Several years ago when the economy tanked, the notion of the “Staycation” became popular. People stayed at home, and found activities that they could do in their home town. That sounds like Sunday to me, with distractions. The purpose of a vacation, no matter how small, is to allow you to relax, reguvenate your mind and spirit, and to allow you to return to your family, friends and work group a refreshed being, ready to tackle the multiplicities of today’s challenges.
So, I started thinking. Why do we have to have the Staycation as currently defined? Why can’t we have an “Expanded Staycation”, one where we are able to move beyond the perimeter of our own dwelling, and instead, take retreat in a local hotel or resort, or drive to one that is within 3-4 hours? The drive itself will be part of the winding down process. The idea had endless possibilities. Instead of only one vacation a year that requires tireless planning, a person could have multiple Expanded Staycations throughout the year, that are purposed for family, girl friends, or special getaways for you and your spouse or special someone.
I selected fie (5) properties that are within an easy reach of metropolitan areas. Take a look at each location, and determine what strikes your fancy, and start planning your Expanded Staycation.
After a hard week, it’s time to call your spouse or significant other and say… “ Meet me in the city.” And the place to meet and stay is Ink48, a Kimpton Hotel. This chic boutique hotel, in the heart of Manhattan, has everything that one might want or need to totally relax while enjoying the world’s cosmopolitan hub. You will not be far from some of the favorite activities, the theatre district, shopping, that make it such a draw. The hotel recognizes that the city is full of excitement and energy, and it aims to calm your spirit while giving credence to that foundation. Let’s start with its modern and open designed lobby area, which is referred to as “the living room.” Gee, I wish my living room looked like this. The living room, is not just a lobby, it is actually a gathering place for the hotel guests. Throughout the day, guests lay claim to comfortable chairs and couches to sit and read, or to meet with others in nicely grouped seating areas. So, it really is a living room. The guest rooms, with views of the Hudson River, add to the sense of tranquility, with a soft color pallet of naturals with hints of yellow and red accents, and yoga mats provided to help you start or end your day in the most peaceful manner. (This is a touch). For those who prefer pampering, the InkSpa is the perfect place to go. It is a full service spa, including hair salon. If you decide that you just want to have a great meal, look no further than the highly touted PRINT restaurant, serving farm-to-table menu selections. This is the place to come and experience a culinary delight. While on your Expanded Staycation, why not call some friends to meet you for drinks, and head to the 16th floor to the Press Lounge. This glass-enclosed space provides unsurpassed views of the city, while giving you the chance to relax, chat and get caught up. What a way to take in the city.
If you love art, and you wish to enhance your sense of culture and design then a stay at the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati. Voted in 2014, #1 hotel in the mid-west by Conde Nast Traveller, it offers the perfect place for your Expanded Staycation. This boutique hotel is unique in that it has a rotating art collection and situated next to the Contemporary Arts Center, and across the street from the Arnoff Center, in downtown. Art relaxes the mind, body and spirit, and this hotel aims to please. Everything about it speaks to well thought out design, from the muted color scheme and minimalist design to the extraordinary lighting, which in itself is like an extension of the art that is displayed. As you go through the facility, you will find yourself stopping to stare and wonder for just a moment exactly where you are. The hotel has a very European feel to it. While at the 21c Museum Hotel, you need to make an appointment at The Spa at 21c. There, the staff provides rejuvenating treatments that revive you and make you want to return. After attending a cultural event at the Aronoff, or going through the Contemporary Arts Center, you may feel like getting something to eat. What better place than the Metropole, where you will find fresh ingredients served from the open hearth kitchen. It’s a great place to dine and has a fun atmosphere. The food is inventive, without being presumptuous. Weather permitting, perched atop the hotel is the Cocktail Terrace, where you can enjoy the view of the city and have specialty drinks. Now, it is time to return to your room, and enjoy the beauty and the simplicity of its design, and wish that some of the art was yours.
Not far from Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, or Lexington is French Lick Resort. This resort is spectacular. If you are looking for a place for the entire family, this is the resort to select. There is something here for everyone. No one is left wanting. The resort has two fabulous hotels, The West Baden Hotel and the French Lick Hotel. The hotels are different in that the West Baden is opulent, and the French Lick Hotel is more of a standard hotel that appeals to families and groups. The rooms in each of the hotels are quite nice by any standard, approximately 450 square feet. If you elect to stay at the West Baden Hotel, ask for a room overlooking its 200′ atrium lobby. Both hotels have their own restaurants, swimming pools, retail shopping, and spas. The spas deserve special mention. The spas at French Lick Resort are well known because of their mineral springs. It is said that they have “healing power”. There is a trolley so that guests may use to travel between the two hotels, although you can easily walk the grounds between the two. You can select activities to choose from such as horseback riding, bowling, wine tasting, cooking lessons, movie night, biking, hiking.There are a total of three golf courses. A new Pete Dye golf course, which will host the SPGA in May,2015. There is an 18 hole course, and a 9 hole links course. The latter is especially fun for families to play. There are walking trails, and a multitude of fine dining to casual restaurants on the property. There is a casino, which offers entertainment,and concerts featuring top national talent. At the end of your stay, you’ll discover that you still didn’t get it all in. That just means you have to return to French Lick Resort.
If you live in the Southwest, there are many hotels and resorts from which to select, but the one that stands out for me for an Expanded Staycation is the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson. Rated by Travel and Leisure as one of the World’s Best Family Hotels, this resort has a lot to offer. Let’s start with the scenery, and the building architecture. As you can tell from the photo, the structure of the building blends in with its natural setting. Upon arrival, every aspect of what you see makes you say, “Wow”. The resort is meant to keep you engulfed in the beauty of the Sonora dessert while experiencing casual yet luxurious styled accommodations. The rooms are spacious by most standards (450 square feet), and are decorated in a neutrals, punctuated with white. If possible, try to score a room with a mountain view. Remember, you are there to relax. Walking paths abound,and along the way you’ll discover the 80′ waterfall and the butterfly garden. For those who wish more strenuous activity (not me), try the hiking and biking trails. The scenery is breath-taking. There are tennis courts, 2 glorious pools, and an adult only serenity pool. For those who remember to bring their clubs, there are 2 Tom Fazio designed golf courses. You will remember playing these courses in years to come. Take a “selfie” at hole 18 and send it to your friends with bragging rights. End your day at the Lakeside Spa. You’ll need it to work out the kinks from all that exercising. Try dinner at the Flying V Bar & Grille, and don’t forget the table- side guacamole, (the best I’ve ever had) and margaritas on the patio at sun set. Put your feet up, and think about how life is fine.
If you live in or around the LA basin, and you’re looking to get away to re-charge your batteries, why not go to Vegas. The Delano, Las Vegas is a sanctuary in a town filled with energy, entertainment and vices. It is considered a boutique hotel, although it is 43 stories high. What you receive at this large golden tower is unparrelled design and service. You certainly know that you have “arrived” when you step into the Delano. You can hear yourself saying… “Well Aw right, Aw right!” It’s an all suite hotel. The suites are very spacious (725 square feet) and beautifully decorated in muted natural tones, with their iconic floor to ceiling white flowing drapes. The ambiance is just what you need to feel relaxed and renewed. There’s an on-site spa to keep you in the mood. You will not find a casino in this hotel. If you wish to gamble, you will need to go elsewhere. If you are a foodie, then the Delano is your spot. Alain Ducasse has created a new venue called Mix at the Delano, an inventive restaurant, with chef Bruno Riou, which offers exquisite food and a significant wine selection (5,000 bottles). One might think this is the place for special occasions, but I would say that if you are there, then that is the occasion. The hotel also offers an elegantly decorated lounge for drinks, the Franklin Lounge, a great place for meeting friends or simply having a specialty cocktail. If you go to the Delano, don’t forget to pack your most fashionable outfit. Someone may want to take your picture.