Winter may not be upon us yet, but we’re already feeling the seasonal slump. Here are 11 baller escapes to ease our winter blues.
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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Just a 2.5-hour flight from Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas rocks an easy commute and exotic appeal. While the 20-mile stretch between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo is dripping in luxurious hotels that have entertained the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, and George Clooney, our favorite sleep is the ultra-romantic Esperanza Resort. Set between bluffs on the Baja peninsula, the secluded casitas, suites and villas are done up in airy, traditional Baja-style decor with handcrafted Mexican furniture and beds draped with soft linen canopies. If you’re in need of a break from lounging on the beach, Wild Canyon ATVing is certain to get your blood pumping. With a personal guide and your own ATV, you’ll follow routes that whip you between barren desert vistas and beaches stretched along the Sea of Cortez. In town, grab dinner at Los Tres Gallos an authentic Mexican spot off the beaten path of Cabo’s strip that serves killer pozole, mole enchiladas, and tamarind margaritas in an outdoor courtyard.
Key West, Florida
Florida is a US vacay staple for a reason; with both Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, the state is all about the beaches. Skip over Fort Lauderdale and South Beach, however, and hole up at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, where tasteful island-themed decor and a convenient locale – near Old Town, Mallory Square and Key West Harbor – set you up for an exceedingly relaxed stay. Right out the hotel’s front door, you’ll want to hit Duval Street a 1.25-mile stretch through downtown Key West that serves as the epicenter for all things eating, shopping and drinking. When hunger hits, head for Louie’s Backyard, a cafe-style Caribbean-American restaurant that resides in a Victorian home right on the ocean. No surprise, all of their top-billed plates are seafood, including cracked conch with mango chutney and sautéed gulf shrimp.
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Okay, okay, before you go trying to prove us wrong, we realize that *technically* American citizens still haven’t been given the full go-ahead for travel to Cuba. That said, many restrictions have been lifted and if you want to go badly enough, you can (more on that here). Once you’re over the border, you’ll be in need of a welcome drink. Do so like Hemingway, and head for his favorite bar, Floridita, on the corner of Obispo and Monserrate, and order a daiquiri. For dinner, there’s La Cocina de Lilliam, a lush family-run patio restaurant that has served Cuban favorites – like arroz con pollo, fried green plantains, and tres leches cake – to guests as distinguished as President Jimmy Carter. Not far from Plaza de Armas – Havana’s oldest square – check into the Hotel Florida, an impressive Colonial boutique with 25 rooms surrounding an airy ground-floor courtyard with a retractable glass roof.
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