The 16 best vacations to gift
Looking for the best products to gift — and to get — this holiday season? Check out Underscored’s Holiday Guide here.
Not finding the right gift for the frequent traveler in your life? Consider something a little different this holiday season and give the gift of travel: a vacation.
Of course, you can always give your loved one a passport holder or suitcase, but an even more exciting present is the gift of travel itself, like a sunny beach break, ski jaunt, wine-tasting weekend or mountain escape. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are some of the best vacations you can give that special someone in your life.
Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa, Canada
The Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa
Ski buffs should visit the Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa for optimal ski convenience. The resort is just a five-minute walk from the Whistler Ski Lift and the Blackcomb Mountain Gondolas. Skiers can warm up after a chilly day on the pistes at the resort’s heated pool, jacuzzi or near the fire at the cozy Cinnamon Bear Bar. Rates start at $185 per night.
The Arlo Midtown
Give the gift of culture with a weekend in New York City. The Arlo Midtown sits on the edge of the Big Apple’s Theater District, an easy walk from many theaters. The rooms are compact but functional, and some come with large terraces. The common areas are lively and hip, ideal for co-working, hanging out or ordering cocktails. Pair this hotel with two tickets to shows like Wicked, The Lion King, Hamilton or The Book of Mormon. Room rates start at $134 per night, though theater tickets are at an additional cost.
The Park MGM
Formerly the Monte Carlo, the Park MGM has a fresh take on the typical Las Vegas hotel scene. The resort offers a smoke-free casino, funky rooms complete with vintage furnishings and custom artwork and a Lady Gaga residency. For a very special festive experience, consider the Park MGM stay with Bruno Mars for NYE package. It includes a three-night stay credit, food and beverage credit, VIP admission to the Bruno Mars show on either Dec. 30 or Dec. 31 and other perks, starting at $3,049 for two. Otherwise, Park MGM room rates start at $85 per night, including a $39 resort fee.
The Elk Cabin
Gift your favorite family a rural, relaxing adventure at this Montana cabin, which can sleep up to 10 people. This comfortable home, available to book via Vrbo, sits along the Yellowstone River, facing the mountains at Yellowstone National Park. A short drive from both the national park and the Chico Hot Springs, this family-friendly rental is perfect for an outdoorsy escape year-round. Rates run about $225 per night.
Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles
This blissful vino escape feels like a far-flung visit to Tuscany, though it’s actually in California. Allegretto Vineyard Resort offers discounted vineyard tours for guests, wine tastings, on-property art tours, yoga classes and even meditation sessions. Guests can also hang out at the pool or the fire pits, or bond with the resident alpaca, George. Room rates start at $249 per night.
The Ace Hotel New Orleans
Perfect for that college student or young adult, the Ace Hotel New Orleans is located in the up-and-coming Warehouse District just a short walk away from the French Quarter. With a trendy rooftop bar and pool and French deco-inspired rooms and suites, any visitor will feel right at home in the space. For solo travelers, there are plenty of fun events in which to partake, such as movie nights, concerts and DJ sets. Room rates start at $152 per night.
The Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel
This all-inclusive, adults-only Los Cabos resort is perfect for frazzled parents who need a child-free getaway, or your favorite couple who could use a vacation in the sun. The hotel is set along windswept white sands on the edge of the Playa el Faro beach, giving it a private, intimate feel. From interactive culinary experiences to tequila tastings to private beach dinners, there’s plenty to do at this resort besides just basking in the sun. Room rates start around $400 per night.
Hotel Maren Fort Lauderdale
This hotel, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, is an ideal gift for anyone with the winter blues who needs a little sunshine. Located directly on Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Maren’s guestrooms all have water views, either ocean-facing or with vistas of the Intracoastal Waterway. The hotel has amenities that will cheer any snowbird up, like a yoga studio and an ocean-facing pool. Room rates start at $215 per night.
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
For a warm winter family getaway, the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is a beachfront resort part of the Baha Mar family (which also includes the SLS Baha Mar and the Rosewood Baha Mar). The resort is adjacent to the Baha Bay Water Park, which offers complimentary access for all resort guests. The entire family will love the lazy river, various waterslides, the FlowCurl surf simulator and the Baha Beach lagoon. Room rates start at $285 per night.
The Sensei Lanai
Those in need of a truly luxurious wellness experience should visit the Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons property. Guests older than 16 can enjoy the opulent hotel for a vacation, or consider a Wellness Package. Five-day retreat packages include a deep focus on personal wellness goals (physical, mental or both) with the assistance of Sensei nutritionists, mindfulness coaches, exercise physiologists and guides. Room rates hover around $800 per night, and Optimal Wellbeing Packages start at $1,300 per night where a five-night minimum stay is required.
Loews Ventana Canyon
Is there someone in your life who needs a little desert solitude? Loews Ventana Canyon is located at the base of the Catalina Mountains in Tucson, offering visitors a taste of the Sonoran Desert. Enjoy breathtaking sunsets, golf at PGA courses and relaxing by the pool at this desert oasis. Military and first responders get 20% off room rates at this hotel, plus waived resort fees. Room rates start at $185.
The Inn at Blackberry Farm
This Relais & Châteaux resort in Walland, Tennessee, is perfect for anyone who needs to reconnect with nature. The 4,200-acre property is ensconced in the Great Smoky Mountains. From fly-fishing to cycling, horseback riding and paintball, any outdoor buff will welcome this escape from the daily grind. True nature enthusiasts can even spend the night in one of the property’s luxury treehouses. Room rates start at $800 per night with a three-night minimum.
The Marshall House
This boutique historic hotel in the heart of Savannah, Georgia, once was used as a Union Hospital during the Civil War. Guests can explore the Civil War Era display on the third floor, which contains artifacts and information about the building. The hotel is also rumored to have various supernatural guests and is known as one of Savannah’s most haunted spaces. Room rates start at $110 per night, and special packages are available that include ghost tours too.
Maybe it’s not where you go but how you arrive. As the ideal gift for the car buff in your life, rent a limited-edition 2020 Camaro ZL1 customized by Hendrick Motorsports exclusively from Hertz. This snazzy vehicle is available to rent at the Charlotte, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando and Phoenix airports. With 750 HP Max power, custom wheels and brake calipers and a 6.2-liter engine, there’s no better way to zip around town.
The Seelbach Hotel
One of the Historic Hotels of America, the Seelbach Hilton dates back to 1905. Any history buff will love exploring the haunted hotel’s nooks and crannies, and bourbon drinkers will find it the perfect base for hopping around the bourbon trail. For an all-out Kentucky experience, book the derby package — the hotel is just a few minutes away from Churchill Downs. Room rates start at $150 per night, and the 2022 derby packages, which include three nights of accommodation, start at $3,099, though derby tickets are not included.
InterContinental Presidente Cancun
If your favorite traveler wants that hotel zone accommodation experience in Cancun but hates all-inclusive dining, consider the recently renovated InterContinental Presidente Cancun. The hotel offers the white sands, turquoise waters and big-brand hotel vibes typical of the hotel zone properties, but travelers can dine in leisure at one of the hotel’s three restaurants or elsewhere off the resort. Room rates start at $171 per night.
Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2021.