If we use Hollywood or school calendars as a gauge, Memorial Day is the start to summer. And we’re perfectly fine with that — especially if upscale hotels around the country keep putting together fun packages to mark the late May holiday. From high-end barbecues in Texas to cozy beachfront bonfires in Hawaii, the outdoor party scene has begun and our editors found five great celebrations to kick off summer.
Four Seasons Hotel Houston
While the Four Seasons brand is renowned for its impeccable service and tasteful styling, its playfulness is an attribute that’s often overlooked. But if you scan across the company’s portfolio of properties right now, you’ll see all kinds of Memorial Day fun on the calendar, including lavish spa treatments in California (Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills) and family getaways in Colorado (Four Seasons Resort Vail). But we are eyeing the deal from the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Houston. Stay the holiday weekend (May 24 to 27) for a reduced nightly rate while still enjoying the perks of summer (festive amenities; opportunity for an executive suite upgrade for a nominal fee). And to top everything off, there will also be a family-friendly pool party on May 26 and 27 that comes complete with a full barbecue spread, ice cream and a live session from guitarist Jether Pilapil.
The Breakers Palm Beach
This Floridian retreat is one of our favorite places to play around in the sand any time of the year. With its overflowing Memorial Day activities calendar, Four-Star The Breakers only reminds us why we keep coming back. Vacationing couples will love the mixed doubles tennis clinics and movies under the stars. Families will have a hard time deciding if they want to play softball, feed the tortoises or ride on banana boats first. But however the itinerary comes together, you’ll want to make sure the afternoon of May 25 is clear for the Memorial Weekend Bash. The fair-like experience on the property’s front lawn will feature everything from dunk tanks and rock walls to cotton candy machines and live music. But conserve some of your excitement; you’re going to need it to call out bingo during the Memorial weekend game on May 26.
Head to the desert this Memorial Day to participate in a full roster of family-friendly events at this Four-Star hotel. Check out the Duck Push to see if your little ones can shuttle a rubber ducky across the Oasis Pool without using their hands or satiate your summery cravings with the watermelon-eating contest. For a more substantial eating experience, ring in the season at the reggae-themed pool party and beach buffet. And when the sun sets, hit up the Oasis Pool for “Glo at The Phoe,” an underwater light show with illuminated beach balls, glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark treats. For a full list of The Phoenician’s activities, visit its site.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
Combining the natural paradise of an island setting and the luxury of a Four-Star resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua welcomes the summer in classic style — with a barbecue. Head to the island getaway for the beachfront barbecue at The Beach House Lawn on Memorial Day from noon to 4 p.m. A DJ will spin tunes as mixologists whip up Hawaiian-inspired cocktails and kids concoct a drink all their own at the Hawaiian punch station, which features a number of fruity flavors. But it’s certainly not all about drinks — chefs at the Maui hotel will grill American barbecue classics with an island touch, too.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
Pennsylvania’s Nemacolin Woodlands Resort — featuring the Five-Star Falling Rock and Four-Star Chateau Lafayette — celebrates summer’s kickoff with four full days of activities and events. On the evening of May 24, experience a wine tasting at Académie du Vin (reservations required, 21 and older) before heading to the Sundial Lounge for some jams with pop/rock artist Caleb Lovely. Start May 25 off with a fashionable edge at the trunk show (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) showcasing collections from Italian designer Daniel Dolce. End the day with a bit of adventure at the indoor nighttime scavenger hunt. May 26 has several family-focused events to enjoy at the Croquet Court, such as carnival games, a bounce house, face painting, a three-legged race and more. For the older members of the group, a comedy show featuring Aaron Kleiber and Mike Wysocki will hit the Grand Ballroom that evening — as if you didn’t already have enough to smile about during your stay at Nemacolin.
Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons, The Phoenician and The Breakers