SPRING RESORT ESCAPES
Winter is an unavoidable reality for half of the US, and even those hearty souls who enjoy a little ice skating or snowman building can grow weary of windchill warnings and windshield scraping. Fortunately, spring will not be denied.
For those denizens of the cold who can’t wait for the “darling buds of May,” there are a selection of resorts across North America waiting to offer a taste of recreation, rejuvenation, and (most importantly) rays. The following selection of luxury destinations all head into 2020 with new restaurants, activities, or amenities to highlight your early spring escape.
New parts of the complex are still under construction, but the Rancho San Lucas resort is open for business along the Pacific coast of Mexico’s idyllic Baja Peninsula. Consisting of the Grand Solmar Resort and the Villas at Rancho San Lucas residences, the complex includes Picaro—Chef Ricci’s casual, yet elegant Mexican gourmet restaurant overlooking the coast. The Chef brings the region’s best fresh ingredients to his locally sourced menus.
Late February saw the ribbon cutting for the property’s Greg Norman Signature Golf Course—18 holes dedicated to utilizing and preserving the unique ecosystems only this stretch of Mexico can provide. Designed by the two-time Open Champion, the signature hole is the 17th with its island green saluting the legendary golf course designer Pete Dye.
Now home to hundreds of villas spread over 5,000 acres, Hilton Head’s Sea Pines Resort is always popular for family vacations and romantic couples’ weekend visits. The highlight is the Inn & Club at Harbour Town, an intimate 60-room property offering a five-minute walk to the Harbour Town Yacht Basin.
Priding itself on top-notch service and offering a private outdoor pool, the Sea Pines Beach Club and Ocean Lounge is now one of Hilton Head’s finest restaurants—lauded for its fresh seafood, oyster menu, and comprehensive wine list.
This historic and expansive property high in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Colorado Springs changes its identity with the seasons. In winter, it’s dedicated to Wilderness Experiences such as Cloud Camp with hiking trails offering picturesque views and equestrian turns within the Ranch at Emerald Valley. As the weather welcomes the sun, the Broadmoor’s two championship golf courses become the lead attractions.
Spring sees new seasonal menus at the resort’s ten restaurants. Highlights include the newly remodeled and redesigned Golden Bee Pub with its friendly atmosphere and the refined Italian comfort food at the Ristorante del Lago.
Located along the Sea of Cortez (a couple hours north of the Cabo San Lucas airport), La Paz offers a low key alternative to the busy beaches and nightlife scene of Los Cabos. It might very well grow into a busy rival of Mexico’s mainstay vacation spots—but for now, it’s a quieter, calmer, working-class beach town offering the new, fully equipped, elite resort that is Puerta Cortez.
Whether a hotel guest or a resident, Puerta Cortez hosts a private beach, a yacht club and marina, four restaurants, a cafe, and onsite services offering a variety of excursions and activities. The warm waters off La Paz are a protected marine habitat, and chartered experiences departing from the resort allow free-spirited explorers a chance to swim with whale sharks, sea lions, dolphins, and an endless variety of saltwater fish.
The oldest ski resort in the United States, Sun Valley remains the winter home of celebrities from around the world. Once welcoming everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Marilyn Monroe, these days it now waves hello to Tom Hanks and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Once Mount Baldy thaws in the spring, Sun Valley’s focus switches to a mecca for mountain bikers—the resort’s ski runs transform to adrenaline-soaked downhill bicycle paths. For the less adventurous visitors, there’s fly fishing, tennis, horseback riding, three swimming pools, and two golf courses. New menu selections at the Ram offer elite dining with the flair of a traditional piano bar.
Finally, for those spring visitors who still miss a little bit of winter, there’s now year-round ice-skating.
Just wrapping up a two-year, $70 million dollar renovation, the 7,000-acre Horseshoe Bay returns to full duty this spring with 385 fully redesigned guest rooms, a reequipped spa, and eight retooled restaurants. A new Waterfront Complex highlights the additions with its new dining options and eight pickleball courts open to guests.
Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones, Sr. separately designed Horseshoe Bay’s four golf courses, and just south of $8 million went into the redesign and rebirth of the overall golf experience from fairways to clubhouses.
Another destination that changes its personality with the turning of seasons, Crystal Mountain puts down the skis come spring and turns its focus to its new Water Playground, technical downhill biking; updated Crystal Spa; hiking; ziplining; and two, four-star golf courses—Mountain Ridge and Betsie Valley. For those who want to try out the links but lack experience, there’s now the Crystal Mountain Golf Practice and Learning Center offering lessons to guests in 2020.
John Scott Lewinski
As a writer, John Scott Lewinski hustles around the world, writing for more than 30 international magazines and news sites including Travel + Leisure, The Atlantic Journal, & BBC Travel.