Think Local, Think Luxury

Just because you’ve scaled back your vacation plans doesn’t mean you can’t have a luxurious holiday.


With so many news articles reporting that people are scaling back their travel plans, you’d think that 2008 was the year that killed the venerable summer vacation. But making alternative travel plans doesn’t mean you have to give up any much-needed rest and relaxation, or desired pampering. Instead, use this opportunity to treat yourself or your family to a luxurious local break.

5-Star Stays for Half the Price

Rather than deal with airport hassles and rising airline prices and fees, consider instead a long weekend in a nearby luxury hotel. There are plenty of independent luxury hotels and resorts across the country in secondary and tertiary markets that are a short drive (under two hours) from major metropolitan areas that can seem a world away from your day-to-day life.

During a recent service call my cable guy told me he and his wife canceled their road trip to the Rocky Mountains this year in favor of staying at an upscale inn on the California coast, a 40-minute drive from their home. They preferred to spend their money on a memorable, enjoyable experience, he said, rather than on nearly $5-a-gallon gas. 

In addition to independent accommodations, during the past few years top-end hotel brands, such as Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton, have been on an expansion spree, often into new markets that might surprise some people. Rates and availability at these suburban destinations are much more reasonable than for comparable accommodations and service in primary markets.

Four Seasons Weekend Deals

Save up to $270 per night by staying at one of this desired brand’s new properties in California’s Silicon Valley (East Palo Alto) or Westlake Village (near Los Angeles). Both offer regular weekend rates that start at $225 per night—a far cry from the weekend rates of $425 and $495 per night at the brand’s San Francisco and Beverly Wilshire properties, respectively.

The Four Seasons Silicon Valley, East Palo Alto property is centrally located to the area’s three major cities: San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, and has gorgeous spacious rooms, a rooftop pool, one of the best spas on the peninsula and an excellent restaurant. During the week, the hotel caters to the valley’s techno geniuses and venture-capital crowd, but on a recent weekend visit, I saw couples and a fair number of families. The hotel also offers a bed-and-breakfast special for two starting at $245 per night, valid Fri.-Sun., through Dec. 31, and a spa package with a room upgrade, breakfast for two and two 60-minute spa treatments per day, starting at $450 per night.

The year-old Four Seasons Westlake Village, near Los Angeles, has a focus on well-being (the hotel is surrounded by nine acres of gardens) and is affiliated with the California Health & Longevity Institute. From now through Dec. 31, stay two consecutive nights and receive a third night free.

Ritz-Carlton Suburban Savings

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in McLean, Virg., offers a bed-and-breakfast package starting at $199 per night, compared to $349 for the same package at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C., located about 30 minutes away.

If you live in the New York City tri-state area, check out the new Ritz-Carlton, Westchester in White Plains, N.Y., just a 30-minute train ride to Grand Central Station, with a Reconnect package starting at $359 per night. The same package at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park starts at $655 per night.

Treat Yourself to Special Spa or Golf Packages

Hotels, resorts, spas and golf clubs often offer specials that combine multiple services into a convenient package with savings over booking them a la carte. From overnight stays, to half-day and full-day spa pampering specials, to deals for private golf or tennis lessons with a resident pro, often with lunch and a goodie bag included. The cool thing is that you don’t necessarily have to stay at the resort or spa to enjoy these packages, although over-night packages do offer the best value.

Spas are the perfect place to relieve and reduce stress (which is what vacations are for!) and The International SPA Association reports that 70 percent of spas are offering discounts this summer.

One terrific deal is from Sundara Spa, in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc., which has taken 60 percent off its Spa Retreat Package for the summer, through Aug. 31. The $599 package is now available for $239 per person, per night. Perks include a $100 spa credit per person, $50 food and beverage credit per person, breakfast buffet, unlimited access to Sundara’s baths, relaxation lounge, fitness studio and outdoor pool. A two-night package option is $454 per person, with an additional $100 spa credit per person. Sundara is two- to three-hours driving distance from Chicago and Milwaukee, and four hours from Minneapolis. 

Rent a Chauffeur

Turn sightseeing or routine events into a luxury surprise with a private car and driver to take you and your family around town for a day, or at least a few hours. This could be especially appealing for multigenerational or multi-family travelers, so the bill gets split multiple ways. Your kids will feel special with the door-to-door service—plus it’s likely to leave a lasting impression—while you and the other adults can relax, enjoy each other's company and not have to worry about parking or directions.

Private car services are available in many destinations. For recommended providers, check with the local convention and tourist bureau or your hotel concierge. 

Themes: Luxury Travel

Activities: Spas

© 2020     Terms of use and Privacy policy