Hard-working Americans use the first Monday of September as a day to discuss their contributions to society, reflect on economic achievements and … oh, who are we kidding? While carpenters and machinists in the late 1880s may have formed the holiday for those very reasons, Labor Day has come to serve as the unofficial last day of summer, giving folks a chance to take one more nap, see one last movie and, maybe, take one final trip. With the latter in mind, here are eight hotels that are saying goodbye to summer in such a dynamic way that the only work you have to do is pack your bags and go.
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Even though August and September evening temperatures in SoCal sit near a comfortable 65 degrees, there’s still a place for a good outdoor fire. The brand-new Beachcomber fire pit rooms and suites at Loews Santa Monica are just the latest touches to a property still beaming from a multimillion renovation in 2010. Wood tiled floors, glass-enclosed showers and a personal pit give these new units all the warmth you need on a breezy night. The Beachcomber package, which includes a chauffeured Fiat ride to a wine tasting and a complimentary bottle of red, only helps in the mood setting.
Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club
Around Durham, excitement has reached unprecedented heights for a Duke football team that shocked the sports world with a 10-4 campaign in 2013. By staying at this gem for the season-opening contest with Elon on August 30, you not only get to feel the intensity firsthand but you get to do so less than a 10-minute walk from Wallace Wade Stadium. With two winning packages available that weekend — the classic comes with complimentary breakfast while the weekender includes breakfast, dinner at the Four-Star Fairview Dining Room and Sunday brunch — you’ll certainly score with loved ones.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
With more than 20 miles of hiking trails and a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star spa to complement spacious rooms done in a tasteful Southwestern motif, this Four-Star charmer near Tucson already has most travelers’ attention. Over the holiday, though, the desert delight turns things up a few notches with a calendar full of good times that range from pool-front parties and dive-in movies to a family-of-four golf deal. The resort’s new scorpion hunt night hike won’t be to everyone’s liking, but the August 29 stargazing outing certainly should be.
The owners of this Wilmington, Delaware, landmark are the same folks behind the chemical giant that earned more than $34 billion last year. Guess it makes sense then that the property would have little problem sharing its spoils with guests. Should you stop by in late August, you’ll be showered with the hotel’s usual luxuries — 217 rooms and suites with classic European styling, Four-Star dining at Green Room — but you’ll have the chance to enhance the experience with the Longwood Gardens package, a promotion that includes complimentary valet parking, breakfast for two and tickets to the garden, where you can witness Festival of Fountains before it trickles out on September 1.
Savannah and Jacksonville certainly have their place along the Atlantic Coast, but if you only had the time for one stop, Charleston would top our list. The food, the sun, the shopping … oh, did we mention the sun? Wild Dunes is so keen on the rays that it has tailored a Labor Day getaway around it — the Vitamin D Summer Family Vacation package. The aptly named special shines with five night’s accommodations in a two-bedroom condo, a Capers Island eco-tour and wakeboarding or tubing lessons for the little ones. The only thing you need to do is ensure your shades and SPF-50 sunblock are packed.
The Burning Man festival is part art show and part deleted scene from Survivor. Needless to say, it’s not for everyone. It’s a great thing then that you don’t have to show a ticket stub to partake in Atlantis’ After the Burn detox package. This offering comes with overnight accommodations at the Reno property, two 60-minute Swedish massages and a lunch buffet. Feel like you’ve earned a more elevated culinary outing? Well, head to the hotel’s signature eatery, Atlantis Steakhouse, for a celebratory prawn cocktail and 36-ounce cowboy rib eye.
If you like seeing folks in uniform, Labor Day weekend in Atlanta is a dream. On August 30, the long-anticipated Alabama-West Virginia clash will help kickoff the college football season at the Georgia Dome. Guys and gals decked out in their favorite superhero costumes will flood the ATL streets for Dragon Con on August 29 through September 1. And then there are the dapper team members at the TWELVE — this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended downtown hotel sits just minutes from either event — whose lone job is to make your stay memorable. With only one- and two-bedroom suites on offer, the hotel is perfect for any group of football or fantasy fanatics.
But why limit your holiday plans to the nearby metropolis or local beach? If you’re considering doing some passport stamping over the break, Turkey is a safe, sensible option. And by staying at this stunning property carved from the soft volcanic land, it proves quite special as well. For starters, Argos sits high above the village of Uçhisar, offering more photo opportunities than you have space on your camera phone. And then there are the two amenity-filled packages — the romantic splendor suite combo includes in-room breakfast and 40 percent off spa treatments; the other suite deal involves a three-course dinner, breakfast and a bottle of local wine — that further temper any trepidation about making the long trip.