D Travel

Dying to get out of town? We present 25 great escapes for every mood and budget.



TWENTY-FIVE GREAT ESCAPES



Over-the-top luxury. Total seclusion. Action and adventure. Pure romance. Serenity now. You have no excuses: we present a getaway for every mood and budget.

1. Aspen, Colorado >>
The word Aspen conjures images of Jack, Goldie, Ivana, and a host of other Hollywood celebrities skiing down Ajax Mountain. But the secret to seeing Aspen at its finest is to go in the summer. The green slopes are covered with wildflowers, the rivers and streams overflow with icy water, and the ski trails turn into challenging hiking paths. Dining is also a sport in this tiny burg of billionaires, and you can walk to eat whatever you crave, whether it’s Rocky Mountain cuisine (Pinons, Hotel Jerome), Japanese (Nobu,  Kenichi), or casual (Ajax Tavern, Woody Creek Tavern). Each June, the international foodie scene takes over the town for the annual Food & Wine Classic, featuring most of the world’s leading chefs: Jacques Pepin, Emeril Lagasse, and Mario Batali, just to name a few. This year’s event takes place June 10-12. If you want to be in with the in crowd, book a room at Hotel Jerome or Little Nell.

Inn at Sawmill Farm, West Dover

<< 2. West Dover, Vermont
The Williams family welcomes guests to the Inn at Sawmill Farm with unpretentious warmth and some of the finest food and wine on the planet. Two packages, Dinner by Design and Four for Dinner, marry the inn’s cuisine with wines from its 28,000-bottle cellar, winner of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award every year since 1992. Choose the former and, after settling into your snug room or suite, you’ll retire to the inn’s barn wood-paneled living room to discuss dinner possibilities with chef/owner Brill Williams before heading to the cellar to choose your wine. The latter is a six-course tasting menu with a different wine for each course. Work up your appetite with cross-country or downhill skiing in the beautiful Green Mountains of southern Vermont.

Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Los Cabos

3. Los Cabos, Mexico >>
Since it opened in 1997, Las Ventanas al Paraíso has set the standard for elegance and luxury on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. With its Mexican-Mediterranean architecture, exquisite handcrafted details created by Mexican masters and noted American artists, and superlative yet unobtrusive service, Las Ventanas is a spectacular seaside retreat for any occasion. But a third of the resort’s business is weddings, honeymoons, and anniversaries, a testament to its status as a premier romantic destination. And the newly appointed director of romance, Marissa Woods, can help you create an unforgettable getaway, elaborate proposal, or storybook wedding. From a candlelit dinner for two at the water’s edge, complete with a classic guitarist strumming love songs, to a fairy tale White Knight production replete with a massive white stallion, Woods works behind the scenes to ensure the answer to every question is yes.


Since it opened in 1997, Las Ventanas al Paraíso has set the standard for elegance and luxury on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. With its Mexican-Mediterranean architecture, exquisite handcrafted details created by Mexican masters and noted American artists, and superlative yet unobtrusive service, Las Ventanas is a spectacular seaside retreat for any occasion. But a third of the resort’s business is weddings, honeymoons, and anniversaries, a testament to its status as a premier romantic destination. And the newly appointed director of romance, Marissa Woods, can help you create an unforgettable getaway, elaborate proposal, or storybook wedding. From a candlelit dinner for two at the water’s edge, complete with a classic guitarist strumming love songs, to a fairy tale White Knight production replete with a massive white stallion, Woods works behind the scenes to ensure the answer to every question is yes.

White Barn Inn, Kennebunkport

<< 4. Kennebunkport, Maine
Perhaps best known as former President George H.W. Bush’s retreat, Kennebunkport boasts one of the top escapes in the world: White Barn Inn. Named to the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List in 2004 and 2005 and recognized by Gourmet magazine for excellence, the charming seaside inn is not only a splendid spot for relaxation and romance, but it also offers a hands-on cooking experience that’s enough to make a passionate foodie’s mouth water. The two- or five-day program, known as L’ecole des Chefs Relais Gourmands, puts amateur chefs in the kitchen, slicing, dicing, basting, grilling, and soaking up the expertise of chef Jonathan Cartwright. Spring and summer are especially nice: think cold-water lobsters, handpicked scallops, and perfect produce.

White Barn Inn, Kennebunkport

<< 4. Kennebunkport, Maine
Perhaps best known as former President George H.W. Bush’s retreat, Kennebunkport boasts one of the top escapes in the world: White Barn Inn. Named to the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List in 2004 and 2005 and recognized by Gourmet magazine for excellence, the charming seaside inn is not only a splendid spot for relaxation and romance, but it also offers a hands-on cooking experience that’s enough to make a passionate foodie’s mouth water. The two- or five-day program, known as L’ecole des Chefs Relais Gourmands, puts amateur chefs in the kitchen, slicing, dicing, basting, grilling, and soaking up the expertise of chef Jonathan Cartwright. Spring and summer are especially nice: think cold-water lobsters, handpicked scallops, and perfect produce.

White Barn Inn, Kennebunkport

<< 4. Kennebunkport, Maine
Perhaps best known as former President George H.W. Bush’s retreat, Kennebunkport boasts one of the top escapes in the world: White Barn Inn. Named to the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List in 2004 and 2005 and recognized by Gourmet magazine for excellence, the charming seaside inn is not only a splendid spot for relaxation and romance, but it also offers a hands-on cooking experience that’s enough to make a passionate foodie’s mouth water. The two- or five-day program, known as L’ecole des Chefs Relais Gourmands, puts amateur chefs in the kitchen, slicing, dicing, basting, grilling, and soaking up the expertise of chef Jonathan Cartwright. Spring and summer are especially nice: think cold-water lobsters, handpicked scallops, and perfect produce.

El Monte Sagrado, Taos

5. Taos, New Mexico >>
At the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, just a short walk from Taos’ historic center, lies El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa, a secluded sanctuary built to exist in harmony with the land, with stone water sculptures, a wooden foot bridge and stocked trout pond, an abundance of regional flora and fauna, and a Sacred Circle of green space. The resort takes environmental consciousness seriously: parts of the facility are naturally heated and cooled; nearly all of the water on the property is recycled. But don’t think that environmental concerns supersede luxury. Thirty-six themed suites and casitas are richly appointed and inspired by regions all over the world, and the spa, enhanced by the water, warm light, and fragrant plant life, features treatments designed to soothe your body and soul. After the two-and-a-half-hour Sacred Time Treatment, indulge in braised veal osso buco with creamy fontina polenta in the award-winning De La Tierra restaurant.

<< 6. Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
One visit to New Zealand can turn any landlocked, pampered creature into the most avid outdoor enthusiast. But that’s not to say that we have to throw all luxury to the wind and rough it. Thankfully, Abel Tasman Wilson’s Experiences has deftly combined the thrilling outdoor action for which Kiwi country is known with the warmth, comfort, and service we’ve all come to expect when we venture away from home. Experienced guides (ask for Shay) take you kayaking through crystalline waters, along golden sandy beaches, all the while spinning yarns about this special place. Weather permitting, visit the seals at Tonga Island or keep an eye out for dolphins, who may put on a private show as you paddle. After a picnic lunch of ham and cheese paninis with pumpkin chickpea salad, ditch the kayak and put on your hiking boots for a trek along the Coastal Track, which will take you to your accommodations at Torrent Bay Lodge or Meadowbank Homestead, the finest lodges in the park, open only to Wilson’s Experiences guests. After a hot shower and a change of clothes, put your feet up in front of the warm fire, sip a glass of wine, and relax while your hosts prepare a gourmet meal of spinach soup with a touch of ginger and cinnamon, glazed salmon, grilled vegetables, and crème brûlée. Retire early to your cozy private quarters—you’ll need the rest for tomorrow’s journey.

The Hideout, Shell

7. Shell, Wyoming >>
We’ve all seen the movie City Slickers, but only a few of us have actually had the experience. The Hideout, a working dude ranch on the 300,000-acre Flitner Ranch in the Shell Valley of north central Wyoming, provides the perfect balance of cowpoking and luxury. Real cowboys, who make their own saddles and ropes and sing their own cowboy tunes, will train you to take the rides of your life. Surrounded by the beauty of the Bighorn Mountains, you will learn to herd—and, if you’re brave and it’s spring, brand—cattle. Guests help run the ranch, and activities depend on the season: horseback riding, shooting, hiking, fishing, and biking through the spring and summer. In the winter, spend your days snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. And the grub? It’s not traditional cowboy cuisine, but multicourse dinners featuring Western-inspired meat and potatoes. Sleep is only seconds away, after your head hits a down pillow. That’s good, because the wake-up bell comes before dawn.

Clayoquot, Vancouver

<< 8. Vancouver, British Columbia
Imagine yourself in a cozy bed inside a tent filled with antiques, Oriental rugs, and fresh flowers. A soft rain taps the top; a cool breeze brings the scent of burning wood from the community campfire. In the morning, wake to an azure sky over the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, deep in the forests of western British Columbia. Bald eagles circle high above your head as you follow the smell of bread baking in the outdoor oven. Over coffee and cornmeal pancakes, you plan your day: horseback riding, kayaking, hiking, fishing, or whale watching. Or maybe you’ll stay close to camp and head to the massage tent for the afternoon. Behind the luxury, this camp is dedicated to preserving the biosphere of Clayoquot Sound. The staff has an active interest in salmon habitat restoration, raptor rehabilitation, and whale vocalization research. During the unique five-star Foraging Getaway, guests gather local produce, tour oyster and scallop beds, and visit a floating vegetable garden.

Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix

9. Phoenix, Arizona >>
Phoenix’s first resort turns 76 this year, and the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa is still fit for a president. (Every one since Herbert Hoover has stayed here; Ronald and Nancy Reagan, long before he entered the Oval Office, honeymooned at the Biltmore.) Guests adore the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture, sparkling swimming pools, lush gardens, champion golf courses, and Mission-style furnishings, but it’s the spa where they escape the desert sun. Treatments represent the best from all over the world, from medieval China to the native tribes of the Sonoran Desert to more modern French approaches. Before you submit to the signature Dream Catcher ritual, which begins with a therapeutic footbath, or the Sonoran stone massage, which uses basalt river stones collected from the desert, reserve a cabana at the pool, where all the comforts of home are at your disposal, including a full bath, living area, and dining area complete with misters to refresh you as you eat or imbibe.

Barclay House, Looe

<< 10. Looe, England
Cornwall, the southwestern boot of England, is rich in history, scenic coastlines, rolling countryside, and beautiful gardens. But to many in Dallas, Cornwall is home to one of our favorite chefs. For nearly 20 years, Nick Barclay educated the Dallas palate to modern British cuisine at his namesake restaurant, Barclays. A few years ago, Nick and wife Kelli moved back to Nick’s homeland to follow a dream. Today they are proprietors of Barclay House Hotel, Restaurant, and Luxury Cottages, located in the quaint 11th-century fishing village of Looe. Carved in the hillside overlooking the East Looe River Valley, the 6-acre property has breathtaking views over the water and beyond, yet it’s only about a 10-minute walk from the town, harbor, beach, and sea. The hotel, originally a Victorian family villa, has 11 spacious bedrooms. (Ask for the blue room!) Nick has a handful of purveyors who come to his kitchen door with fresh herbs, local cheese, and meat. The Eden Project, famous English gardens, and seaside walks are just a few of the activities only minutes away.

 Waldo County

11. Waldo County, Maine >>
Striking coastal views, sweeping mountain vistas, and summer temps that rarely reach 80 make for a perfect retreat from the heat. Bruce and Sue Madara are consummate innkeepers, and their bed and breakfast, the Alden House, is an inviting Greek Revival respite. Ernest Hemingway stayed just a kiss away in Searsport at Carriage House Inn, once home to the painter Waldo Pierce, who hosted his good friend here. Lobster is to Maine what beef is to Texas; it’s even on the menu at McDonald’s, and it’s better than any you’ll find around here. Get your fill of the succulent crustacean. Don’t mind the richness, just rent a kayak and ply through Penobscot Bay or hike at Moose Point State Park. You can pursue all kinds of outdoor fun without the threat of heavy sweat.

Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite

<< 12. Yosemite Valley, California
The Ahwahnee Hotel in the heart of Yosemite Valley is as much a wonder as the nature that surrounds it. The architecture speaks to a different culture, a different approach to sightseeing, and a different idea of tourism. The hotel was built to be stayed in, not just slept in, and life inside is unhurried. The expectation is that you’ll have time to enjoy wine and waterfalls, solitude and companionship. The dining room is the kind of place that makes you want to dress for dinner. The floor-to-ceiling windows afford majestic views of the towering forests and craggy peaks. Open since 1927, the Ahwahnee has 123 guest rooms, all accented with original American Indian designs. Even though the crowds descend upon the Yosemite Valley in the summer, the Ahwahnee remains the perfect place to hide away and still experience nature’s beauty.

Kanantik, Belize

13. Dangriga, Belize >>
Bet you didn’t know that you could leave your house at 7 a.m. and be on a beach in southern Belize by noon. Not just any beach, but the 1,300 feet of sandy shore belonging to the (very) private and luxurious Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort, an eco-sensitive property on the edge of the jungle, with only 25 thatched-roof, air-conditioned cabanas for two. What makes this place so special? The all-inclusive package covers not only all meals, snacks, local beers, and rums, but also the costs of daily guided tours (river canoeing, bird watching, and Jaguar preserve and Mayan ruin visits), snorkeling, scuba diving (including equipment), and sea kayaking. Go all out in a land that is still wild and wonderful. Warning: the jaguar prints on the beach in the morning are the real deal.

Zimbabwe

<< 14. Zimbabwe, Africa
Okay. We know it’s a long way to go, but once you finish your first game drive, the flight there will be a distant memory. Whether you are shooting with a Canon or a Winchester, Dallas outfitter Tom Stephenson of Honest Tom’s Guiding Services can organize a safari tailored to your needs. Want to bird? He has an exclusive arrangement with a local farmer whose property is the morning pit stop for more than 300 crested cranes and spur-winged geese. Stephenson’s crew builds the blinds the night before, and as you sit covered in tree limbs (and sipping local coffee), the birds land almost on top of you. Big-game viewing in Hwange Park is some of the best in the world, and even the typically elusive wild dogs are a common sight. Accommodations include ultra-luxurious tenant camps complete with hardwood floors, hot showers, flushing toilets, and champagne. End your wilderness safari in Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.


Okay. We know it’s a long way to go, but once you finish your first game drive, the flight there will be a distant memory. Whether you are shooting with a Canon or a Winchester, Dallas outfitter Tom Stephenson of Honest Tom’s Guiding Services can organize a safari tailored to your needs. Want to bird? He has an exclusive arrangement with a local farmer whose property is the morning pit stop for more than 300 crested cranes and spur-winged geese. Stephenson’s crew builds the blinds the night before, and as you sit covered in tree limbs (and sipping local coffee), the birds land almost on top of you. Big-game viewing in Hwange Park is some of the best in the world, and even the typically elusive wild dogs are a common sight. Accommodations include ultra-luxurious tenant camps complete with hardwood floors, hot showers, flushing toilets, and champagne. End your wilderness safari in Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

15. St. Bart’s, British West Indies >>
For decades, St. Bart’s has been a playground for the rich and famous. Greta Garbo’s wish to be alone was granted here many times, and, in the 1940s, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds partied together all over the 8-mile island. Today, as you stroll along one of the 20 secluded white-sand beaches, you’re likely to bump into David Letterman, P. Diddy, Tom Hanks, or Jimmy Buffett. What you won’t bump into are casinos, high-rise hotels, fast-food restaurants, cruise ships, or purse-snatchers. The Hotel St-Barth Isle de France is the perfect place to read, sun, nap, and dine. Of course, you must venture into the small town of Gustavia for world-class, duty-free shopping. French is the language of love—and the locals. And the food is as fancy as the clothes. But the beaches are clothing optional, and the mountaintop views are stunning. And when you need a break from the sunny blue skies, there will always be a luxury spa close by.

15. St. Bart’s, British West Indies >>
For decades, St. Bart’s has been a playground for the rich and famous. Greta Garbo’s wish to be alone was granted here many times, and, in the 1940s, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds partied together all over the 8-mile island. Today, as you stroll along one of the 20 secluded white-sand beaches, you’re likely to bump into David Letterman, P. Diddy, Tom Hanks, or Jimmy Buffett. What you won’t bump into are casinos, high-rise hotels, fast-food restaurants, cruise ships, or purse-snatchers. The Hotel St-Barth Isle de France is the perfect place to read, sun, nap, and dine. Of course, you must venture into the small town of Gustavia for world-class, duty-free shopping. French is the language of love—and the locals. And the food is as fancy as the clothes. But the beaches are clothing optional, and the mountaintop views are stunning. And when you need a break from the sunny blue skies, there will always be a luxury spa close by.

15. St. Bart’s, British West Indies >>
For decades, St. Bart’s has been a playground for the rich and famous. Greta Garbo’s wish to be alone was granted here many times, and, in the 1940s, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds partied together all over the 8-mile island. Today, as you stroll along one of the 20 secluded white-sand beaches, you’re likely to bump into David Letterman, P. Diddy, Tom Hanks, or Jimmy Buffett. What you won’t bump into are casinos, high-rise hotels, fast-food restaurants, cruise ships, or purse-snatchers. The Hotel St-Barth Isle de France is the perfect place to read, sun, nap, and dine. Of course, you must venture into the small town of Gustavia for world-class, duty-free shopping. French is the language of love—and the locals. And the food is as fancy as the clothes. But the beaches are clothing optional, and the mountaintop views are stunning. And when you need a break from the sunny blue skies, there will always be a luxury spa close by.

Royal Clipper

<< 16. Royal Clipper
The largest fully rigged sailing ship in the world is also one of the world’s most romantic getaways. Whether you choose to sail from Barbados in the winter or Rome in the summer, this magnificent vessel is so luxuriously equipped, you may never want to disembark. Imagine standing on a moonlit deck with the wind slapping against the sails and the sea lapping at the bow, not another soul in sight. This isn’t your ordinary cruise ship; there are no rigid schedules or 10-story elevators waiting to take you to a crowded cabin. Instead, 14 deluxe suites offer private verandas, whirlpool tubs, and 24-hour room service. With her sails gleaming in the sun, the Royal Clipper threads between lush volcanic islands where larger cruise ships never go. For a true sailing journey, we recommend a transoceanic cruise to experience the time-out-of-mind sensation of watching the water slip under the bow during the long, lazy days at sea.


The largest fully rigged sailing ship in the world is also one of the world’s most romantic getaways. Whether you choose to sail from Barbados in the winter or Rome in the summer, this magnificent vessel is so luxuriously equipped, you may never want to disembark. Imagine standing on a moonlit deck with the wind slapping against the sails and the sea lapping at the bow, not another soul in sight. This isn’t your ordinary cruise ship; there are no rigid schedules or 10-story elevators waiting to take you to a crowded cabin. Instead, 14 deluxe suites offer private verandas, whirlpool tubs, and 24-hour room service. With her sails gleaming in the sun, the Royal Clipper threads between lush volcanic islands where larger cruise ships never go. For a true sailing journey, we recommend a transoceanic cruise to experience the time-out-of-mind sensation of watching the water slip under the bow during the long, lazy days at sea.

 

St. Moritz

 

17. St. Moritz, Switzerland >>
In the heart of Switzerland’s Engadine region lies the grand Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, a longtime hot spot for royalty, celebrities, and the global elite seeking stunning Alpine scenery, fine dining, world-class shopping, and access to some of the most challenging skiing in the world. Because the highest average temperatures reach only the low 60s, the hotel is a cool respite year-round. Though winter is certainly the busiest season, with events such as the Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow and the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, summertime activities don’t disappoint: water sports on Lake St. Moritz, horseback treks through the mountains, and glacier walking are just the beginning. Besides, shopping at the likes of Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Giorgio Armani knows no season, and the Michelin-starred chef Enrico Derflingher delights palates without regard to the calendar. With 165 individually appointed guest rooms, seven restaurants, four bars, two clubs, fitness center, spa, shopping arcade, and a hopping après-ski scene, Badrutt’s Palace is the beating heart of St. Moritz.

St. Moritz

 

17. St. Moritz, Switzerland >>
In the heart of Switzerland’s Engadine region lies the grand Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, a longtime hot spot for royalty, celebrities, and the global elite seeking stunning Alpine scenery, fine dining, world-class shopping, and access to some of the most challenging skiing in the world. Because the highest average temperatures reach only the low 60s, the hotel is a cool respite year-round. Though winter is certainly the busiest season, with events such as the Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow and the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, summertime activities don’t disappoint: water sports on Lake St. Moritz, horseback treks through the mountains, and glacier walking are just the beginning. Besides, shopping at the likes of Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Giorgio Armani knows no season, and the Michelin-starred chef Enrico Derflingher delights palates without regard to the calendar. With 165 individually appointed guest rooms, seven restaurants, four bars, two clubs, fitness center, spa, shopping arcade, and a hopping après-ski scene, Badrutt’s Palace is the beating heart of St. Moritz.

St. Moritz

 

17. St. Moritz, Switzerland >>
In the heart of Switzerland’s Engadine region lies the grand Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, a longtime hot spot for royalty, celebrities, and the global elite seeking stunning Alpine scenery, fine dining, world-class shopping, and access to some of the most challenging skiing in the world. Because the highest average temperatures reach only the low 60s, the hotel is a cool respite year-round. Though winter is certainly the busiest season, with events such as the Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow and the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, summertime activities don’t disappoint: water sports on Lake St. Moritz, horseback treks through the mountains, and glacier walking are just the beginning. Besides, shopping at the likes of Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Giorgio Armani knows no season, and the Michelin-starred chef Enrico Derflingher delights palates without regard to the calendar. With 165 individually appointed guest rooms, seven restaurants, four bars, two clubs, fitness center, spa, shopping arcade, and a hopping après-ski scene, Badrutt’s Palace is the beating heart of St. Moritz.

One & Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island

<< 18. Paradise Island, Bahamas
Swedish industrialist Dr. Axel Wenner-Gren had the right idea when, in 1939, he built a magnificent private estate, appropriately dubbed Shangri-La, on the Bahamian island now known as Paradise. More than 60 years later, after a $100 million renovation in 2000, Wenner-Gren’s winter retreat has become the One & Only Ocean Club, one of the most spectacular beachfront spa resorts in the world. Every spa treatment begins with a floral footbath ritual in preparation for total relaxation; an Asian tea service completes the affair, enjoyed in the comfort of a Balinese daybed. From the spa, retire to your three- or four-bedroom private villa and relax by the infinity pool. Hungry? A chef can prepare a world-class meal in your villa’s full-service kitchen, or you can venture out to enjoy roasted grouper with aromates and herb mash or duck breast with cracked Jordan almonds and sautéed foie gras at Dune, Ocean Club’s seaside restaurant.

19. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Midway between Vancouver and Calgary, British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is emerging as a jet-setting wine lover’s paradise. In so many ways, the Ag-Eco wine sensibilities here echo the early days of Napa Valley. Old hippies are the new vintners, particularly at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, where former Wall Street broker Stephen Cipes makes a unique award-winning sparkling wine. The 68-mile-long Lake Okanagan keeps growing conditions perfect, and the narrow roads that wind down the valley are filled with boutique hotels and tasting rooms. Kelowna is the largest town and home to the lovely Manteo Resort, which overlooks the lake. Most of the wineries are family-run; if you show up, you’re likely to get a tour from the owner. Don’t miss Quails’ Gate Estate Winery for its Chasselas-Pinot Blanc or Mission Hill Family Estate winery for the gold medal-winning Vidal Ice.

Forte Village, Sardinia

<< 20. Sardinia, Italy
The southwest coast of Sardinia is where you’ll find the Forte Village Thermae del Parco, set in the exclusive tropical confines of Forte Village Resort. Walk from your villa nestled against the private, white-sand beach to this sophisticated spa, where it’s easy to spend a day (or a week!) undergoing anti-stress, rehabilitation (osteopathic is a specialty), or intensive massage programs. Thanks to the mild Sardinian climate and cool turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and the six high-saline-density seawater pools, guests can treat themselves to thalassotherapy. True bliss comes after a thalasso massage that takes place in a hot, salty bath, where  two therapists work on your body. Your day ends with a fine Sardinian meal at one of the property’s six five-star restaurants. You’ll have to pinch yourself; it’s not a dream.

Canoe Bay, Chetek

21. Chetek, Wisconsin >>

If your idea of romance involves peace, quiet, and seclusion, then Canoe Bay, a 280-acre Relais & Chateaux country estate about two hours east of Minneapolis, may be your ultimate lovers’ retreat. Designed by a couple for couples, this rustic yet elegant lakeside resort (there are three private lakes on the property) is a serene, wooded oasis where you can relax and reconnect—with each other and nature. The latest addition to the upscale accommodations is Edgewood, a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired guesthouse with 2,083 feet of interior space and a 1,438-square-foot wraparound porch—literally a home away from home. Other than canoeing or swimming in the clear lake waters or hiking to explore the forested property, the only activity that may propel you to leave your cottage is chef Scott Johnson’s cuisine. Think morel mushroom tart, baby greens, and wild leek flan with roasted tomato vinaigrette, grilled Angus beef on a sunchoke tower served with béarnaise and Cabernet sauces, and a warm berry and apple cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream to finish.

 

 << 22. Musha Cay, Bahamas
If you’ve dreamed of sunning with your honey in utter seclusion, here’s your chance. Only one party at a time can rent this bit of the Bahamas, and that means no one will intrude on you (and up to 23 of your closest friends and family members). A staff of 35 attends to your every need; from foot rubs to fondue, you won’t want for long. Five guesthouses, lush gardens, sparkling turquoise water, and miles and miles of unspoiled, white sugar-sand beaches are pure heaven. Jet skiing, water-skiing, snorkeling, fishing, windsurfing, and sailboating keep you busy when your lover doesn’t. But at $25,000-$43,000 daily (depending on the size of your party), you’ll need more than a sweetheart to make your fantasy come true; you’ll have to be loaded.

 

23. Boulder, Utah >>
As close to the middle of nowhere as you’re likely to get in the continental United States, you round a hair-raising, red-rock bend called Hell’s Backbone and find a cozy, yurt-shaped building surrounded by flowering gardens. Stop. Eat. Hell’s Backbone Grill, on the grounds of eco-friendly Boulder Mountain Lodge, cooks up some of the most remarkable food in the country. Owners Blake Spalding and Jen Castle had a dream of opening a Chez Panisse-style restaurant based on organic homegrown and foraged food, community involvement, and high ideals. And you can taste it in their food: local duck sauced with wild rose hips, chipotle meatloaf made from beef raised down the road, and greens picked from the garden just outside.

 

 << 24. Sedona, Arizona
Nestled amid the scenic red rocks of Boynton Canyon, a place long revered by American Indians as sacred, is Mii amo. The spa at Enchantment Resort is a 24,000-square-foot, two-level sanctuary composed of materials such as adobe brick, wood, and indigenous stones. Designed with the Anasazi aesthetic in mind, it blends seamlessly into the canyon wall. In keeping with the American Indian traditions of this land, spa treatments incorporate the healing rituals handed down from the Navajo, Yavapai-Apache, and Havasupai people. In keeping with Sedona’s reputation as a New Age mecca, guests can also select from an assortment of Mindful Focus & Meditation services, such as chanting and vedic meditation, or Astrology & Readings, such as tarot mapping and dream analysis. Though part of Enchantment Resort’s 70-acre retreat, Mii amo has 16 Southwestern-style casitas, with clean, modern lines, neutral tones, and wood-burning fireplaces, as well as its own cafe serving Asian and Southwestern dishes made with organic and macrobiotic produce, making it a true destination on its own.

 

25. Hanalei, Kauai >>
Very little has changed in this remote, romantic enclave on the north shore of the Hawaiian island. The roads are still two lanes, there are no golden arches, and putting on a pair of sandals is considered dressing up. The dramatic Na Pali Coast is minutes away, and every evening the sun sets behind Bali Hai. This heavenly spot is the last place you would want to stay in a high-rise hotel—which is good, because there aren’t any. But the Hanalei Colony Resort offers the perfect accommodations for life in Hanalei. This 5-acre, low-rise, beachfront property has sweeping views of Hanalei Bay. The “no phones, no TV” policy makes it easy to slip into a “hang loose” sensibility. Each of the 48 two-bedroom condominiums has a kitchen and private lanai, and shopping, dining, hiking, and kayaking are only minutes away. To go or stay, in Hanalei, it’s easy to do it your way.

Photos: West Dover: Courtesy of Inn at Sawmill Farm; Los Cabos: Courtesy of Las Ventanas; Maine: Courtesy of White Barn Inn; Taos: Courtesy of El Monte Sagrado; Wyoming: Courtesy of the Hideout; Vancouver: Courtesy of Clayoquot; Phoenix: Courtesy of Arizona Biltmore; England: Courtesy of Nick Barclay; Maine: Allison Hatfield; Yosemite: Courtesy of Ahwahnee; Belize: Courtesy of Kanantik; Africa: Nancy Nichols; Royal Clippers: Courtesy of Star Clippers; Switzerland: Courtesy of Badrutt’s; Bahamas: Courtesy of One & Only Ocean Club; Italy; Courtesy of Forte Village; Wisconsin: Courtesy of Canoe Bay; Sedona: Courtesy of Mii Amo; Musha Cay: courtesy of Musha Cay; Utah: Will Duran; Kauai: Courtesy of Kauai Visitors Buerau

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