It’s prime summer travel season and, sometimes, lazy days by your backyard or neighborhood pool just don’t cut it. Get up and go with these domestic and cross-the-pond jaunts that lead straight to luxe seasonal fun.
Anyone who complains that Arizona is hot in the summer will be met with the same reply: “But it’s a dry heat.” Yes, it can hit more than 100 degrees in this desert wonderland, but sky-high temps won’t stop us from jetting to The Phoenician, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star escape with more indoor and outdoor adventures than you have vacation days. One of our favorite activities is the Culinary Countdown, a promotion where the resort’s air-conditioned restaurants offer $20, $30, and $40 multi-course menus through the end of August. Try a three-course dinner that includes dishes like prime flat-iron steak, and raspberry and rose pavlova at J&G Steakhouse; light Italian fare such as kale and arugula salad, and olive oil-poached halibut at Four-Star Il Terrazzo; or a two-course Kobe burger lunch or dinner at Relish Burger Bistro. If you want to really go over the top, take the meal savings and splurge on an upgrade to The Phoenician’s Five Star hotel-within-a-hotel, The Canyon Suites.
Live the island life in sunny Barbados, one of our favorite Caribbean destinations for its perfect mix of culture and white sand beaches. There’s no better place to escape this season than at the iconic Sandy Lane. Take the whole family to the oceanside retreat and allow the kids to let their energy out in the resort’s Summer Sports Camp, offered July 12 through 18 and again from August 15 through 29. Youngsters will enjoy complimentary activities such as golf, waterskiing, soccer, tennis, swim lessons, beach volleyball and more, plus have a chance to attend a movie night, eat a free dinner and even go to an evening mocktail mixer — all while you are off soaking up the sun. Sounds like the perfect vacation for everybody, right?
The Pacific Northwest has some of the county’s best summer weather, and there’s no better place to experience it all than scenic downtown Portland. From high-end farm-to-fork fare around buzzy neighborhoods to exciting adult attractions (like more breweries than any other place in the U.S.), there’s something for everyone. If you’re heading to Oregon’s biggest city this month, we’d suggest staying at glamorous Hotel deLuxe or chic, modern Hotel Lucia, that way you can assure yourself of a winning stay while taking in a game with Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers at the same time. The team has an exciting July schedule (San Jose, July 5; Philadelphia, July 11; FC Dallas, July 25), so reserve one of the hotel’s Soccer City, USA packages. Aside from overnight accommodations, both Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotels will give you free parking and a six-pack of local beer at check-in.
A burger feast in China may seem an unlikely pairing, but it’s certainly easier to digest once you consider that it’s all happening at the Five-Star InterContinental Hong Kong. The hotel’s Lobby Lounge has just launched a new internationally inspired burger menu that takes the American summer classic to delicious new heights. This month, try everything from “The Mexican” burger (smoked bacon, chili paste, jalapeño, mustard and ranch) to “The French” (duck foie gras, sautéed onions, smoked bacon and black truffle sauce) during a culinary jaunt around the globe. Just remember to save room for dessert — the tasty theme extends to creative “ice cream burgers” for the sweet finale. Made with brioche buns and vanilla or chocolate custard, these decadent treats are topped with cookie crumble, fresh fruit or even brownies.
Sure, the great Royal Baby Watch of 2015 is over, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to hop the pond. London, with its moderate temperatures, is the perfect place for a summer escape. If you’re aiming to stay toned during your England excursion, burn up to 600 calories an hour at Four-Star The Berkeley’s new HulaFit classes at its rooftop spa lounge every Wednesday. Learn moves like “The Limbo” and the naughty-sounding “Booty Bump” in a session that blends fitness and fun for all levels. Following each class, Berkeley hula-hoopers can partake in a relaxing dip in the hidden gem rooftop pool and a well-deserved poolside lunch overlooking panoramic views of Hyde Park and bustling Knightsbridge.
Ready for something out of the ordinary? For almost 30 years, Jaialdi (“big festival” in Basque) has combined vibrant music, traditional dance, sports contests and more to celebrate Basque’s people and culture in Boise, where one of the largest U.S. populations of the European region resides. The 2015 festivities (July 28 through August 2) are expected to draw nearly 40,000 visitors. Spend the week relishing in performances by Boise’s famous Oinkari Basque Dancers and demonstrations from Basque Country weightlifters testing their strength with 350-pound stone balls. After introducing your palate to customary cuisine like paella, pintxos (a bite-sized version of the tapa) and a Basque cider called Txopinondo Sagarnoa, be sure to stop by the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Chandlers Prime Steaks & Fine Seafood for a special wine-and-food pairing arranged by Basque sous chef Asier Garcia. When it’s time to turn in after all the food and frolicking, book your stay at Hotel 43 or The Grove Hotel, which is conveniently located next to CenturyLink Arena, one of Jaialdi’s participating venues.