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The winter is such a perfect time for an extended weekend vacation! Even though our weather here on the Mid-peninsula is mild, it’s always fun to get away to someplace even warmer and sunnier and experience a little peace in the midst of what can be a busy time of holidays and year-end quotas. It can also be the perfect time to take advantage of a lull in the tourist season to visit a popular destination that’s more crowded at other times of the year.

Here are my suggestions and a few quick highlights for some great winter weekend getaways:


Cabo San Lucas

I love Cabo in the winter for the whale watching and the glorious weather, usually in the 70’s to 80’s. Cabo has lots of terrific food and, of course, fabulous tequila to wash it all down! There’s a little something for everyone—lounging at the beach or pool, horseback riding, swimming with the dolphins, whale-watching (winter is their migratory season) and zip-lining for adventurous souls.

Whale Watching: Cabo, Mexico

Capella Pedregal: Cabo, Mexico Capella Pedregal: Cabo, MexicoOn my last visit, I stayed at the Capella Pedregal, a beautiful resort where I go purely to relax and be pampered. This hotel is absolute luxury, but with a homey feel. Every room has a private plunge pool—how awesome is that? The beach is secluded and hard to get to (in Mexico, all beaches are public, so this can be important if privacy is a priority). They have a wonderful spa and accommodations that range from private rooms to three-bedroom villas. All that and a great kids’ program if you want to have it all—a romantic getaway and a family vacation.


Other 5* hotel options are the Esperanza, an Auberge hotel known for its fabulous food, and Las Ventanas al Paraiso (Rosewood), with an especially amazing spa that feels very authentically Cabo. If you want the movie-star experience, and you enjoy a little celebrity-gazing, One and Only Palmilla may be your ideal spot. Super luxurious with one of the only swimmable beaches in Cabo, you may feel like you’re ready for your close-up.
Las Ventanas al Paraiso: Cabo, MexicoOne & Only Palmilla: San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Colonial Town

If you want a Mexican vacation with swimmable beaches and a colonial city with a little history, Puerto Vallarta is just the place. Like Cabo, the weather is beautiful in the winter, there are lots of things to do, and wonderful hotels where you can sunbathe, relax and enjoy the Mexican cuisine. The difference is that Puerto Vallarta has a more historically authentic feel, while Cabo seems newer. It’s fun to wander the city center, where you can shop at public markets, visit the Cuale Archaeological Museum or light at candle at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. If you are an ocean swimmer, then Puerto Vallarta is much better than Cabo, since it has many more beaches suited for swimmers.

Punta Mita: Four Seasons BeachIPunta Mita: Four Seasons Suite

I stayed at the Four Seasons, Punta Mita, about 15 minutes north of the city. The Four Seasons was the first to build a hotel in the area and they built on the best beach–lovely and very private. I love the hotel so much that I just camped out there and ate every meal in their restaurants, which are fabulous.

Punta Mita: Imanta Common AreaAnother hotel option is the Imanta resorts. The Imanta is located on a hilltop overlooking the beach, in the middle of the jungle, with a very exclusive, remote feel, like you’re on a private island. Because of the location and the hills, you need to be in somewhat of a decent physical shape to really enjoy the resort. While the Four Seasons can be either a romantic or a family resort, the Imanta is more of a hotel for adults and can be a super sexy place for a honeymoon or anniversary. The Imanta also has “guest experience managers and adventure specialists” that can put together special itineraries like fishing trips, snorkeling and diving and, if you’re really adventurous, even a nighttime jungle walk.

Santa Fe

If you love the desert, but don’t want to endure the heat of the summer, Santa Fe is an excellent choice for a winter vacation. I love Santa Fe because of its bright blue skies that contrast with the beautiful desert colors. While the skies are blue year-round, the desert colors change with the seasons, with the winter offering the most dramatic colors. There are also some natural springs and spas nearby that can make fun day trips (Check out Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa or Ten Thousand Waves) . Good food, great art and museums and gorgeous hiking are all reasons to visit Santa Fe.

Canyon Road Arts: Santa Fe, NM

Four Seasons - Encantado Resort: Santa Fe, NMI stayed in the Four Seasons Encantado, which is a 15-minute drive outside of town. Its remote location is great because at night it is pitch black outside and you can really see the magnificent stars. The food is quite good and the hotel is surrounded by hiking trails, but my favorite feature of the hotel is the availability of a Mercedes for your use at no extra charge. Even though we had a rental car, we took advantage of this perk and took the Mercedes convertible for a lovely drive to Los Alamos. The hotel also has a car service that will take you to town and back, which is nice if you want to enjoy dinner and drinks downtown without having to worry about driving.

Inn of the Five Graces: Santa Fe, NMAnother hotel option is the Inn of the Five Graces (Relais & Chateaux). While the Four Seasons is a great place to stay, where you know exactly what to expect, this hotel is artistically exciting, with beautiful tile work, carved woods and textiles from Morocco, India, Tibet and other exotic locales. It sits on the Old Santa Fe Trail – in fact, the oldest inhabited block in the U.S.-  in heart the of Santa Fe, just a five-minute walk to downtown and right around the corner from one of the most popular streets studded with art studios. Every room is completely different, which is a great reason to use a travel advisor if you want to stay there . In a nutshell, if you love luxurious and comfortable consistency, stay at the Four Seasons. If you like to be surprised and stimulated by your environment and you love color, the Five Graces is the hotel for you.

Wine Country

Winter is a fantastic time to visit the wine country of northern California. Since the high seasons are summer and fall, winter is a quieter time to visit, with relatively bargain hotel rates, less crowds and more private attention at the wineries and restaurants. Also, most of the hotels have a two-night minimum during the busy season, so if you just want to pop up for a quick night away, winter offers that advantage. If you go in the late winter you can see the beautiful mustard flowers that carpet the fields of the area.

Calistoga Ranch: Calistoga, CAAlthough there are many, many lovely places to stay, my most recent experiences have been at the Calistoga Ranch and the Meadowood Resort. Both are amazing properties with first class service. My favorite is the Calistoga Ranch because of its Zen feeling and the privacy of the resort. We had our own 1200 square foot house, a porch with fireplace, and bedroom kitchenette. The hotel has a lovely Japanese-style spa and a big pool overlooking the valley.

Meadowood: Napa, CAA lot of my clients love Meadowood for its New England style feel and 18-hole Golf Course. Couple that with impecable service, attention to details, and an excellent kitchen – what more could you want for your restful week-end getaway? All of their rooms recently went through an extensive renovation, so they feel super fresh and modern, yet stay with the properties roots. They are currently undergoing a major renovation project over the next couple of years and building a new 10,000 square foot spa and expanding the dining venues. The pluses of Meadowood are its distinct New England architecture, their own croquet lawn, tennis courts and golf course, and their Michelin Three-Star restaurant.

That’s all for now! These locations are all places I love and I could write pages and pages about each one of them. If you’re thinking of a trip to any of them, I’d love to help you plan the perfect inclusive experience—from hotel, to restaurants, to activities.

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