’ve made your way north and into Cali’s renowned wine country retreat to Carneros Resort and Spa in countryside for the perfect end to the perfect road trip.
Flavorful hotspots include: San Fran’s Nopa for the city’s best everything and Bi-Rite Creamery for signature sundaes; Oakland’s Bakesale Betty for incredible buttermilk friend chicken and Cafe Van Kleef for a kitschy craft cocktail; and Napa Valley’s Bounty Hunter Wine Bar and Smokin’ BBQ and the Boon Fly Cafe for hearty wine and country cuisine.
Activity highlights include: a sunrise or sunset cycle over the world’s most photographed bridge and wandering the colorful waterfront at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran; taking the aerial gondola from the Zoo and picnicking on Lake Merritt in Oakland; and of course, taking winery and Tuscan-inspired castle tours in Napa Valley.
Shopping and Fashion
If you’re in need of some serious retail therapy by the time vacation rolls around, touch down in Milan, the living, breathing birthplace of inspiration for nearly every fashion magazine you’ve ever picked up. The biggest industrial city in Italy, a central hub for European travel, and unquestionably one of the top trend-setting epicenters of the world, the city of Milan is a multi- cultural blend of idolized designers, dazzling models, and recognized artists working in all mediums. Find yourself in the company of grandiose Gothic architecture and perusing a seemingly-endless shopping district in the home of Fashion Week, held biannually on the heels of Paris, New York, and London (maybe they really do save the best for last).
Consider a stay at ME Milan Il Duca for an incredibly cosmopolitan, chic, upbeat atmosphere in an idyllic location. Edgy artwork against a crisp color palette make these simplistic suites cutting- edge, even by Milan’s standards. Decked in rich mochas and royal purples, soak in sweeping cityscapes from the trendy rooftop terrace, mojito in hand, or upgrade to the ME+ Experience for a menu of added amenities and private imperial views of your own.
Flavorful highlights include: Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia for a two-Michelin star family-owned restaurant serving top-of-the-line Tuscan cuisine like Adriatic seafood, olives, and house made gnocchi; Bastianello for your morning, mid-day, or afternoon boost with the best cappuccino (and swanky people watching) in town; Nottingham Forest for delicious adult beverages as eclectic in presentation as they are in flavor; Luca e Andrea’s for sunset drinks by the Naviglio Grande; Antica Focacceria San Francesco for Sicilian cannolis; and Chocolat by Cadorna Station for gelato.
Activity highlights include: exploring the world’s most famous shopping district in Quadrilatero della Moda, specifically Via Monte Napoleone and Via della Spiga for names like Gucci, Armani, and Cavalli; DMAG outlet for an upscale emporium of 3,000 domestic and international brands like Yves Saint Laurent; Fiera di Sinigaglia flea market for a treasure-trove of vintage jewelry, out-of-print books, and more; Via Brera for boho-chic boutiques and Olfarrorio Bar à Parfums to personalize your own fragrance; seeing mankind’s beloved “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, housed in the Santa Maria delle Grazie; and a visit to Milan’s Duomo, an iconic 600+-year- old gothic cathedral made of pink Candoglia marble, Christendom’s largest stained-glass windows, and decorated with the most statues on any building ever (don’t miss a tour inside and cityscape views from the top!).
Rich in history and vibrant Tex-Mex cuisine, with a museum scene almost as lively as the hopping two-step bar up the street, Austin may not be the first place that comes to mind when it’s time for a wellness overhaul. But if you give this southern state a chance and head into the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve it surely will not disappoint. Overlooking Lake Travis in Texas Hill Country thrives a forest of ancient trees, acres upon acres of organic gardens, an abundance of rare songbirds, and the wellness retreat your body, mind, and soul has been yearning for.
Consider a stay at the Miraval Austin, a retreat composed of Cypress Creek Organic Farm and Ranch, Body Mindfulness Center, and Life in Balance Spa. Fuel your body with “find-dining” farm-to-table meals and spend your days fulfilling the resort’s philosophy of Life in Balance and Mindfulness with yoga sessions, gardening, horse-back riding, guided meditations, fitness classes, and swimming in the infinity pools.
Flavorful hotspots include: The Oasis on Lake Travis for a traditional variety of Tex-Mex cuisine and margaritas with a waterfront view; Flower Child for health-conscious eats in a bohemian café; renowned Barley Swine for a menu inspired by seasonal produce and the rancher’s that provide them (worth the 30-minute drive from the resort? We think so); Quinoa Grill for a simplistic, clean-eating Peruvian menu in a contemporary setting; and (for cheat-day) The Dig Pub for happy hour food and craft beer in an Archaeology-themed Texan watering hole.
Activity highlights include: indulging in the serenity of the Ann and Roy Butler 10-mile lakeside trail; kayaking and swimming at Zilker Metropolitan Park; a hike up Mount Bonnell for climatic views of the city, surrounding hillsides, and Lake Austin; the Blanton Museum of Art for Renaissance, Baroque, and contemporary Latin American art; Sixth Street for some of the “Live Music Capital of the World’s” upcoming talent; and Barton Springs Pool for a “soul of Austin” swimming hole experience.
Your New Go-To Vacationland
Yellowstone National Park, United States
Your office is filled with colleagues who spend their annual vacation enjoying timeshares in South Carolina or visiting relatives in LA, but your family just hasn’t found your niche yet. This year try out America’s oldest national park, set on a volcanic hot spot and home to the Grand Canyon, and revel in the natural beauty of this country’s very best alongside those who mean the most to you.
Consider a stay at Caldera House, a luxurious chalet with a rustic country-ranch feel at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain in Tenton Village, Wyoming. Comprised of just eight spacious southwestern suites equipped with a full chef’s kitchen, multiple bedrooms, and generous living space, there’s no question you’ll feel right at home. Furnished in contemporary flavor with bare wood and thick furs, enjoy evergreen hillside views and each other’s company around the fireplace, all with an easy commute to the state’s best national parks — not that you’ll ever want to leave.
Flavorful hotspots include: M66 Grill to kick-start the day with a wholesome breakfast and dark roast coffee; Canyon Lodge Eatery for a varied menu of hearty American comfort food to satisfy the whole family; Old Faithful Lodge Cafeteria for bison meatloaf and barbecue sandwiches with a front row seat to this wild phenomenon; Big Dipper for Montana-made huckleberry ice cream in house made waffle cones; and for the adults, try The Buffalo Bar or Slippery Otter Pub for some after-hour regional beers in an idyllic western tavern.
Activity highlights include: hiking among the vast, 900-miles of protected wilderness; visiting Old Faithful, the most famous geyser in the world and uniquely predictable erupting every 44 to 125 minutes; Yellowstone’s Caldera, or super volcano; spotting wildlife like buffalo, grizzly bears, water birds, and elk in Hayden Valley; Mammoth Hot Springs, a massive complex of deposited calcium carbonate collected over thousands of years; and of course, The Grand Canyon, stretching 24 miles and 800 to 1,200ft deep, this is Yellowstone’s and one of the United States’ top attractions.