When the weather is cold and gray, you have two options: wait it out ‘til spring or go somewhere where the flowers are already in bloom and the sun is shining. If you go now, you can beat the spring-break crowds.
Few cities hold the charm of Charleston, where the past and the present peacefully coexist and where winter means camellias in bloom. March to May is peak season in the charming Southern city, and that spells crowds and peak prices. But the weather is not much different in February, when temperatures are usually in the 50s and 60s. The centrally located Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Charleston Place is even offering a Winter in Charleston package that includes a $50 food and beverage credit that can be used in the Four-Star Charleston Grill. The hotel is a great base for exploring the downtown area’s candy-colored Georgian homes, lowcountry restaurants, market and more. Tip: Take a carriage ride to get an overview of the city on your first day.
You don’t need a passport or a currency convertor for a visit to the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where it’s always warm and sunny. (Average highs in February are in the low 80s.) The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort fills up with families on spring break come March, so if you want a prime spot at the pool, now’s a great time to visit. Built on a former coconut plantation less than 30 miles from San Juan, the oceanfront resort is located on a dreamlike 438-acre Certified Gold Audubon International Signature Sanctuary. Spend your days sipping mojitos by the pool or beach, hitting the links and visiting the luxurious spa. In the evenings, there’s the famous St. Regis champagne ritual, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant and s’mores by the fire.
When you really can’t get the chill of winter out of your bones, it’s time to decamp to the desert. The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, is the perfect place to dry out. Surrounded by saguaros at the foot of the Tortolita Mountains just outside Tucson, the sprawling resort has more than 20 miles of hiking trails, three pools, a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and an idyllic spa featuring eco-friendly and holistic treatments like the Hohokam indigo massage that uses Thai techniques and a steamed herbal poultice. The resort is offering a Warm Up for Winter special that includes a $100 hotel credit per night through March 16.
Depending on where you live, you can be on the beach at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita soaking up the sunshine and eating fish tacos in a few hours. Why brave the cold when you can be on an inner tube, margarita in hand, on the resort’s lazy river? The beachfront resort is located along Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit less than an hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta and is a world unto itself with two private beaches, three pools, a luxurious spa and two championship golf courses.
See the elegant side of Miami (and Florida) by booking a stay at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort. The year-old hotel is made up of three sparkling-new glass towers (the hotel and two residential buildings) in the exclusive enclave of Bal Harbour, about 20 minutes outside Miami and right across from the famously tony Bal Harbour Shops. The resort is the new face of Art Deco in the area with a dramatic mirrored entrance hall and a mural in the bar by local graffiti artist Santiago Rubino. All of the rooms feature balconies and views of the ocean, and the beachfront property boasts two pools and a Remède Spa. So, come on little bears; it’s time to stop hibernating.
Photos Courtesy of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Charleston Grill