This year I visited over 20 luxury resorts and wrote about my adventures for JustLuxe, LuxeBeat and Go World Travel. Some of the standout travel destinations, hotels and resorts include luxury spa experiences, outstanding restaurants, tennis courts, golf courses and enriching experiences that include cooking classes, wine tasting and morning yoga.
Here’s a list of my favorites in 2018 that I would happily return to in 2019:
1. Luxe Spa in Avalon – JustLuxe. Located on Catalina Island , The Island Spa offers ocean theme treatments, products and experiences. There is a day-long yoga and kayaking adventure. Guests meet at the spa and walk to Descanso Beach to enjoy a 1.5-hour paddle tour to coves and headlands along Catalina’s dramatic coast. Participants paddle through giant kelp forests teeming with sea life, and may see dolphins, seals, pelicans, and plenty of bright orange Garibaldi fish. After the paddle and lunch, attendees take a personalized yoga class at Island Spa Catalina, and dip in the heated pool before returning to one of the island hotels or take a boat ride back to Long Beach.
2. Washington DC New Neighborhood – Luxe Beat Magazine. The new InterContinental Washington D.C., located in the newly repurposed The Wharf area along the Potomac River is a 12-story waterfront hotel offering 278 guest rooms with 33 suites. One suite is a two-story Presidential penthouse, just below the rooftop bar and sparkling pool with views of the riverfront, Jefferson Memorial and beyond.
3. Living like a Queen in Waikiki – JustLuxe. This historic hotel near Waikiki Beach recently completed $35 million dollars in renovations. With the help of Hawaiian designer Mary Philpotts of Philpotts Interiors, the hotel is now filled with Hawaiian colors, local art, comfortable furniture and engaging public spaces. It’s modern, hip and a trendy vacation destination. The staff host Hawaiian experiences for guests that include fitness surfing and yoga classes in the morning, daily Kona coffee tastings, fun interactive wellness workshops, and craft cocktail and live music in the evening.
4. The Ultimate Wedding Destination in Oahu – JustLuxe. The historically inspired Hawaiian Four Seasons chapel built in the center of the resort provides intimate wedding ceremonies next to beautiful stained glass windows. Doors open out to the tropical gardens for cocktails and pu-pu platters. Weddings can also be held next door at the historic Lanikuhunoa Cultural Estate.
5. Hawaii’s Immersive Spa Experience – Just Luxe The 23,000 sq. ft., Laniwai Spa at the Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa provides guests with Hawaii’s wellness traditions. Laniwai in Hawaiian means freshwater heaven, and the crystal raindrop chandelier and soothing cloud lights transport guests to a new realm of relaxation. There is a hue of colors symbolizing the gifts of nature that join together to create a rainbow. These organic and natural Hawaiian treatments rejuvenation and renew spa guests.
6. The Best in Baja California – Luxe Beat Magazine Alaskan Airlines flies directly to Loreto on Thursdays and Sunday from LAX, once you arrive at the Villa del Palmar overlooking Danzante Bay and Isla Danzante, the exclusive all-suite guest rooms provide ocean, golf course and the Gigantic Sierra Mountain views. Activities include paddle boarding and kayaking in the protected bay, golf, tennis, spa and hiking excursions to see the ancient painted caves.
7. Leisure Elegance in Santa Barbara – Just Luxe. Driving up to the Mission-style Hilton Santa Barbara along the American Riviera with swaying palm trees, miles of sandy beaches, a lively wharf and glorious mountain views, this elegant pet-friendly resort offers modern comforts after a multi-million dollar renovation.
8. Newport Beach’s Newest Luxury Hotel – Luxe Beat Magazine Upstairs on the fourth floor is the only rooftop bar and lounge in Newport Beach called Topside Roof Deck. Guests taking the elevator up to the top are welcomed to spectacular sunset views. Since the day it opened, this sophisticated and celebration-worthy resort offers a heated pool, farm to table dining, bicycles and family suites.
9. Napa’s Newest Wine Country Resorts – Just Luxe. The newly refreshed Vintage House lobby lounge and rooms are the quintessential wine-style country living. A complimentary breakfast is offered in this room from 7 to 11 a.m. In the evenings, both properties offer a complimentary wine tasting in their lobby each Friday and Saturday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The large, heated pool and 103-degree whirlpool are framed in outdoor cabanas and chaise lounge chairs with thick pads. A highlight to each room is a hanging wicker basket swing to sit and swirl a glass of wine.
10. Indulge at La Quinta Resort & Spa – http://www.justluxe.com/travel/spa/feature-1967158.php. About thirty minutes from downtown Palm Spring is a celebrity hideaway in the town of La Quinta. Built in 1926. It became a retreat and playground for Hollywood’s biggest names, U.S. Presidents Taft and some of the wealthiest families in America. Many of the historic casitas, suites, villas and vacation units are surrounded by green lawns, flower gardens or clustered around one of the 41 pools and 53 hot tubs.
Recharge your senses at one or more of these award-winning resorts.