Top Ten Summer Resorts
As the temperature climbs higher, many people will be looking for places to relax and unwind for a traditional summer vacation. If climbing in an RV isn't your thing, and a KOA campground is not on the itinerary, you may want to look for a full-scale resort (one with air-conditioning, preferably). The world is chock full of resorts, from mega resorts catering to thousands to small intimate places where everyone knows your name. With all the choices out there, the discriminating traveler sometimes needs a hand when picking the best. So, here is a list of our picks for the best resorts for summer.
Our Top Ten after the jump.
10 - Explora, Patagonia
If that view doesn't convince you why you need to vacation in Patagonia, nothing will. Explora is an ecolodge/luxury hotel in the remote Torres Del Paine National Park. Situated overlooking the massive granite peaks of Cuernos del Paine, this hotel serves as your base camp for many excursions into the park which vary from exploring glaciers to horseback riding. These excursions, included in the price, range from half to full day and are no larger than 10 people. When you get back to the lodge, enjoy fine food and wine in the dining room. Three square meals a day are included in the rate. The rooms are comfortable, not lavish, but the views more than make up for it. Because the Chilean Patagonia region is close to the ocean, the area is able to maintain moderate temperatures even in the southern hemisphere winter. I recommend this destination to our readers in Texas, Arizona and Nevada who suffer through the heat of a hundred degree summer.
9 - The Point, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
This summer, why not go old school. Old, like to the 1890's and head up to the Adirondacks to a traditional great camp. Built as a getaway for a Rockefeller, The Point has been converted into a five-star, Relais & Chateaux property that can take you back in time and still enjoy things like electricity, indoor plumbing, and croquet. There are only 11 rooms, spread around a secluded peninsula. I personally like the boathouse, seen above, but all the rooms have special touches such as hammocks and steam showers. Dining at this all-inclusive resort is an event. Keeping the traditions of the gilded age alive, dinner is at 8 p.m. Jacket and tie are required. How elegant! The entire resort can be rented for $18,650 per week.
8 - Blantyre, Lenox, MA
There's nothing quite like spending some time at a traditional country house. Blantyre dates from 1901, but this manor is home to one of today's most exclusive American hotels. With a mere 24 rooms spread among several buildings, service is refined and personalized. Dining is a delectable feast of gourmet wonders in the Jacobean dining room. Days can be spent playing golf or croquet, or simply doing nothing. The forests around the property make for good walking, although I suggest a gourmet picnic basket from the chef before setting out for any hike.
7 - Singita Lodge, South Africa
A safari is an ideal way to kick start an active summer. And what better place than beautiful South Africa and the Singita Lodges. Yes, I meant to pluralize that, as there are several different lodges across the Sabi Sands game reserve. All of the lodges are high on design and service but with different atmospheres. From the cliff-hugging Lembombo lodge to the river side Sweni lodge, the different locals give you a taste of the varied wildlife and terrain of Africa. Personal expeditions into the reserve allow for encounters (from the safety of a jeep) with many of the wild animals that travelers flock to see.
6 - King Pacific Lodge, British Columbia
If fishing and the great outdoors are your thing, head north to Canada and a floating hotel that gives new meaning to the word "houseboat." The King Pacific Lodge is located not far from the southern tip of Alaska in British Columbia and is only accessible by float plane. As secluded as it is, there is plenty to do with Heli-hiking, fly fishing, and kayaking all available for your enjoyment. Wildlife is another big draw here with bears, Orcas, and Bald Eagles all making the area home.
5 - Ashford Castle, Ireland
Ever dream of a fairytale castle you could call your own, now you can at Ashford Castle. Ok, well, you can call it home for at least a vacation visit. And why not, with thousands of acres to share with other guests, there's plenty of room to make it your own. Guests can busy themselves with golf, fishing, or horseback riding. Just be sure to return in time for an elegant tea service in overlooking Lough Corrib. A stroll through the gardens before dinner will wear away any cares that you may have brought with you, if not, try a glass of something strong while sitting by a peat stoked fire in the inglenook. It works wonders!
4 - Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco
If all you know of Morocco is the movie Casablanca, it's time you spend some time in the Atlas mountains south of Marrakech at Kasbah Tamadot. Richard Branson's new hotel has been getting alot of press recently and rightfully so. A hillside fortress with pools and courtyards bring a Moroccan fantasy to life with uncompromising service and fantastic amenities.
3 - Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
We've got the jungle fever and it's all good. Four Seasons has brought us some of the best hotels in the world and this hotel ranks among the world's best consistently. An architectural jewel clinging to and spilling over a dramatic river gorge, The Four Seasons Resort at Sayan provides guest with legendary service and an environment of pure luxury. Multi-level villas and suites are surrounded with lush foliage and some feature private plunge pools. Spa villas with private outdoor bathing areas indulge guests with traditional Balinese treatments.
2 - North Island, Seychelles
Remote and exclusive are the best terms to describe North Island. Lonesome stretches of beach and lavish villas of native construction await your arrival. A golf cart is your transport around this haven. Private beach picnics are arranged daily at your leisure. The menu is custom tailored to your liking and your butler is never far away from your lounging perch or your personal pool. The scuba is incredible and water is gorgeous, so make sure you pack your swimsuit.
1 - Soneva Gili, Maldives
Sure, a private island is nice. But why not just be in the water..or actually, above it. Soneva Gili features villas that stand on pilings above a crystal clear lagoon. Glass windows in the floor ensure that the sea life provides the entertainment instead of the TV. I love the "no news, no shoes" policy that the resort operates. Dining is influenced by local cuisine and feature lots of fresh seafood (not surprising). The Private Reserve is a huge, stand alone villa complete with two staff members to cater to your every whim. Two master suites enable you to bring friends if you want. Open air bathrooms are simply divine, with tubs above the clear water and ladders into the sea for a salt water bath.