Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena, California
Napa Valley’s superlative back-to-nature experience beckons at Meadowood, a 250-acre forested estate sprinkled with clusters of rustic-chic cottages and stilted lodges. The crackling fireplaces, intimate terraces, and verdant environs brand it prime real estate for romance. Also on-site are myriad walking trails, a three-Michelin starred restaurant (The Restaurant at Meadowood) and a world class spa, opened in 2015—and currently our favorite in the Valley. Beyond the Meadowood gates, look forward to some of the superlative wineries in all of California wine country.
Get there: Around two hours from San Francisco by car; seven hours from Los Angeles.
Splurge on: Approachable, ingredient-driven dishes at nearby restaurant The Charter Oak that rarely fall short of blow-your-mind delicious. (We’re still dreaming of the grilled buttermilk-brined chicken and crispy potato “tostones.”)
Winvian Farm, Litchfield, Connecticut
In western Connecticut’s share of the beautiful Berkshire Mountains, Winvian Farm is an eclectic 113-acre, 18-chalet retreat, where units are singular in design (in fact, designed by fifteen different architects). Expect edgy incarnations of luxury that complement the woodsy surrounds, including a lighthouse in the forest, a horse stable converted to a two-story treehouse, and a mammoth 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican HH3F helicopter and its accompanying hangar transformed into a posh suite. The property upholds the exalted food and wine hallmarks of the Relais & Chateaux name, and has even pioneered its own cuisine called “seed-to-table,” where all almost ingredients are grown or harvested directly on the farm.
Get there: Two hours from New York City by car; two-and-a-half hours from Boston.
Splurge on: Take a pasta cooking class with Winvian’s executive chef Chris Eddy, who has worked under the likes of celebrity chefs Alain Ducasse and Jean-Michel Bergougnoux.
Bungalows Key Largo Resort, Florida
Opened in January 2019, Bungalows Key Largo is a secluded tropical escape less than two hours from Miami that will have you reconsidering that next trip to the Caribbean. A deviation from the Keys’ no-frills archetype, this detail-oriented, adults-only (21+) property in the Upper Keys feels more like a boho chic, private island retreat. Drop your car out front: Entrance into the resort is by golf cart, through sandy, palm-studded trails, leading to enclaves of white-washed bungalows and expansive oceanfront. The resort is also home to a multi-tiered swimming pool, a lounger-lined beach, and familiar, personality-driven eating and dining venues led by chef Adam Votaw—the design of Fish Tales restaurant recalls Il Riccio from Capri, for example, while feet-in-the-sand Mexican restaurant, Sea Señor, bears striking resemblance to Si Señor from Punta Mita. The resort is all-inclusive, so there’s no reason to refuse that next watermelon jalapeño margarita, or to not take an extra to your outdoor soaking tub—every one of the 135 bungalows has one.
Get there: Ninety minutes from Miami by car; around two hours from Fort Lauderdale.
Splurge on: Arrive in style—and on the water—via 35-minute scenic seaplane ride on Staniel Air from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, which is located next to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport .
Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont
Amid the maple and pine trees of Barnard—some 75 miles southeast of Burlington—you’ll find this 18th-century farmhouse, which once belonged to Nobel Prize-winning writer Sinclair Lewis. Now part of a sprawling 300-acre Relais & Chateaux estate, the original building is accompanied by ten cottages, each singular in design: there’s everything from the modernist, Peter Bohlin–designed “Aviary” replete with a living-room hot tub to the dog-friendly “Log Cabin,” which features hand-hewn hickory and oak furnishings and twig work. Anticipate endless farm-to-table feasts courtesy of chef Nathan Rich, whose menus change daily, as well as free-flowing wine and Champagne at this all-inclusive spot.
Get there: About three hours from Boston by car; one-and-a-half hours from Burlington.
Splurge on: Book 48 hours in advance for the “cooking suite,” a stylish in-kitchen nook where you’ll interact with Chef Rich and his team as they prepare your multi-course seasonal feast.
Inn at Little Washington, Virginia
Gourmands should check into the Inn at Little Washington by Patrick O’ Connell—aka “The Pope of American Cuisine”—in his hometown of Washington, Virginia, which sits west of Washington, D.C. The boutique Relais & Chateaux property comprises a collection of restored historic buildings, including an 1850s Victorian House and a main inn, anchored by a three-Michelin starred restaurant where O’ Connell is behind the ever-changing tasting menus. Highlights from a recent meal included “Duet of Lobster” (butter poached and cabbage-wrapped Maine lobster with caviar beurre blanc) and the vegetarian grilled shiitake “Steak Diane” with black garlic purée.
Get there: Roughly two hours from Washington, D.C. by car; four hours from Philadelphia.
Splurge on: Book ahead (by phone) for an in-kitchen experience with “The Pope” himself as he guides you through his creative process and showpiece kitchen before serving your experiential, multi-course dinner.
Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, California
Oenophiles will want to head for Auberge du Soleil, the adults-only retreat (18+) which looks out onto vineyards, olive groves, and the Mayacamas Mountains. (Tip: Wake up early for an epic sunrise as the fog lifts over the valley.) With 13 consecutive Michelin-star awards, in-house The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil lays claim to one of the most extensive wine lists in Napa Valley, with more than 15,000 selections. All rooms have fireplaces, but book one of the Deluxe Private Garden suites for an outdoor soaking tub and bathroom with heated limestone flooring.
Get there: Approximately two hours from San Francisco by car; three-and-a-half hours from Reno.
Splurge on: Uber 15 minutes to Stewart Cellars in Yountville for the NOMAD Tasting experience, which entails a private two-hour tasting through all six 2016 vintages of Stewart NOMAD Cabernet Sauvignons (hailing from the Beckstoffer Heritage Vineyards) alongside a dedicated wine educator in the venue’s cozy-meets-modernist library.
Hewing Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Opened in late 2016, the Hewing occupies the historic Jackson Building, built in 1897 as a warehouse for timber traveling the Mississippi River and showroom for farm equipment; traces of the past can still be seen in what is otherwise a thoroughly contemporary, and endearingly Minnesotan hotel in the city’s North Loop. That renowned Minnesota chill is an afterthought, thanks to cleverly curated in-room amenities like cozy Faribault Woolen Mills throws and a terrific bar with full-bottle tipples from Far North Spirits and Tattersall Distilling. On the sixth floor is a rooftop bar and cocktail lounge—and for guests, the use of a small pool in summer, which turns in to a hot tub in winter (there’s also a 20-person cedar-wood sauna).
Get there: The hotel is a thirty-minute drive from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; a six-hour drive from Chicago.
Splurge on: A meal at in-house Tullibee, which is popular with locals for its Nordic-inspired food (meats are sourced from the restaurant’s own on-site butcher).
AutoCamp Russian River, Guerneville, California
At AutoCamp Russian River, cozy up in a luxury tent or stay warm in a tricked-out Airstream suite, which has spacious walk-in showers and queen-sized beds. Even better than amenities? Location, location, location: This glamping experience is a short drive from the hiking trails of Armstrong woods, several exceptional wineries, and the small-town charm of Guerneville. Cap your nights with a glass of Cab while roasting far too many s’mores over the coals at your personal outdoor fire pit (all Airstreams come stocked with complimentary kits).
Get there: Around two hours from San Francisco by car.
Splurge on: Experience the pinnacle of Sonoma’s farm-to-table dining at Valette restaurant in Healdsburg, 30 minutes away, with Chef Valette’s minimum five-course “Trust Me” tasting menu. (Trust, us, you’ll love it.)
Blackberry Farm, Wallan, Tennessee
Farm life is the good life at Blackberry Farm, a 9,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains, peppered with hill cottages and multi-bedroom homes in styles ranging from country glam to sheer modernism. Expect days filled with on-estate active pursuits like archery, horseback riding, fly-fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and wake surfing on surrounding mountain lakes. Looking for more leisurely pursuits? Book wine tastings, spa treatments, and decadent multi-course dinners at The Barn at Blackberry Farm.
Get there: A four-hour drive from Atlanta; around three hours from Asheville; 45 minutes from Knoxville by car.
Splurge on: Reconnect with nature—and yourself—during a 90-minute Deep Healing Woods meditation or yoga session, led by an instructor and performed deep in the woodsy surrounds (read: there will be a small hike first).
Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Hawaii
Following a multi-million dollar refresh in 2016, this iconic Hawaiian resort resurfaced with a new edge across its 213 guest rooms, as envisioned by Todd Avery-Lenahan of TAL Studio. With the revamp came new restaurants NOBU, Malibu Farm, and ONE FORTY; an adventure center; and the Hawanawana Spa. But our favorite part about the Four Seasons Lanai 2.0? The adults-only resort pool area, which has cabana cocoons and rock grottoes.
Get there: It’s a 25-minute flight from Honolulu.
Splurge on: Reserve a private catamaran charter from the resort for an epic Champagne-in-hand sunset over the Pacific, and the chance to see humpback whales breaching in the horizon.
Setai Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach has its fair share of fabulous, over-the-top and see-and-be-seen hotels, but for a romantic retreat, we’re partial to The Setai, Miami Beach. The design-forward, all-suite hotel impresses with an understated aesthetic, dimly lit courtyard, oceanfront gardens, and beach views from floor-to-ceiling glass windows. We also love the hotel’s trio of temperature-regulated pools and beach club, where you can order excellent food and cocktails from The Ocean Grill restaurant. White truffle pizza and Veuve Rosé, anyone?
Get there: It’s a 20-minute car ride from Miami International Airport.
Splurge on: Available year-round, the “Couples Love Ceremony” includes a 60-minute Balinese-style couples’ massage, followed by a 30-minute soak in rose petals and Himalayan bath salts with—you guessed it—Champagne and chocolate- covered strawberries. (Hey, it’s okay to really lean into the romance thing sometimes.)
Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Treat yourself to the best in Jackson Hole skiing and accommodations at this high-design, wood and stone-hewn retreat smack in the center of Wyoming’s mountains. Revel in easy ski access to nearly 2,500 acres—with slopes for all levels—and lots of après-ski fun in the heated, 115-foot swimming pool and surrounding patio. We’ll understand if you want to stay put and just take it all in: All rooms and suites have balconies or terraces with mountain views of the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, or Snake River Valley.
Get there: It’s 25 minutes from Jackson Hotel Airport; about five hours from Salt Lake City by car.
Splurge on: Get a bird’s-eye view of Yellowstone National Park with the private Photo Flight by Helicopter Yellowstone Experience, bookable through an Aman Guest Manager. (Price varies by flight duration.)
Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, Colorado
How does an old mining town in the Colorado Rockies evolve into an incredibly special luxury destination? The answer lies in the water—hot springs, to be more specific. Capitalizing on the region’s natural resource, Dunton Hot Springs is a collection of kitted-out individual log cabins with a half-dozen soaking options for enjoying the hot springs to the max. Once you’ve had your geothermal fix, take advantage of the on-site spa treatments, yoga sessions, vineyard, library, and saloon, as well as the expansive wilderness, which is ideal for hiking and horseback riding.
Get there: About two hours from Cortez Municipal Airport; seven hours from Denver by car.
Splurge on: Try the lodge’s “Sleigh Ride & Dine,” which includes a horse-drawn, sunset ride down to Dunton River Camp, where an intimate gourmet dinner for two is served in an original 19th-century farmhouse and followed by a bonfire and cocktails under the stars.
Mandarin Oriental, New York, New York
Those looking for the romance of a big city should check into this sleek hotel, located in the north building of the Time Warner Center and commanding spectacular views of Central Park through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms are furnished with 1940s-inspired lacquer desks, Asian-style credenzas, paintings of New York City bridges, and watercolors by emerging artists. Allot time for wellness: The fitness center has a 75-foot indoor lap pool overlooking the city, and The Spa, with its amethyst-crystal steam room for men and women, is a destination itself.
Get there: It’s right in the heart of New York City, and about a 45-minute cab ride from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Splurge on: Book ahead for the eight-course cocktail and food tasting menu downstairs at The Aviary NYC, a sister outpost to Chicago’s famed The Aviary, helmed by chef Grant Achatz and co-owner Nick Kokonas.
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