St. Barths, Aspen, The Catskills, Cape May & Miami
Whether you dream of ice-capped ski lodges, paradise-island retreats, vibrant cities, or quaint country inns whenever the holidays swing around, it’s really all about making the most of the time you have in the destinations that offer the very best winter escapes. Here, our top five picks for relaxing breaks from the everyday hustle.
This tiny French-speaking Caribbean island has long been a getaway destination for VIPs with its beautiful stretches of beach, fine dining and designer shops. In addition to world-class luxury hotels, Rosewood Le Guanahani and Le Toiny, over 400 villas are available for rent during the high winter season, some of the most scenic being those up in the cliffs of Anse des Cayes. Head to La Petite Colombe in Lorient for morning pastry and coffee, then later, book a table at Bonito in Gustavia for a dinner of fresh-caught fish, served ceviche-style with black truffles. And, of course, pay a visit to the island’s main thoroughfare, Quai de la République, for boutiques to rival those of New York and Paris.
Colorado’s chicest mountain retreat for a reason, Aspen offers the convenience of ski-in, ski-out villas at luxe resorts, not to mention stunning views, a thriving art scene, charming local shops and farm-to-table dining. Stay at the Little Nell, with its ultramodern rooms, long trails that end with the promise of spa pampering and a heated pool surrounded by landscaped gardens. Popular amongst visiting international jetsetters is Steak House No. 316, originally built in the 1800s as a mining cabin, known for its decadent chophouse menu. Check out Little Bird, a consignment boutique, finely curated with second-hand treasures, Kemo Sabe for authentic Western wear and Cos Bar, a trove of luxe skincare and fragrances.
Only a few hours’ drive from Manhattan, the Catskills in Upstate New York is a region of forested peaks interspersed with waterfalls, quaint villages and a surprisingly hip hotel scene that includes Piaule Catskill, a boutique inn and spa with unobstructed views of the mountains. Unwind in its wellness center where you’ll find a hot steam room and sauna, as well as both heated outdoor and cold-plunge pools. Get your fill of the natural scenery with a hike along the 11.5-mile Ashokan Rail Trail, open to the public from sunrise to sunset, year-round. Some of the area’s best homegrown fare includes Goodies for breakfast, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, a quirky haunt with a modern Pan-Latin menu and Subversive Malting + Brewing, a tap house that does all its own fermenting using ingredients that are 100% locally sourced.
Certain beach towns are arguably as appealing if not more so, come wintertime. The climates cool, the waitlists at restaurants dwindle and the beaches are as peaceful and picturesque as they appear on Instagram. Cape May, New Jersey, a seaside enclave with the largest collection of Victorian-era homes outside of San Francisco, delivers on both scenery and charm. For a taste of period-authentic luxury, spend a few nights at The Queen Victoria, a turreted, brightly shingled bed-and-breakfast dating back to 1876. The best eateries are located beachside, serving up classic American fare including Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant. There’s considerable retail allure woven into this storybook setting too, from local shops for housewares and prepared foods to galleries for the arts-minded community, all along the Washington Street pedestrian mall.
From its perfectly restored Art Deco buildings to its high-rise downtown skyscrapers to the world-famous art walls of Wynwood, Miami is easily one of the country’s most dynamic, high-energy cities. Our top hotel picks include Nautilus by Arlo, a fully renovated property first built in the 1950s, situated on the sunny oceanfront strip of Collins Avenue and the St. Regis Bal Harbour for its unparalleled luxury, which includes private cabanas and huge balconies providing direct ocean views. Try Jatto in Wynwood for creative fusion dishes like the truffle Montecristo, a play on a Cuban made with dijonaise, dill pickles and French bistro ham. Head to the Fashion District for upscale shopping or The Webster, a huge multi-brand outpost occupying an entire historical building in South Beach. Also, not to be missed: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a lavish example of Italian Renaissance architecture dating back to 1916.