6 Over-the-Top Winter Escapes


A relaxing warm-weather trip or ski break is just what you need to cure the winter blues

As winter’s drab and dreary days set in, it’s the perfect time to get out of town and escape seasonal doldrums. Instead of succumbing to dreary weather, lift your spirits in a warm, sunny locale or on powdery slopes. Here are alluring warm- and cold-weather vacation ideas to book now to beat the winter blues.

Los Cabos, Mexico

If you love wine, travel to Los Cabos, a beautiful vacation destination at the southern edge of the Baja Peninsula with two lively towns – San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. Check into the Grand Velas Los Cabos to explore the flourishing wine country in Valle de Guadalupe on the northern tip. During your getaway, you can take advantage of lavish amenities like private transportation to top wineries, special wine tastings and dinner helmed by the resort’s Michelin-starred chef, Sidney Schutte. Back at the resort, enjoy gourmet cuisine and pampering at a world-class spa. There’s wildlife-viewing opportunities, too. From December through May, you can spot whales, manta rays and more wildlife.

Park City, Utah

For a memorable getaway on the slopes, consider retreating to Park City. If you’re looking to splurge, check into The St. Regis Deer Valley, an AAA Five Diamond award-winning resort at the base of Park City’s Wasatch Mountains, where you can take advantage of the Quintessential Skiing Experience with pro skier Chris Waddell. The exclusive package includes a personal meet-and-greet during a welcome reception or dinner, a 60-minute keynote speaking address and a group ski experience led by Waddell on the slopes of Deer Valley that excludes the cost of lift tickets. What’s more, you can bobsled with Olympians Valerie Fleming or Shauna Rohbock and receive an exclusive tour of Utah Olympic Park’s bobsled track.

When you’re ready to dine, there’s the J&G Grill, helmed by acclaimed restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Go for an intimate dinner in the 13,000-bottle Wine Vault, where you get a chance to meet winemakers and winery owners. The resort has a partnership with Elevated Adventure Company, giving guests private transportation to remote areas of Utah for hiking through red-rock hoodoos, biking across rugged mountain paths, paragliding, rappelling and more. Afterward, soothe sore muscles at Remède Spa. With the signature Bear Dance ritual, which includes a massage and aromatherapy treatment.

Petit St. Vincent, The Grenadines

If you’re looking for serenity and seclusion, you’ll find it at the lavish cottages on the exclusive island of Petit St. Vincent. This private Caribbean island was spared the wrath of hurricanes Irma and Maria. What’s more, the island is only 115 acres and boasts 22 cottages. Each cottage is tucked away, and you can expect to unplug and recharge with no wireless connections, televisions or telephones in the cottages. Even better, you can spend your days admiring fascinating marine life at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Diving Caribbean center. Afterward, seek refuge in the Balinese spa and eat like a gourmand at the resort’s two restaurants. You can even charter a boat for day excursions to Tobago Cays Marine Park.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo screams luxury. At the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, you’ll feel like a VIP with the Golden Eye Experience. Guests staying in the hotel’s stunning Suite Carré d’Or, which features 180-degree views of Monte-Carlo and Mediterranean Sea from the outdoor terrace, start with a private tour of the Monte-Carlo Casino (the location for many James Bond movies), followed by a helicopter ride, a driving tour of the French Riviera in an Aston Martin and in-room couples massage. Cap off your day with a private dinner on the penthouse terrace before receiving cigars and casino chips for a night of gambling.

Or, for a culinary-themed experience, venture to the Chef Academy. There, you can create savory dishes and sweet desserts under the instruction of head chef Christophe Cussac, chef de cuisine Romain Heim and pastry chef Patrick Mesiano. To enhance the experience, head sommelier Frédéric Woelfflé also shares his wine pairing suggestions. What’s more, you can enjoy an intimate dinner at the Chef’s Table, where you watch the culinary team prepare a fabulous meal in the open kitchen setting.

Costa Rica

Hacienda AltaGracia, an Auberge Resort, is located in the Valle del General, an off-the-radar agriculture town that’s not overrun with tourists. The area is known for its coffee, pineapples and sugar cane plantations, as well as its lush forests. Take a flight tour from the resort’s private landing strip for a unique flight: You and the pilot can fly over mountain ridges, valleys, beaches and more. What’s more, you can enjoy horseback riding, spend afternoons at the spa or tour a nearby wildlife refuge to look out for colorful birds, sloths and other animals.

The Exumas, Bahamas

On Fowl Cay’s 50-acre private island, you can enjoy a carefree escape. Days can be spent fishing, boating and diving before lazing along white sands. The resort features spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom villas. And with Fowl Cay’s all-inclusive experience, guests have access to a fully stocked fridge, premium alcoholic and soft drinks, a personal motor boat and access to land sports equipment. Best of all, if you’re planning a group getaway or multigenerational trip, you rent the entire island for a one-of-a-kind island escape.

Courtesy of USNews