After the stress of tax season, there's nothing more satisfying than unwinding with a fat refund. And what better way to celebrate than to book a weekend of luxe travel? Now you shouldn't go too overboard -- so that's why we picked luxe getaways that are each considered "nearcations" for a range of U.S. cities, West Coast to East Coast -- and in between. Indulge at these seven spots -- a car trip, easy train ride, or puddle-jumper flight away from many a hometown -- with fine dining, spa treatments, and leisurely afternoons.
Just a few miles north of Santa Fe, Rancho Encantado offers Four Seasons luxury with a southwestern touch. Native American-style rugs, warm ochre tones, and comfortable wood and concrete flooring embody the rancho’s rustic-modern décor, which goes upscale with radiant floor heating, private patios (with a view), and cozy wood-burning fireplaces. We deeply appreciate the extras at Rancho Encantado, like the luxury spa, fine dining Terra Restaurant, whirlpool and outdoor (seasonal) pool, and free Mercedes Benz rentals.
The iconic Broadmoor unfolds over 3,000 acres of the Colorado Rockies. Sitting pretty on Cheyenne Lake, the luxurious estate is massive: eight on-site restaurants, a full-service spa, three swimming pools and hot tubs, several tennis courts, three golf courses, and a bevy of shops that accommodate nearly 900 rooms, suites, villas and cabins. What’s more, if you wait a few weeks to get away, it’ll be warm enough to enjoy the Broadmoor’s vast outdoor offerings, including rock-climbing, fly-fishing, bicycling and, of course, tennis and golf.
If you’re looking for a truly lavish getaway, there are much (much) worse choices than the private island that hosts Little Palm Island Resort & Spa. Accessible only by seaplane or boat (the latter of which is particularly easy to arrange), this secluded spot is the perfect place to disconnect; in fact, technology is discouraged, so leave the laptop at home and fill your days with sandy strolls, tropical gardens, and luxe pampering.
No list of domestic indulgence would be complete without the addition of the Plaza, New York’s iconic hotel. Be aware that a $400 million renovation in 2008 updated the hotel but also turned many of the most coveted views into private residences; even so, the Plaza is total over-the-top Manhattan luxury. You’ll have plenty to do during a New York staycation, but do take time to enjoy the Plaza’s wine-inspired spa and 24-hour butler service.
One of the most remarkable hotels in not just Napa nor California, but in the entire United States, the Calistoga Ranch is a favorite among royalty, celebrities, and other A-listers. Cradled within a 157-acre private park, the hotel offers an excellent restaurant, exceptional spa and spectacular grounds — secluded hiking trails, outdoor yoga, a bocce court, and a heated outdoor pool, among other offerings. What we love most of all are the wine tasting seminars and, of course, the wine you’ll undoubtedly discover throughout the Napa Valley.
Few names imply “splurge” like the Waldorf Astoria, and Chicago’s offering is definitely top-of-the-line. Spacious but not too spacious, the Chicago Waldorf-Astoria offers 188 rooms of contemporary furnishings, massive soaking tubs, and sleek everything. We can’t think of a better place to splash out than at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Balsan, and upscale spa. Plus, the Waldorf’s posh Gold Coast location means Chicago’s best shops, attractions and restaurants are just a few footfalls away.
If your preferred brand of luxury is farm-chic, hightail it over to Blackberry Farm, a secluded retreat for nature lovers and foodies alike. Surrounded by the majestic Appalachian mountains, the farm’s 4,200 acres produce a mouthwatering farm-to-table dining experience. In between meals, retreat to your private cottage, indulge at the excellent spa, and stroll the grounds.
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