What's Worth It
With the gardens in bloom and sweater season finally behind us, mark your calendars for June 16: Father’s Day 2019. For solo retreats, father-son/father-daughter trips, and vacations for the entire family, keep reading for our recommendations of the very finest.
For the adventurous dad who can’t seem to get enough of the great outdoors and crisp mountain air, head to pristine Canada for a bounty of both. Bordered by the blues of the North Pacific and greens of the foliage-rich hillsides, relax at a local café by the harbor or lace up your boots to kick off the hiking season on a trail suited to your skill level – and rewarded with truly stellar views. From exploring Vancouver’s eclectic neighborhoods to browsing the Georgia Strait Publication for local events, hopping on the scenic sea-to-sky gondola or ferry bound for the Sunshine Coast, there will never be a dull moment when traveling to Vancouver solo, or with the kids and/or significant other.
Consider a stay at the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, a luxury waterfront property that practically has your name on it. Tucked away between the ocean and mountains, find your new happy place where stunning panoramic harbor side and cityscape views meet easily accessed rural excursions. Unwind inSpa Utopia before retreating to your spacious, ultra-mod bedroom with crisp linens, plush bathrobes, and most importantly, a fully stocked minibar – and incase none of the below recommendations suit your fancy, or you’re simply not up for leaving the property, enjoy one of four on-site dining options or 24-hour room service.
Flavorful hotspots include the elusive Triple O’s for the Double Double Burger you won’t soon forget; 5-star Blue Water Café in Yaletown for the very best ofVancouver’s renowned sustainable seafood scene; The Victor hotel/casino complex for upscale dining on a sun-soaked patio; Marutama Ramen of Stanley Park for a fine Japanese brand imported straight from Kawaguchi; Timber train Coffee Roasters for a quality morning, midday, or evening pick-me-up; one of three Pure bread bakery locations for a crème brulee bun dessert; and The Portside Pubon Alexander street to round out the day with craft beers and live music in a rustic, down-to-earth environment.
Activity Highlights include the Vancouver Lookout for a 360-degree view from the Harbour Centre’s 55th floor; hiking the vast mountain ranges, of course – particularly the challenging “Mother Nature’s Staircase” on the North Shore, a must-hike second only to the suspension bridges of Lynn Canyon Park; kayaking up Indian Arm fjord in Deep Cove for peace, quiet, and wildlife sightings on the banks; strolling the night markets in Richmond or Gastown; catching the sunrise over West End’s English Bay followed by a picnic lunch in the Van Dusen BotanicalGarden; and swimming, sunbathing, and water sports at Kitsilano Beach, comparable to L.A.’s Venice Beach.
Rum, Sun, and Rolled Cigars
Playa Grande, Dominican Republic
Down and away to the Caribbean Sea, take to the Northeastern coast of Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic. Home of the island’s most beautiful beach, renowned for its pillow-like sands, dreamy clear blue waters, and golden sunshine, this destination is the destination for the dad who seriously needs to kick off his shoes, stretch out for a snooze on a woven beachside recliner or cushioned cabana, and focus on nothing but the melody of the waves and getting an even tan. When wanderlust strikes, head into the thick of the jungle on a guided educational trek, or to the edges of the island to soak in its dramatic coastal mountainscapes – for on this side of the Dominican Republic there is as much to learn and explore as there are ways to indulge and unwind.
Consider a stay at Amanera, truly a haven within a haven. Contemporary yet naturalist, the tranquil resort welcomes the outside in with an organic color-palette, exposed wood walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, and gardens of palms and bonsais. Set atop a 60-foot cliff on a vast 373-acre nature reserve at the island’s west end, enjoy tranquility emitted from the sea, mountains, and jungle surrounds – then find your own peace of mind with many of the on-site amenities. Designed by golf legend Robert Trent Jones Jr and recently renovated by his son, the Playa Grande Golf Course is a must-putt for enthusiasts and pros alike; and likewise, the holistic spa using traditional Dominican Republic shamanic healing approaches is to be missed by none and loved by all. And amidst an exciting menu of excursions such as big-game fishing and horseback riding, is the opportunity to attend an authentic cigar rolling demonstration and studio tour – happily followed by a 10-year-barrel-aged Imperial rum tasting at Ron Barceló’s Distillery.
Flavorful hotspots include Amanera’s variety of on-site dining options, starting with an authentic Caribbean breakfast of Taíno yucca chips, fried cheeses, and catch of the day cured meats and local herbs; followed by a lunch of simplistic, organic fare against The Restaurant’s spectacular ocean backdrop – or elegant, uncomplicated Japanese plates from Chef Matoba’s exclusive menu; only completed by a barbeque seafood dinner on the beach at one of Club de Playa’s romantic candlelit tables set for two; topped off with after-hours spirits and rums at the second-story bar.
Activity highlights include water sports like surfing, bodyboarding, stand-up-paddle-boarding, kitesurfing, parasailing, kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, and swimming in the sparkling Caribbean Sea or mangrove-lined Laguna Gri-Gri freshwater lagoon; or deep-sea fishing in the bountiful Atlantic for big-game blue marlin, wahoo, tuna, and sailfish; guided hikes and educational tours through the rugged jungle and countryside surrounds; horseback riding on the beach; canyoning and rappelling down waterfalls on the north coast; exploring historical sites such as 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe; an authentic cigar rolling demonstration, informative discussion on the region’s variations, and in-depth tour of Babunuco’s one-of-a-kind studio in Cabrera; or spending a day away in cosmopolitan Sosúa, sunny Cabarete, or historical Santiago.
The Golf Dad
For the father in pursuit of quality family (and golf) time in a peaceful country setting not far from the coast, head to Carmel in the Golden State. With many organic experiences, beautiful sights, and precious memories around every bend, find yourself at ease where the sunshine-soaked hillsides meet the roaring Pacific, and family-time and your favorite sport somehow meet in the middle. With a surplus of activities to keep everyone happy, California is the perfect late-spring/early-summer destination to beat the crowds but catch the waves – particularly Carmel for clearer skies, a slower pace, and a warmer, seemingly-lazier setting sun enjoyed from a world-class golf course, among lattice-like vineyards, or over a glass of sweet red.
Consider a stay at Carmel Valley Ranch for a family-focused retreat stretching from Carmel-by-the-Sea to the feet of the Lucia Mountains. In a comfortable home-like space, but with all the room and amenities of a luxurious resort, this is where your next vacation begins and ends. On-site dining options include the Valley Kitchen for organic homegrown fare, Clubhouse Grill for Cali happy hour staples, and River Ranch Café for themed nights and farmstead-inspired dishes – or order-in from the in-suite dining menu. If you’re bringing the kids along, they will love the property’s child-geared amenities including a very special Beekeeping experience; others including multiple tennis courts and swimming pools, a full spa and fitness center, and, of course, the star of it all: an 18-hole, par-70 award-winning gold course –so you can spend your stay in the state’s sunniest haven where the grass is literally greener.
Flavorful hotspots include From Scratch Restaurant in the Barnyard Shopping Village for all-day hearty American breakfasts in a homey setting; the Treehouse Café for seaside terrace dining, delectable wine selection, and a culinary aesthetic to die for; family-owned Billy Quon’s SUR at The Barnyard-Carmel for staple seafoods, steaks, and so on; Mission Ranch Restaurant on Dolores St for live piano and Jazz-Sundays over a mouth-watering whiskey marinated beef brochette and late harvest wine; Porta Bella’s elegant setting for cozy, romantic fine-dining on Ocean Ave; and festive Barmel, globally-inspired Terry’s, and The Tap Room tavern on Pebble Beach for end-of-the-day drinks.
Activity highlights include swimming, surfing, and sun-bathing at glittering Carmel Beach, and joy-riding the iconic Scenic Road that leads to it; golfing at one (or two or three) of the area’s world-renowned courses; birdwatching and scuba-diving fromCarmel River State Beach; wandering quaint, boutique-lined Ocean Avenue and the village-style downtown district; enjoying scenic lookouts like Lone Cypress and Point Lobos; exploring the hidden architectural gems of Tor House, Hawk Tower, and Mission San Carlos de Borromeo; learning about the art and importance of beekeeping through a guided, educational tour; and of course, tasting some of Monterey County’s (and the country’s) very best wines in nearby Carmel Valley Village.
Rhythm, Blues, and Country
Whether you play in a band, did back in the day, own an axe or two, or are just enthusiast about the scene, Nashville is one of America’s most prominent music hubs for all the above – and an alluring destination regardless. Vibrant, lively, and lined in neon, fall into the rhythmic current of Tennessee’s capital and rediscover the roots of rhythm, blues, and country through the city’s legendary venues, houses, and historical landmarks – all while experiencing one of modern America’s top performing cities. But reaching beyond the music, Nashville’s soul is fully present in every street mural, sports bar, and home-cooked meal too – so hunker down here for a little while with a group of your old band buddies, the wife and kids, or just that special someone you’ve been dying to hit the dance floor with.
Consider a stay at Hutton Hotel in the West End, a well-rounded accommodation in a strategic location from which you can easily access icons like Music Row by day, explore the local social scene after-hours, and rest your head at night in both comfort and style. With a lot of personality and just as much heart, shared spaces feel somewhere between a cigar-lounge, speakeasy, and private study with whiskey-colored leather, comfortable lighting, and an acoustic ambience. On-site dining and drink options include Westend Kitchen and Bar for sophisticated short ribs, Coffee Bar for Brooklyn sourced Parlor Coffee beans and locally made pastries, and the Analog Music Venue for intimate concerts, dance acts, and DJ sets. The boutique property’s room categories are designed in simple southern taste, sporting pops of primary colors, while suites and penthouses dazzle with accents from fireplaces to record players, cacti to carpets, grand terrace views to everything in between – so stay at the crossroads of north and south and enjoy the finest of Nashville, Tennessee.
Flavorful hotspots include Biscuit Love of Hillsboro Village to kick off the day right with a hardy, southern-style breakfast; Husk for a minimalist menu of home-grown ingredients and fresh-off-the-farm prime cuts downtown; Arnold’s Country Kitchen for their classic lunch of “Meat & 3” served up cafeteria-style by the family who’s owned it for over 30 years; Hattie B’s for spicy-hot chicken, one of Tennessee’s must-try dishes, located just off 8th Ave; the world-famous Wildhorse Saloon for a three-story venue as vibrant in sound as it is in flavor, serving up traditional southern smokehouse cuisine and all-night live music; Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, the only purple building on Broadway and birthplace of Honky Tonk, for a historic two-step watering-hole; and artsy Stage on Broadway and Rippy’s Bar and Grill’s rooftop deck for even more live country music, dancing, and cold brews.
Activity highlights include attending an all-American country music performance at and/or touring the Grand Ole Opry House, the venue responsible for putting Nashville on the map as the “Country Music Capital of the World”; strolling down Broadway and ducking into some of the many bars hosting a lively music scene, including “Honky Tonk Highway” at the lower end; paying a visit to the Country Music Hall ofFame and Museum, Gallery of Iconic Guitars (The GIG) at Belmont, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum covering genres from country to jazz to funk, the Johnny Cash Museum and Café, the birthplace of Nashville Sound at Historic RCA Studio B, and the Ryman Auditorium known as the Mother Church of Country Music; and if you’re really all about it, consider a day-excursion or even extending your trip three-hours east toMemphis, home to Sun Studios where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and many others got their start; but amidst the music it’s known and loved for is a city ingrained in Civil War-era history, so be sure to add the Belle MeadePlantation, Hermitage, Fort Negley Park, and other historical sites to your itinerary.
The Southwestern Retreat
Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico
For southern warmth, western charm, and a cultural blend found only here, make your way down to the land of enchantment at the edge of the US and into the countryside of New Mexico. Beneath cotton-candy skies dotted with geometric hot air balloons and crimson-sandstone landscapes contrasted by the deep blues of Albuquerque’s mountains beyond, soak in an especially peaceful way of life amongst herds of dappled ponies and vast fields of resilient desert foliage. Sitting at the heart of Sandoval County, Santa Ana Pueblo is easily accessible from Santa Fe as well as Albuquerque, but bordered by the Rio Grande-River and sheltered by the Sandia Mountains – making it a less discovered corner of NM, and the perfect southwestern retreat for you and your family this June.
Consider a stay at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, set on a sprawling 550-acre reserve of the Santa Ana Pueblo. Within proximity to major New Mexican cities while far enough away to carve out a personality all its own, this resort is as much about heritage and immersion as it is relaxation and enjoyment – seamlessly combining it all where the bluest skies meet crimson sunsets and your favorite recreational activities meet cultural-rich experiences. In décor, aesthetic, and atmosphere, the Tamaya Resort reflects the ancient heritage of the Tamayame people and exposes you whole-heartedly to it. Engage in jewelry, pottery, and abode brick making classes; go horseback riding or sail above them in a hot air balloon; putt your way across the Twin Warriors Golf Course or unwind at the Mist Spa and Salon; sit in on a traditional Pueblo oven bread-baking demonstration; and enjoy music, dance, andStories Under the Stars with a renowned Native American performer. So when you and your family are seeking a retreat with more to offer than just a goodnight’s rest, satisfy your curiosity with all these amenities and more from a trusted Hyatt retreat where time slows down, luxury is second nature, and a sense of place is always prevalent in every finishing touch.
Flavorful hotspots include Twisters Grill for your new favorite breakfast burrito in a cozy environment; Prairie Star Restaurant and Wine bar for seasonally inspired New American cuisine in a 100-year-old abode ranch house hosting mountain and golf-course views; Corn Maiden inside the Hyatt Tamaya, for fine southwestern steak house fare in a comfortable, homelike setting; Range Café Bernalillo for classic New Mexican diner food in a whimsical atmosphere; and Kaktus BrewingCompany for a rustic, community pub serving bar food and good beer.
Activity highlights include exploring the stunning stone structures of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Park and Tyuonyi Overlook, and other natural sites like Spence and Jemez Hot Springs, Zia Pueblo, and Cochiti; kayaking or canoeing the beautiful Rio Grande, and catching the mass hot air balloon launch from its banks; visiting the cultural sights of The Gutierrez/Minge House, Jemez Historic Site, Village of Corrales, Coronado Historic Site, and so on; partaking in regionally inspired activities like traditional jewelry, pottery, brick, and bread making; and other recreational activities like horseback riding, golfing, and hot air ballooning.