Contrary to what you might think, congregating at the bar is not the only nighttime activity worth participating in when you’re on vacation. As these luxury properties demonstrate with after-dark golf, hikes and spa treatments, it’s not until the sun goes down that the fun truly picks up.
Fitness Fun without the Sun
Sneak in a little me time after the sun goes down at Inn at Palmetto Bluff. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property in Bluffton, South Carolina, provides a guided meditation under the moonlight along the May River as well a nighttime kayak tour for guests. Need something more active? At Bedford, Pennsylvania’s Omni Bedford Springs Resort, those in groups can enjoy a night hike where you’re blindfolded outdoors, and led by the person in front of you in a team-building exercise through the woods.
Spa Under the Stars
Select Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts around the globe are offering the ultimate experience for privacy-seeking spa-goers thanks to its night-spa packages. Properties, including those in Beijing, the Maldives and the Five-Star outpost in Washington, D.C., allow couples in after the spa’s normal hours for pampering services, monogrammed robes and extra VIP perks. We’d combine this offering with overnight accommodations, in case muscles are too relaxed for the drive.
One of our favorite ways to see the stars is with the backdrop of an ultraluxe resort, but these hotels take celestial bodies to a whole new level. The Constellation Concierge at Four-Star Montage Deer Valley gives guests an expert view of the sky. You can also enjoy a similar experience at L’Auberge de Sedona under the gorgeous red rocks. At Pronghorn, an Auberge Resort in Bend, Oregon, you can also partake in a two-night stargazing package that comes with two exciting evening experiences, a s’mores bar and private bonfire for one night.
Skiing by moonlight is always a blast, but take things one step further at Switzerland’s Gstaad Palace, where, on set evenings throughout the winter, visitors can hitch a ride with a snow groomer to explore the mountain (and Alpine critters) by night. Not much of a skier? Try night snowshoeing at Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, where local guide Tony Berendsen will lead you on a serene two-hour trek through the forest and Village at Northstar. Your outing will include a laser tour of the constellations and warming goodies such as wine and hot cider.
Sleep Al Fresco
Get up close and personal with the great outdoors at Wilderness Safaris’ Little Makalolo Camp in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Their one-of-a-kind star beds are situated on raised platforms overlooking the high-traffic Madison Pan watering hole, just a 20-minute drive from camp. Had something a bit more tamed in mind? At Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood resort in Los Cabos, there’s a “Sleeping With the Stars” option on the menu, where the hotel’s Director of Romance will set up a full bed on your suite’s private rooftop terrace.
Hit the links under the stars at several top hotels. At Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo in Guanacaste, for instance, you can start out with a practice round on the driving range, and then don night vision goggles to play some of the Arnold Palmer-designed course’s best holes. At Chateau Elan, a resort about an hour northeast of Atlanta, you can skip the funny headgear in favor of glow-in-the-dark balls and a special course set-up that includes glowing flagsticks, tee markers and tiki torches. The par-three course is great for all levels. And keeping on the game’s light-hearted side, Virginia’s The Tides Inn invites adventurous players to test their putting skills with Tides’ Glow in the Dark Golf Challenge on the hotel’s nine-hole executive course.